Chronology of news events in 2013
— Egypt’s top prosecutor referred ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to trial on charges of inciting the killing of opposition protesters outside his palace while he was in office.
— France releases an intelligence report alleging chemical weapons use by Syria that dovetails with similar U.S. claims, as President Bashar Assad warns that any military strike against his country would sparks an uncontrollable regional war and spread “chaos and extremism.”
— President Barack Obama gains ground in his drive for congressional backing of a military strike against Syria while administration officials agree to explicitly rule out use of U.S. combat forces in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack.
— Russian President Vladimir Putin warns the West against taking one-sided action in Syria but also says he “doesn’t exclude” supporting a U.N. resolution on punitive military strikes if it is proven that Damascus used poison gas on its own people.
— President Barrack Obama presses fellow world leaders to support a U.S. strike on Syria but he runs into opposition from Russia and China and even the European Union, which condemned the deadly chemical attacks in President Bashar Assad’s country but declares it is too soon for military action.
— The United States grants exemptions from Iran sanctions to 10 European countries and Japan because all of them have reduced or halted oil imports from the Islamic Republic.
— Tony Abbott’s conservative Liberal-led party wins a crushing victory in Australia against the center-left Labor Party which had ruled for six years.
— Opposition leader Alex Navalny sweeps up far more votes than expected while finishing second in a Moscow mayoral election that has energized Russia’s small opposition in ways that could pose a risk to the Kremlin in the days and years ahead.
— A possible diplomatic solution to avoid a U.S. military strike arises when Syria swiftly embraces a suggestion to turn over all its chemical weapons for destruction under international control.
— President Barack Obama tells the U.S. that diplomacy holds “the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons” in Syria without the use of force, but he declares the U.S. military “will be ready to respond” against President Bashar Assad if other measures fail.
— In near-simultaneous attacks, a pair of suicide bombers ram their explosives-laden cars into military targets in Egypt’s volatile Sinai, killing at least nine soldiers and nudging the conflict there closer to a full-blow insurgency.
— The U.S. space agency NASA says Voyager 1, launched 36 years ago, crosses a new frontier, becoming the first mad-made spacecraft ever to leave the solar system.
— 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.
— A diplomatic breakthrough on securing and destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, negotiated by the U.S. and Russia, averts the threat of U.S. military action for the moment and could swing momentum toward ending the civil war in the Mideast nation.
— A high-ranking Syrian official calls the U.S.-Russian agreement on securing Syria’s chemical weapons a “victory” for President Bashar Assad’s regime but the U.S. warns “the threat of force is real” if Damascus fails to carry out the plan.
— A former U.S. Navy reservist launches an attack inside a heavy secured military complex in the heart of the U.S. capital, spraying gunfire on workers in the cafeteria and the hallway. Thirteen persons die, including the gunman.
— Russia insists that a U.N. Security Council resolution governing Syria’s handing of its chemical weapons not allow use of force but suggests it could change if Damascus reneges on the deal to give up the stockpile.
— Diplomats and human rights officials say the trajectory of the rockets that delivered the nerve agent sarin in last month’s deadly attack is among the key evidence linking elite Syria troops in mountains overlooking Damascus to the strike that killed hundreds of people.
— Signaling 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.
— Al-Qaida militants disguised in military uniforms launch car bomb attacks on three different security and military posts in southern Yemen, killing 38 in the group’s biggest attack in the country since last year.
Islamic militants attack an upscale shopping center 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-Qaida detonate explosives outside a church in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 75.
— Chancellor Angela Merkel leads her conservatives to a stunning victory in Germany’s election racking up the party’s largest margin since the country’s reunification in 1990 in a personal triumph that cements her position as Europe’s most powerful leader.
— An Egyptian court orders the banning of the Muslim Brotherhood and the confiscation of its assets but the government later defers action on the decision.
— A powerful earthquake rocks southwest Pakistan, killing 285 people and injuring hundreds.
— Nearly a dozen of Syria’s powerful rebel factions, including one linked to al-Qaida, formally break with the main opposition group in exile and call for Islamic law in the country, dealing a severe blow to the Western-backed coalition.
— Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, calls nuclear talks with world powers “very constructive” and “very substantive and says he hopes to allay concerns the country’s activities are not peaceful.
— President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speak by telephone, the first conversation between American and Iranian leaders in more than 30 years. The exchange could reflect a major step in resolving global concern over Iran’s nuclear program.
— Italy’s fragile coalition is pushed into full-scale crisis as five ministers from former Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s political party announce their resignations.
— A car bomb tears through a market in Peshawar, killing at least 41 people in the third major attack in the northwest Pakistani city in a week.
— Pope Francis says he will canonize two of his most influential predecessors, John Paul II and John XXIII on the same day next spring.