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|2008 : January · February · March · April · May · June · July · August · September · October · November · December|
|Centuries:||20th century – 21st century – 22nd century|
|Decades:||1970s 1980s 1990s – 2000s – 2010s 2020s 2030s|
|Years:||2005 2006 2007 – 2008 – 2009 2010 2011|
|2008 by topic:|
|News by month|
| Jan – Feb – Mar – Apr – May – Jun
Jul – Aug – Sep – Oct – Nov – Dec
|Architecture – Art – Comics – Film – Home video – Literature ( Poetry) – Music ( Country, Metal, UK) – Radio – Television – Video gaming|
|Elections – Int'l leaders – Politics – State leaders – Sovereign states|
|Science and technology|
|Archaeology – Aviation – Birding/Ornithology – Meteorology – Palaeontology – Rail transport – Science – Spaceflight|
|Sport – Athletics (Track and Field) – Australian Football League – Baseball – Basketball – Football (soccer) – Cricket – Ice Hockey – Motorsport – Tennis – Rugby league|
|Algeria – Argentina – Australia – Bangladesh - Belgium - Brazil – Canada – People's Republic of China – Denmark – El Salvador – Egypt – European Union – France – Georgia – Germany – Ghana – Hungary – India – Iraq – Iran – Ireland – Israel – Italy – Japan – Kenya – Lithuania – Luxembourg – Malaysia – Mexico – New Zealand – Norway – Pakistan – Palestinian territories – Philippines – Poland – Romania – Russia – Singapore – South Africa – South Korea – Spain – Sri Lanka – United Arab Emirates – United Kingdom – United States|
|Awards – Law – Religious leaders|
|Birth and death categories|
|Births – Deaths|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Establishments – Disestablishments|
|Works and introductions categories|
| Works – Introductions
Works entering the public domain
|Ab urbe condita||2761|
|British Regnal year||56 Eliz. 2 – 57 Eliz. 2|
|Chinese calendar|| 丁亥年十一月廿三日
— to —戊子年十二月初五日
|- Vikram Samvat||2064–2065|
|- Shaka Samvat||1930–1931|
|- Kali Yuga||5109–5110|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||1008–1009|
|Japanese calendar|| Heisei 20
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 97
|Thai solar calendar||2551|
2008 (MMVIII) was a leap year that started on Tuesday in the Gregorian calendar. It was the 2008th year of the Common Era or Anno Domini designation, the 8th year of the 3rd millennium and 21st century, and the 9th of the 2000s.
2008 was designated the:
- International Year of Languages.
- January 1
- January 2 – The price of petroleum hits $100 per barrel for the first time.
- January 3 – A car bomb detonates, killing at least 4 and injuring 68, in Diyarbakır, Turkey. Police blame Kurdish rebels.
- January 8 – An attempted assassination of Maldivian president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is thwarted after a Boy Scout grabs the attacker's knife. The Boy Scout is injured, but after a scuffle police arrest the attacker.
- January 12 – A Macedonian Army Mil Mi-17 helicopter crashes in thick fog southeast of Skopje, killing all 11 military personnel on board.
- January 14 – At 19:04:39 UTC, the MESSENGER space probe is at its closest approach during its first flyby of the planet Mercury.
- January 15 – The Federal Court of Australia orders a Japanese whaling company to stop research whaling within their Exclusive Economic Zone.
- January 21 – Stock markets around the world plunge amid growing fears of a U.S. recession, fueled by the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis.
- January 22 – Russia stages the largest naval exercise since the fall of the Soviet Union in the Bay of Biscay. The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, along with 11 support vessels and 47 long-range bomber aircraft, practises strike tactics off the coast of France and Spain, and test-launches nuclear-capable missiles in foreign waters.
- January 23
- Polish Air Force EADS CASA C-295 crashes on approach to the 12th Air Base near Mirosławiec. All 20 personnel on board die.
- Thousands of Palestinians cross into Egypt, as the border wall with Gaza in Rafah is blown up by militants.
- January 24 – A peace deal ends the Kivu war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- January 25 – China's worst snowstorm since 1954 kills 133, delays traffic, and causes massive power outages in central and southern parts of the country.
- January 29 – Iran's judiciary sentences to prison 54 Bahá'í Faith followers for "anti-regime propaganda".
- February 2 – Rebels attack the capital of Chad, N'Djamena.
- February 4
- Iran opens its first space centre and launches a rocket into space.
- A Palestinian suicide bomber kills 1 and wounds 13 in a Dimona, Israel shopping centre.
- February 5 – U.S. stock market indices plunge more than 3% after a report shows signs of economic recession in the service sector. The S&P 500 fall 3.2%, The Dow Jones Industrial Average drops 370 points.
- February 5– February 6 – A tornado outbreak, the deadliest in 23 years, kills 58 in the Southern United States.
- February 7 – STS-122: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches to deliver the European-built Columbus science laboratory to the International Space Station.
- February 10 – The 2008 Namdaemun fire severely damages Namdaemun, the first National Treasure of South Korea.
- February 11 – President of East Timor José Ramos-Horta is seriously wounded in an attack on his home by rebel soldiers. Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado is killed by Ramos-Horta's security guards during the attack.
- February 12
- PDVSA, a state oil company in Venezuela, suspends sales of crude oil to ExxonMobil, in response to a legal challenge by them.
- Bridgestone, under investigation for an alleged price-fixing cartel, uncovers improper payments of at least 150 million Japanese yen to foreign governments and withdraws from the marine hose business.
- February 13 – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia delivers a formal apology to the Stolen Generations.
- February 17 – Kosovo formally declares independence from Serbia, with support from some countries but opposition from others.
- February 18
- The British government introduces emergency legislation temporarily to nationalize Northern Rock, the 5th largest mortgage bank in the UK, due to the bank's financial crisis.
- A general election is held in Pakistan, delayed from January 8 due to riots in the wake of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Opposition parties, including Bhutto's, take more than half of the seats, while President Pervez Musharraf's party suffers a huge defeat.
- February 19
- Fidel Castro announces his resignation as President of Cuba, effective February 24.
- February 20
- February 22
- Former building society Northern Rock is the first bank in Europe to be taken into state control, due to the U.S. subprime mortgage financial crisis.
- No survivors are found after a rescue helicopter discovers the wreckage of Santa Bárbara Airlines Flight 518 just northeast of Mérida, Venezuela. The commercial plane had 46 people on board, including crew.
- February 24 – Raúl Castro is unanimously elected as President of Cuba by the National Assembly.
- March–April – Rising food and fuel prices trigger riots and unrest in the Third World.
- March 1 – In Gaza Strip, at least 52 Palestinians and 2 Israeli soldiers are killed in the most intense Israeli air strikes since 2005.
- March 2 – 2008 Andean diplomatic crisis: Venezuela and Ecuador move troops to the Colombian border, following a Colombian raid against FARC guerrillas inside Ecuador's national territory, in which senior commander Raúl Reyes is killed.
- March 6 – Eight Israeli civilians are killed and 9 wounded when a Palestinian attacker opens fire at a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem.
- March 9 – The first European Space Agency Automated Transfer Vehicle, a cargo spacecraft for the International Space Station, launches from Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.
- March 14 – Demonstrations by Tibetan separatists turn violent as rioters target government and Han Chinese-owned buildings.
- March 15 – A gun factory explosion in Gërdec, Albania, kills more than 30. Over the following week, Albania, Kosovo, and some surrounding countries supply and support Gërdec's population with food, blood, etc.
- March 19
- British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, dies, aged 90.
- An exploding star halfway across the visible universe becomes the farthest known object ever visible to the naked eye.
- March 24 – Bhutan holds its first-ever general elections.
- March 25
- April 8 – The Privy Council of Sark dismantles its feudal system to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. and the first elections under the new law will be held in December 2008 and the new chamber will first convene in January 2009.
- April 15 – A Hewa Bora Airways DC-9 crashes into a residential area of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- April 22 – Surgeons at London's Moorfields Eye Hospital perform the first operations using bionic eyes, implanting them into 2 blind patients.
- April 27 – The Taliban attempts to assassinate Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a military parade in Kabul.
- April 28
- May 3 – Over 133,000 in Burma/Myanmar are killed by Cyclone Nargis, the deadliest natural disaster since the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004.
- May 7 – Dmitry Medvedev takes office as President of Russia, replacing Vladimir Putin.
- May 8 – Start of armed clashes and fighting in Lebanon.
- May 11 – Burma/Myanmar holds a constitutional referendum.
- May 12 – Over 69,000 are killed in central south-west China by the Wenchuan quake, an earthquake measuring 7.9 Moment magnitude scale. The epicenter is 90 kilometers (56 mi) west-northwest of the provincial capital Chengdu, Sichuan province.
- May 13 – A series of bomb blasts kills at least 63 and injures 216 in Jaipur, India.
- May 14 – NASA announces the discovery of Supernova remnant G1.9+0.3.
- May 15 – An oil pipeline explosion in Ijegun, Nigeria kills 100.
- May 23
- May 25 – NASA's Phoenix spacecraft becomes the first to land on the northern polar region of Mars.
- May 28 – The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is established after the Assembly votes overwhelmingly in favour of abolishing the country's 240-year-old monarchy. Girija Prasad Koirala becomes temporary head of state.
- May 30 – The Convention on Cluster Munitions is adopted in Dublin.
- June 2 – A car bomb explodes outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing at least five.
- June 8 – In the Akihabara area of Tokyo, Japan, a 25-year-old man stabs seven to death and wounds 10, before being arrested.
- June 10 – Fire engulfs Sudan Airways Flight 109 after it lands in Khartoum, killing 44.
- June 11
- June 12 – Ireland votes to reject the Treaty of Lisbon, in the only referendum to be held by a European Union member state on the treaty.
- June 14 – A 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, kills 12 and injures more than 400.
- June 14– September 14 – Expo 2008 is held in Zaragoza, Spain, with the topic "Water and sustainable development".
- June 22 – Typhoon Fengshen hits the Philippines and capsizes the ferry MV Princess of the Stars, leaving hundreds dead or missing.
- June 27
- July 2 – Íngrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages are rescued from FARC by Colombian security forces.
- July 7 – A suicide-bomber drives an explosives-laden automobile into the front gates of the Indian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 58 and injuring over 150.
- July 7– July 9 – The 34th G8 summit is held in Tōyako, Hokkaidō, Japan.
- July 10 – Former Macedonian Interior Minister Ljube Boškoski is acquitted of all charges, by a UN Tribunal accusing him of war crimes.
- July 15– July 20 – World Youth Day takes place in Sydney, Australia. Pope Benedict XVI appears at the event.
- July 21 – Radovan Karadžić, the first president of the Republika Srpska, is arrested in Belgrade, Serbia, on allegations of war crimes, following a 12-year-long manhunt.
- July 22 – The United Progressive Alliance-led government in India survives a crucial no-confidence vote, based on disagreements between the Indian National Congress and Left Front, over the Indo-US nuclear deal.
- July 23 – Ram Baran Yadav is sworn in as the first President of Nepal.
- July 25 – A series of seven bomb blasts rock Bangalore, India, killing two and injuring 20; the next day, a series of bomb blasts in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, kills 45 and injures over 160 people.
- July 27 – At least 17 are killed and over 154 wounded in 2 blasts in Istanbul.
- July 28 – At least 48 are dead and over 287 injured after bombs explode in Baghdad and Kirkuk, Iraq.
- August 1
- A total eclipse of the Sun is visible from Canada and extends across northern Greenland, the Arctic, central Russia, Mongolia, and China.
- George Tupou V is crowned as the new King of Tonga, an event that had been delayed for over two years following the 2006 Nuku'alofa riots.
- August 3 – A stampede at a Hindu temple at Naina Devi in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, India, kills 162 and injures 400.
- August 4 – Two members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which had threatened to attack the Beijing Olympics, kill 16 and injure another 16 officers at a police station in Kashgar, Xinjiang, China.
- August 6 – President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi of Mauritania is deposed in a military coup d'état.
- August 7 – The 2008 South Ossetia war begins, as Georgia and Russia launch a major offensive inside the separatist region of South Ossetia after days of border skirmishes between the two sides.
- August 8– August 24 – The 2008 Summer Olympics take place in Beijing, China.
- August 10 – A propane facility explodes in Toronto overnight and causes a large-scale evacuation, resulting in 2 deaths.
- August 15 – Pushpa Kamal Dahal (known as Prachanda) is sworn in as the first Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, after the Nepalese monarchy was abolished in May.
- August 17 – Michael Phelps surpasses Mark Spitz in Gold Medals won at a single Olympics, winning eight.
- August 18 – Pervez Musharraf resigns as President of Pakistan, under impeachment pressure from the coalition government.
- August 19
- August 20 – Spanair Flight 5022, from Madrid to Gran Canaria, skids off the runway and crashes at Barajas Airport with 172 on board. Of them, 154 die and 18 survive.
- August 21 – At least 60 die following twin suicide bombings outside the Pakistan Ordnance Factories in Wah, Pakistan.
- August 22 – Pirates hijack German, Iranian, and Japanese cargo ships off the coast of Somalia, in seven such attacks since June 20.
- August 24
- August 26 – Russia unilaterally recognizes the independence of Georgian breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
- August 26– September 1 – Hurricane Gustav makes landfall on Louisiana as Category 2 and kills seven in the United States, after making landfall on western Cuba as Category 4, and killing 66 in Haiti, eight in the Dominican Republic, and 11 in Jamaica.
- August 28– September 7 – Hurricane Hanna kills seven in the United States, and 529 in Haiti, mostly due to deluges and mudslides.
- September 1– September 14 – Hurricane Ike makes landfall on Texas as Category 2 and kills 27 in the United States, after killing four in Cuba, one in the Dominican Republic, and 75 in Haiti.
- September 2 – Political crisis in Thailand: Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej of Thailand declares a state of emergency in Bangkok.
- September 3
- September 6 – At least eight boulders dislodge from a cliff near Cairo, Egypt, killing at least 90 and burying an estimated 500 people.
- September 9 – Political crisis in Thailand: The Constitutional Court of Thailand orders Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to resign, after he is paid for appearing on a television cooking show.
- September 10
- September 12 – A Metrolink train collides head-on into a freight train in Los Angeles, California, killing 25 and injuring 130.
- September 14
- Aeroflot Flight 821 crashes near the city of Perm, Russia, killing all 88 on board.
- Churches are attacked in Mangalore and southern Karnataka, India, leading to Christian protests and strong police suppression.
- September 15
- Following negotiations, President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara sign a power-sharing deal, making Tsvangirai the new Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
- Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, laying the catalyst for the Global financial crisis.
- September 17 – The International Astronomical Union classifies Haumea as the 5th dwarf planet in the Solar System.
- September 19– September 25 – Typhoon Hagupit kills 17 in China, eight in the Philippines, one in Taiwan, and 41 in Vietnam.
- September 20 – A suicide truck bomb explosion destroys the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing at least 60 and injuring 266.
- September 25 – Shenzhou 7, the third manned Chinese spaceflight and the first with three crew members, is successfully launched. China becomes the third country ever to conduct a spacewalk.
- September 28 – SpaceX Falcon 1 becomes the world's first privately developed space launch vehicle to successfully make orbit.
- September 29 – The DOW loses 777 points, the biggest one-day point decline ever. The drop came after the House of Representatives voted down a $700 billion bank bailout plan.
- September 30 – A Jodhpur temple stampede in western India kills over 224 people, and injures 400.
- October 3 – Global financial crisis: U.S. President George W. Bush signs the revised Emergency Economic Stabilization Act into law, creating a 700 billion dollar Treasury fund to purchase failing bank assets.
- October 6
- October 7
- October 9 – Global financial crisis: Following a major banking and financial crisis in Iceland, the Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority takes control of the three largest banks in the country: Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, and Glitnir.
- October 12 – Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup win the 2008 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 for Ford and Triple 8.
- October 14 – Canadian federal election, 2008: Prime Minister Stephen Harper is re-elected with a stronger minority government.
- October 17 – The United Nations General Assembly elects Turkey, Austria, Japan, Uganda, and Mexico to two-year terms on the Security Council.
- October 21 – The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is officially inaugurated. It is a collaboration of over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.
- October 22 – The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launches the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft on a lunar exploration mission.
- October 29
- Global financial crisis: Hungary's currency and stock markets rise on the news that it will receive an international economic bailout package worth $25 billion from the IMF, European Union, and World Bank.
- Delta Air Lines merges with Northwest Airlines, forming the world's largest commercial carrier.
- November 4 – United States presidential election, 2008: Barack Obama is elected the 44th President of the United States, and becomes the first African-American President-elect.
- November 6 – King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan is crowned, having ascended to the throne in 2006.
- November 7 – The 2008 Pétionville school collapse kills at least 92 in Pétionville, Haiti.
- November 8 – An accident aboard Russian submarine K-152 Nerpa kills 20.
- November 11 – The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 departs on her last voyage from Southampton, UK to Dubai, UAE. She will become a floating hotel at Palm Jumeirah.
- November 14 – STS-126: The Space Shuttle Endeavour uses the MPLM Leonardo to deliver experiment and storage racks to the International Space Station. There will be only three more launches of Space Shuttle Endeavour after this mission.
- November 19 – Claudia Castillo of Spain becomes the first person to have a successful trachea transplant using a tissue-engineered organ.
- November 20 – The 2008 Prairie meteoroid falls over Canada.
- November 22– November 23 – The APEC Peru 2008 Summit is held in Lima.
- November 24 – The 2008 Santa Catarina floods in Santa Catarina, Brazil, kill 126 and force the evacuation of over 78,000 people.
- November 25
- Greenland holds a referendum for increased autonomy from Denmark. The vote is over 75% in favour.
- Political crisis in Thailand: Protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy party storm into Suvarnabhumi Airport and block flights from taking off. More protesters seize control of Don Mueang Airport the following day.
- A car bomb in St. Petersburg, Russia, kills three people and injures one.
- November 26 – November 29 – A series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India by Pakistan-based Islamic militants who lay siege over a hotel for 2 days, results in 195 casualties, and over 250 injured.
- November 27 – The longest serving Ocean Liner in history, QE2 is retired from service.
- November 29 – Riots in Jos, Nigeria, kill 381, and injure at least 300.
- December 1 – A triangular conjunction formed by a new Moon, Venus and Jupiter is a prominent sight in the evening sky.
- December 2 – Political crisis in Thailand: After weeks of opposition-led protests, the Constitutional Court of Thailand dissolves the governing People's Power Party and two coalition member parties, and bans leaders of the parties, including Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, from politics for five years. As such, Wongsawat promptly resigns and is replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul as caretaker Prime Minister.
- December 3 – The Convention on Cluster Munitions opens for signature in Oslo.
- December 4 – Political crisis in Canada: Governor General Michaëlle Jean grants the request of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to prorogue Parliament until January 26, 2009, averting a motion of no-confidence by the new opposition coalition led by the Leader of the Opposition Stéphane Dion, and the New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, with Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe as a coalition partner.
- December 5 – Human remains found in 1991 are identified as Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, using DNA analysis.
- December 6 – Riots spread across Greece after a 15-year-old boy is shot dead by a special guard of the Greek Police.
- December 7 – Jamie Whincup wins the 2008 V8 Supercar Championship series for Ford and Triple 8 Racing.
- December 10 – The Channel Island of Sark, a British Crown Dependency, holds its first fully democratic elections under a new constitutional arrangement, becoming the last European territory to abolish feudalism.
- December 11 - Bernard Madoff is arrested by U.S. federal authorities on charges of running a massive decades-long Ponzi scheme swindling thousands of investors - the largest financial fraud in history.
- December 12
- Switzerland becomes the 25th European country to join the Schengen Agreement, whereby cross-border passport checks will be abolished.
- The Moon moves into its nearest point to Earth, called perigee, at the same time as its fullest phase of the Lunar Cycle. The Moon appears to be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than the year's other full moons. The next time these two events coincide will be in 2016.
- December 16 – Ruins of an ancient Wari city are discovered in northern Peru.
- December 18 – The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda convicts Théoneste Bagosora and two other senior Rwandan army officers of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentences them to life imprisonment.
- December 21 – Gwadar Port, Pakistan, becomes fully operational.
- December 23 – A military coup d'état is announced in Guinea shortly after the death of long-time President Lansana Conté.
- December 27 – Israel initiates " Operation Cast Lead" in the Gaza Strip after launching an extensive wave of airstrikes against military targets, police stations and government buildings within the Gaza Strip with the stated aim of stopping rocket fire from and arms import into the territory. As a result, Hamas intensified its rocket and mortar attacks against Southern Israel, reaching the major cities of Beersheba and Ashdod for the first time.
- December 29 – Bangladesh holds its general elections after two years of political unrest over the interim government.
- December 31 – An extra leap second (23:59:60) is added to end the year. The last time this occurred was in 2005.
- January 2 – Galyani Vadhana, Princess of Naradhiwas, Princess of Thailand (b. 1923)
- January 3 – Yo-Sam Choi, Korean boxer (b. 1972)
- January 10 – Maila Nurmi, Finnish-American actress and television personality (b. 1921)
- January 11 – Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist (b. 1919)
- January 15 – Brad Renfro, American actor (b. 1982)
- January 16 – Nikola Kljusev, Macedonian Prime Minister (b. 1927)
- January 17 – Bobby Fischer, American-Icelandic chess grandmaster and former World Chess Champion (b. 1943)
- January 19 – Suzanne Pleshette, American actress (b. 1937)
- January 22
- January 26 – George Habash, Palestinian politician (b. 1926)
- January 27
- January 28 – Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens (b. 1939)
- January 29 – Margaret Truman, American singer and writer (b. 1924)
- February 2 – Joshua Lederberg, American molecular biologist and Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1925)
- February 5 – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Indian spiritual leader (b. 1917)
- February 7 – Andrew Bertie, British Grand Master of the Order of Malta (b. 1929)
- February 9 – Baba Amte, Indian social activist (b. 1914)
- February 10 – Roy Scheider, American actor (b. 1932)
- February 11
- February 12
- February 13
- February 18 – Alain Robbe-Grillet, French writer and filmmaker (b. 1922)
- February 19
- February 23
- February 27
- February 25 – Static Major, American singer and Songwriter (b. 1974)
- February 29 – Erik Ortvad (b. 1917)
- March 1 – Raúl Reyes, Colombian guerrilla (b. 1948)
- March 2 – Jeff Healey, Canadian musician (b. 1966)
- March 3
- March 4 – Gary Gygax, American writer and game designer (b. 1938)
- March 5 – Joseph Weizenbaum, German-American author and computer scientist (b. 1923)
- March 6 – Peter Poreku Dery, Ghanaian cardinal (b. 1918)
- March 14 – Chiara Lubich, Italian Catholic activist (b. 1920)
- March 18 – Anthony Minghella, English film director and screenwriter (b. 1954)
- March 19
- March 22 – Adolfo Suárez Rivera, Mexican cardinal (b. 1927)
- March 24
- March 26 – Manuel Marulanda, Colombian guerrilla (b. 1930)
- March 27 – Jean-Marie Balestre, French sports executive (b. 1921)
- March 30 – Dith Pran, Cambodian-American photojournalist (b. 1942)
- March 31 – Jules Dassin, American film director (b. 1911)
- April 3 – Hrvoje Ćustić, Croatian footballer (b. 1983)
- April 5 – Charlton Heston, American actor (b. 1923)
- April 10 – Ernesto Corripio y Ahumada, Mexican cardinal (b. 1919)
- April 12 – Patrick Hillery, 6th President of Ireland (b. 1923)
- April 13 – John Archibald Wheeler, American theoretical physicist (b. 1911)
- April 14 – Ollie Johnston, American animator (b. 1912)
- April 15 – Benoît Lamy, Belgian motion picture writer-director (b. 1945)
- April 16 – Edward Norton Lorenz, American mathematician and meteorologist (b. 1917)
- April 17 – Aimé Césaire, French Martinican poet and politician (b. 1913)
- April 29 – Albert Hofmann, Swiss chemist and writer, discoverer of LSD (b. 1906)
- May 1 – Anthony Mamo, 1st President of Malta (b. 1909)
- May 2 – Philipp von Boeselager, German military officer (b. 1917)
- May 3 – Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo, Spanish Prime Minister of (b. 1926)
- May 8 – François Sterchele, Belgian footballer (b. 1982)
- May 10 – Leyla Gencer, Turkish soprano (b. 1928)
- May 12
- May 13
- May 15 – Willis Lamb, American physicist and Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1913)
- May 23 – Cornell Capa, Hungarian-American photographer (b. 1918)
- May 24 – Rob Knox, British actor (b. 1989)
- May 26 – Sydney Pollack, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1934)
- May 28 – Sven Davidson, Swedish tennis player (b. 1928)
- May 29 – Luc Bourdon, Canadian Hockey player (b. 1987)
- June 1
- June 2 – Bo Diddley, American musician (b. 1928)
- Mel Ferrer, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1917)
- June 4 – Agata Mróz-Olszewska, Polish volleyball player (b. 1982)
- June 7 – Dino Risi, Italian director (b. 1916)
- June 8 – Šaban Bajramović, Serbian musician (b. 1936)
- June 9
- June 10 – Chinghiz Aitmatov, Kyrgyzstani writer (b. 1928)
- June 11
- June 13 – Tim Russert, American journalist (b. 1950)
- June 15 – Stan Winston, American special effects and makeup artist (b. 1946)
- June 17 – Cyd Charisse, American actress and dancer (b. 1922)
- June 18 – Jean Delannoy, French film director (b. 1908)
- June 22 – George Carlin, American author, actor, and comedian (b. 1937)
- June 23 – Arthur Chung, President of Guyana (b. 1918)
- June 24 – Leonid Hurwicz, American economist and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1917)
- June 27 – Sam Manekshaw, Field Marshal of Indian Army (b.1914)
- June 28 – Ruslana Korshunova, Kazakhstani model (b. 1987)
- June 29 – Don S. Davis, American actor (b. 1942)
- July 4
- July 5 – René Harris, President of Nauru (b. 1947)
- July 9 – Seamus Brennan, Irish politician (b. 1948)
- July 11 – Michael E. DeBakey, American surgeon and inventor (b. 1908)
- July 12 – Tony Snow, American political commentator (b. 1955)
- July 13 – Bronisław Geremek, Polish social historian and politician (b. 1932)
- July 15 – György Kolonics, Hungarian canoeist (b. 1972)
- July 22 – Estelle Getty, American actress (b. 1923)
- July 23 – Kurt Furgler, Swiss politician (b. 1924)
- July 25
- July 27 – Youssef Chahine, Egyptian film director (b. 1926)
- July 29 – Mate Parlov, Croatian boxer (b. 1948)
- August 1 – Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Indian politician (b. 1916)
- August 3 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1918)
- August 9
- August 10 – Isaac Hayes, African-American musician (b. 1942)
- August 11 – Fred Sinowatz, Austrian politician (b. 1929)
- August 13 – Henri Cartan, French mathematician (b. 1904)
- August 15 – Jerry Wexler, American music producer (b. 1917)
- August 16
- August 19 – Levy Mwanawasa, President of Zambia (b. 1948)
- August 20 – Hua Guofeng, Chinese premier (b. 1921)
- August 23 – Thomas Huckle Weller, American virologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1915)
- August 28 – Phil Hill, American race car driver (b. 1927)
- August 30 – Killer Kowalski, Canadian professional wrestler (b. 1926)
- September 1 – Don LaFontaine, American voice actor (b. 1940)
- September 6
- September 9 – Nouhak Phoumsavanh, President of Laos (b. 1910)
- September 12 – David Foster Wallace, American writer (b. 1962)
- September 15 – Richard Wright, English musician (b. 1943)
- September 18 – Mauricio Kagel, Argentine composer (b. 1931)
- September 26 – Paul Newman, American actor (b. 1925)
- October 1 – Boris Efimov, Russian political cartoonist (b. 1900)
- October 6 – Paavo Haavikko, Finnish poet (b. 1931)
- October 8 – George Emil Palade, Romanian cell biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1912)
- October 10
- October 11 – Jörg Haider, Austrian politician (b. 1950)
- October 13
- October 18 - Hector Lombana, Colombian sculptor, painter and architect (b. 1930)
- October 20 – Sœur Emmanuelle, Belgian-born French nun (b. 1908)
- October 25 – Muslim Magomayev, Azerbaijani singer (b. 1942)
- October 26 – Tony Hillerman, American writer (b. 1925)
- October 27 - John Goetz, American professional baseball player (b. 1937)
- October 31 – Studs Terkel, American author and liberal commentator (b. 1912)
- November 1
- November 4
- November 10
- November 12 – Mitch Mitchell, English drummer (b. 1946)
- November 13 – Paco Ignacio Taibo I, Mexican writer and journalist (b. 1924)
- November 14 – Tsvetanka Khristova, Bulgarian athlete (b. 1962)
- November 22 – Ibrahim Nasir, Maldivian President (b. 1926)
- November 27 – Vishwanath Pratap Singh, Indian Prime Minister (b. 1931)
- November 29 – Jørn Utzon, Danish architect (b. 1918)
- December 1 – Mikel Laboa, Basque singer and songwriter (b. 1934)
- December 2 – Odetta, American singer (b. 1930)
- December 5
- December 9
- December 11
- December 12
- December 13 – Horst Tappert, German actor (b. 1923)
- December 17 – Luis Félix López, Ecuadorian writer and politician (b. 1932)
- December 18
- December 20
- December 22 – Lansana Conté, President of Guinea (b. 1934)
- December 24
- December 25 – Eartha Kitt, American singer and actress (b. 1927)
- December 29 – Freddie Hubbard, American jazz trumpeter (b. 1938)
- Chemistry – Martin Chalfie, Osamu Shimomura, and Roger Y. Tsien
- Economics – Paul Krugman
- Literature – Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio
- Peace – Martti Ahtisaari
- Physics – Makoto Kobayashi, Toshihide Maskawa, and Yoichiro Nambu
- Physiology or Medicine – Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Harald zur Hausen, and Luc Montagnier
Major religious holidays
- January 7 – Christmas in Eastern Christianity
- January 10 – Islamic New Year by Lunar calendar
- February 5 – Carnival ( Shrove Tuesday)
- February 6 – Ash Wednesday, observance of Lent begins
- February 7 – Lunar New Year
- March 1 – Saint David's Day, celebrated in Wales and the United States.
- March 15 – Saint Patrick's Day, celebrated in Ireland, the United States, and most of the English-speaking world. (Held on March 15 instead of the usual 17th to avoid the second day in Holy Week). This March 17 will be the last one to fall within Holy Week until 2160.
- March 20
- March Equinox, also known as Ostara
- March 21
- Nowruz (Iranian New Year holiday)
- Good Friday
- March 22 – Holi
- March 23 – Easter Sunday, the earliest Easter has fallen since 1913
- April 13 – Vaisakhi
- April 20 – Passover, Palm Sunday in Eastern Christianity
- April 27 – Pascha (or Easter) in Eastern Christianity
- May 1
- Ascension of Jesus in Western Christianity
- Beltane, a Cross-quarter day
- May 19 or May 20 – Vesak (the birthday of the Buddha) in Buddhism
- June 5 – Ascension of Jesus in Eastern Christianity
- June 9 – Shavuot
- June 15 – Pentecost in Eastern Christianity
- June 20 – June Solstice, also known as Midsummer or Litha
- June 22 – All Saints' Day in Eastern Christianity
- July 5 – Saints Cyril and Methodius day in Eastern Christianity
- August 1 – Lammas, a Cross-quarter day
- August 15 – Assumption of Mary
- August 16 – Raksha Bandhan
- September 1 – New Liturgical Year in Eastern Christianity
- September 2 – Start of Ramadan
- September 4 – Janmastami -Birth of Lord Krishna
- September 22 – September Equinox, also known as Mabon
- September 30 – Rosh Hashanah
- October 1 – Eid ul-Fitr
- October 9 – Yom Kippur
- October 13 – Sukkot
- October 28 – Diwali
- November 1 – Samhain, a Cross-quarter day and Neopagan new year
- December 8
- Immaculate Conception
- Eid al-Adha
- December 21
- Hanukkah begins at sundown
- December Solstice, also known as Yule
- December 25 – Christmas in Western Christianity
- Isaac Asimov's 1955 short story Franchise takes place in 2008, the premise being that the U.S. president will be selected by a computer program looking for the "most representative citizen".
- John Barnes, Mother of Storms (1994) begins with a 2008 UN resolution barring any nation from acquiring nuclear weapons after June 1, 2008, subject to penalty of preemptive strike.
- Gregory Benford's books The Jupiter War and The Threads of Time are set in 2008.
- The Galactic Milieu Series by Julian May features Earth's first contact with an alien race on June 20, 2008.
- Ian McDonald's "Chaga Saga" (Evolution's Shore and Kirinya) begins with the March 13, 2008 impact arrival of the plant form Chaga from outer space.
- Alan E. Nourse's 1957 book Rocket to Limbo begins with the March 3, 2008 launch of the starship Argonaut on a centuries-long trip to Alpha Centauri.
- The Mote in God's Eye (1974) by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle postulates that faster-than-light travel is perfected in 2008.
- The Next War, a controversial 1996 novel about the post-Soviet era, co-authored by former U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, looks at a possible 2008 nuclear confrontation between the United States and Russia.
- Mega Man (1987)
- Twisted Metal III (1998)
- Ghost Recon (2001): Russia attempts to reunite the Soviet Union and invades several Eastern European countries. The UN intervenes with peacekeeping forces.
- Splinter Cell series: Sam Fisher goes undercover.
- Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
- Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned (2009)
- Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony (2009)
- Silent Running (1971)
- Deterrence (1999)
- Jason X ( Friday the 13th series, 2002)
- The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
- The Lake House (2006): The ending takes place on Valentine's Day, 2008.
- Southland Tales (2007)
- Split Second (1992 film) (1992)
- 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007): The final act takes place in Tokyo during 2008.
- Doomsday (2008): The start of the film is set in 2008, when a virus has infected Scotland.
- Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010): Is set in June 2008.
- Geng: The Adventure Begins (2009)
- The events of the Macross Zero OVA take place in 2008.
- Doraemon: According to the original manga story, a time machine will be invented in 2008.
- The Future Boy Conan anime (1978) story begins in July 2008, when a war results in five continents sinking into the sea.
- According to the Futurama episode " Space Pilot 3000", Stop 'N Drop suicide booths are claimed to have been "America's Favorite" since 2008. Whether this is the use of an advertising hyperbole to indicate that they were introduced in 2008, or that they gained a plurality of market share in 2008 is not concluded.
- Dawson's Creek (2003 series finale): The characters meet once again. Dawson, now 25, is the creator of a television series, The Creek, based on his life.
- The 2007 series of Doctor Who: Present time (such as " Smith and Jones") is primarily set in 2008.
- Heroes: A possible future shown in Out of Time features the Shanti virus killing about 93% of the world's population by 2008.