2003
THIS YEAR IN LAS VEGAS ...

WHILE IN THE WORLD ...

Roy close to death
On October 3, during his show, magician Roy Horn is severely injured by Montecore, a 7-year-old white tiger. Roy will stay in critical conditions for a long time.
In an interview, Siegfried Fischbacher insists that the tiger did not want to harm Roy. Instead, he grabbed Roy by the neck simply to carry him offstage. After 40 years of activity, the ''Siegfried and Roy'' show has to close forever.

Las Vegas Loses Frank Wright
Nevada historian Frank Wright dies of cancer on April 25, at age 64.
He has spent 35 yr at the Las Vegas University (UNLV), and then he has worked as curator of the Nevada State Museum and Historical Society, from which he had resigned one year before dying.
He has been an excellent teacher of the history of Nevada. Not only he has written several books on this subject, but he has also intervened many times in radio programs.

Aladdin On Sale
On June 20, the Aladdin Hotel and Casino is purchased out of bankruptcy by Planet Hollywood, at nearly half the original price.
The property will change its name into Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, and will show a gigantic globe at the entrance.

Changing Name Before Opening
In the Las Vegas history there are several cases of hotel-casinos that have changed their name one or more times. But probably there is a unique case of a megaresort that has changed its name before its opening.
''Le Reve'' (''The Dream'', in French), Steve Wynn's resort whose opening is expected by 2005, changes its name into ''Wynn Las Vegas''.
There are no official reasons for this change. Rumors say that a marketing analysis has shown that this French name is commonly associated to a religious term.

Celebrity Weddings Do Not Last Long
This is a statistically common fact, with some unbelievable records. One is the marriage of Britney Spears and Jason Allen Alexander.
The ceremony takes place on January 3, at the Little White Wedding Chapel. They begin annulment proceedings only 11 hours after, and the official annulment is obtained only 48 hours after the wedding.

Space Shuttle Disaster
On February 1, Space Shuttle Columbia is reentering into the atmosphere when, at 9:00 EST, NASA's Mission Control loses radio contact with the spaceship.
A few minutes later, Texas residents hear like an explosion. Thousands of debris, as well as human remains, will fall over a wide area, ranging from Texas to Louisiana and Arkansas.
In the next months, an investigation will discover that a piece of foam, detached by a tank during lift-off, has damaged a small area of Columbia's left wing. That event has been reported, but its gravity has been underestimated.

Iraq Invasion
On March 17, about 270,000 U.S. and British troops invade Iraq. The attack consists into a massive air bombardment followed by a ground attack. President Bush presents this campaign as part of the War on Terrorism.
The main accusations against Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein, are to have connections with terrorist organization Al-Qaida, and to have to possess weapons of mass destruction, mainly chemical and biological.
About the latter accusation, United Nations' inspectors, headed by Hans Blix, have not found any proof of the existence of such weapons. However, they have not received any proof of the destruction of previously existing weapons.

A Contemporary Hero
Doctor Carlo Urbani dies of SARS on March 29. He was an Italian physician and President of the Italian chapter of the organization ''Medecins sans Frontieres'', which received the 1999 Peace Nobel Prize.
While he was working at the Vietnam French Hospital, he discovered SARS and understood how dangerous it could be. He succeeded to convince Vietnam government to take extraordinary measures to stop the infection.
His work has likely saved a huge number of lives. However, he fell victim of the same infection he had discovered. On March 11, he finds on himself the first symptoms of the disease that will kill him.

Same-sex Marriages
In January, Belgium approves marriage for couples of the same sex. In June, a Canadian province (Ontario) adopts a similar rule, and it is then followe by all other Canadian provinces.
Before then, only Holland had approved (2001) homosexual marriages.

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