2004

Where are the WMDs?!

Anti-war

Anti-war demonstrators hold banners outside Parliament in London, January 21, 2003. (REUTERS/Stephen Hird SH/MD/jm/SN)

In February, CIA for the first time since the invasion of Iraq admitted that there was no imminent threat from weapons of mass destruction before 2003. Mass protests began in New York with more than 200,000 demonstrators demanding an end to the conflict. In June, the U.S.-led coalition occupying Iraq transferred sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government. Despite severe opposition, George W. Bush is re-elected to a second term as President of the United States, defeating John Kerry. Meanwhile, in October, a videotape of Osama Bin Laden speaking was aired on Arabic TV, in which he threatens terrorist attacks on the USA, and taunts the President, George W. Bush, over the September 11 Terrorist attacks.

February - Social networking site Facebook revolutionizing the world of internet.

February 26 - The United States lifted a ban on travel to Libya, ending travel restrictions to the nation that had lasted for 23 years.

March 2 - NASA announced that the Mars rover MER-B has confirmed that its landing area was once drenched in water.

April 28 - Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse was revealed on the television show 60 Minutes II.

September 16 - Hurricane Ivan struck Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 3 storm, killing 25 in Alabama and Florida, becoming the third-costliest hurricane in American history at the time.

September 23 - Tropical Storm Ivan, came around and reformed in the Gulf of Mexico, makes its final landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, to little effect. In total, the storm killed 92 people.

2005

Hurricane Katrina

Residents

Residents wait on a roof top to be rescued from the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans September 1, 2005.(REUTERS/David J. Phillip/Pool)

Several thousand were left homeless, hundreds were killed and widespread lootings were reported all over the effected states. Pictures if Hurricane Katrina portrayed an unusual image of the United States, as a country struggling to avert the consequences of a huge natural disaster. On August 23, the hurricane formed over the Bahamas. A week later at least 1,836 were killed, along the U.S. Gulf Coast, and rest of eastern North America.

The bubble that went bust

In October, the United States' housing bubble began to burst, causing home prices to unexpectedly stop rising and begin to decline. The effects followed the next year, as in 2006 a total of 1,259,118 foreclosures were filed up 42 per cent from 2005. The relatively marked the beginning of the economic slump for the US.

January 20 - George W. Bush was sworn in for his second term as president.

February 10 - North Korea announced that it possesses nuclear weapons as a protection against the hostility it feels from the United States.

February 15 - The Internet site YouTube went online.

February 16 - The Kyoto Protocol went into effect.

May 10 - A hand grenade landed about 100 feet from US President George Bush while delivering a speech to a crowd in Tbilisi, Georgia. However, it malfunctioned and did not detonate.

December 23 - U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced the first in an expected series of troop drawdown following the Iraqi elections.

2006

And the cars broke down

In January, automobile manufacturer General Motors reported an $8.6 billion loss for 2005, its biggest loss since 1992. The company led global sales for 75 consecutive years from 1931, longer than any other automaker. The sales continued till 2007. In 2008 and 2009, following the slump, GM was ranked as the second largest global automaker. The company was later forced to file for bankruptcy protection and seek a bailout from the U.S. and Canadian governments after suffering a huge blow at the stock market. Several thousands of jobs were axed resulting in public outcry.

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A worker cleans Hummer vehicles at a dealership in Chantilly, Virginia. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files)

March 16 - The Blu-ray Disc format was released in the United States

July 4 - STS-121: Space Shuttle Discovery was launched to the International Space Station. It returned safely on July 17. It was the second return to flight mission after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

December 22 - The Space Shuttle Discovery landed at the Kennedy Space Center, concluding a 2-week mission to the International Space Station.

2007

Another Columbine at Virginia

The Virginia Tech massacre in April claimed 32 lives. 23-year-old, Seung-Hui Chom went on a shooting spree on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, resulting in the deadliest peacetime shooting incident by a single gunman in United States history, on or off a school campus. Cho was previously diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder. But, due to federal privacy laws, Virginia Tech was not informed of Cho's previous diagnosis. In 2005, he was accused of stalking two female students and a Virginia special justice declared Cho mentally.

January 4 - Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

January 10 - President Bush announced a plan to station 21,500 additional troops in Iraq.

February 10 - Senator Barack Obama of Illinois declared his candidacy for President of the United States of America

December - The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) controversially expressed high confidence that Iran's nuclear weapons program has not operated since 2003.

2008

Civil Rights won at last - Obama becomes the first black President of US

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U.S. President Barack Obama at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

An unusual face stole the limelight on the world stage. Tall, dark and handsome yet politically inept, the critics said. Despite initial antagonism, Illinois senator Barack Obama was declared the Democratic president candidate after narrowly beating Senator Hillary Clinton. Joe Biden was announced as vice president candidate at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. Nominations of both Republicans were approved at the party's National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota. But it was in November, the tide of change swooped across the United States. Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States and Joe Biden is elected the 47th Vice President. Barack Obama, thus, became the first African-American President-elect.

January 18 - President George W. Bush announced an economic stimulus package, proposing $800 per individual and $1600 per couple in tax refunds.

January 28 - President George W. Bush delivered his last State of the Union address.

March 4 - John McCain secured the 2008 U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination after winning primary elections in Texas, Vermont, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

April 15 - Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States.

June 27 - After three decades as the Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates stepped down from daily duties to concentrate on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 Read Part 3