April 19, 2014
Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 in the world


1 — A weary US Congress sends President Barack Obama legislation to avoid the economy-threatening “fiscal cliff” of middle-class tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts, sealing a hard-won political triumph for the president.

12 — The battle to retake Mali’s north from the al-Qaeda-linked groups controlling it begins in earnest after hundreds of French forces deploy to the country and begin aerial bombardments to drive back the Islamic extremists.

13 — A Cairo appeals court overturns Hosni Mubarak’s life sentence and orders a retrial of the former Egyptian president for failing to prevent the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising that toppled his regime.

19 — Algerian special forces storm a natural gas complex in the Sahara desert to end a three-day stand-off with Islamist extremists, leaving at least 23 hostages and 32 militants dead.

20 — US President Barack Obama is sworn in for four more years in a simple ceremony at the White House.

25 — A prison riot in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, kills at least 50 people, with 90 injured.

27 — Flames race through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil, killing more than 230 people as panicked partygoers stampede toward a single exit.


1 — Hillary Clinton steps down as United States Secretary of State and is succeeded by Senator John Kerry.

3 — Paraguayan politician and presidential candidate Lino Oviedo is killed in a helicopter crash near Puerto Antequera.

4 — Scientists announce they have rescued the scarred and broken skeletal remains of Richard III, a 15th century king and the last English monarch to die in battle, from a parking lot.

5 — Reinaldo Gargano, Uruguayan politician, dies aged 79 in Montevideo after suffering heart problems.

11 — Declaring that he lacks the strength to do his job, Pope Benedict XVI announces he will resign on February 28 — becoming the first pontiff to step down in 600 years.

14 — Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend who was shot inside his home in South Africa.

15 — A meteor blazes across the western Siberian sky and explodes with the force of 20 atomic bombs, injuring more than 1,000 people as it blasted out windows and spread panic in Chelyabinsk.

17 — Voters in Ecuador go to the polls for a general election with incumbent President Rafael Correa claiming a landslide victory.

18 — President Hugo Chávez returns to Venezuela after more than two months of treatment in Cuba following cancer surgery. While supporters celebrate, he remains out of sight at a Caracas’ military hospital.

23 — Tens of thousands of people march on Spain’s Parliament to protest austerity measures, a demonstration that came on the 32nd anniversary of a failed attempt by members of the Armed Forces to overthrow the government.

26 — A hot-air balloon bursts into flames over Egypt’s ancient city of Luxor, killing 19 people.


5 — President Hugo Chávez, the populist leader of oil-rich Venezuela who became Latin America’s most vocal and controversial leader, dies after a struggle with cancer.

6 — Syria’s accelerating humanitarian crisis hits a grim milestone: the number of UN-registered refugees tops one million — with half of them children.

7 — The UN Security Council votes unanimously for tough new sanctions to punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test.

11 — North Korea says it is cancelling the 1953 Armistice that ended the Korean War, following days of increased tension.

13 — Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is elected pope and chooses the name Francis, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.

22 — Lawmakers in Cyprus approve three key bills that aim to raise enough money to qualify the country for a broader bail-out package and help it avoid financial ruin in mere days.

23 — Boris Berezovsky, 67, a self-exiled and outspoken Russian tycoon and Putin critic, dies in England in an apparent suicide.

24 — Central African Republic President François Bozizé flees to the Democratic Republic of Congo after Seleka rebels capture Bangui.

29 — Italy’s president and party leaders fail in another round of talks to end five weeks of political deadlock over forming a new government.

30 — North Korea warns Seoul that the Korean Peninsula has entered “a state of war” and threatens to unilaterally shut down a shared border factory complex.

31 — Pope Francis offers a passionate plea for world peace, celebrating his first Easter Sunday as pontiff in St Peter’s Square.


4 — Roger Ebert, the popular US film reviewer who was the first journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for movie criticism dies from cancer.

8 — Margaret Thatcher, who transformed Britain with a ruthless dedication to free markets in 11 bruising years as prime minister, dies in London after a stroke.

14 — Venezuela holds presidential elections following the death of Hugo Chávez. Nicolás Maduro, interim president and Chávez’s political successor, narrowly edges Enrique Capriles, Governor of Miranda.

15 — Two bombs explode at the Boston Marathon finish line in the United States, killing 3 and injuring 264 others.

23 — France legalizes gay marriage after a wrenching national debate that exposed deep conservatism in the nation’s heartland and triggered huge demonstrations.

25 — US intelligence concludes with “varying degrees of confidence,” that the Syrian government has twice used chemical weapons in its fierce civil war.

30 — Argentine-born Máxima

Zorreguieta becomes Queen Máxima of the Netherlands after her husband, King Willem Alexander, takes over the Dutch throne following the abdication of Queen Beatrix.


1 — Dozens of Bangladeshi garment workers, their bodies too battered or decomposed to be identified, are buried in a mass funeral, a week after the eight-story building they worked in toppled down, killing at least 410 people and injuring thousands more.

5 — More than 600 bodies have now been recovered from the garment-factory building that collapsed in Bangladesh well over a week ago, as work continues in one of the worst industrial accidents ever.

8 — A man arrested in Cleveland, Ohio, after three women missing for a decade were found alive at his home, is charged with kidnapping and raping them.

13 — Several of the West’s biggest retailers embrace a plan that would require them to pay for factory improvements in Bangladesh as the death toll reaches staggering 1,127. 22 — In a brutal daylight attack which raised fears that terrorism had returned to London, two men with butcher knives hack a soldier to death near a military barracks before police wound them in a shoot-out.

28 — US prosecutors charge seven people with running what amounted to an online, underworld bank that handled US$6 billion for drug dealers, child pornographers, identity thieves and other criminals around the globe in what may be the biggest money-laundering operation in the country’s history.

31 — Turkish riot police use tear gas and water cannon to end a peaceful sit-in by hundreds of people trying to prevent trees from being uprooted in an Istanbul park. The dawn raid ignites a furious anti-government protest that took over the city’s main square and spread to other cities.


1 — São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad annouces bus and metro price hikes, setting off mass demonstrations in the city that soon mushroomed throughout Brazil.

7 — In central Europe, countries begin to count the cost of floods that have hit Germany and six other countries, leaving at least 19 dead and causing billions of euros in economic damage.

9 — Risking prosecution by the US government, Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old intelligence analyst is revealed as the source of The Guardian and The Washington Post disclosures about secret US and UK surveillance programmes, leaks that reopen the debate about privacy concerns versus heightened measures to protect against future terrorist attacks.

15 — Wild celebrations break out in Tehran and other cities as reformist-backed Hassan Rouhani caps a stunning surge to win Iran’s presidency.

15 — The first day of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil is marked by demonstrations outside the opening ceremony demanding that public money be reassigned from the tournament to health and education budgets.

17 — 250,000 protesters take to the streets throughout Brazil, with 100,000 demonstrating in front of the State legislature Rio de Janeiro. Small scuffles break out and various protesters are hospitalized.

19 — US actor James Gandolfini, star of the The Sopranos, dies in Rome of a heart attack.

23 — Edward Snowden circles the globe in evasion of US authorities, seeking asylum in Ecuador and leaving the Obama administration scrambling to determine its next step in what became a game of diplomatic cat-and-mouse. The former NSA contractor flees Hong Kong and arrives at a Moscow airport, where he requests asylum.

24 — Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s flamboyant former premier, is sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from politics for life for paying an underaged prostitute for sex during infamous “bunga, bunga” parties and forcing public officials to cover it up. He immediately seeks to appeal the decision.

26 — In a dramatic comeback, Kevin Rudd is sworn in as Australia’s prime minister three years and three days after he was ousted from the nation’s leadership in an internal government showdown.

30 — Millions throng the streets across Egypt and march on the presidential palace, in an attempt to force out the Islamist president in the biggest protest the country has seen in two-and-a-half years of turmoil.


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.

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