12 March 2003

The World Health Organization officially release a global warning of outbreaks of Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

In 2003, the world was gripped by a global health crisis known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). SARS was caused by a coronavirus known as SARS-CoV, which is closely related to the virus responsible for COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2. The outbreak originated in the Guangdong province of southern China in late 2002 and quickly spread to other parts of the world.

The global warning about the outbreaks of SARS in 2003 was largely due to the rapid spread of the virus and the severity of the illness it caused. SARS was characterized by symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, and in severe cases, pneumonia. The disease had a relatively high mortality rate, particularly among older individuals and those with underlying health conditions.

One of the significant aspects of the 2003 SARS outbreak was the global response to contain the spread of the virus. International health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), worked closely with governments around the world to implement measures such as travel restrictions, quarantine protocols, and public health campaigns to raise awareness about the disease.

The SARS outbreak eventually subsided by mid-2003, largely due to the implementation of rigorous public health measures and the development of effective diagnostic tools. However, the experience with SARS served as a wake-up call for the global community about the potential threat of emerging infectious diseases and the need for preparedness and collaboration to respond effectively to such outbreaks in the future. The lessons learned from the SARS outbreak have helped inform responses to subsequent outbreaks, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

27 August 2003

Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing 34,646,418 miles (55,758,005 km) distant.

Mars and Earth have varying distances between them due to their elliptical orbits around the Sun. The closest approach of Mars to Earth is called “opposition,” which occurs when Mars and the Sun are on opposite sides of Earth. During opposition, Mars and Earth are relatively close, making it an optimal time for observing Mars from Earth.

On average, Mars is about 225 million kilometers (140 million miles) away from Earth. However, during opposition, the distance between the two planets can be significantly reduced. The closest recorded distance in recent history occurred on August 27, 2003, when Mars was about 54.6 million kilometers (33.9 million miles) away from Earth. This was an unusually close approach and won’t be matched until September 2035, when Mars will again come relatively close to Earth.

30 July 2003

In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line.

The “old style” Volkswagen Beetle, also known as the Type 1 or the Bug, was an iconic car for several reasons:

Unique Design: The Beetle’s design, created by Ferdinand Porsche in the 1930s, was revolutionary at the time. It featured a distinctive round shape with smooth curves, a flat windshield, and a rear-mounted air-cooled engine. This design became easily recognizable and stood out among other cars, making it an iconic symbol of the automotive world.

Mass Production: The Beetle was one of the first cars to be mass-produced, and its production continued for several decades. The mass production, combined with its affordable price, made it accessible to the general public and contributed to its widespread popularity.

Cultural Impact: The Beetle became a symbol of the counterculture movement in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly associated with the “hippie” generation. It represented a rebellious spirit, freedom, and a rejection of mainstream values.

Global Reach: The Beetle’s popularity extended beyond its native Germany and Europe. It gained a significant following in the United States and other parts of the world, where it became a symbol of individuality and quirkiness.

Longevity: The Beetle’s production spanned over several decades, from 1938 to 2003, making it one of the longest-running and most produced vehicles in history. Its long production run cemented its place in automotive history.

Pop Culture References: The Beetle has made numerous appearances in various movies, TV shows, and other media over the years, further solidifying its iconic status in popular culture.

Simplicity and Reliability: The Beetle was known for its simplicity in design and mechanical components, which contributed to its reliability. It became popular due to its ease of maintenance and repair.

Iconic Advertising: Volkswagen’s clever and creative advertising campaigns, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, contributed to the Beetle’s iconic status. Memorable slogans like “Think Small” and “Lemon” advertisements left a lasting impact on the public.

Due to these factors, the “old style” Volkswagen Beetle remains one of the most recognizable and beloved cars in automotive history. Its legacy lives on in the hearts of enthusiasts and in the modern versions of the Volkswagen Beetle, such as the New Beetle and the Beetle-inspired concepts.

1 May 2003

In what becomes known as the “Mission Accomplished” speech, on board the USS Abraham Lincoln (off the coast of California), U.S. President George W. Bush declares that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended”.

The “Mission Accomplished” speech was a televised address given by President George W. Bush on May 1, 2003, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, which was returning from combat operations in the Persian Gulf.

The speech was significant because it marked the end of major combat operations in the Iraq War, which had begun in March 2003. President Bush used the occasion to declare that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended” and to praise the efforts of U.S. military personnel in the region.

However, the speech became controversial in the years that followed, as the conflict in Iraq continued and the insurgency grew. Critics argued that the speech was premature and that it gave the false impression that the war had been won, when in fact it was far from over.

Furthermore, the “Mission Accomplished” banner that was displayed behind President Bush during the speech became a symbol of the administration’s overly optimistic and misguided approach to the war, and it was widely criticized for its hubris.