2004 saw the Boxing Day Tsunami devastate the landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing some 290,000 people, as well as several other large scale natural disasters. It was also a year of scandals and major terrorist attacks.
On February 27, guerrillas bombed a ferry in the Philippines, killing 116 people in the deadliest terrorist attack at sea in world history. On March 11, terrorists in Madrid executed simultaneous attacks on four rush-hour trains, killing 191 people. Just over a month later, two trains collided in North Korea, killing 161. Chechen terrorists downed two Russian airliners and took a school hostage in Northern Ossetia, resulting in 334 deaths. There were also terrorist attacks at an Egyptian resort as well as an American embassy in Saudi Arabia and an Australian embassy in Indonesia.
Hurricane Jeanne smashed into Haiti in September, killing over 3,000 people. The CIA admitted there was no imminent threat from weapons of mass destruction, CBS uncovered the systematic torture of prisoners at Abu Grahib, and the US-led coalition transferred sovereignty to an Iraqi Interim Government. The largest expansion to date of both NATO and the European Union also took place in 2004.
The Summer Olympics were held in Athens, Greece; Janet Jackson exposed her breast at the Super Bowl; and Martha Stewart was convicted of a felony. George Bush was reelected; Lance Armstrong won an unprecedented sixth consecutive Tour de France; and Facebook was launched. Notable celebrity deaths included Ronald Reagan, Ray Charles, Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, and Yasser Arafat.