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Chronology of news events in 2013

December 23, 2013


Feb. 1

— In the second deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic post in five months, a suicide bomber struck the American Embassy in Ankara, killing a Turkish security guard in what the White House describes as a terrorist attack.

Feb. 2

— Argentina files its final written arguments in a court showdown with creditors in New York, suggesting the nation’s economy would be ruined and a dangerous global precedent would be set if it loses its appeal.

Feb. 3

— Israel’s defense minister strongly signals that his country was behind an airstrike in Syria last week, telling a high profile security conference that Israeli threats to take pre-emptive action against its enemies are not empty.

Feb. 4

— Scientist 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 the anonymity of a drab municipal parking lot.

Feb. 5

— Investigators say Hezbollah was behind a bus attack that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year, describing a sophisticated bombing carried out by a terrorist cell that included Canadian and Australian citizens.

Feb. 6

— Syrian rebels and regime forces fight their most intense clashes in weeks inside the heavily guarded capital of Damascus, with the sounds of shell blasts echoing through the downtown area and keeping many children home from school while residents hide in their houses.

Feb. 7

— Tunisia sinks deeper into political crisis, as the ruling Islamist party rejects its own prime minister’s decision to replace the government after the assassination of a leftist politician led to a wave of angry protests.

Feb. 8

— Egyptian security forces backed by water cannons fired tear gas at rock-throwing protesters outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Friday while demonstrators clashed with riot police in cities across the country in marches against Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Feb. 9

— Israeli troops drive some 100 Palestinian activists out of an illegal tent camp they had set up near the city of Hebron in the southern West Bank, aiming to draw attention to Israel’s control of territory they seek for a future state.

Feb. 10

— Black-robed Islamic extremists armed with AK-47 automatic rifles invade Gao in wooden boats to launch a surprise attack on the most populous city in northern Mali, two weeks after French and Malian troops ousted the jihadists.

Feb. 11

— Declaring that he lacks the strength to do his job, Pope Benedict XVI announces he will resign Feb. 28 — becoming the first pontiff to step down in 600 years. His decision sets the stage for a mid-March conclave to elect a new leader for a Roman Catholic Church in deep turmoil.

Feb. 12

— Defying U.N. warnings, North Korea conducts its third nuclear test in the remote, snowy northeast, taking a crucial step toward its goal of building a bomb small enough to be fitted on a missile capable of striking the United States.

Feb. 13

— Beginning a long farewell to his flock, a weary Pope Benedict XVI celebrates his final public Mass as pontiff, presiding over Ash Wednesday services hours after a bittersweet audience that produced the extraordinary scene of the leader of the world’s billion Roman Catholics explaining himself directly to the faithful.

Feb. 14

— Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend who was shot inside his home in South Africa, a stunning development in the life of a national hero known as the Blade Runner for his high-tech artificial legs.

Feb. 15

— With a blinding flash and a booming shock wave, 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, an industrial city of 1 million.

Feb. 16

— Demonstrations are held across Spain to protest harsh repossession laws that have led to hundreds of thousands of evictions during the country’s deep recession.

Feb. 17

— Gunmen attack a camp for a construction company in rural northern Nigeria, killing a guard and kidnapping seven foreign workers from Britain, Greece, Italy, Lebanon and the Philippines in the biggest kidnapping yet in a region under attack by Islamic extremists.

Feb. 18

— President Hugo Chavez returns to Venezuela after more than two months of treatment in Cuba following cancer surgery, triggering street celebrations by supporters who welcomed him home while he remains out of sight at Caracas’ military hospital.

Feb 19

— The United Nations says the number of U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan rose sharply last year compared with 2011, a sign that unmanned aircraft are taking a greater role as Americans try to streamline the fight against insurgents while preparing to withdraw combat forces in less than two years.

Feb. 20— Russia and the Arab League propose to broker talks between the Syrian opposition and President Bashar Assad’s regime to try to resolve the country’s civil war, while a government airstrike on a rebellious Damascus suburb killed at least 20 people.

Feb. 21

— South African police appoint a new chief investigator in the Oscar Pistorius murder case, replacing a veteran detective after unsettling revelations that the officer was charged with seven counts of attempted murder.

Feb. 22

— The U.S. and its NATO allies disclose they may keep as many as 12,000 troops in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends next year, largely American forces tasked with hunting down remnants of al-Qaida and helping Afghan forces with their own security.

Feb. 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 the armed forces to overthrow the government.

Feb. 24

— The mysterious death of a 30-year-old Palestinian gas station attendant in Israeli custody stokes new West Bank clashes, along with Israeli fears of a third Palestinian uprising.

Feb. 25

— Britain’s highest-ranking Roman Catholic leader resigns and removes himself from the upcoming conclave that will elect the next pope, saying he did not want allegations that he engaged in improper conduct with priests to be a distraction during the solemn process of choosing the next leader of the church’s 1.2 billion-member flock.

Feb. 26

— A hot air balloon bursts into flames during a sunrise flight over the ancient city of Luxor and then plummets 1,000 feet (300 meters) to earth, killing 19 people in what appeared to be the deadliest hot air ballooning disaster on record and raising worries of another blow to Egypt’s vital tourism industry.

Feb. 27

— Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warns that a victory for rebels in the Syrian civil war would create a new extremist haven and destabilize the wider Middle East, sparking sectarian wars in his own country and in Lebanon.

Feb. 28

— Benedict XVI becomes the first pope in 600 years to resign, ending an eight-year pontificate shaped by struggles to move the church past sex abuse scandals and to reawaken Christianity in an indifferent world.

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