APRIL

April 1

— NATO foreign ministers move to strengthen defenses of front-line members feeling menaced by a more assertive Russia, with Secretary of State John Kerry proclaiming U.S. commitment to their security is "unwavering."

April 2

— A decision by President Mahmoud Abbas to seek further international recognition of the "state of Palestine" — despite promises to hold off while negotiating with Israel — throws into disarray the troubled U.S. mediation of a peace deal.

April 3

— The U.S. government masterminded the creation of a "Cuban Twitter" network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba, The AP reports.

April 4

— An Afghan police officer opens fire on two Associated Press journalists inside a security forces base in eastern Afghanistan, killing prize-winning photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding veteran correspondent Kathy Gannon.

April 5

— Millions of Afghans defy Taliban threat and rain, underscoring their enormous expectations from an election to choose President Hamid Karzai's successor as the country's wobbly government prepares to face down a ferocious insurgency largely on its own.

April 6

— Searchers hunting for a missing Malaysian Airlines jet race toward a patch of the southern Indian Ocean to determine whether a few, brief sounds picked up by underwater equipment came from the plane's black boxes, whose battery-powered pingers are nearly dead.

April 7

— Pro-Russian activists barricaded inside government buildings in eastern Ukraine proclaim their regions independent and call for a referendum on seceding from Ukraine, an ominous echo of events that led to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

April 8

— U.S. says it will keep its current force of 450 land-based nuclear missiles but remove 50 from their launch silos as part of a plan to bring U.S. into compliance with a 2011 US-Russia arms control treaty.

April 9

— Russian President Vladimir Putin turns up the heat on Ukraine by threatening to demand advance payment for gas supplies in a move designed to exert economic pressure on Ukraine as it confronts a mutiny by pro-Russian separatists in the east.

April 10

— Buoyant Greek officials hail the country's return to the international bond market as an overwhelming success story since it nearly went bankrupt in 2010.

April 11

— The U.S. blocks Iran's controversial pick as envoy to the United Nations in a rare diplomatic rebuke that could stir fresh animosity at a time when Washington and Tehran have been seeking a thaw in relations.

April 12

— Partial results from the Afghanistan presidential election have candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani heading for a runoff.

April 13

— Ukraine says it is sending troops into the country's industrial east to try to quash an increasingly brazen pro-Russian insurgency despite repeated warnings from the Kremlin.

April 14

— Suspected Islamic militants strike in the heart of Nigeria with a massive rush-hour bomb blast that kills at least 72 in the deadliest attack ever in Abuja, the capital.

April 15

— The Ukrainian military repels an attack by 30 gunmen at an airport in the east in their first operation against a pro-Russian uprising.

April 16

— Students among hundreds missing as South Korean ferry sinks.

April 17

— Ukraine and Russia agree on a tentative halt to violence and to calm tensions along their shared border after more than a month of Cold-War style military posturing triggered by Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

April 18

— An avalanche sweeps down a climbing route on Mount Everest, killing at least 13 Nepalese guides and leaving three missing in the deadliest disaster on the world's highest peak.

April 19

— The captain of a ferry that sank off the coast of South Korea leaving more than 300 missing or dead is arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need.

April 20

— Pope Francis makes an Easter Sunday plea for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria, for an end to attacks against Christians in Nigeria and for more attention to the hungry and neediest close to home.

April 21

— Russia has "days, not weeks" to abide by an international accord aimed at stemming the crisis in Ukraine, the top U.S. diplomat in Kiev warns, while Russia, in turn, accuses the authorities in Kiev of flagrantly violating the pact.

April 22

— The U.N. says hundreds of civilians were killed last week in Benitu, the capital of South Sudan's oil-producing Unity state, a tragic reflection of long-standing ethnic hostility in the world's newest state.

April 23

— Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah agree to form a unity government and hold elections, adding new complications to U.S. efforts to broker a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

April 24

— An Afghan government security guard opens fire on foreign doctors at a Kabul hospital, killing three Americans in the latest of a deadly string of attacks on Western civilians in the capital.

April 25

— Russia's economy feels the sting of the Ukraine crisis as a rating agency cuts its credit rating to near junk status and Moscow hikes interest rates to keep the sliding ruble from fueling inflation.

April 26

— Afghanistan's presidential election heads to a runoff after full preliminary results show the front runners failed to win a majority and avoid a second round of voting.

April 27

— Two 20th century popes who changed the course of the Roman Catholic church become saints as Pope Francis honors John XXIII and John Paul II, a delicate balancing act aimed at bringing together the church's conservative and progressive wings. Retired Pope Benedict XVI joins him in the first celebration of Mass by a serving and retired pontiff in the church's 2,000-year history.

April 28

— The United States and its European allies hit more than two dozen Russian government officials, executives and companies with new sanctions as punishment for their country's actions in Ukraine, yet the penalties stop short of targeting Russia's broader economy.

April 29

— A U.S.-backed effort to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians misses another deadline, with each side blaming the other for the impasse.

April 30

— Ukraine's acting president concedes that his police and security forces are "helpless" in stifling unrest in the country's east, where pro-Russian insurgents have taken control of a dozen cities.