- 2003 invasion of Iraq timeline for events relating to the war in Iraq
- Preparations for 2003 invasion of Iraq for events prior to March 20
- Progress of the SARS outbreak for events on the new virus
- Afghanistan timeline March 1-15, 2003
- Afghanistan timeline March 16-31, 2003
March 31, 2003
March 30, 2003
- Former baseball player Jack Clark, hitting instructor with the Los Angeles Dodgers and former star of the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres, suffers a motorcycle accident on his way to Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, breaking eight ribs. Initially listed in critical condition, he was later updated to stable condition.
March 29, 2003
March 28, 2003
- SARS: The Hong Kong government is imposing quarantine on a group of over 1000 people, and closing schools for nine days in an attempt to stop the spread of SARS.
- Fujitsu releases the HOAP-2, a humanoid robot product running the open standard Linux operating system.
- Turkish Airlines' Airbus A310 was hijacked shortly after leaving Istanbul. At least three Turkish parliamentarians are among 196 passengers and eight aircrew members on the Flight TK 160 landed in Athens, Greece. The hijacker surrendered later in the day. 
March 27, 2003
- Richard Perle resigned as chairman of the U.S Defense Policy Board, but agreed to remain a board member. 
- Afghan deputy defense minister general Abdul Rashid Dostum created an office for the North Zone of Afghanistan and appointed officials to it, defying interim president Hamid Karzai's orders that there be no zones in Afghanistan. 
- SARS: The World Health Organization recommends that passengers flying from places where SARS outbreaks have occurred should be screened before being allowed on flights. At the moment these places include China including Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, and the city of Toronto.
March 25, 2003
- Faulty wiring is announced as the cause of the crash of Swissair flight 111.
- SARS: Ontario declares a public health emergency. Anyone who was at Scarborough Grace Hospital in the past 10 days is to be isolated at home.
March 24, 2003
March 23, 2003
- Academy Awards:
- Chicago won the Academy Award for Best Picture
- Adrien Brody won the Academy Award for Best Actor
- Nicole Kidman won the Academy Award for Best Actress
- Chris Cooper won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
- Catherine Zeta-Jones won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
- Bowling for Columbine, directed by Michael Moore won the Academy Award for Documentary Feature
- A Japanese animation Spirited Away, directed by Miyazaki Hayao won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature 
- Roman Polanski won the Academy Award for Directing
March 22, 2003
- Peace march: Estimates of between 125,000 and 250,000 people march for peace in New York City. The march was organized by the group United for Peace and Justice.
- Two Russian fighter jets tracked a U.S U-2 spy plane flying near the Russian border. The U-2 was partaking in reconnaissance over Georgia and Azerbaijan.
March 21, 2003
- An Illinois court ordered the tobacco company Philip Morris to pay $10.1 billion for misleading consumers with the word "light." The company appeals.
- 18 Afghan prisoners of Guantanamo base were liberated by the United States. These 18 persons were released in Kabul, Afghanistan without compensation or any assistance to return to their homes. There remain approximately 660 prisoners in Guantanamo, without protection through the Geneva Conventions as they have not been declared prisoners of war.
March 20, 2003
March 19, 2003
- Jørn Siljeholm, a weapons inspector recently in Iraq, accused the U.S of lying about evidence for weapons of mass destruction. English, Telephone tapping of EU headquarters uncovered. According to EU officials the taps targetted six EU states including Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The taps appear to have been installed when the building was constructed in 1994.
- A group of doctors in Hong Kong claims to have identified the agent causing severe acute respiratory syndrome as belonging to the paramyxoviridae family of viruses. European Union Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner, David Byrne, said "cases like SARS demonstrate only too clearly that contagious diseases require a high level of preparedness across borders. Imagine if it had been an influenza pandemic which, in the past, had a devastating impact on humans. In order to meet the contemporary public health threat of communicable diseases, we must strengthen coordination and surveillance at Community level. The most effective way to do so is by setting up a European Union Centre for Disease Control."
- Paul Twomey is chosen for being the next president of ICANN. 
March 18, 2003
- U.S Secretary of State Colin Powell says that thirty nations have joined with the United States in a "coalition of the willing" to remove Saddam Hussein from power, with another 15 quietly promising their support. See Worldwide government positions on war on Iraq.
- Naji Sabri, the Iraqi foreign minister, calls U.S. President George W. Bush "a war criminal," "tyrant," "despot" and "idiot." He also claims that evacuation of UNIKOM from the demilitarized zone violates the UN resolution of 1991. 
March 17, 2003
- US invasion of Iraq: President George W. Bush announces in a televised speech that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons have 48 hours to leave Iraq, or the United States will initiate preemptive military action against Iraq.
- France announces that it had deployed 300 soldiers to seize the Bangui, Central African Republic airport.
- Steve Lavin, UCLA basketball coach, was fired from his position.
- Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, orders all UN personnel to leave Iraq.
- Peter Goldsmith, Attorney General of the UK set out the legal justification for an invasion of Iraq; Robin Cook, Leader of the British House of Commons, resigned from the UK cabinet over the plan to invade Iraq; 
- The UK and the USA have withdrawn a proposed UN Security Council resolution on Iraq; 
- The United States advised UNMOVIC and the IAEA to withdraw all weapon inspectors out of Iraq; 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi said that he supports the U.S, U.K, and Spain for ending diplomatic efforts against Iraq. He also indicates no further UN resolution is necessary to invade Iraq. 
- Accounting scandals: Merrill Lynch, its four former executives and SEC agree to settle the Enron security fraud case for $80 million. It is one of the five largest penalties inposed on security-related civil cases. 
March 16, 2003
- The United States Department of State ordered non-essential diplomats and embassy dependents out of Kuwait, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Damascus.
- U.S President George W. Bush, U.K Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar meet in the Azores, Portugal for a summit on the Iraq disarmament crisis. One British official describes the meeting as the "last chance for diplomacy." In a press conference at the end of the meeting, President Bush states that "We concluded that tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world".
- Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Rachel Corrie, a college student from Olympia, Washington and member of the Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, is killed by an Israeli bulldozer when she tries to prevent it as a human shield from demolishing the house of the Palestinian Dr. Samir Masri.
- Zoran ivković, a former Interior Minister, was elected by the Democratic Party to succeed the assassinated Prime Minister of Serbia, Zoran Djindjic. He is expected to be elected for Prime Minister in few days at parliament. 
- Wen Jiabao was elected Premier of the People's Republic of China by the National People's Congress. He replaced Zhu Rongji.
- Sponsored by the World Water Council, a Water forum began in Kyoto, Japan. 
- 64% of voters in Liechtenstein approved a measure to give Prince Hans-Adam II the power to dismiss governments, approve judicial nominees and veto laws. It is the most power of any monarch in Europe. Hans-Adam had threatened to leave the country if the measure was not approved.
- General Francois Bozize dissolved the national legislature of the Central African Republic and declared himself President, one day after his rebel forces took Bangui, the capital.
March 15, 2003
- Hu Jintao is elected President of the People's Republic of China by the National People's Congress by a vote of 2,937 to 4 with three abstentions. His predecessor, Jiang Zemin, steps down after serving the maximum of two five-year terms.
- The World Health Organization issues warnings about an atypical pneumonia of unknown cause, dubbed severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). It was first found in Asia and appears to have originated in Hong Kong. There are fears that unless measures are taken to control SARS, it may become epidemic. 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: A round of global protests against war on Iraq takes place in cities across the world. War on Terrorism: Suspected al-Qaida terrorist Yassir al-Jaziri, is arrested in eastern Pakistan. He is believed to be among the leading al-Qaida members wanted by the United States.
March 14, 2003
- Osiel Cardenas, a suspected leader of a drug cartel is arrested in Matamoros, Mexico.
- Representative James P. Moran, Democrat from Virginia, is forced out of a party leadership post after furor over his remarks that were interpreted as saying that American Jews are responsible for a possible war with Iraq.
- Carlos Ortega, labor union leader and opponent of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, is granted political asylum at the Costa Rican Embassy in Caracas. Ortega had eluded arrest for three weeks on charges of treason, civil rebellion and "incitement".
- Norwegian firefighter Robert Sorlie wins the 1100 mile Anchorage, Alaska to Nome, Alaska Iditarod Trail sled dog race, becoming only the second foreigner and second non-Alaskan to win the race.
- Iraq disarmament crisis: Key documents presented as evidence that the US should invade Iraq are revealed as forgeries. The documents stated that Niger was selling 500 tons of uranium to Iraq. One, dated 2000, was on stationery from the military government of the 1980s and referred to a foreign minister who had not been in power for 14 years; another bore a signature of the president of Niger that was an obvious fake. Iraq's supposed acquisition of African uranium was a feature in Colin Powell's speech to the UN Security Council in February and in George W. Bush's State of the Union Address.  Senator John Rockefeller asked the FBI to investigate the origin of the documents. Rockefeller expressed concern that the forgeries "may be part of a larger deception campaign aimed at manipulating public opinion and foreign policy regarding Iraq."
March 13, 2003
March 12, 2003
- Elizabeth Ann Smart is found alive, nine months after her disappearance.
- Lech Walesa, 1983 Nobel Peace Prize winner, urges the UN Security Council to back the US led war on Iraq.
- Zoran Djindjic, Prime Minister of Serbia, is assassinated.
- Vicente Fox, president of Mexico, undergoes emergency back surgery for a herniated disc.
- The government of Quebec calls an election for April 14. The PQ, PLQ, ADQ, and UFP are in the running.
- The CAC 40 Paris index of stock exchange hits a five year low, closing at 2.403,04.
- The DAX 30 index of Frankfurt stock exchange hits an eight year low, closing at 2.202,96.
- The Nikkei stock average of Tokyo stock exchange hits a 20-year low, closing at 7,862.43.
- An Indonesian court convicts Brig.-Gen. Noer Moeis of crimes against humanity and sentences him to five years in prison for failing to prevent massacres in East Timor. European Court of Human Rights rules that the Turkish trial of Kurdish leader Abdullah Oçalan was not fair.
March 11, 2003
- After 20 years of delay, the Brazilian government fulfilled its legal commitment to demarcate the lands of the Awá tribe.
- Jonathan Ben-Artzi, nephew of Benjamin Netanyahu (former prime minster of Israel), is court martialled for refusing to serve in the Israeli Defence Force on pacifist grounds.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at 7524, a five month low.
- The 18 judges of the International Criminal Court are sworn in at The Hague.
- Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, announces that UN-sponsored talks on the reunification of Cyprus have failed. Cyprus remains a candidate for EU membership and the Greek Cypriot government intends to sign on behalf of the whole island. Analysts suggested that Turkish opposition to unification may hurt Turkey's chances of joining the EU.
March 10, 2003
- Iraq disarmament crisis: The White House press secretary, paraphrasing the President, stated "If the United Nations fails to act, that means the United Nations will not be the international body that disarms Saddam Hussein. Another international body will disarm Saddam Hussein." 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: *Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, stated "If the US and others were to go outside the [Security] Council and take military action it would not be in conformity with the [UN] Charter".
- French president Jacques Chirac declares that France will veto a UN resolution sponsored by Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The resolution would authorise use of force against Iraq unless that country proves it disarmament by March 17. 
- North Korea test-fires a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan. This is North Korea's second recent such launch. 
- Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov announced that Russia would veto a UN resolution by the US and Great Britain authorising the use of force against Iraq. 
- Recep Tayyip Erdogan is elected to the Turkish parliament and is expected to become prime minister shortly. Erdogan supports deployment of US troops in Turkey and is expected to call for a new vote on the issue as one of his first official acts. 
- Deutsche Telekom discloses an annual loss of 24.6 billion euros.
- U.S diplomat John Brown, who joined the State Department in 1981, resigned. He said that the Bush administration's Iraq policy was fomenting a massive rise in anti-US sentiment around the world and he could not support it.
March 9, 2003
- Iraq disarmament crisis: In an interview on BBC Radio 4, Clare Short, a member of Tony Blair?s cabinet, describes his stance on Iraq as "deeply reckless", and says she would resign if he committed the UK to war without an unambiguous mandate from the United Nations.
- ArabNews reports that Saddam Hussein demanded that the UN Security Council lift the "embargo against Iraq", denounce the United States and Britain as "liars", strip Israel of weapons of mass destruction and force Israel to withdraw from "Palestine and occupied Arab land". 
- Albania says it will send troops to join any war against Iraq, largely a symbolic measure thanking the United States and NATO for intervening in Kosovo in the 1999 Kosovo War.
March 8, 2003
- In a referendum, Malta votes in favor of joining the European Union in 2004.
- An oil refinery and an oil pipeline are attacked in the northeastern Indian province of Assam. The United Liberation Front of Asom separatist group claims responsibility and according to regional newspapers threatens more such attacks. 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: Kuwaiti workers have been instructed to make 35 holes in the fence between Iraq and Kuwait, and that the Kuwaiti army is positioning tanks at these openings.  The Pakistan Daily Times reported that UNIKOM had found armed US Marines in the demilitarized zone along the fence last month.  CBC reported that 230 UN support workers have been ordered out of the demilitarized zone. Japanese government expressed support for a revised draft resolution submitted jointly by the United States, Britain and Spain to the United Nations Security Council that sets March 17 as the deadline for Iraq. Japanese media opinion polls taken last week indicate that 84% of Japanese people oppose an Iraq war. 
- An Air Algerie Boeing 737 crashes after take off from Tamanrasset, Algeria. A total of 96 passengers and 6 crew were killed, while 1 passenger survived.
March 7, 2003
- Pravda reports that Georgia intends to seek UN Security Council approval to use military force against Abkhazia. United States declared a national emergency and joined the European Union in imposing economic sanctions on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and members of his government for "systematically undermin[ing] democratic institutions" in Zimbabwe. 
- War on Terrorism: Two of Osama bin Laden's sons are rumored to have been arrested in a skirmish in southern Afghanistan.  This report was denied by both United States and Pakistani officials. 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: Hans Blix reports to the UN Security Council citing Iraq's increased but qualified cooperation.
- Revising the draft resolution put forth by the United States, Britain and Spain a week ago, Britain proposes setting March 17 as the date for Iraq to voluntarily disarm or face the prospect of war.
- The Nikkei benchmark hit a 20-year low record as war in Iraq appears closer, alleged stock manipulation by Nikko Salomon Smith Barney came to light, North Korea is preparing to test fire a mid-range missile, and a new political scandal in the party of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi came to light. 
- Broadway musicians union members went on strike in protest over producers' proposals to cut the number of musicians at live performances, and the possibility of using taped music. All but one of Broadway's musicals closed as a result.
March 6, 2003
- Britain: Abdullah el-Faisal is jailed for 9 years for urging Islamists to kill non-believers, Americans, Hindus and Jews. 
- Cuban President Fidel Castro is elected unopposed to a sixth term. He has served as the head of Cuba's government for 44 years -- longer than any other living head of government.
- New Scientist magazine reports a paper by Robert R. Caldwell, Marc Kamionkowski and Nevin N. Weinberg which puts forward the hypothesis that the end of the Universe may possibly occur as a "Big Rip", which will shred the physical structure of the Universe. 
- The SCO Group, formerly Caldera, the current owner of the rights to the Unix operating system, sues IBM for $1 billion for "devaluing" Unix, claiming that IBM employees who signed Non-disclosure agreements worked on the Linux operating system.
- The European Central Bank cut its reference rate by 0.25%
- Vivendi reported a corporate loss of 23.3 billion euros, the largest loss ever for a French company.
March 5, 2003
- AOL says that it blocked a record one billion spam e-mail messages over a 24-hour period on March 3-4.
- An appeals court in Norway ruled that Jon Johansen, the teenager who developed the DeCSS software that allows DVDs to be copied, will have to be retried on charges that he violated copyright and anti-hacking laws.
- Makers of the contraceptive Today Sponge announce it will return to the market in Canada and the United States.
- Iraq disarmament crisis: The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Russia indicate that they will oppose any UN Security Council proposals that would authorize war with Iraq. 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: UK newspaper The Times reports that the United Nations secretly drawn up a plan to establish a post-war government in Iraq. Although no consensus have reached among UN Security Council members in regards to military action, the document indicates that UN leaders may now consider war all but inevitable.
- A bomb explosion at an airport in Davao City, Philippines killed at least 19 people.
- Meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Qatar fails to produce a statement opposing war in Iraq.
- Saudi Arabia deploys 3,300 troops to Kuwait in preparation for a potential Iraq conflict.
- A man exploded a bomb in a bus in Haifa, Israel, killing at least ten people.
- A car bomb exploded in Cucuta, Colombia killing at least seven people.
- The chairman of the United States Senate subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific affairs said United Nation Security Council should debate the issue about abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea as a question of human rights.
- Global protests against war on Iraq: Students protest and go on strike in a number of countries around the world.
- This year (2003) Ash Wednesday is today.
- Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, New York dropped charges of trespassing against a man who had been arrested for refusing to remove his "Give Peace a Chance" t-shirt. The change of heart occurred after over 100 anti-war demonstraters marched through the mall and threatened to stay until the mall backed down.
- In recognition of World Book Day, voters in England chose the book Notes From a Small Island, by American writer Bill Bryson, as the book that best sums up England's identity and the state of the nation. Welsh voters chose Work, Sex and Rugby by Lewis Davies as most representative of Wales; Scottish voters chose Me and Ma Girl by Des Dillon as most representative of Scotland and Northern Ireland voters chose Desire Lines by Annie McCartney as most representative of Northern Ireland.
March 4, 2003
March 3, 2003
- Under intense American pressure, Turkey indicates that its Parliament will consider a second vote on whether to allow U.S. troops to use Turkish bases for a military attack on Iraq.
- A man was arrested at a shopping mall in Guilderland, New York for refusing to remove a t-shirt which bore the slogan "Give Peace A Chance." He was charged with "trespassing 'in that he knowingly enter(ed) or remain(ed) unlawfully upon premises.'" He had purchased the shirt at the mall.
- In protest of American aggression in the Iraq disarmament crisis, an international protest effort occurred called The Lysistrata Project in which public readings of the ancient Greek play, Lysistrata, were performed.
March 2, 2003
- Armed North Korean fighter aircraft intercept and target a United States reconnaissance aircraft over International Waters in the Sea of Japan. This is the first such interception since April 1969 when a North Korean jet shot down a United States Navy surveillance airplane, killing all 31 crewmen aboard. 
- Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq destroys six more Al-Samoud 2 missiles, bringing the total destroyed to 10 out of an estimated 100 missiles ordered eliminated by the U.N. The U.S. continues to dismiss Iraq's actions as "part of its game of deception." Iraq indicates that it may halt destruction of the missiles if the U.S. indicates it will go to war anyway.
- UK newspaper The Observer publishes what it claims to be a leaked memo  from a high-ranking NSA official dated January 31, 2003. In it are orders to spy on the domestic and official communications of the United Nations Security Council members other than the U.S. and the United Kingdom. The memo names "... members Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, ..." as candidates for special attention. 
- French president Jacques Chirac starts a three-day visit to the former French colony Algeria. It is the first visit of a French president to Algeria at the highest ceremonial level.
March 1, 2003
- Iraq disarmament crisis: The Turkish speaker of Parliament voids the vote accepting U.S troops involved in the planned invasion of Iraq into Turkey on constitutional grounds. 264 votes for and 250 against accepting 62,000 U.S. military personnel do not constitute the necessary majority under the Turkish constitution, due to 19 abstentions. 
- Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack and of other al-Qaeda attacks, is reported to have been arrested in Pakistan and turned over to US authorities for questioning.
- Under U.N. supervision, Iraq begins destroying four of its Al Samoud missiles.
- The United Arab Emirates calls for Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to step down to avoid war. The sentiment is later echoed by Kuwait and Bahrain.
- Academy Awards: