The year ahead will bring plenty of important events in the business, political, and cultural realms, not to mention court dates aplenty -- for WorldCom's Bernard Ebbers, Tyco's (TYC) Dennis Kozlowski, and various Enron execs, among others. Here are some dates on our calendar for 2005:
Feb. 10: The Democratic National Committee meets to elect a chair and other party leadership posts. Who will take up the challenge of leading the Dems out of the wilderness?
Feb. 16: The Kyoto Protocol environmental accord takes effect for participating nations. The U.S. isn't among them, but most of its big trade partners are.
Feb. 17: MTV (VIA) is set to launch LOGO, the first gay- and lesbian-themed network in the U.S. Will it fly, after last year's setbacks at the polls for gay marriage?
Feb. 28: Mutual-fund managers are required to provide enhanced disclosure about how their salaries and incentives are figured, as well to disclose any as potential conflicts of interest they may have.
Mar. 6: Martha Stewart is released from prison. Can she readjust to life on the outside quick enough to boost her company's (MSO) fortunes?
Apr. 1: Five executives from Enron Broadband are scheduled to go to trial. Meanwhile, steel and concrete is expected to arrive within days for the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site.
June 15: After today, all public-company financial statements must expense options. That is, unless the tech lobby scuttles the measure first.
July 6: The host of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games is announced. New York City is on the short list of bidders, as are London, Madrid, Moscow, and Paris.
July 16: At 12:01 am, the sixth Harry Potter book goes on sale. The Potter books, which fly off the shelves despite their daunting lengths, have buoyed publisher Scholastic (SCHL).
July 17: Disneyland (DIS) celebrates its 50th anniversary. Another milestone for the Magic Kingdom: Hong Kong Disneyland opens Sept. 12.
Aug. 1: By this date, all tobacco-related advertising will have been phased out by law in the European Union. Many countries have already implemented restrictions.
Sept. 26: The IMF and World Bank convene their annual powwow in Washington. Will the world financial system be dealing with a dollar crisis -- or marveling again at the resilience of the U.S. economy?
Oct. 26: For travel to the U.S., countries must issue passports with biometric identifiers by today. Air Canada has already reported upticks in traffic.
Nov. 8: It's Election Day in New Jersey and Virginia, where gubernatorial races provide a forecast for 2006 midterms. Good news for the GOP if seats swing its way.
Dec. 14: Japan's commitment to military deployment to Iraq expires today. But this key ally in the U.S.-led coalition could withdraw its noncombat contingent sooner due to unease about the mission at home. Compiled by Brian Hindo in New York