December 17, 2014
An Argentine Pope
3 — Egypt’s first democratically elected president is overthrown by the military, ousted after just one year by the same kind of Arab Spring uprising that brought the Islamist leader to power.
4 — Bolivian President Evo Morales says that the rerouting of his plane over suspicions that NSA leaker Edward Snowden was on board is a plot by the US to intimidate him.
7 — More than 50 supporters of Egypt’s ousted president are killed by security forces in one of the deadliest single episodes of violence in recent years.
19 — US Secretary of State John Kerry seals a step toward relaunching the long-halted Middle East peace process, announcing that Israel and the Palestinians had agreed to a basis to return to negotiations.
22 — The Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, gives birth to a son who becomes third-in-line to the British throne after Prince Charles and Prince William.
24 — Pope Francis makes an emotional plea for Roman Catholics to shun materialism in the first public Mass of his initial overseas trip as pontiff, travelling to Brazil, home to the world’s largest Catholic population.
26 — Spanish police say they have arrested the driver of the train that sped through a curve and toppled over, killing 78 people, and plan to question him over suspected reckless driving.
30 — US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning is acquitted of aiding the enemy — the most serious charge he faced — but is convicted of espionage, theft and nearly every other count for giving secrets to WikiLeaks and is later sentenced to 35 years in prison.
31 — Uruguay’s House of Representatives approves law legalizing the sale, cultivation and distribution of cannabis and sends bill to Senate for approval.
1 — Edward Snowden leaves the transit zone of a Moscow airport and officially enters Russia after authorities grant him asylum for a year.
6 — US President Barack Obama’s five-year effort to transform Russian-US relations finally crashes as the White House abruptly cancels his planned face-to-face summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
14 — Riot police backed by armoured vehicles, bulldozers and helicopters sweep away two encampments of supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, sparking running street battles in which more than 600 are killed and thousands are injured.
21 — Syrian anti-government activists accuse regime of carrying out a toxic gas attack that killed at least 100 people, including children as they slept, during intense rocket barrages on an eastern suburb of Damascus that are part of a fierce government offensive in the area; the government denies involvement.
29 — British Prime Minister David Cameron loses a vote endorsing military actio0n against Syria, almost guaranteeing that Britain plays no direct role in any attack on President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
30 — Seamus Heaney, 74, who won the Nobel Prize for literature and gained a global reputation as one of Ireland’s greatest ever poets dies in Dublin.
31 — Short of support at home and abroad, US President Barack Obama unexpectedly steps back from a missile strike against Syria and instead asks Congress to support a strike against President Bashar al-Assad regime for suspected use of chemical weapons. David Frost, a legendary British television interviewer who gained worldwide fame for an interview with Richard Nixon, dies of a heart attack.
9 — A possible diplomatic solution to avoid a US military strike arises when Syria swiftly embraces a suggestion to turn over all its chemical weapons for destruction under international control.
13 — An Indian court sentences to death four men for the gang rape and murder of a young New Delhi woman, ordering them to the gallows for a brutal attack that riveted India where it became a symbol of the widespread mistreatment of women and the government’s inability to deal with crime.
14 — A diplomatic breakthrough on securing and destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, negotiated by the US and Russia, averts the threat of military action for the moment.
16 — A former US Navy reservist launches an attack inside a heavy secured military complex in the heart of Washington. Thirteen people die, including the gunman.
19 — Signalling a dramatic shift in Vatican tone, Pope Francis says the Roman Catholic Church had become obsessed by “small-minded rules” about how to be faithful and pastors should instead emphasize compassion over condemnation when discussing the divisive social issues such as abortion, gays and contraception.
21 — Islamic militants attack a shopping centre in Nairobi, killing 68 people in the deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya in 15 years and suicide bombers possibly affiliated with a splinter group of al-Qaeda detonate explosives outside a church in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 75.
27 — US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speak by telephone, the first conversation between US and Iranian leaders in more than 30 years. The exchange could reflect a major step in resolving global concern over Iran’s nuclear programme.
3 — A fishing boat overloaded with African migrants seeking a better life in Europe catches fire and capsizes near the Italian island of Lampedusa, throwing hundreds into the Mediterranean. At least 114 people die and hundreds go missing.
11 — The watchdog agency working to eliminate chemical weapons wins the Nobel Peace Prize in a powerful endorsement of inspectors now on the ground in Syria on a perilous mission to destroy the regime’s stockpile of poison gas.
16 — Congress passes and sends to a waiting president for his eventual signature legislation to avoid a threatened US default and end the partial, 16-day government shutdown. It’s the culmination of an epic political drama that threatened the US and global economies.
23 — German Chancellor Angela Merkel complains to US President Barack Obama after learning US intelligence may have targeted her mobile phone, saying it would be a “serious breach of trust” if confirmed.
27 — Lou Reed, who radically challenged rock’s founding promise of good times and public celebration as leader of the Velvet Underground and a solo artist, dies aged 71.
4 — Ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi refuses to wear a prisoner jumpsuit, as he enters the dock at the start of his trial on murder charges in a dark suit. He defiantly questions the legitimacy of the court and proclaims himself Egypt’s leader.
8 — One of the strongest storms on record ever slams into the central Philippines, killing thousands of people and forcing thousands of others from their flattened homes and knocking out power and communications in many provinces.
15 — China’s leaders announce the first significant easing of their one child policy in nearly 30 years and moves to abolish its labour camp system, addressing deeply unpopular programs at a time when the Communist Party feels increasingly isolated from the public.
17 — Doris Lessing, an independent and often irascible author who won the Nobel Prize in 2007, dies aged 94 in London.
17 — Chile holds presidential, legislative and local elections. Michelle Bachelet fails to achieve absolute majority to win presidency, to face Evelyn Matthei in December run-off.
19 — Venezuela’s National Assembly grants President Nicolás Maduro decree powers for a 12-month period to counter the “economic war” Maduro believes the opposition has launched against his government.
24 — Iran strikes a deal with the US and five other world powers, agreeing to a temporary freeze of its nuclear programme.
29 — Around 10,000 protesters crowd into the centre of Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, to demand the president’s resignation after he shelved a landmark agreement with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Russia.
5 — Nelson Mandela, the iconic anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa’s first black president and was a global symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation, dies at his home, sparking worldwide mourning.
10 — US President Barack Obama energizes tens of thousands of spectators in South Africa at Nelson Mandela’s memorial sevice. Obama also shakes hands with Cuban leader Raúl Castro.
10 — Uruguayan Senate votes to approve law legalizing the sale, cultivation and distribution of cannabis.
12 — North Korea announces the execution of Kim Jong-un’s uncle, calling the leader’s former mentor a traitor who tried to overthrow the state.
14 — Peter O’Toole, best known for playing T.E Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, passes away aged 81.
15 — Nelson Mandela is laid to rest in his childhood hometown, ending a 10-day mourning period for South Africa’s first black president.
15 — Michelle Bachelet becomes the first President to be re-elected in Chile since the return of democracy, taking 62 percent of the vote in a run-off against Evelyn Matthei.
20 — Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signs into law a sweeping reform that will allow private companies to drill for oil and gas in the country, ending a seven-decade-long monopoly held by the state oil company.
22 — Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oligarch and Putin critic imprisoned for 10 years before being freed in an amnesty, says he will work to secure the release of Russia’s political prisoners.
29 — A suicide bomber set off a blast in the entrance hall of a Russian train station in Volgograd, killing at least 16 people.