6 January 2001

The US Congress certifies George W Bush winner of 2000 presidential elections.

On this day in 2001, more than five weeks after balloting ended, Vice President Al Gore, the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee, presided over a joint session of Congress that certified George W. Bush of Texas, the Republican nominee, as the winner. The disputed outcome in Florida caused the delay. It was resolved when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, on Dec. 12 to halt a statewide manual recount of the ballots ordered, in a 4-3 vote, by the Florida Supreme Court.

Bush’s margin of victory at that point was less than one half of one percent. The high court’s ruling gave him Florida’s 25 electoral votes. That, in turn, gave him 271 votes to Gore’s 266 — one more than the 270 required to be declared the winner. It paved the way for Bush to take the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2001, thereby becoming the nation’s 43rd president.

Although Gore finished second in the electoral vote, he received 543,895 more popular votes than Bush. This marked the fourth election in U.S. history in which the winner failed to get a plurality of the popular vote. The others were the elections of 1824, 1876 and 1888.

Gore failed to win the popular vote in his home state, Tennessee, which both he and his father had represented in the Senate, making him the first major-party presidential candidate to have lost his home state since Democrat George McGovern lost South Dakota in 1972.

Furthermore, Gore lost West Virginia, a state that had voted Republican only once in the previous six presidential elections. He also lost Arkansas, the home state of two-term President Bill Clinton, after having largely shunned Clinton’s help during his own presidential campaign. A victory in any one of those three states would have given Gore enough electoral votes to win the presidency without Florida.

Bush lost Connecticut, the state of his birth. He was also the first Republican to win the presidency without winning Vermont or Illinois, the second Republican to win the presidency without winning California — James A. Garfield in 1880 was the first — and the only victorious Republican to fail to receive any electoral votes from California.

15 December 2001

The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens renovation.

On this day in 2001, Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after a team of experts spent 11 years and $27 million to fortify the tower without eliminating its famous lean.

In the 12th century, construction began on the bell tower for the cathedral of Pisa, a busy trade center on the Arno River in western Italy, some 50 miles from Florence. While construction was still in progress, the tower’s foundation began to sink into the soft, marshy ground, causing it to lean to one side. Its builders tried to compensate for the lean by making the top stories slightly taller on one side, but the extra masonry required only made the tower sink further. By the time it was completed in 1360, modern-day engineers say it was a miracle it didn’t fall down completely.

Though the cathedral itself and the adjoining baptistery also leaned slightly, it was the Torre Pendente di Pisa, or Leaning Tower of Pisa, that became the city’s most famous tourist attraction. By the 20th century, the 190-foot-high white marble tower leaned a dramatic 15 feet off the perpendicular. In the year before its closing in 1990, 1 million people visited the old tower, climbing its 293 weathered steps to the top and gazing out over the green Campo dei Miracoli outside. Fearing it was about to collapse, officials appointed a group of 14 archeologists, architects and soil experts to figure out how to take some–but not all–of the famous tilt away.

Though an initial attempt in 1994 almost toppled the tower, engineers were eventually able to reduce the lean by between 16 and 17 inches by removing earth from underneath the foundations. When the tower reopened on December 15, 2001, engineers predicted it would take 300 years to return to its 1990 position. Though entrance to the tower is now limited to guided tours, hordes of tourists can still be found outside, striking the classic pose–standing next to the tower pretending to hold it up–as cameras flash.

23 November 2001

The Convention on Cybercrime is signed in Budapest, Hungary.


The Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime or the Budapest Convention, is the first international treaty seeking to address Internet and computer crime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nations. It was drawn up by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, with the active participation of the Council of Europe’s observer states Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States.

The Convention and its Explanatory Report was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe at its 109th Session on 8 November 2001. It was opened for signature in Budapest, on 23 November 2001 and it entered into force on 1 July 2004. As of December 2016, 52 states have ratified the convention, while a further four states had signed the convention but not ratified it.

Since it entered into force, important countries like Brazil and India have declined to adopt the Convention on the grounds that they did not participate in its drafting. Russia opposes the Convention, stating that adoption would violate Russian sovereignty, and has usually refused to cooperate in law enforcement investigations relating to cybercrime.

On 1 March 2006, the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime came into force. Those States that have ratified the additional protocol are required to criminalize the dissemination of racist and xenophobic material through computer systems, as well as threats and insults motivated by racism or xenophobia.

11 October 2001

The Polaroid Corporation asks for federal bankruptcy protection.


Polaroid Corp. filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware Friday, capping three days of speculation in which the instant photography company’s stock had not traded.

The company, which has been struggling with more than $900 million in debt, said it still is considering an outright sale of all or part of the company and that it plans to cut further staff, close facilities and sell non-core assets to reduce costs.

Filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy protects a company from creditors and keeps it operational until a restructuring plan can be formed to either lift it out of debt, sell, or liquidate assets.

The intent had been to pursue an out-of-court , pre-negotiated bankruptcy filing, but ultimately the company’s liquidity was just too tight and it just couldn’t hold out long enough to get a deal done,” said Brad Geer of Houlihan Lokey Howard and Zukin, the financial firm advising Polaroid’s bondholders.

Polaroid said it has obtained a commitment for $50 million in debtor-in-possession financing from a bank group led by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Upon court approval, which is expected shortly, $40 million will be available immediately on an interim basis to pay suppliers and help keep the company operational. The full $50 million commitment is subject to final court approval and other conditions.

Polaroid said it will continue to manufacture, market and distribute its core instant imaging products and to provide customer service and support. Employees will continue to be paid with full benefits.