Chronology of news events in 2014
— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry blasts South Sudan’s ethnic and political leaders for creating the same kind of violence their people sought to escape when they voted three years ago to break away from Sudan.
- Ukraine launches an offensive against separatist forces for control of a besieged eastern city while clashes between pro and anti-government activists in the previously calm southern port of Odessa lead to a fire that kills 31 people.
— Afghan rescuers and volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dig through the mud after a missive landslide swept through a village the day before turning it into an earthen tomb holding hundreds of bodies.
— Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams is released without charge after five days of police questioning over his alleged involvement in the decades-old IRA killing of a Belfast mother of 10, an investigation that has driven a dangerous wedge into Northern Ireland’s fragile unity government.
— Nigeria’s Islamic extremist leader threatens to sell 276 teenage girls abducted from a school in the remote northeast, as foreign governments join in the hunt for the students.
— The Vatican discloses that over the past decade it has defrocked 848 priests who raped or molested children and sanctioned another 2,572 with lesser penalties, providing the first ever breakdown of how it handled more than 3,400 cases of abuse reported to the Holy See since 2004.
— Russian President Vladimir Putin softens his tone in confrontation with the West, declaring that he has pulled his troops away from the Ukrainian border and calling for a delay in Sunday’s referendum on autonomy in Ukraine’s restive east.
— Syrian rebels level an historic hotel being used as an army base in the northern city of Aleppo by detonating bomb-packed tunnels beneath it, killing an unknown number of soldiers and demonstrating they can still deal heavy blows elsewhere in the country even as they withdraw from Homs.
— The international effort to rescue 276 schoolgirls being held captive by Islamic extremists in northeastern Nigeria gets a boost when British security experts join Nigerian and American forces trying to rescue the missing students.
— South Africa’s election commission completes vote count that determines the ruling African National Congress as the winner but also shows the strengthening of prominent opposition groups.
— Pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine say voters overwhelmingly favor sovereignty in balloting that the Ukraine central government and the West denounce as an illegal sham.
— The huge West Antarctica ice sheet is starting a glacially slow collapse, alarming scientists who say it means even more sea rise than they predicted.
— Europe’s highest court gives people the means to scrub their reputations online, issuing a landmark ruling that experts say could force Google and other search engines to delete references to old debts, long ago arrests and other unflattering episodes.
— Anger and grief swell in Turkey after 274 miners die in a coal mine fire and explosion and the fate of up to 150 others remains unclear.
— Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vows to seek ways to allow the military to do more for the country’s own defense and international peace after a government-appointed panel urges reinterpretation of the country’s pacifist constitution.
— Indian opposition leader Narendra Modi will become the next prime minister of the world’s largest democracy, winning its most decisive election victory in three decades and sweeping the long-dominant Congress Party from power.
— Tens of thousands flee their homes in Bosnia and Serbia to escape the worst flooding in a century.
— Forces apparently loyal to a renegade Libyan general say they suspended parliament after leading an assault against lawmakers, directly challenging the legitimacy of the weak central government three years after the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
— The U.S. charges five Chinese military officials with hacking into U.S. companies’ computers to steal vital trade secrets, intensifying already rising tensions.
— Two car bombs explode at a bustling bus terminal and market in Nigeria’s central city of Jos, killing at least 118 and wounding dozens in an attack that bore the hallmark of Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group.
— China signs a $400 billion gas deal with Russia, allowing Moscow to expand the market for its major export and binding Russia more closely to Beijing as it faces international sanctions for its actions in Ukraine.
— Thailand’s military seizes power in a bloodless coup, dissolving the government, suspending the constitution and dispersing groups of protesters from both sides of the country’s political divide who had gathered in Bangkok and raised fears of a violent showdown.
— Russian President Vladimir Putin pledges that Russia will respect the results of Ukraine’s presidential election, a strong indication the Kremlin wants to cool down the crisis.
—Three people are killed and one seriously injured in a shooting spree at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
— Candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko wins Ukraine’s presidential election in the first round of balloting, sparing the bitterly divided country a run-off.
— Pope Francis wraps up his Mideast pilgrimage with a balancing act of symbolic and spontaneous gestures to press his call for peace between Jews and Muslims in the land of Jesus’ birth.
— Charting an end to the longest U.S. war, President Barack Obama says he will keep nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after this year but then withdrawing virtually all by the close of 2016 and the conclusion of his presidency.
— Egypt’s former military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi appears well on his way to a landslide victory in a presidential election in which voting was extended for a third day to avoid an embarrassment over a low turnout.
— In another blow to Ukraine’s armed forces, rebels shoot down a troop helicopter killing at least 12 soldiers, including a general who had served in the Soviet army and was in charge of combat training.
— Former opponents and supporters of Poland’s last communist leader, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, lay him to rest with military honors while noisy protesters underscore the ambivalence about the man who imposed military rule in 1981.
— The only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan is freed by the Taliban in exchange for five Afghan detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.