The Associated Press
Dec. 23, 2013
Chronology of news events in 2013
— A weary U.S. Congress sends President Barack Obama legislation to avoid the economy-threatening "fiscal cliff" of middle-class tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts, sealing a hard-won political triumph for the president less than two months after he secured re-election.
— The United Nations gives a grim new count of the human cost of Syria's civil war, saying the death toll has exceeded 60,000 in 21 months — far higher than recent estimates by anti-regime activists.
— Al-Jazeera, the Qatari-owned Pan-Arab news network, gets a significant presence in the U.S., spending $500 million to acquire Current TV, the left-leaning cable news network co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore.
— Greece's prime minister urges defiant union leaders to accept further income losses, warning that vital international rescue loans could otherwise dry up and force the debt-crippled country into a disorderly default in March.
— An apparently coordinated wave of bombings targeting Shiite Muslims kill at least 78 people in Iraq, the second large-scale assault by militants since U.S. forces pulled out last month.
— A U.S. Navy destroyer has rescued an Iranian fishing boat that had been commandeered by suspected pirates just days after Tehran warned the U.S. to keep its warships out of the Gulf.
— Afghan investigators accuse the American military of abusing detainees at its main prison in the country, bolstering calls by President Hamid Karzai for the U.S. to turn over control of the facility and complicating talks about America's future role in Afghanistan.
— Iran has begun uranium enrichment at a new underground site built to withstand possible airstrikes, a leading hard-line newspaper reports in another show of defiance against Western pressure to rein in Tehran's nuclear program.
A top Chinese diplomat rejects linking Iran's nuclear program to trade, adding to tensions with Washington on the eve of a visit by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to seek support for sanctions on Tehran's oil industry.
Three Kurdish women, including a founder of a militant separatist group battling Turkish troops, are found shot to death in Paris.
— Syrian rebels and Islamic militants overrun a major military air base in the north and, buoyed by the victory, intensify their offensive on two other bases in their most aggressive campaign yet to erode the air supremacy on which the regime of President Bashar Assad has increasingly relied the past year.
— The battle to retake Mali's north from the al-Qaida-linked groups controlling it begins in earnest after hundreds of French forces deploy to the country and begin aerial bombardments to drive back the Islamic extremists.
— A Cairo appeals court overturns Hosni Mubarak's life sentence and orders a retrial of the former Egyptian president for failing to prevent the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising that toppled his regime.
— Despite a punishing bombardment by French warplanes, al-Qaida-linked insurgents grab more territory in Mali, seizing a strategic military camp that brings them far closer to the government's seat of power.
— Anti-regime activists say twin blasts inside a university campus in Syria's largest city sets cars ablaze, blows the walls off dormitory rooms and leaves more than 80 people dead.
— Islamist militants attack and occupy a natural gas complex in southern Algeria in what could be the first spillover from the French intervention in Mali. Two people are killed and dozens of others, including several Americans, are reportedly taken hostage.
— The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grounds Boeing's newest and most technologically advanced passenger jet, the 787 Dreamliner, until the risk of battery fires is resolved. Airlines and civil aviation authorities in other countries follow suit.
— A rocket slams into a building in Syria's northern city of Aleppo and two suicide bombers strike near a mosque in the south, capping a particularly bloody week in the country's civil war with more than 800 civilians killed, including an unusually large proportion in government-held areas.
— In a bloody finale, Algerian special forces storm a natural gas complex in the Sahara desert to end a standoff with Islamist extremists that leaves at least 23 hostages dead and kill all 32 militants involved.
— President Barack Obama is sworn in for four more years in a simple ceremony at the White House, embarking on a second-term quest to restore a still-shaky U.S. economy and combat terrorists overseas.
— Russia sends two planes to Lebanon to start evacuating its citizens from Syria, the strongest sign yet that President Bashar Assad's most important international ally has serious doubts about his ability to cling to power.
— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party emerges as the largest faction in a hotly contested parliamentary election, positioning the hard-liner to serve a new term as prime minister, but the results, including surprising gains by a centrist newcomer, raise the strong possibility he will be forced to form a broad coalition.
— Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers fiery rejoinders to Republican critics of the Obama administration's handling of the deadly attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, facing off with lawmakers who included potential 2016 presidential rivals.
— North Korea's plan to conduct a third nuclear test is "needlessly provocative" and will only increase its isolation, the White House says, as the U.S. expands its financial sanctions against the north Asian country.
— Iraqi troops open fire on stone-throwing Sunni demonstrators in the country's restive west, leading to the deaths of at least five protesters — the first fatalities in more than a month of anti-government rallies. Two soldiers were also killed, apparently in retaliation.
— Relatives and angry young men rampage through the Egyptian city of Port Said in assaults that killed at least 27 people following death sentences for local fans involved in the country's worst bout of soccer violence.
— Flames race through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil, killing more than 230 people as panicked partygoers gasped for breath in the smoke-filled air, stampeding toward a single exit partially blocked by those already dead. It appeared to be the world's deadliest nightclub fire in more than a decade.
— Backed by French helicopters and paratroopers, Malian soldiers enter the fabled city of Timbuktu after al-Qaida-linked militants who ruled the outpost by fear for nearly 10 months flee into the desert, setting fire to a library that held thousands of manuscripts dating to the Middle Ages.
— BP PLC closes the book on the Justice Department's criminal probe of its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster and Gulf of Mexico oil spill, when a U.S. judge agrees to let the London-based oil giant plead guilty to manslaughter charges for the deaths of 11 rig workers and pay a record $4 billion in penalties.
— Israel conducts a rare airstrike on a military target inside Syria amid fears President Bashar Assad's regime could provide powerful weapons to the Islamic militant group Hezbollah.
— With near impunity and the backing of the Islamist president, Egyptian police are accused of firing wildly at protesters, beating them and lashing out with deadly force in clashes across much of the country the past week, regaining their Hosni Mubarak-era notoriety as a tool of repression.