Chronology of news events in 2014
— Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson vows to find out what caused the crash of his experimental space tourism rocket in the U.S., killing one pilot and injuring the other.
— A suicide bomber detonates explosives near a Pakistani military checkpoint close to the eastern border with India, killing at least 54 people in the deadliest attack in the country in months.
— Russia offers warm support for rebel-organized elections in breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine that are roundly condemned by the West.
— The hunt for a fugitive ex-mayor and his wife, accused of running their town as a narco-fiefdom and ordering an attack that killed six people and left 43 students missing, ends in their arrest in Mexico City in a pre-dawn raid on their hideout.
— Republicans riding a wave of U.S. voter discontent capture control of the Senate and tighten their grip on the House of Representatives in elections certain to complicate President Barack Obama’s final two years in office.
— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reassures Jordan’s King Abdullah that he will not yield to increasing demands by some members of his center-right coalition to allow Jews to pray at a Muslim-run holy site in Jerusalem.
— President Barack Obama authorizes a broad expansion of the U.S. military mission in Iraq that will boost the number of American troops there to about 3,100 and will spread advisory teams and trainers to the north and west where fighting with Islamic State militants has been fierce.
— Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rejoy calls on Catalan leaders to return to dialogue, a day before the northern region was due to vote on an informal independence poll.
— Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a pivotal moment in the collapse of communism and the start of the country’s re-emergence as the major power at the heart of Europe.
— A suicide bomber sets off explosives at a school in northern Nigeria, killing at least 48 students and wounding 79 others in the latest attack by suspected Boko Haram militants.
— Leaders of Asia-Pacific economies agree to begin work toward possible adoption of a Chinese-backed free-trade pact, giving Beijing a victory in its push for a bigger role in managing global commerce.
— China and the United States reach a ground-breaking agreement to curb carbon emissions that are blamed for climate change in a bid to spur other nations to take equally aggressive action ahead of a climate change conference in Paris next year.
— A robotic probe that the European Space Agency landed on a comet millions of miles (kilometers) away in a landmark moment in space exploration begins sending reams of data to Earth, including the first pictures of an astronomical body other than a planet or a moon.
— Iraqi forces drive Islamic State group militants out of a strategic oil refinery town north of Baghdad, scoring their biggest battlefield victory since they melted away in the face of the extremist group’s stunning summer offensive that captured much of northern and western Iraq.
— Pope Francis denounces the right to die movement, saying it’s a ‘false sense of compassion’ to consider euthanasia as an act of dignity when in fact it is a sin against God and creation.
— The Islamic State group beheads another American, a former U.S. soldier turned aid worker in Syria, in what President Barack Obama denounces as an “act of pure evil.”
— Japan’s economy slips back into recession as housing and business development drop following a sales tax hike, hobbling its ability to help drive the global economy.
— Israel vows harsh retaliation for a Palestinian attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem that left five people dead in a bloody assault that sharply escalated already-high tensions after weeks of religious violence.
— President Barrack Obama defies Congress and orders sweeping changes in U.S. immigration policy that could affect as many as 5 million living illegally in the U.S. and set off one of the biggest political confrontations of his presidency.
— Miss Honduras and her sister are laid to rest after being shot to death by what police said was a jealous rage by the sister’s boyfriend.
— The Islamic State group still pours fighters and resources into trying to capture the besieged Kurdish town of Kobani, but two months into the assault the drive is blunted.
— Somalia’s extremist al-Shabab rebels attack a bus in northern Kenya, singling out and killing 28 passengers who could not recite an Islamic creed and were assumed to be non-Muslims.
— Israel’s Cabinet approves a bill to legally define the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people, a move likely to further inflame tensions with Israel’s Arab citizens.
— A yearlong effort to seal a nuclear deal with Iran fizzles, leaving the U.S and its allies with little choice but to declare a seven-month extension.
— Two teenage girls set off explosives in a suicide bombing in Maiduguri, a provincial capital in northeast Nigeria, killing more than 40 people.
— The Ebola outbreak, which has been surging in Sierra Leone in recent weeks, may have reached its peak and could be on the verge of slowing down as it has in Guinea and Liberia.
— OPEC decides to keep its target output on hold and sit out falling crude oil prices that likely will spiral even lower as a result.
— Pope Francis urges Muslim leaders to condemn the” barbaric violence” being committed in the name of Islam against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria as he arrives in neighboring Turkey for a delicate visit aimed at improving interfaith ties.
— An Egyptian judge dismisses murder charges against former President Hosni Mubarak and acquits his security chief over the killings of protesters during Egypt’s 2011 uprising, crushing any hope of a judicial reckoning on behalf of the hundreds of victims of the revolt that toppled him.
— China urges Taiwan to protect gains of landmark cooperation between the mainland and the self-ruled island after Taiwan’s pro-Beijing ruling party was routed in local elections.