Chronology of news events in 2014
— Gunfire rings out across a busy intersection in Thailand’s capital for more than an hour as government supporters clash with protesters trying to derail tense nationwide elections one day before vote begins.
— Syria unleashes a wave of airstrikes on more than a dozen opposition-held neighborhoods in the northern city of Aleppo in a ferocious attack that kills at least 36 people.
— Al-Qaida’s central leadership breaks with one of its more militant branch commanders in an apparent attempt to stem deadly fighting that has erupted in Syria among militant factions trying to bring down President Bashar Assad.
— Facebook, which has transformed how much of the world communicates, marks its 10th anniversary.
—The Vatican “systemically” adopted policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades, a U.N. human rights committee says, urging the Holy See to open the files on pedophiles and the bishops who concealed their crimes.
— A suicide bomber blows himself up at the gates of a Syrian prison and rebels storm in behind him, freeing hundreds of inmates as part of an offensive aimed at capturing key government symbols around the northern city of Aleppo.
— Thousands of Muslims climb aboard trucks protected by heavily armed Chadian soldiers in a mass exodus from the capital of the Central African Republic, the scene of daily violence that has left untold numbers dead.
— The U.N. says the number of children killed and wounded in Afghanistan jumped by 34 percent last year as the Taliban stepped up attacks across the country.
— Hundreds of civilians are evacuated from the besieged Syrian city of Homs, braving gunmen spraying bullets and lobbing mortars to flee as part of a three-day truce to relieve a choking blockade.
— An instructor teaching his militant recruits how to make car bombs accidentally sets off explosives in his demonstration, killing 21 of them in a blast that alerts Iraqi authorities to the existence of a training camp north of Baghdad.
— President Barack Obama says the peace talks to end Syria’s civil war are far from achieving their goal of halting violence and facilitating a political transition.
— Syrian war planes pound a rebel-held town near the Lebanese border as opposition leaders in Geneva call on Russia to put pressure on the government to prevent the faltering peace negotiations from collapsing.
— Italy’s Premier Enrico Letta resigns after losing essential support for his battered 10-month coalition government, clearing way for rise of his center-left rival Matteo Renzi.
— Uganda President Yoweri Museveni plans to sign a bill that mandates life in prison for some homosexual acts, alarming activists who have condemned the bill as draconian in a country where homosexuality has already been criminalized.
— Lebanon’s prime minister forms a cabinet more than 10 months after taking office, including a wide range of political groups after bridging serious divisions, mostly over Syria’s civil war.
— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls climate change perhaps the ‘most fearsome’ destructive weapon and mocks those who deny its existence or questions it causes, comparing them to people who insist the earth is flat.
— A U.N. panel warns North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he may be held accountable for orchestrating widespread crimes against civilians in the secretive Asia nation, ranging from systematic executions to torture, rape and mass starvation.
— Iran draws a red line on how far it will go at landmark nuclear talks, saying as a meeting opens it will not buckle to pressure from the U.S. and five other world powers to scrap any of its nuclear facilities.
— A senior Taliban official says Washington has held indirect talks over the possible transfer of five senior Taliban prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for a U.S. soldier captured nearly five years ago.
— Protesters advance on police lines in the heart of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, prompting government snipers to shoot and kill scores of people.
— Matteo Renzi forms a coalition government in Italy; at 39 he will be the country’s youngest premier ever.
— Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko leaves prison and speaks to an ecstatic crowd in Kiev as her arch foe President Viktor Yanukovych decamps to the country’s east and vows to remain in power even though protesters control the capital and parliament votes to remove him.
— Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, head of a powerful multinational drug organization, is back in Mexican custody after 13 years on the run, narrowly escapes from the military, law enforcement and rivals.
— Ukraine’s interim government draws up a warrant for fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych’s arrest in the killing of anti-government protesters last week while Russia issues its strongest condemnation yet of the new leaders in Kiev, saying they came to power as a result of “armed mutiny.”
— The founder of Latin American-inspired theology advocating for the poor receives a hero’s welcome at the Vatican as the once-criticized movement continues its rehabilitation under Pope Francis.
— The top U.S. military officer says Afghanistan’s refusal to sign a security agreement with the U.S. may make the fight more difficult this year, embolden the enemy and prompt some Afghan security forces to cooperate with the Taliban to “hedge their bets.”
— Masked gunmen storm parliament in Ukraine’s strategic Crimean region while the newly formed interim government pledges to prevent a breakup with strong backing for the West.
— Armed men take control of key airports in Crimea and Russian transport planes fly into the strategic region, an ominous sign of Kremlin’s iron hand in Ukraine.