Chronology of news events in 2013
— National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden leaves the transit zone of a Moscow airport and officially enters Russia after authorities grant him asylum for a year, a move that suggests the Kremlin is not shying away from conflict with the United States.
—The United States issues an extraordinary global travel warning to Americans about the threat of an al-Qaida attack and closes down 21 embassies in the Middle East and Africa.
— Zimbabwe’s electoral panel declares that longtime President Robert Mugabe has won re-election by a landslide, a result that could exacerbate tensions in the southern African country where the 89-year-old’s chief rival and former coalition partner has accused him of poll-rigging.
— Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, calls on the West to abandon the “language of sanctions” in dealing with the Islamic republic over its contentious nuclear program, hoping to ease the economic pressures grinding its people.
— Officials say an intercepted message between al-Qaida leader Ayman Zawahri and his deputy in Yemen about plans for a major attack was the trigger that set off the shutdown of many U.S. embassies.
— President Barack Obama’s five-year effort to transform Russian-American finally crashes as the White House abruptly cancels his planned face-to-face summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who annoyed the American leader by deciding to give asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
—Satellite images lay bare the suffering inflicted on Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, cataloguing hundreds of damaged houses and buildings and more than 1,000 roadblocks in the bitterly contested metropolis where forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have clashed for months with rebels seeking to topple him.
— U.S. sharply escalates its drone war in Yemen, with military officials in the Arab country reporting 34 suspected al-Qaida militants killed in less than two weeks, including three strikes in this one day that left a dozen dead.
— Infamous drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero walks free after 28 years in prison when a court overturns his 40-year sentence for the 1985 kidnap and killing of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agent, a brutal murder that marked a low point in U.S.-Mexican relations.
— Entertainers use their star power and financial muscle to raise a storm of protest over the anti-gay legislation that is battering the image of the Winter Olympics next February in Sochi.
— Israel approves building 1,200 more settlement homes and agrees to release 26 long-held Palestinian security prisoners — highlighting an apparent settlements-for-prisoners trade-off that got both sides back to peace talks after a five-year freeze.
— Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita wins Mali’s presidency after his opponent concedes defeat in an election aimed at restoring stability to a West African country wracked by rebellion, a coup and an Islamic insurgency.
— Israel releases 26 Palestinian inmates, many convicted in grizzly killings, on the eve of long-stalled peace talks, angering families of this killed by the prisoners who were welcomes as heroes in the West Bank and Gaza.
— Riot police backed by armored vehicles, bulldozers and helicopters sweep away two encampments of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, sparking running street battles elsewhere in Cairo and other Egyptian cities. More than 600 are killed, many of them in the crackdown on protest sites, and thousands are injured.
— A powerful car bomb rips through a crowded southern Beirut neighborhood that is a stronghold of Hezbollah, killing at least 22 people and trapping dozens of others in an inferno of burning cars and buildings in the bloodiest attack yet linked to the civil war in neighboring Syria.
— Heavy gunfire rings out throughout Cairo as tens of thousands of supporters of the ousted Egyptian president clash with armed vigilantes in the fiercest street battles to engulf the capital since the Arab Spring uprising. At least 64 people were killed in fighting nationwide, including police officers.
— Divers comb through a sunken ferry in search of dozens of people missing after a collision with a cargo vessel near the central Philippine port of Cebu that send passengers jumping into the ocean and many others trapped. At least 31 people are dead and hundreds rescued.
— The partner of a journalist who received leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is detained for nearly nine hours under anti-terrorism legislation at London’s Heathrow airport, triggering claims authorities are trying to interfere with reporting on the issue.
— South African prosecutors press a premeditated murder charge against Oscar Pistorius, arguing that the double Olympian amputee shot his girlfriend after an altercation while he maintains he made a mistake and mistook her for an intruder.
— A court indicts former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf on murder charges stemming from the assassination of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in an unprecedented ruling that tests the military’s aura of invincibility.
— 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 denied involvement.
— Egypt’s ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, wearing a white shirt and loafers, is released from prison and transported to a military hospital in a Cairo suburb where he will be held under house arrest.
— Twin car bombs explode outside mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, killing at least 29 people and wounding more than 350, raising already simmering sectarian tensions and stoking concern the civil war in Syria could spill over to its smaller neighbor.
— Egypt’s government shortens a widely imposed evening curfew, signaling that authorities’ sense of turmoil is waning after unrest following the ouster of the president threatened to destabilize the country.
— Indian police arrest the last of five men wanted in the gang rape of a photojournalist in Mumbai, and say charges will be filed in a case that has incensed the public and fueled debate over whether women can be safe in India.
— Secretary of State John Kerry outlines the clearest justification yet for military action in Syria, saying there was “undeniable” evidence of a large-scale chemical attack on the outskirts of Damascus with intelligence signaling President Bashar Assad’s regime was responsible for what Kerry called a “moral obscenity.”
— Momentum appears to build for a military strike against Syria with the U.S. and France saying they are in position for a strike, while the government in Damascus vows it will take all possible measures to repel it.
— A jury sentences Maj. Nidal Hassan, an American-born Muslim of Palestinian descent, to death for the 2009 shooting rampage at a Texas military base, handing the Army psychiatrist the ultimate punishment after a trial in which he seemed to be courting martyrdom by making almost no effort to defend himself.
— British Prime Minister David Cameron loses a vote endorsing military action against Syria by 17 votes, almost guaranteeing that Britain plays no direct role in any attack on President Bashar Assad’s government.
— Indonesia’s highest court upholds a death sentence for a British woman convicted of smuggling $2.5 million worth of cocaine into the resort island of Bali.
— Short of support at home and allies abroad, President Barack Obama unexpectedly steps back from a missile strike against Syria and instead asks Congress to support a strike against President Bashar Assad regime for suspected use of chemical weapons.