2003 is a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar), and also:
- January 1
- January 15 - The Supreme Court hands down its decision in Eldred v. Ashcroft allowing the extension of copyright terms.
- January 21 - Kevin Mitnick, a famous U.S. hacker, is allowed to use a computer again.
- January 24 - The new United States Department of Homeland Security officially begins operation.
- January 25 - Central Line train crashes into the tunnel wall at Chancery Lane station in London, injuring 34 people.
- January 30 - Iraq disarmament crisis: The leaders of Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, and the Czech Republic release a statement, the letter of the eight, demonstrating support for the United States' plans for an invasion of Iraq.
- March 1
- March 5 - The Supreme Court of the United States by a 5-4 margin upholds California's "three strikes and you're out" law.
- March 11 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraqi fighters threaten two U.S. U-2 surveillance planes, flying missions for U.N. weapons inspectors, forcing them to abort their mission and return to base.
- March 12
- Zoran Djindjic assassinated in Belgrade
- WHO issues a global alert on SARS.
- Iraq disarmament crisis: British prime minister Tony Blair proposes an amendment to the possible 18th U.N. resolution, which would call for Iraq to meet certain benchmarks to prove that it was disarming. The amendment is immediately rejected by France, who promises to veto any new resolution.
- March 13 - Human evolution: The journal Nature reports that 350,000-year-old upright-walking human footprints had been found in Italy
- March 15 - Hu Jintao becomes president of the People's Republic of China, replacing Jiang Zemin.
- March 16 - Iraq disarmament crisis: The leaders of the United States, Britain, Portugal, and Spain meet at a summit in the Azores Islands. U.S. President Bush calls Monday, March 17th, the "moment of Truth", meaning that the "coalition of the willing" would make its final effort to extract a resolution from the U.N. Security Council that would give Iraq an ultimatum to disarm immediately or to be disarmed by force.
- March 16 - Largest co-ordinated worldwide vigil as part of the global protests against war on Iraq.
- March 17 - Iraq disarmament crisis: U.S. President George W. Bush gives an ultimatum: Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his sons must either leave Iraq, or face military action at a time of the U.S.'s choosing
- March 19 - First American bombs dropped on Baghdad, Iraq. President Saddam Hussein and his sons do not comply with President Bush's 48 hour mandate demanding their exit from Iraq.
- March 20 - 2003 Iraq war: Land troops from United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invade Iraq.
- March 22 - The United States and the United Kingdom begin their shock and awe campaign with a massive air strike on military targets in Baghdad.
- March 23 - Cricket World Cup ends as Australia win over India in Centurion, South Africa.
- March 29 - WHO doctor Carlo Urbani, who first identified SARS, dies of the disease.
- April 3 - Passenger bus hits remote-controlled land mine in the Chechen capital, killing at least 8.
- April 9 - U.S. forces seize control of Baghdad, apparently ending the regime of Saddam Hussein.
- April 17 - The Stevens Report concludes that members of the RUC and British Army cooperated with the UDA against Catholics in Northern Ireland
- April 21 - Retired U.S. Army General Jay Garner becomes Interim Civil Administrator of Iraq.
- July 1 - 500,000 Hong Kong people march to protest Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23, which redefined treason controversially.
- July 2 - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is declared the Host City for the XXI Olympic Winter Games in 2010.
- July 5
- SARS is declared to be contained by WHO.
- Double suicide bombing at a Moscow rock concert kills the female attackers and 15 other people.
- July 6 - Residents of Corsica reject a referendum for increased autonomy for the region from France by a very narrow margin.
- July 7 - Canon Jeffrey John, first would-be gay bishop in the Church of England, withdraws his acceptance of the post of The Bishop of Reading after discussions with the church leaders
- July 10 - Russian security agent dies in Moscow while trying to defuse a bomb a woman had tried to carry into a cafe on central Moscow main street.
- July 16 - The Corsicans rejected a referendum for increased autonomy from France by a very thin majority: 50.98 percent against, and 49.02 percent for.
- July 18 Convention on the Future of Europe finishes its work and proposes the first European constitution
- July 23 - Operation Warrior Sweep is the first major military deployment of the Afghan National Army
- July 24 - The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, Operation Helpem Fren, lead by Australia, begins in the Solomon Islands
- July 30 - The last old-style Volkswagen Beetle rolls off its production line in Puebla, Mexico.
- November 5 - Gary Ridgway, The "Green River Killer", confesses murders of 48 women
- November 9 - Lunar eclipse (the Americas, Europe, Africa, Central Asia)
- November 12 - Occupation of Iraq: In Nasiriya, Iraq, at least 23 people, among them the first Italian casualties of the 2003 Iraq war are killed in a suicide bomb attack on an Italian police base.
- November 15 - Two car bombs explode simultaneously in Istanbul, Turkey targeting two synagogues, killing at least 25 people and wounding more than 300; Al-Qaida claims responsibility.
- November 18
- November 20
- Several bombs explode in Istanbul, Turkey destroying the Turkish head office of HSBC Holdings and the British consulate.
- Michael Jackson is arrested by police on charges of child molestation, a charge that can carry an 8 year jail term.
- November 22 - England wins the Rugby Union World Cup defeating Australia 20-17 after extra time.
- November 23
- November 24 - The High Court in Glasgow imposes a minimum sentence of 27 years for Al Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
- November 26 - Last ever flight by Concorde.
For more deaths see: Deaths in 2003
- January 1 - Joe Foss, politician, fighter pilot, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor
- January 5 - Roy Jenkins, British politician
- January 12 - Leopoldo Galtieri, Argentine dictator
- January 12 - Maurice Gibb, Anglo-Australian musician, one-third of the Bee Gees
- January 23 - Nell Carter, singer, actress
- January 24 - Gianni Agnelli, Italian entrepreneur and president of Fiat (b. 1921)
- January 26 - George Younger, 4th Viscount Younger of Leckie, British politician (b. 1931)
- January 29 - Frank Moss, US Senator from Utah (b. 1911)
- February 1 - The crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia; Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, Rick D. Husband, Willie McCool, Ilan Ramon
- February 7 - John Reading, mayor of Oakland, California
- February 10 - Clark MacGregor, United States Congressman
- February 10 - Al Ruffo, mayor of San Jose, California
- February 14 - Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal
- February 14 - Johnny Longden, jockey
- February 19 - Johnny PayCheck, country music singer
- February 20 - Orville Lothrop Freeman, Governor of Minnesota and Secretary of Agriculture for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson
- February 25 - Alberto Sordi, Italian comedy film legend
- February 27 - Fred McFeely Rogers, 74, "Mister Rogers" of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
- February 28 - Chris Brasher, athlete
- February 28 - Fidel Sánchez Hernández, former President of El Salvador
- March 8 - Adam Faith, British singer and actor (b. 1940)
- March 8 - Karen Morley, actress
- March 9 - Stan Brakhage, filmmaker
- March 9 - Bernard Dowiyogo, president of Nauru (b. 1946)
- March 12 - Zoran Djindjic, Prime Minister of Serbia (assassinated)
- March 15 - Dame Thora Hird, British actress
- March 16 - Rachel Corrie, American activist, member of the International Solidarity Movement
- March 16 - Major Ronald Ferguson, father of Sarah, Duchess of York
- March 24 - Hans Hermann Groër, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vienna (1986 - 1995)
- March 26 - Daniel Patrick Moynihan, United States Senator from New York
- March 29 - Carlo Urbani, WHO doctor who discovered SARS
- March 30 - Valentin Pavlov, former prime minister of the Soviet Union
- April 1 - Leslie Cheung, 46, Hong Kong singer/actor
- April 17 - Dr. Robert Atkins, developed the Atkins Nutritional Approach
- April 17 - Paul Getty, philanthropist
- April 22 - Martha Griffiths, Congresswoman, women's rights proponent
- April 23 - Bernard Katz, biophysicist, Nobel Prize winner
- April 26 - Peter Stone, Oscar- and (3-time)Tony-winning writer
- April 29 - Franco Corelli, Italian tenor (b. 1921)
- May 9 - Russell B. Long, US Senator from Louisiana
- May 10 - Milan Vukcevich, chemist and chess problem composer
- May 11 - Noel Redding, bassist for The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- May 12 - Sadruddin Aga Khan, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 1965 - 1977
- May 13 - John Savage, former Premier of Nova Scotia
- May 14 - Dame Wendy Hiller, British actress (b. 1912)
- May 14 - Robert Stack, actor
- May 15 - June Carter Cash, musician, singer, wife of Johnny Cash
- May 18 - Anna Santisteban, legendary figure in the Miss Universe contests
- May 21 - Frank D. White, governor of Arkansas
- May 28 - Oleg Makarov, cosmonaut
- May 28 - Ilya Prigogine, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1977
- May 28 - Martha Scott, American actress
- June 10 - Donald Regan, Chief of Staff and Treasury Secretary during the Reagan administration
- June 12 - Gregory Peck, American actor (b. 1916)
- June 24 - Maynard Jackson, former mayor of Atlanta, Georgia
- June 24 - Leon Uris, author
- June 25 - Lester Maddox, segregationist governor of the state of Georgia
- June 26 - Sir Denis Thatcher, husband of Margaret Thatcher
- June 26 - Strom Thurmond, United States Senator
- June 29 - Katharine Hepburn, American actress (b. 1907)
- July 4 - Barry White, singer
- July 10 - Lord Shawcross, Britain's chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials
- July 16 - Carol Shields, Canadian author
- July 17 - Dr. David Kelly, British Ministry of Defence
- July 21 - John Davies, president of the New Zealand Olympic Committee
- July 22 - Qusay Hussein, Iraqi military leader, younger son of Saddam Hussein
- July 22 - Uday Hussein, Iraqi military leader; eldest son of Saddam Hussein
- July 27 - Vance Hartke, US Senator from Indiana
- July 27 - Bob Hope, Anglo-American comedian, actor
- July 28 - Lady Valerie Goulding, Irish Senator and campaigner for the disabled
- July 29 - Foday Sankoh, Sierra Leonean rebel leader
- July 30 - Sam Phillips, record producer
- August 15 - Idi Amin, Ugandan dictator
- August 19 - Carlos Roberto Reina, former president of Honduras
- August 19 - Sérgio Vieira de Mello, United Nations Special Representative to Iraq
- August 30 - Charles Bronson, actor
- September 1 - Sir Terry Frost, British artist
- September 3 - Paul Hill, executed for two anti-abortion murders
- September 11 - Anna Lindh, Swedish foreign minister (assassinated)
- September 12 - Johnny Cash, American musician
- September 12 - John Ritter, American actor
- September 13 - Frank O'Bannon, Governor of Indiana
- September 15 - Yetunde Price, sister of American tennis-players Venus and Serena Williams
- September 16 - Erich Hallhuber, Bavarian actor
- September 16 - Sheb Wooley, actor, singer
- September 19 - Slim Dusty, Australian country music singer
- September 20 - Lord Williams of Mostyn, British Cabinet minister, Leader of the House of Lords
- September 20 - Simon Vengai Muzenda, Zimbabwe politician, vice president of the Republic since 1987
- September 22 - Gordon Jump, American actor
- September 25 - Franco Modigliani, Nobel Prize-winning economist
- September 25 - Aquila al-Hashimi, Iraqi politician, member of the Governing Council
- September 25 - George Plimpton, American Renaissance man
- September 25 - Edward Said, professor at Columbia University, proponent of Palestinian rights
- September 28 - Elia Kazan, American movie director
- October 2 - John T. Dunlop, Secretary of Labor under Gerald Ford
- October 3 - William Steig, American cartoonist and children's author; creator of Shrek
- October 4 - Sid McMath, former governor of Arkansas
- October 10 - Eugene Istomin, American pianist (b. 1925)
- October 18 - Preston Smith, Governor of Texas (b. 1912)
- October 19 - Margaret Murie, "Mother of the modern conservationist movement"
- October 19 - Faith Fancher, television journalist and breast cancer awareness activist
- October 23 - Soong May-ling, widow of Chiang Kai-shek
- October 27 - Rod Roddy, game show announcer (The Price is Right)
- October 30 - Franco Corelli, Italian tenor
- October 31 - Richard Neustadt, political historian
- December 7 - Carl F. H. Henry, American evangelical theologian, founder of Christianity Today magazine
- December 7 - Azie Taylor Morton, former Treasurer of the United States
- December 8 - Rubén González, Cuban pianist, member of the Buena Vista Social Club
- December 8 - Hans Hotter, German bass-baritone (b. 1909)
- December 9 - Paul Simon, US Senator from Illinois
- December 12 - Heydar Aliyev, former President of Azerbaijan (b. 1923)
- December 12 - Keiko, the killer whale in the Free Willy movies
- December 30 - Anita Mui, Hong Kong actress (b. 1963)
Government, Religious, and International Organisations Leaders
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