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LadyLeana 12-04-2009 08:23 AM

December 2009: The New Millenium
The first decade of the new millenium is one of rapid and violent changes. Early on, the world is shocked by the 9/11 attacks, and many more would follow. The relative peace and quiet that had reigned the West was shattered, and the retaliating Allied Forces shook the fragile equilibriums in the Middle East. One energy crisis followed another, and the end of this decade is marked by a financial crisis like the world hadn't known since 1929.

However, not all was bad in these past few years. As the end of the decade approaches, we can also look back on some positive developments. This decade also saw the growth of internet and technology beyond any boundaries man could have imagined. People became conscious of their heavy ecological footprints and more environmentally friendly technology was developed and continues to be developed. Boundaries fell as the European Union included former Soviet republics in its ranks. And wherever disaster struck, people emerged only to show their best sides, helping wherever they could.

As this decade is drawing to a close, we can now also say that it was a particularly fruitful decade for the royals. Nearly all Crown Princes married, giving their countries - and for that matter, the whole world- a whole new generation of elegant Princesses and... royal toddlers.

Enjoy our last newsletter of 2009!

LadyLeana & Zonk
Newsletter Editors

LadyLeana 12-04-2009 08:23 AM

Special thank you

The newsletter editors would like to thank everyone who contributed to the newsletters in the past year. Putting them together was a lot of work, and we are very grateful we could count on Elspeth, Mandy, TheTruth and marmi to help us out. Thank you very much, ladies! :flowers:

We would also like to thank our readers, for the positive feedback we received. Thank you all very much for reading and enjoying these newsletters, and most of all for letting us know! :flowers:

Prospective Changes for 2010

As you will have guessed, this twelfth newsletter of 2009 is also the last in this theme. Much as we may want to, we cannot predict what the coming decades may bring. This means it is time for a change. However, we will not be returning to the format of the previous years. Between the Articles and the Blog, we believe it is time for the newsletter to take a new direction.

Andy R, the owner of TRF, has also informed us that the vBulletin software, which supports the Forums, will be upgraded next year. What exactly these upgrades will entail is as much of a mystery for us as for you, but we will be sure to inform everyone as soon as we know more.

So keep an eye out for these and other changes next year!

Questions about The Royal Forums?

We have a thread in the Support and Feedback forum that contains all sorts of information about TRF and also contains a copy of the Member FAQs for easy reference

Picture of the Month

Don't forget to vote for December's Picture of the Month. There are two polls this month. The official poll highlights the official side of royalty and is here. The unofficial poll features family pictures and is here.

The Royal Forums Blog

The Royal Forums blog continues to thrive. We have nearly 40 bloggers, including 17 regular contributors also known as Royal Bloggers.

The blog entries are posted at the TRF Twitter account. We hope TRF members who belong to Twitter will follow us. We also have a group and a page at Facebook.

The Royal Articles

If you haven't had the opportunity, please check out The Royal Articles. At present the articles site is not publishing articles because we are looking to switch the software that hosts the articles. We expect to resume article publication in the next two or three months.

Since we are unable to use professional photos to illustrate the articles, the editors are very interested in hearing from any members who have taken photos of royals and would be willing to have their photos used in the articles. Also, anyone who would like to try their hand at writing an article should contact one of the editors. The editors are Marengo and TheTruth.

LadyLeana 12-04-2009 08:23 AM

Royal Calendar for December

:belgiumflag2: 4th: Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde's 10th wedding anniversary

:norwayflag2: 10th: Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo (thread, blog)

:swedenflag2: 10th: Nobel Prize awards ceremony in Stockholm (thread, blog)

:greeceflag2: 13th: Anniversary of the declaration of the Greek republic (1974)

:crown: 25th: Christmas Day

LadyLeana 12-04-2009 08:24 AM

Royal births (Part I)

9 September 2000: Victoria Federica de Marichalar y de Borbón, daughter of Infanta Elena of Spain and don Jaime de Marichalar, the Duchess and Duke of Lugo.

6 December 2000: Pablo Nicolás Urdangarín y de Borbón, second son of Infanta Cristina of Spain and Iñaki Urdangarín, the Duchess and Duke of Palma de Mallorca.

25 October 2001: Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, first child of Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium. She is second in line for the Belgian throne, after her father.

1 December 2001: Princess Aiko of Japan, only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan.

30 April 2002: Miguel Urdangarín y de Borbón, third son of Infanta Cristina of Spain and Iñaki Urgangarín, the Duchess and Duke of Palma de Mallorca.

8 June 2002: Countess Eloïse of Orange-Nassau, first child of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands.

22 July 2002: Prince Felix of Denmark, second son of Prince Joachim of Denmark and (then) Princess Alexandra, now Countess of Frederiksborg.

23 April 2003: Princess Laetitia Maria of Belgium, fifth child and third daughter of Princess Astrid of Belgium and Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este

8 May 2003: Prince Moulay Hassan of Morocco, first child of King Mohammed VI of Morocco and his wife, Lalla Salma. He is first in line to the Moroccan throne.

20 August 2003: Prince Gabriel of Belgium, second child and first son for Prince Philippe of Belgium and Princess Mathilde.

8 November 2003: Lady Louise Windsor, first child for Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

7 December 2003: Princess Catharina-Amalia of The Netherlands, first child of Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Maxima, the Prince and Princess of Orange. She is second in line for the Dutch throne, after her father.

21 January 2004: Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, first child of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette Marit of Norway. She is second in linve for the Norwegian throne, after her father. She is the second child for Crown Princess Mette Marit.

6 February 2004: Princess Louise of Belgium, first child of Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium.

21 March 2004: Count Claus-Casimir of Orange-Nassau, first son and second child for Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands.

26 March 2005: Countess Luana of Orange-Nassau, first daughter for Prince Johan-Friso and Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau.

5 June 2005: Irene Urdangarin y de Borbón, fourth child and only daughter of Infanta Cristina of Spain and Iñaki Urgangarín, the Duchess and Duke of Palma de Mallorca.

LadyLeana 12-04-2009 08:25 AM

Royal Births (Part II)

26 June 2005: Princess Alexia of the Netherlands, second child for Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima, the Prince and Princess of Orange.

4 October 2005: Prince Emmanuel of Belgium, third child and second son for Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium.

15 October 2005: Prince Christian of Denmark, first child for Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. He is second in line for the Danish throne, after his father.

31 October 2005: Infanta Leonor of Spain, first child for the Prince and Princess of Asturias. She is second in line for the Spanish throne, after her father.

3 December 2005: Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway, second child for Crown Prince Haakon and third child for Crown Princess Mette Marit of Norway.

13 December 2005: Prince Aymeric and Prince Nicolas of Belgium, sons of Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium.

3 June 2006: Countess Leonore of Orange-Nassau, third child for Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands.

18 June 2006: Countess Zaria of Orange-Nassau, second daughter for Prince Johan-Friso and Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau.

6 September 2006: Prince Hisahito of Japan, first son and third child for Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko of Japan.

28 February 2007: Lalla Khadija of Morocco, second child for King Mohammed VI and Lalla Salma of Morocco.

17 March 2007: Prince Abdul Muntaqim of Brunei, first (and so far only) son of Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah of Brunei, and Princess Sarah.

10 April 2007: Princess Ariane of the Netherlands, third daugther for the Prince and Princess of Orange.

21 April 2007: Princess Isabella of Denmark, second child for Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

28 April 2007: Infanta Sofia of Spain, second daughter for the Prince and Princess of Asturias.

17 December 2007: James, Viscount Severn, second child for Prince Edward, Earl of Wassex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

16 April 2008: Princess Eléonore of Belgium, fourth child and second daughter for Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium.

4 May 2009: Prince Henrik of Denmark, first child of Prince Joachim and Princess Marie of Denmark. Prince Joachim has two sons from a previous marriage.

LadyLeana 12-04-2009 08:26 AM

Royal Marriages (Part I)

17/19 May 2001: Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands and Laurentien Brinkhorst.
Born 11 October 1969 to Princess Beatrix (now Queen) and Prince Claus, Prince Constantijn is their youngest (third) son. On 16 December 2000, his engagement to Petra Laurentien Brinkhorst was announced. Now Princess Laurentien was born on 25 May 1966. Her parents are Laurens Jan Brinkhorst and Jantien Brinkhorst-Heringa, and she has one brother. The couple were married in a civil ceremony in The Hague on 17 May 2001. Two days later they were married in a religous ceremony. They now have three children.

25 August 2001: Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby.
Crown Prince Haakon of Norway was born on 20 July 1973, Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby on 19 August 1973. Their engagement was announced 1 December 2000. This caused a lot of controversy due to Mette-Marit being a single mother. The wedding of Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess occured in Oslo Cathedral on 25 August 2001. The couple are now parents to Mette Marit’s son Marius and their own son and daughter, Sverre Magnus and Ingrid Alexandra, who is second in the line of succession to the Norwegian throne.

2 February 2002: The Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti.
The Prince is the eldest child of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus, on 27 April 1967. His bride was born in Argentina 17 May 1971. Maxima’s parents are Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta and María del Carmen Cerruti de Zorreguieta, and she has two brothers, one sister and three half-sisters. Their engagement was announced 30 March 2001. The civil and religious ceremonies occurred on 2 February 2002, and the couple now have three daughters. The ceremonies occured at Beurs van Berlage and Westerkerk respectively.

21 March 2002: Mohammed VI of Morocco and Salma Bennani.
Mohammed VI of Moroco was born on 21 August 1963, Salma Bennani on 10 May 1978. They met at a corporate party, as Salma worked for a company owned by the Moroccon King. They married 21 March 2002, and the King granted his wife the title of Princess-Consort. They now have two children.

24 May 2002: Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Ari Behn.
Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise was born on 22 September 1971. She is the oldest child of their majesties the King and Queen of Norway. Princess Märtha Louise became engaged to the author Mr Ari Behn on 13 December 2001. The couple were married in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on 24 May 2002. They are the proud parents of three daughters.

10 April 2004: Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai and Princess Haya of Jordan.
Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai married his junior wife HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, daughter of King Hussein of Jordan and half-sister of current King Abdullah II of Jordan on April 10, 2004. They have a daughter.

24 April 2004: Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands and Mabel Wisse Smith.
The second son of Princess (now Queen) Beatrix and Prince Claus, Prince Johan Friso (born 25 September 1968), married Mabel Wisse Smit on 24 April 2004. Mabel’s father was Hendrik Cornelis "Henk" Los and her mother is Florence Malde Gijsberdina "Flos" Kooman, after her father died her mother remarried, and Mabel went on to take his surname. Upon his marriage to Mabel Prince Friso lost his place in the Dutch Royal House and position in line to the throne. This was because he and Mabel had not honestly declared the nature of her relationship with Klaas Bruinsma (a Dutch ‘drug lord’).

LadyLeana 12-04-2009 08:26 AM

Royal Marriages (Part II)

14 May 2004: Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson.
Crown Prince Frederik was born on 26 May 1968 as first son to then Crown Princess Margrethe of Denmark and Crown Prince Henrik.Mary Donaldson was born on 5 February 1972. Her parents are Scottish, but emigrated to Australia, where Mary grew up. After her mother died her father married Susan Elizabeth Donaldson, née Horwood, a British novelist. The pair met during the Sydney 2000 Olympics and they were given permission to get married on 8 October 2003. They married on 14 May 2004 at Copenhagen Cathedral. The pair have two children.

22 May 2004: The Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.
The son of Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia was born on 30 January 1968. Prince Felipe’s future wife, Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano was born to Jesús Ortiz Álvarez and Paloma Rocasolano Rodríguez on 15th September 1972. The pair announced their engagement on 1 November 2003 and were married on 22 May 2004. The marriage caused some controversy as Letizia was a divorcee. They now have two daughters.

9 September 2004: Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah of Brunei and Sarah Salleh.
Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah is the son of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Queen Saleha, born 17 February 1974.
On 9 September 2004 Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah married Sarah Salleh, the daughter of Pengiran Salleh Ab Rahaman (a distant relative of the royal family) and Rinawaty Abdullah Suzanne Rahaman Aeby (formerly Suzanne Aeby, who is Swiss). They had a son on 17 March 2007.

8 April 2005: Divorce of Prince Joachim of Denmark and Princess Alexandra.
Prince Joachim of Denmark was born on June 7, 1969, the younger son of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark (formerly Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat). Alexandra Christina Manley, the daughter of Richard Nigel Manely and Christa Maria Manley, was born on June 30, 1964. The couple met in Hong Kong and married on November 18, 1995. They are the parents of Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix. Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra divorced on April 8, 2005, with Alexandra assuming the title of Her Highness, Princess Alexanra, Countess of Frederiksborg. On March 3, 2007, Alexandra married Martin Jorgensen. As a result of her new marriage, she is now known as Her Excellency Alexandra Christina, Countess of Frederiksborg.

9 April 2005: The Prince of Wales and Mrs Camilla Parker-Bowles.
HRH The Prince of Wales was born on the 14th of November 1948, the eldest son of The Queen and Prince Philip. His second wife, who would upon her marriage become HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, was born the daughter of Major Bruce Middleton Hope Shand and the Hon. Rosalind Maud Shand (nee Cubitt). The pair were finally married on 9 April 2005. Both have two children from previous marriages.

24 May 2008: Prince Joachim of Denmark and Marie Cavalier.
HRH Prince Joachim was born 7 June 1969, as the second son of HM Queen Margrethe II and HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark. On 24 May 2008 he married Marie Agathe Odile Cavalier. The now Princess Marie was born 6 February 1976 in Paris, France. Her parents are Alain Cavalier and Françoise Grassiot. Since their wedding, the pair have welcomed their first son, HH Prince Henrik Carl Joachim Alain.

LadyLeana 12-04-2009 08:26 AM

Royal Deaths (Part I)

2 January 2000: Countess of Barcelona was the mother of King Juan Carlos of Spain. She married Juan, Count of Barcelona in 1935. They had 4 children and lived in France, Italy, Switzerland and Portugal before returning to Spain in 1976, when the monarchy was restored. She died of a heart attack and was buried in the monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial.

26 February 2000: Queen Giovanna of Bulgaria was the daughter of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Queen Elena. She married Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria in 1930. She was involved in many charities and financed a children's hospital. Her husband died at the age of 49 and their son, Simeon became the new Tsar. At the end of World War II, Giovanna and Simeon were under home arrest after the invasion of Bulgaria by the Soviet Union. They finally obtained the right to leave and after some travelling, Giovanna settled in Portugal, where she eventually died. In 1993, she returned to Bulgaria for a brief visit and was acclaimed by thousands. She is buried in Assisi, Italy.

7 November 2000: Queen Ingrid of Denmark was the daughter of King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden and Margaret of Connaught. She married Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark and Iceland in 1935 and they had 3 children. Her husband acceded to the throne in 1947. As Queen Consort, she abolished old customs and developed a more relaxed atmosphere at Court. She is interred outside Roskilde Cathedral next to her husband.

27 January 2001: Queen Marie-José of Italy was the only daughter of Albert I of Belgium and Duchess Elizabeth of Bavaria. In 1930, she married Prince Umberto of Italy and had 4 children. The union turned out to be an unhappy one and the couple separated just after the abolition of the Italian monarchy. She was the last Queen of Italy and only for a period of a month. After the abolishment of the Italian monarchy, she mostly lived in Switzerland. She died at the age of 94 in Geneva.

9 February 2002: Princess Margaret Countess of Snowdon was the second daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. After her sister, Elizabeth, became Queen of England, Margaret met Peter Townsend, a divorced man whom she wouldn't be allowed to marry. In 1960, she married the photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, later Earl of Snowdon but eventually divorced him after 18 years. Her private life was always one of the favorite subjects of the media. She died in London and is buried in the George VI Memorial Chapel next to her parents.

30 March 2002: Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was the wife of George VI and the mother of Queen Elizabeth II. During World War II, she refused to leave with her daughters for Canada and decided to stay with the King in London. In 1952, she was widowed and decided to take the title of "The Queen Mother". She was well known for her hats and was given the nickname of "Queen Mum". She died at the age of 101.

6 October 2002: Prince Claus of The Netherlands was the husband of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. He had to face much criticism about his German nationality and his participation to the Nazi Youth organizations. In 1966, he married Beatrix despite the polemics. Over time, the public started accepting Claus, especially after his efforts to loosen the restrictions the law imposed to the Royal Family. He died in Amsterdam at the age of 76.

LadyLeana 12-04-2009 08:27 AM

Royal Deaths (Part II)

20 March 2004: Queen Juliana of The Netherlands was the daughter of Duke Hendrik of Mecklenburg-Scherwin and Wilhelmina of the Netherlands|Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. During the German occupation, she left with her family to Canada and only returned in 1945. She acceded to the throne in 1948. On 30 April 1980, Juliana signed the Act of Abdication, and her daughter, Queen Beatrix, succeeded her. Her health started declining in the mid-1990's. She died one month before her 95th birthday.

1 December 2004: Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands was the husband of Queen Juliana and Prince Consort. Together they had 6 children, one of them being the current monarch, Queen Beatrix. Bernhard was pictured as charming and popular by the public although his private life remained very controversial. He helped in the creation of the World Wildlife Fund. He died only 8 months after his wife.

10 January 2005: Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg was the eldest daughter of Leopold III and Queen Astrid of Sweden. After the landing of the Allied Forces in Normandy, she and her father were kept under house arrest in Germany. They were freed in 1945 and settled in Switzerland during the political turmoil in Belgium regarding her father's position. In 1953, she married Prince Jean, then Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg. She died from lung cancer at the age of 77.

6 April 2005: Prince Rainier of Monaco was the ruler of the Principality of Monaco for 50 years. He is well known for having married Grace Kelly in 1956. They had 3 children. In 1982, his wife died in a car crash. His main preoccupation as a Prince was to develop Monaco beyond the gambling. In 2004, his health started declining and on 31 March 2005, Prince Albert took over the duties of his father. Rainier died a week later, at the age of 81.

LadyLeana 12-04-2009 08:27 AM

Accessions, Enthronements, Jubilees, and Abdications

7 October 2000: Abdication of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg. Jean was born on 21 January 1921 as the eldest son of Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma. His reign started on 12 November 1964, when his mother abdicated. He reigned for 36 years.

7 October 2000: Accession of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg. Grand Duke Henri succeeded his father after his abdication. He is the current monarch of Luxembourg.

6 February 2002: Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee. This international celebration marked the 50th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of no less than seven countries. Queen Elizabeth travelled around her various countries to celebrate with all her subjects.

6 April 2005: Accession of Prince Albert II of Monaco. Prince Albert II succeeded to the throne of the principality of Monaco upon the death of his father, Prince Rainier. He is the current Head of State of Monaco.

9 June 2006: King Bhumibol's Diamond Jubilee. Throughout Thailand, festivities and events were organized throughout the year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol's accession tot he throne.

LadyLeana 12-04-2009 08:28 AM

Major World Events (Part I)

11 September 2001: Attack on New York and Washington DC by Islamic terrorists. On the morning of 11 September 2001, terrorists hijacked four commercial aircraft to use them as suicide bombs by crashing them into buildings. Three of the planes collided with the two World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC. The fourth plane, also heading for DC, was brought down in a field in Pennsylvania after the passengers fought back. The two World Trade Center towers collapsed after impact with the loss of thousands of lives. Evidence pointed toward al Qaeda, especially Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, as being responsible for the attacks. This group had attacked US interests in the past, and was known to be opposed to the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia after the First Gulf War as well as to US support of Israel. The United States responded by invading Afghanistan in order to bring down the Taliban government which was sheltering and aiding terrorists. The attacks also provided an excuse for the later US invasion of Iraq. At home, the US government created the Department of Homeland Security to oversee the nation's response to terrorism and natural disasters. The government also passed the USA Patriot Act, giving wider powers to law enforcement agencies investigating foreign and domestic terrorism. As of 2009, the World Trade Center has not been rebuilt, and permanent memorials are planned but not executed.

7 October 2001: Start of the war in Afghanistan. The Afghan war was part of the War on Terrorism instituted in response to the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington DC. The US government demanded that the Taliban government in Afghanistan turn over al Qaeda leaders (including Osama bin Laden) living and training in Afghanistan; when the Taliban refused, the United States and some allies invaded on 7 October 2001 to overthrow the Taliban and capture bin Laden and other terrorist leaders. By the end of the year, the Taliban had been removed from power throughout most of the country. However, when the US government decided to invade Iraq and made that its top priority, the situation in Afghanistan gradually deteriorated and the Taliban started to return to power. The Afghan war is still under way, and the US government has recently decided to increase troop levels in hopes of regaining control.

20 March 2003: Start of the Iraq War. The attack on the United States on 11 September 2001 provided an excuse for the US government to go forward with plans already in existence to invade Iraq, depose President Saddam Hussein, install a government friendly to US interests, and use Iraq as a base for promoting US interests throughout the Middle East. The US government claimed to have evidence that President Hussein had (or was in the process of acquiring) weapons of mass destruction, and used this evidence as the basis for an invasion. Unlike the Afghan War in response to the 11 September attacks, there was not much international support for the Iraq War, which was a largely US operation; the UN Secretary General declared that the war was not in accordance with the terms of the UN Charter. Despite opposition, the US invaded Iraq on 20 March 2003, and President Bush declared Mission Accomplished a couple of months later. Despite this, and despite the capture and execution of Saddam Hussein and the election of a new government, the situation in Iraq remains unstable, with insurgents doing significant damage to both US troops and Iraqi forces. The Iraq War is still under way as of late 2009, although there are plans to draw down US troops and hand over resposibility for security to Iraqi forces and police.

LadyLeana 12-04-2009 08:29 AM

Major World Events (Part II)

11 March 2004: Madrid bombings. In the morning of 11 March 2004 a series of bombs were detonated on commuter trains in Madrid. Nearly 200 people died, and 1800 were injured. The attacks, which occurred three days before the general election, were originally thought to have been the work of the Basque separatist group ETA, but were eventually confirmed to have been carried out by Muslim terrorists believed to be sympathizers of al Qaeda. The attacks were believed to be partly responsible for the defeat of the incumbent government at the election. Police investigation led to charges being brought against nearly 30 individuals for involvement in the attacks; 21 of them were eventually convicted on a number of charges. The Spanish royal family visited victims in hospital, and the celebrations of the wedding of the Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano in May were downplayed as a mark of respect to the victims.

26 December 2004: Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. On 26 December 2004 a magnitude 9.2 earthquake occurred beneath the Indian ocean 100 miles off Indonesia. The quake caused the sea bed to rise several meters, displacing a large amount of water and resulting in devastating tsunamis that radiated out from the epicenter and eventually made landfall in countries all around the Indian Ocean. The tsunamis struck at anything up to seven hours after the earthquake, depending on how far from the epicenter they made landfall. The waves were tens of feet high at landfall and travelled over a mile inland in some areas. Some of the places most hard hit were resorts full of travelers on their Christmas vacation; the population density in these resorts led to a very high death toll, of over a quarter of a million people. More than a million lost their homes.

7 July 2005: London bombings. The 7/7 attack on London was carried out by four British Muslim men who were protesting Britain's role in the Iraq war. They placed bombs on three Underground trains and a bus during the morning rush hour, killing 56 people and wounding 700. The suicide bombers were identified with the help of CCTV footage, and police investigations led to several arrests in 2007. A memorial to the victims of the bombings was unveiled in Hyde Park on 7 July 2009 in the presence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

29 August 2005: Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest and most costly hurricanes in US history. It first made landfall in Florida as a Category 1 hurricane on 25 August, but intensified over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, reaching Category 5 before weakening and making landfall on the Louisiana-Mississippi border early on 29 August as a Category 3 hurricane. It retained hurricane status until it was over 100 miles inland. The worst damage occurred in New Orleans, and the inadequate response by the government made major news around the world. The rain and storm surge caused by the hurricane resulted in levee breaks around the city in the hours and days after the hurricane, causing 80% of the city to be flooded. Citizens who had not evacuated were given shelter at the Convention Center and the Superdome, although resources in both were inadequate and several people died. Around 700 people died in New Orleans from the effects of the floods; the Louisiana National Guard was not available to search for survivors since it had been deployed to Iraq. The response of the Federal Government in both the short and long term was strongly criticized for being inadequate and incompetent. Many areas of New Orleans remain uninhabitable today.

LadyLeana 12-13-2009 01:04 PM

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