Chronology of news events in 2013
— British police charge a second suspect with the murder of a soldier who was hacked to death in a London street as right-wing and anti-fascist groups both demonstrate in response to a slaying that has heightened religious tensions in Britain.
- Syrian rebels battle Hezbollah militants in their worst clash yet inside Lebanon, a new sign the civil war in Syria is destabilizing its fragile neighbor.
- A suicide bomber targeting U.S. troops outside an Afghanistan government office kills 9 children walking home and two of the Americans, the latest sign that this year’s fighting season could be one of the deadliest in the 12-year war.
— France says it has confirmed that nerve gas was used “multiple times in a localized way” in Syria, including at least once by the regime. It is the first specific claim by any Western power about a chemical weapons attack in the 27-month-old conflict.
— Syrian troops and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies capture a strategic border town after a grueling 3-week battle, dealing a severe blow to the rebels and opening the door for President Bashar Assad’s regime to seize back the country’s central heartland.
— North and South Korea agree to hold talks on reopening a jointly run factory complex and other cross-border issues though a key topic that isolates Pyongyang from the world community — its nuclear program — is not up for debate.
— In central Europe, countries begin to count the cost of floods that have hit Germany and six other countries, leaving at least 19 dead and causing billions of euros in economic damage.
— President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping “blazed a new trail” away from the two nations’ past differences, says a Chinese official after a two-day summit in the California desert that ended with few policy breakthroughs but the prospect of closer personal ties.
— Risking prosecution by the U.S. government, a 29-year-old intelligence analyst is revealed as the source of The Guardian and The Washington Post disclosures about secret American surveillance programs, leaks that reopen the post-Sept. 11, 2001 debate about privacy concerns versus heightened measures to protect against terrorist attacks.
— A wave of car bombings rock central and northern Iraq killing at least 57 people, extending the deadliest eruption of violence to hit the country in years and raising fears of another wave of uncontrollable sectarian violence.
— Pope Francis laments that a “gay lobby” is at work at the Vatican in private remarks to a key Latin American church group — a stunning acknowledgment that appears to confirm earlier reports about corruption and dysfunction in the Holy See.
— Turkey’s government offers a first concrete gesture aimed at ending nearly two weeks of street protests, proposing a referendum on a development project in Istanbul that triggered demonstrations that had become the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his 10-year tenure.
— The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously throws out attempts to patent human genes, siding with advocates who say the multibillion-dollar biotechnology industry should not have exclusive control over genetic information found in the human body.
— Hezbollah’s leader vows that his militants will keep on fighting in Syria “wherever needed” after the U.S. agrees to arm the rebels in the civil war, setting up a proxy fight between Iran and the West that threatens to engulf more of the Middle East.
— Wild celebrations break out in Tehran and other cities as reformist-backed Hassan Rowhani caps a stunning surge to claim Iran’s presidency, throwing open the political order after years of relentless crackdowns by hard-liners to consolidate and safeguard their grip on power.
— Riot police firing tear gas and water cannons repel thousands of anti-government protesters attempting to converge on Istanbul’s central Taksim Square unbowed even as Prime Minister Recep Tayipp Erdogan defends the crackdown at a rally of his supporters.
— Deep differences over Syria’s fierce civil war cloud a summit of world leaders with Russian President Vladimir Putin defiantly rejecting calls from U.S, Britain and France to help his support for President Bashar Assad.
— Leaders in Brazil’s two biggest cities say they have reversed an increase in bus and subway fares that ignited weeklong protests across the country on issues ranging from crime to corruption.
— President Barack Obama pledges to cut deployed U.S nuclear weapons by one third if Cold War foe Russia does the same, saying in Berlin such measures were needed to move the two countries away from a war posture that continues to seed mistrust between their governments.
— Financial markets around the world plunge a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve roiled Wall Street when it said it could reduce its aggressive economic stimulus program later in the ear. A slowdown in Chinese manufacturing and reports of a squeeze in the world’s second largest economy heightens worries.
— More than 100,000 supporters of Egypt’s Islamist president stage a show of force ahead of massive protests later this month by the opposition, chanting “Islamic revolution” and warning of a new and bloody bout of turmoil.
— The two rivers that converge on the western Canadian city of Calgary recede after floods destroyed much of Alberta province, causing at least three dead and thousands to evacuate.
— Admitted leaker Edward Snowden circles the globe in evasion of U.S. authorities, seeking asylum in Ecuador and leaving the Obama administration scrambling to determine its next step in what became a game of diplomatic cat-and-mouse as the former National Security Agency contractor and CIA technician flees Hong Kong and arrives at a Moscow airport.
— Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s flamboyant former premier, is sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from politics for life for paying an underaged prostitute for sex during infamous ‘bunga, bunga’ parties and forcing public officials to cover it up. He plans to appeal.
— Russian President Vladimir Putin confirms whereabouts of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden — at a Moscow airport — but promptly rejects U.S. plea to turn him over.
— In a dramatic comeback, Kevin Rudd is sworn in as Australia’s prime minister three years and three days after he was ousted from the nation’s leadership in an internal government showdown.
— A federal indictment charges Boston marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with downloading bomb making instructions from an al-Qaida magazine and gathering online material on Islamic jihad and martyrdom. The charges, many of which carry a potential penalty of life in prison or death, include he used a weapon of mass destruction in the April 15 bombing that left three dead more than 260 injured.
— Tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi rally in Cairo, and both sides fight each other in Egypt’s second-largest city of Alexandria, where two people are killed — including an American — and scores injured.
— Chinese paramilitary troops are ordered to begin conducting round-the-clock patrols in the northwest region of Xinjiang — home to Muslim Uighurs with their Turkic language and cultural institutions — following a series of bloody clashes that have left at least 56 people dead over the last several months.
— Millions throng the streets of Cairo and cities around the country and march on the presidential palace, filling a broad avenue for blocks in an attempt to force out the Islamist president in the most massive protest Egypt has seen in 2 1/2 years of turmoil.