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TIMELINE: World news events of 2014

A photo of the Earth captured in 8 mm from a cupola in the International Space Station by American Astronaut Reid Weisman. Twitter/astro_reid

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

January

Jan. 1

— The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic dies in an explosion that occurred when he opened an old safe that had been left untouched for more than 20 years.

Jan. 2

— An explosion tears through a crowded commercial street in a south Beirut neighborhood that is a bastion of support for the Shiite group Hezbollah, killing at least five.

Jan. 3

— Secretary of State John Kerry's closed-door diplomacy to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians bursts into a public spat with both sides trading bitter criticisms.

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Jan. 4

— The city center of Iraq's Fallujah falls completely into the hands of fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Jan. 5

— Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. will support Iraq's fight against al-Qaida-linked militants who have overrun two cities but will not send in U.S. troops.

Jan. 6

- Millions of Egyptian Christians throng churches across the mainly Muslim nation for Christmas Mass amid unusually tight security in response to fears Islamic militants loyal to ousted President Mohammed Morsi might attack.

Jan. 7

— The first batch of the most dangerous chemicals in Syria's arsenal is loaded on a Danish ship and taken out of the country, an important milestone in an international operation to rid President Bashar Assad of the weapons.

Jan. 8

— President Nicolas Maduro hastily gathers state governors and mayors to talk about the country's violent crime amid public outrage of the killing of a popular soap opera actress and former Miss Venezuela.

Jan. 9

— A senior police investigator known for hunting down Pakistani Taliban militants is killed in a car bombing in Karachi, a blow to security in the country's biggest city.

Jan. 10

— The U.S. advises Americans planning to attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, to be vigilant about their security due to potential terrorist threats.

Jan. 11

— Sub-Saharan Africa sees a violent start to 2014 with raging conflicts in South Sudan and the Central African Republic as well as continued violence in Congo and attacks in Kenya and Somalia.

Jan. 12

— Iran agrees to open the Islamic Republic's nuclear program to daily inspection starting Jan.20, setting the clock running on a six-month deadline for a final agreement.

Jan. 13

— A new law in Nigeria, signed by the president without announcement, makes it illegal for gays to even hold a meeting. The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act also criminalizes homosexual organizations and clubs.

Jan. 14

— French President Francois Hollande concedes that he is going through "painful moments" with his companion who was hospitalized after a magazine reported he was secretly having an affair with a movie actress.

Jan. 15

— The future king of Bahrain meets with top Shiite opposition leaders for the first time in nearly three years.

Jan. 16

—The Vatican is called to account before an obscure U.N. human rights committee after decades of fending off accusations its culture of secrecy had contributed to the global priest sex abuse scandal.

Jan. 17

— A suicide bomber blows himself up outside a Kabul restaurant filled with foreigners and affluent Afghans while two gunmen sneak in through a back door and open fire in a brazen dinnertime attack that kills 21.

Jan. 18

— The main Western-backed Syrian opposition group votes in favor of attending a coming peace conference aimed at ending the country's bloody civil war.

Jan. 19

— An Islamic militant group in Russia's North Caucasus claims responsibility for the recent twin bombings in the southern city of Volgograd and posts a video threatening a strike at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Jan. 20

— Iran unplugs banks of centrifuges involved in its most sensitive nuclear enrichment program, prompting the U.S. and the European Union to partially lift economic sanctions as a landmark deal aimed at easing concerns over Iran's nuclear program goes into effect.

Jan. 21

—Thousands of Egyptians urge the country's powerful army chief, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, to run for president at a rally, angering pro-democracy advocates.

Jan. 22

— Representatives of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the rebellion against him threaten to collapse a peace conference in Switzerland intended to lead them out of civil war.

Jan. 23

— South Sudan's government and rebels sign a cease-fire that leaders hope will end five weeks of warfare that has killed thousands of soldiers and civilians.

Jan. 24

— A truck bombing strikes the main security headquarters in Cairo, one of a string of bombings targeting police in a 10-hour period, killing 6 on the eve of the third anniversary of the revolt that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak and left the Arab nation deeply divided.

Jan. 25

— Syria's government and opposition face each other for the first time in Switzerland, buffered by a U.N. mediator hoping to guide them to a resolution of the country's devastating civil war.

Jan. 26

— Thousands of Ukrainians chant "hero" and sing the national anthem as the coffin of a protester who was killed in clashes with police is carried through the streets of Kiev, underscoring the rising tensions in the country's two-month political crisis.

Jan. 27

— Suspected Islamic extremists used explosives and heavy guns to attack a village and worshippers during a Christian service in northern Nigeria, killing at least 99 and razing hundreds of homes.

Jan. 28

— Ukraine's prime minister resigns and parliament repeals anti-protest laws in back-to-back moves designed to defuse the country's political crisis.

Jan. 29

—Syrian President Bashar Assad's adviser rejects the opposition's call for a transitional government body and suggests for the first time that a presidential election scheduled to be held later this year may not take place amid raging violence.

Jan. 30

— An appeals court in Florence upholds the guilty verdict against U.S. student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend for the 2007 murder of her British roommate, raising the prospect of a long legal battle over her extradition from Italy to serve a 28 1/2 year prison sentence if the conviction stands.

Jan. 31

— The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline clears a major hurdle toward approval, a serious blow to environmentalists' hopes that President Barrack Obama will block the controversial project running more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from Canada through the heart of the U.S.

February

Feb. 1

— 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.

Feb. 2

— 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.

Feb. 3

— 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.

Feb. 4

— Facebook, which has transformed how much of the world communicates, marks its 10th anniversary.

Feb. 5

—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.

Feb. 6

— 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.

Feb. 7

— 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.

Feb. 8

— 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.

Feb. 9

— 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.

Feb. 10

— 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.

Feb. 11

— 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.

Feb. 12

— 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.

Feb. 13

— 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.

Feb. 14

— 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.

Feb. 15

— 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.

Feb. 16

— 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.

Feb. 17

— 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.

Feb. 18

— 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.

Feb. 19

— 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.

Feb. 20

— Protesters advance on police lines in the heart of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, prompting government snipers to shoot and kill scores of people.

Feb. 21

— Matteo Renzi forms a coalition government in Italy; at 39 he will be the country's youngest premier ever.

Feb. 22

— 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.

Feb. 23

— 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.

Feb. 24

— 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."

Feb. 25

— 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.

Feb. 26

— 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."

Feb. 27

— 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.

Feb. 28

— 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.

March

March 1

— Russian troops take over Ukraine's Crimea.

March 2

— The United States and other Western nations vow a tough response to Russia's military advance in Ukraine and warn Moscow of economic penalties, diplomatic isolation and bolstered allied defenses in Europe.

March 3

— Russia calls for a national unity government in Ukraine as it tightens its stranglehold on Crimea in a bold combination of diplomacy and escalating military pressure.

March 4

— A defiant President Vladimir Putin dismisses threats of U.S. and European Union economic sanctions, alleges that "rampaging neo-Nazis" dominate Ukraine's capital and says Russian and Ukrainian soldiers locked in a standoff in Crimea are "brothers in arms."

March 5

— Israeli naval forces seize a ship laden with rockets allegedly bound for militants in the Gaza Strip and officials accuse Iran of orchestrating the 5,000-mile (8,000 kilometer) journey.

March 6

—Ukraine lurches toward breakup as lawmakers unanimously declare they want to join Russia and plan to put the decision to voters. President Barack Obama condemns the move and the West imposes the first real sanctions against Russia.

March 7

— Russia is swept up in a patriotic fervor for annexing Crimea with tens of thousands of people thronging Red Square and chanting "Crimea is Russia."

March 8

— A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 239 people on board vanishes on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, setting off a massive search for its whereabouts.

March 9

— Testimony in the first week of Oscar Pistorious' murder trial is riveting and more evidence is expected as prosecutors seek to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the double-amputee athlete intentionally shot dead his girlfriend.

March 10

— Syrian rebels release a group of Greek Orthodox nuns in exchange for dozens of women held in government prisons — a rare deal between Damascus and al-Qaida-linked rebels, mediated by Qatari and Lebanese officials.

March 11

— A Swedish reporter is shot dead in Afghanistan while reporting in an affluent and well-guarded area of Kabul, highlighting fears of rising violence ahead of crucial presidential elections.

March 12

— President Barack Obama says the United States will "completely reject" a referendum in Crimea opening the door for the Ukrainian peninsula to join Russia, with Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at his side.

March 13

— Survivors says dozens of gunmen on motorbikes have killed more than 100 villagers in a conflict over land in northern Nigeria.

March 14

— Paris could deliver France's first-ever genocide conviction, sentencing a former Rwanda intelligence chief to 25 years in prison over the 1994 killings of at least 500,000 people in the African country.

March 15

— Malaysia's prime minister says a Malaysian jetliner missing for more than a week had deliberately diverted and continued flying for more than seven hours after severing contact with the ground, meaning it could have gone as far northwest as Kazakhstan or into the Indian Ocean's southern reaches.

March 16

— Crimeans vote to leave Ukraine and join Russia, overwhelmingly approving a referendum that sought to unite the strategically important Black Sea region with the country it was part of for some 250 years.

March 17

— Russian President Vladimir Putin recognizes Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula as an "independent and sovereign country," ignoring sanctions imposed by the United States and European countries and creating the most profound rift in East-West relations since the end of the Cold War.

March 18

— President Vladimir Putin redraws Russia's borders by reclaiming Crimea, provoking denunciations from the Western leaders who call Putin a threat to the world.

March 19

— Ukraine announces plans for massive troop withdrawals from Crimea, surrendering to Russia's inexorable seizure of the strategic peninsula.

March 20

— President Barack Obama orders economic sanctions against nearly two dozen members of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle and a major bank that provides them support, raising the stakes in an East-West showdown over Ukraine.

March 21

— The Taliban kill nine people in a luxury hotel in Kabul that had tight security, boasting two weeks before national elections they can strike anywhere in Afghanistan.

March 22

— Pope Francis names initial members of commission to advise him on sex abuse policy, signaling an openness to reach beyond Roman Catholic church officials to plot the commission's course and priorities: half of the members are women.

March 23

— Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak confirms than a Boeing 777 airliner with 239 people aboard that has been missing for 16 days plunged into a remote corner of the Indian Ocean.

March 24

— Ukraine's fledgling government orders troops to pull back from Crimea, ending days of wavering as Russian forces storm and seize bases on the peninsula.

March 25

— President Barack Obama declares that a security summit took "concrete steps" to prevent nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists, though Russia and China fail to sign agreement to beef up inspections.

March 26

— Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, the Egyptian military chief who removed the elected Islamist president, announces he has resigned from the army and will run for president.

March 27

— The world rushes to help Ukraine, with the International Monetary Fund pledging up to $18 billion in loans, the U.N. condemning the vote that drove Crimea into Russian hands and the U.S. Congress backing even harsher sanctions against Moscow.

March 28

— Russian President Vladimir Putin calls President Barack Obama to discuss a solution to the crisis in Ukraine; they agree top U.S. and Russian diplomats should work on the details.

March 29

—A U.N. panel of scientists reports on how climate change is affecting humans and the planet and how the future will be worse unless something is done about it.

March 30

— A decisive victory in local elections gives Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan momentum that could see him start a campaign to become the country's first directly elected president; ruling Socalists take a drubbing in France's voting.

March 31

— The United States talks to Israel about releasing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard from his life sentence as an incentive to Israelis in the troubled Mideast peace negotiations.

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.

May

May 1

— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry blasts South Sudan's ethnic and political leaders for creating the same kind of violence their people sought to escape when they voted three years ago to break away from Sudan.

May 2

- Ukraine launches an offensive against separatist forces for control of a besieged eastern city while clashes between pro and anti-government activists in the previously calm southern port of Odessa lead to a fire that kills 31 people.

May 3

— Afghan rescuers and volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dig through the mud after a missive landslide swept through a village the day before turning it into an earthen tomb holding hundreds of bodies.

May 4

— Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams is released without charge after five days of police questioning over his alleged involvement in the decades-old IRA killing of a Belfast mother of 10, an investigation that has driven a dangerous wedge into Northern Ireland's fragile unity government.

May 5

— Nigeria's Islamic extremist leader threatens to sell 276 teenage girls abducted from a school in the remote northeast, as foreign governments join in the hunt for the students.

May 6

— The Vatican discloses that over the past decade it has defrocked 848 priests who raped or molested children and sanctioned another 2,572 with lesser penalties, providing the first ever breakdown of how it handled more than 3,400 cases of abuse reported to the Holy See since 2004.

May 7

— Russian President Vladimir Putin softens his tone in confrontation with the West, declaring that he has pulled his troops away from the Ukrainian border and calling for a delay in Sunday's referendum on autonomy in Ukraine's restive east.

May 8

— Syrian rebels level an historic hotel being used as an army base in the northern city of Aleppo by detonating bomb-packed tunnels beneath it, killing an unknown number of soldiers and demonstrating they can still deal heavy blows elsewhere in the country even as they withdraw from Homs.

May 9

— The international effort to rescue 276 schoolgirls being held captive by Islamic extremists in northeastern Nigeria gets a boost when British security experts join Nigerian and American forces trying to rescue the missing students.

May 10

— South Africa's election commission completes vote count that determines the ruling African National Congress as the winner but also shows the strengthening of prominent opposition groups.

May 11

— Pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine say voters overwhelmingly favor sovereignty in balloting that the Ukraine central government and the West denounce as an illegal sham.

May 12

— The huge West Antarctica ice sheet is starting a glacially slow collapse, alarming scientists who say it means even more sea rise than they predicted.

May 13

— Europe's highest court gives people the means to scrub their reputations online, issuing a landmark ruling that experts say could force Google and other search engines to delete references to old debts, long ago arrests and other unflattering episodes.

May 14

— Anger and grief swell in Turkey after 274 miners die in a coal mine fire and explosion and the fate of up to 150 others remains unclear.

May 15

— Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vows to seek ways to allow the military to do more for the country's own defense and international peace after a government-appointed panel urges reinterpretation of the country's pacifist constitution.

May 16

— Indian opposition leader Narendra Modi will become the next prime minister of the world's largest democracy, winning its most decisive election victory in three decades and sweeping the long-dominant Congress Party from power.

May 17

— Tens of thousands flee their homes in Bosnia and Serbia to escape the worst flooding in a century.

May 18

— Forces apparently loyal to a renegade Libyan general say they suspended parliament after leading an assault against lawmakers, directly challenging the legitimacy of the weak central government three years after the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

May 19

— The U.S. charges five Chinese military officials with hacking into U.S. companies' computers to steal vital trade secrets, intensifying already rising tensions.

May 20

— Two car bombs explode at a bustling bus terminal and market in Nigeria's central city of Jos, killing at least 118 and wounding dozens in an attack that bore the hallmark of Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group.

May 21

— China signs a $400 billion gas deal with Russia, allowing Moscow to expand the market for its major export and binding Russia more closely to Beijing as it faces international sanctions for its actions in Ukraine.

May 22

— Thailand's military seizes power in a bloodless coup, dissolving the government, suspending the constitution and dispersing groups of protesters from both sides of the country's political divide who had gathered in Bangkok and raised fears of a violent showdown.

May 23

— Russian President Vladimir Putin pledges that Russia will respect the results of Ukraine's presidential election, a strong indication the Kremlin wants to cool down the crisis.

May 24

—Three people are killed and one seriously injured in a shooting spree at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

May 25

— Candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko wins Ukraine's presidential election in the first round of balloting, sparing the bitterly divided country a run-off.

May 26

— Pope Francis wraps up his Mideast pilgrimage with a balancing act of symbolic and spontaneous gestures to press his call for peace between Jews and Muslims in the land of Jesus' birth.

May 27

— Charting an end to the longest U.S. war, President Barack Obama says he will keep nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after this year but then withdrawing virtually all by the close of 2016 and the conclusion of his presidency.

May 28

— Egypt's former military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi appears well on his way to a landslide victory in a presidential election in which voting was extended for a third day to avoid an embarrassment over a low turnout.

May 29

— In another blow to Ukraine's armed forces, rebels shoot down a troop helicopter killing at least 12 soldiers, including a general who had served in the Soviet army and was in charge of combat training.

May 30

— Former opponents and supporters of Poland's last communist leader, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, lay him to rest with military honors while noisy protesters underscore the ambivalence about the man who imposed military rule in 1981.

May 31

— The only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan is freed by the Taliban in exchange for five Afghan detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

June

June 1

— Thailand's ruling generals deploy thousands of security forces on the streets of Bangkok to thwart another round of protests denouncing last month's military coup.

June 2

— Spain's King Juan Carlos, who led the transition from dictatorship to democracy but faced damaging scandals amid a financial meltdown, announces he will abdicate in favor of his more popular son Felipe.

June 3

—Tens of thousands of Syrians in government-controlled cities vote to give President Bashar Assad a new seven-year mandate; Egypt's former army chief, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, is officially declared winner of a presidential election.

June 4

—Russian President Vladimir Putin is kept out of a summit meeting of world leaders but dominates the meeting as President Barack Obama and his counterparts seeks the Kremlin chief's cooperation in ending the crisis in Ukraine.

June 5

— Royal Canadian Mounted Police comb the streets of normally tranquil Moncton, New Brunswick, in a search of a man suspected of killing three officers in the deadliest attack on their ranks in nearly a decade and later capture him.

June 6

— Historic film footage and modern interpretive dance recreate images of World War II at D-Day's 70th anniversary, a blend of old and new that bridged seven decades and depicted a once riven Europe as a newly unified whole.

June 7

— Ukraine's new president calls for pro-Russian rebels in the country's east to lay down their arms and welcomes dialogue with insurgents, but says he will not negotiate with those he calls "gangsters and killers" and strikes a defiant tone on the Russian-annexed Crimea.

June 8

— Gunmen storm an airport terminal used for VIP flights and cargo in Karachi, an attack that left at least 29 people dead, including the assailants, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of the Pakistan Taliban.

June 9

— A string of sexual assaults on women during celebrations of Egypt's presidential inauguration — including a mass attack on a student who was stripped naked in Cairo's Tahrir Square — prompts outrage.

June 10

— Al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State militants overrun much of Mosul in a stunning assault that exposes Iraq's eroding central authority.

June 11

— Islamic State group militants that seized a huge chunk of northern Iraq command as many as 10,000 fighters and are steadily consolidating their hold on much of northeastern Syria across the border.

June 12

— Ukraine's new president rallies support for his plan to end fighting in the country's east in phone calls with German and Russian leaders as he condemns what Ukrainian officials call an incursion of armored vehicles from Russia.

June 13

— Iraq's Shiite clerical leadership calls on all Iraqis to defend their country from Sunni militants who have seized large swaths of the country; a U.N. official expresses "extreme alarm" at reprisal killings, citing reports of hundreds dead and wounded.

June 14

— Afghans brave threats of violence and searing heat to vote in a presidential runoff that likely will mark the country's first peaceful transfer of authority, an important step toward democracy as foreign combat troops leave.

June 15

—The Islamic militants who overran cities and towns in Iraq post graphic photos that appear to show their gunmen massacring scores of captured soldiers while Iraq's prime minister vows to "liberate every inch" of captured territory.

June 16

—The U.S. signals a new willingness to work with Iran to help Iraq stave off an insurgency after years of trying to limit Tehran's influence in Baghdad, a dramatic shift.

June 17

— U.S. special forces seize a "key leader" in the deadly Benghazi, Libya, attack of 2012; he faces trial in the U.S for the fiery assault that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

June 18

— Iraqi forces and Sunni militants battle fiercely for control of the country's largest oil refinery as Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki goes on a diplomatic offensive, reaching out in a television address to try to regain the support of Sunnis and Kurds.

June 19

- President Barack Obama cautions the U.S. and Europe against complacency brought on by peace and pledges to reduce America's deployed nuclear weapons by one-third if Cold War foe Russia does the same.

June 20

— The U.N. refugee agency says the 50 million people displaced worldwide at the end of last year reflect an ever-expanding web of conflicts and the largest population of displaced persons since the end of World War II.

June 21

— Sunni insurgents led by a breakaway al-Qaida group expand their offensive in a volatile western province, capturing two strategic towns and the first border crossing with Syria to fall on the Iraqi side.

June 22

— Russian President Vladimir Putin expresses support for Ukraine's declaration of a cease-fire in its battle with pro-Russian separatists and calls on both sides to negotiate a compromise.

June 23

— An Egyptian court convicts three al-Jazeera journalists and sentences them to seven years in prison on terrorism-related charges, a verdict that brings international condemnation.

June 24

— Two powerful British insiders meet starkly different fates as former News of the World editor Andy Coulson is convicted of phone hacking but fellow editor Rebekah Brooks is cleared of all charges after a monthslong trial centering on illegal acts at the heart of Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire.

June 25

— Syrian warplanes bomb Sunni militants' positions inside Iraq, deepening concerns that the extremist insurgency that spans the two neighboring countries could morph into a wider regional conflict.

June 26

— President Barack Obama moves to ratchet up U.S. efforts to strengthen more moderate Syrian rebels proposing a $500 million plan to train and arm them as the civil war they are fighting becomes increasingly intertwined with the conflict in neighboring Iraq.

June 27

— Over Russian objections, Ukraine's new president signs a free-trade agreement binding his country more closely to Western Europe, sealing the very agreement that triggered the bloodshed and political convulsions of the past seven months.

June 28

— The Iraq government launches its biggest push yet to wrest back ground lost to Sunni militant, as soldiers backed by tan tanks and helicopters begin an offensive to retake Takrit.

June 29

— The al-Qaida breakaway group that has seized much of northeast Syria and huge tracts in neighboring Iraq formally declares the establishment of a new Islamic state and demands allegiance from Muslims worldwide.

June 30

— The Israeli military finds the bodies of three missing teenagers just over two weeks after they were abducted in the occupied West Bank, allegedly by Hamas militants, raising fears of new fighting with them.

July

July 1

— The leader of the Islamic State extremist group that has overrun parts of Iraq and Syria calls on Muslims around the world to flock to territories under his control to fight and build an Islamic state.

July 2

— Palestinians accuse Israeli extremists of abducting and killing an Arab teenager and burning his body, sparking hours of clashes in east Jerusalem and drawing charges that the youth was slain to avenge the killing of three Israeli teens.

July 3

— A top Kurdish leader, in view of militants taking control of large parts of Iraq, calls on regional lawmakers to lay the groundwork for a referendum on independence, a vote that would likely spell the end of a unified Iraq.

July 4

— Germany summons the U.S. ambassador in Berlin after the arrest of a man reported to have spied for the United States, heightening friction between the two countries over alleged U.S. eavesdropping in Germany.

July 5

— Ukrainian troops force pro-Russian insurgents out of a key stronghold in Ukraine's embattled east, a significant success that suggests the government may finally be making gains in a monthslong battle against a spreading insurgency.

July 6

— Israel arrests six Jewish suspects in the slaying of a Palestinian teenager who was abducted and burned alive, a crime that set off a wave of protests in Arab sections of the country.

July 7

— Pope Francis begs forgiveness in his first meeting with Catholics sexually abused by members of the clergy and vows to hold bishops responsible for their handling of pedophile priests.

July 8

— Afghanistan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah defiantly tells thousands of his supporters he will declare victory in the country's election, claiming massive fraud was responsible for preliminary results that put his rival Ashraf Ghani in the lead.

July 9

— Israel steps up its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, pummeling scores of targets and killing at least 22 people in response to rocket attacks on its territory.

July 10

— Germany demands Washington's top spy leave the country as a new round of allegations over US. espionage worsens friction between the two allies.

July 11

— Kurdish security forces take over two major oil fields outside the disputed northern city of Kirkuk and say they will use some of the production for domestic purposes, further widening a split with the central government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki.

July 12

— Afghanistan's two rival candidates reach a breakthrough agreement to allow a complete audit of their contested presidential election.

July 13

— Thousands of Palestinian residents flee their homes and seek safety in U.N. shelters, heeding warnings from the Israeli military about impending plans to bomb the area in the sixth day of an offensive against Hamas that has killed more than 160 people.

July 14

— Egypt presents a cease-fire plan to end heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas militants that has left at least 185 people dead.

July 15

— Israel resumes heavy bombing of Gaza and warns that Hamas "would pay the price" after the Islamic militant group rejects an Egyptian truce plan and instead unleashes more rocket barrages at the Jewish state.

July 16

— The U.S. and the European Union impose new economic sanctions on Russia, as President Barack Obama declares that Moscow must see that its actions supporting Ukrainian rebels "have consequences."

July 17

— A Malaysian Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people is shot down over war-torn eastern Ukraine; both Ukraine's government and pro-Russian separatists deny responsibility for downing the aircraft.

July 18

— World leaders demand that pro-Russian rebels at the eastern Ukrainian crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 give immediate, unfettered access to independent investigators to determine who shot down the plane.

July 19

— Israeli bulldozers demolish more than a dozen tunnels in the Gaza Strip; Palestinian authorities report intensified air strikes and shelling as the death toll from Israel's ground offensive rises to at least 352.

July 20

—The U.S. presents what it calls "powerful" evidence that rebels in eastern Ukraine shot down a Malaysian jetliner with a Russian surface-to-air missile.

July 21

— Pro-Moscow separatists bow to international pressure and agree to turn over flight data recorders from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane, four days after it plunged into eastern Ukraine.

July 22

— A Hamas rocket explodes near Israel's main airport, prompting a ban on flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada.

July 23

— Victims of the Malaysian jetliner shot down over Ukraine return to Dutch soil in a solemn ceremony as pro-Russian rebels shoot down two Ukraine government fighter jets.

July 24

-An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashes in restive northern Mali — the third major international aviation disaster in a week.

July 25

— The U.S. and Ukraine charge Russia with launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border in what appears to be an escalation of the crisis.

July 26

— Hamas resumes rocket fire on Israel after rejecting its offer to extend a humanitarian cease-fire — the latest setback in international efforts to negotiate an end to the Gaza war.

July 27

— One of Liberia's most high-profile doctors has died of Ebola and an American physician was being treated for the deadly virus — highlighting the risks facing health workers trying to combat an outbreak that has killed more than 670 people in West Africa.

July 28

— Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells Israelis to be ready for a "prolonged" conflict with Hamas in Gaza as both sides hold out for bigger gains and a cease-fire in the three week conflict remains elusive.

July 29

— One of Europe's last banking dynasties, Portugal's Banco Espirito Sancto, is being stripped of its wealth and influence amid accounting irregularities, huge unreported debts, record losses at the family bank and a police investigation.

July 30

— Talks aimed at averting Argentina's second default in 13 years end with bitter recriminations as the South American country says it cannot not accept a deal with U.S. hedge fund creditors it describes as "vultures."

July 31

—The death toll from the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history surpasses 700 in West Africa as security forces go from house to house in Sierra Leone looking for infected people in an effort to combat the disease.

August

Aug. 1

—Israeli forces push deep into Gaza searching for an Israeli army officer believed to have been captured by Hamas fighters during heavy clashes that shatter a cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and the United Nations. Israel later declares him killed in battle.

Aug. 2

—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggests Israeli troops will reassess their 27-day-old ground operation in Gaza after completing demolition of Hamas military tunnels on the Gaza-Israel border.

Aug. 3

—A strong earthquake in China's southern Yunnan province topples thousands of homes, killing 367 people and injuring more than 1,800.

Aug. 4

—A U.S program in Cuba that secretly used an HIV-prevention workshop for political activism is assailed by international health officials and members of Congress who declare that such clandestine efforts put health programs around the world at risk.

Aug. 5

—An American major general is shot to death in one of the bloodiest insider attacks in the long Afghanistan war; the gunman dressed as an Afghan soldier turns on allied troops, wounding about 15 including a German general and two Afghan generals.

Aug. 6

—Nigerian authorities rush to obtain isolation tents in anticipation of more Ebola infections as they disclose five more cases and one death in Africa's most populous nation. At least 932 people in four African countries have died from the illness.

Aug. 7

—Militants from the Islamic State group seize control of Iraq's largest hydroelectric dam, giving them control of power and water resources and leverage over the Tigris River that runs through the heart of Baghdad.

Aug. 8

—The U.S. unleashes its first airstrikes against the Islamic State group in northern Iraq amid a worsening humanitarian crisis; thousands from the Yazidi religious minority group flee in fear as militants take control of a number of villages in the north.

Aug. 9

—President Barack Obama justifies the U.S. military's return to fighting in Iraq by saying Americans must act to now to prevent genocide, protect its diplomats and provide humanitarian aid to refugees trapped by Islamic militants on a mountain range near the Syrian border.

Aug. 10

—Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki resists calls for his resignation and accuses the country's new president of violating the constitution, plunging the government into a political crisis at a time it is battling advances by Islamic State militants in the north.

Aug. 11

—Iraq's president snubs Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki and picks another Shiite politician to form the next government, setting up a fierce power struggle as the country battles Islamic extremists.

Aug. 12

—Syrian Kurdish fighters battle Islamic militants to carve out an escape route for tens of thousands of Yazidis trapped on a mountain top in northern Iraq.

Aug. 13

—Israel and Hamas agree to extend a temporary cease-fire for five days, potentially averting violence and permitting the two sides to continue negotiating a peace deal in Gaza.

Aug. 14

—Nouri al-Malaki, Iraq's prime minister for the past eight years, relinquishes the post to his nominated successor, ending a political deadlock that plunged the country into uncertainty as it battles a Sunni insurgency.

Aug. 15

—Pope Francis calls for Catholics to combat the allure of materialism, an appeal at his first public Mass in Asia that might be a hard sell in South Korea, a newly rich and hyper-competitive country.

Aug. 16

—Iraqi militants shoot scores of Yazidi men to death before abducting their wives and children.

Aug. 17

—The Ukrainian government says army troops have penetrated deep inside a rebel-held eastern city in what could be a breakthrough development in the four-month-long conflict.

Aug. 18

—Iraqi and Kurdish forces recapture Iraq's largest dam from Islamic State group militants, following dozens of U.S. airstrikes in the first major defeat for the extremists since they swept across the country.

Aug. 19

—An Egyptian effort to broker an end to a monthlong war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip appears to collapse after Israel walks out on the talks in response to a Palestinian rocket attack.

Aug. 20

—The United States launches a new barrage of airstrikes against Islamic State extremists and weighs sending more troops to Iraq as President Barack Obama vows to be relentless in pursuit of a terrorist group that beheaded an American journalist.

Aug. 21

—Israel steps up its campaign against Gaza's ruling Hamas, killing three of the group's senior military commanders in an airstrike, the second such attack targeting top leaders in as many days.

Aug. 22

—Gunmen attack a Sunni mosque during Friday prayers and kill at least 64 people, prompting Sunni lawmakers to withdraw from talks on forming a new, more inclusive government capable of confronting Islamic extremists who have overrun large swaths of Iraq.

Aug. 23

—Hundreds of Russian aid trucks return home from eastern Ukraine, highlighting a dire need for long-term assistance to the region where homes and livelihoods have been destroyed by months of fighting.

Aug. 24

—The top Islamic authority in Egypt, revered by many Muslims worldwide, launches an Internet-based campaign challenging an extremist group in Syria and Iraq by saying it should not be called an "Islamic State."

Aug. 25

—Syria says it is ready to help confront the rising threat from the Islamic State group but warns the United States against carrying out airstrikes without Damascus' consent, saying any such attack would be considered an aggression.

Aug. 26

—Israel and Gaza's ruling Hamas agree to an open-ended cease-fire after seven weeks of fighting that killed more than 2,200 — an uneasy deal that halts the deadliest war the sides have fought in years but puts off the most difficult issues.

Aug. 27

— Heavily armed Russian-backed separatist forces push west in an offensive along Ukraine's strategic coastline far from their previous battles with government troops.

Aug. 28

—The World Health Organization says the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is accelerating and could grow six times larger to infect as many as 20,000 people.

Aug. 29

—Mexico's largest crackdown in decades on illegal migration has decreased the flow of Central Americans trying to reach the United States and has dramatically cut the number of children immigrants and families.

Aug. 30

—The European Union warns that the apparent incursion of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil pushes the conflict to a point of no return, with new sanctions being drawn up to make Moscow reconsider its position.

Aug. 31

—Anti-government protesters clash repeatedly with police in the Pakistani capital and the powerful military cautions Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif against any further use of force in the crisis that has triggered the biggest challenge yet to his authority.

September

Sept. 1

— The U.N.'s top human rights body overwhelmingly approves the Iraqi government's request for an investigation into alleged crimes against civilians committed by the Islamic State group in its rampage across northeastern Syria and parts of Iraq.

Sept. 2

— Islamic State group extremists release a video purportedly showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff and warn President Barack Obama against further U.S. airstrikes on the group.

Sept. 3

— President Barack Obama condemns Russian aggression in Ukraine as a threat to peace and, in the Baltic state of Estonia, pledges that NATO will protect allies who fear they will be the next target.

Sept. 4

— President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron press fellow NATO allies to confront the "brutal and poisonous" Islamic State militant group that is wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria and urge regional partners like Turkey and Jordan to join the effort as well.

Sept. 5

— Ukraine, Russia and Kremlin-back separatists sign a cease-fire after five months of bloodshed and NATO leaders create a rapid-reaction "spearhead" force to protect Eastern Europe from Russian bullying.

Sept.6

— Witnesses in the Ukraine port city of Mariupol report sustained explosions outside the city and a volunteer battalion of fighters say Grad rockets were fired at their positions little more than a day after a cease-fire between the government and Kremlin-backed separatists went into effect.

Sept. 7

— The U.S. and Georgia move to expand their defense relationship in the face of growing Russian aggression, including the possible sale of Black Hawk helicopters to the former Soviet republic located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Asia.

Sept. 8

— Britain's main political leaders scramble to offer Scotland greater autonomy in a last-ditch effort to stave off independence; the pound sinks on opinion polls suggesting separatists are gaining ground and may even be in the lead ahead of a referendum.

Sept. 9

— Investigators in the Netherlands say Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was struck by "high energy objects from outside the aircraft" that caused it to break up over Ukraine, killing 238 people.

Sept. 10

— President Barack Obama authorizes airstrikes inside Syria for the first time along with expanded strikes in Iraq as part of a "steady, relentless effort" to root out Islamic State extremists.

Sept. 11

— Key Arab allies promise "to do their share" to fight Islamic State militants but NATO member Turkey refuses to join in, signaling the struggle the U.S. faces in trying to get front-line nations to put aside their animosities and work together to defeat a common enemy.

Sept. 12

— A South African judge convicts former track star Oscar Petorious of culpable homicide in the shooting death of his girlfriend.

Sept. 13

— Ukraine's prime minister says the country is "still in a state of war" with neighboring Russia despite a cease-fire between government forces and Russian-backed rebels in the east.

Sept. 14

— Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfelt says he will resign after his center-right coalition lost a parliamentary election to a left-leaning opposition led by Social Democrats.

Sept. 15

— The United Nations says it has withdrawn its peacekeepers from many positions on the Golan Heights because of escalating fighting between Syrian government forces and rebel fighters.

Sept. 16

— President Barack Obama declares that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could threaten security around the world and orders 3,000 U.S. troops to the region in emergency aid muscle for a crisis spiraling out of control.

Sept. 17

— Iraq's new prime minister rules out stationing U.S. ground troops in his country, chides the international community for inaction in Syria and laments the "puzzling" exclusion of Iran from the coalition being assembled to fight the Islamic State group.

Sept. 18

— U.S. Congress clears the way for the U.S. military to train and equip Syrian rebels for a war against Islamic Group militants.

Sept. 19

— Scots reject independence from Britain in a referendum.

Sept. 20

— Turkish authorities say they have freed 49 hostages held by the militant Islamic State group without firing a shot, paying a ransom or offering a quid pro quo.

Sept. 21

— Ashraf Ghani is named as Afghanistan's president after he and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, sign a power sharing agreement, clearing the way for President Hamid Karzai to step down and for the eventual signature of an agreement on U.S. troops remaining in the country.

Sept. 22

— The United States and five Arab nations launch airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria, sending waves of planes and Tomahawk cruise missiles against an array of targets.

Sept. 23

—The U.S. strikes the al-Qaida-linked Khorasan group with Tomahawk missiles and other ordinance near Aleppo in northwestern Syria based on fears it was planning terrorist attacks on the U.S. and Europe.

Sept. 24

— President Barack Obama implores world leaders at the United Nations to rally behind his expanded military campaign to stamp out the violent Islamic State group and its "network of death."

Sept. 25

— Turkey joins its NATO allies and fellow Sunni Muslim nations in a coalition to destroy the Islamic State militant group after pressure from U.S. and Arab officials.

Sept. 26

— American warplanes and drones hit Islamic State group targets in Syria and Iraq as the U.S.-led coalition expands to include Britain, Denmark and Belgium.

Sept. 27

— Hong Kong activists kick off a long-promised massive civil disobedience protest to challenge Beijing over restrictions on voting reform.

Sept. 28

— A volcano erupts on Mount Ontake in central Japan and dozens are killed at the popular climbing destination.

Sept. 29

— Hong Kong's embattled police defend their use of tear gas but soften their tactics after forceful attempts to quell pro-democracy protests draw tens of thousands more people into the streets in an unprecedented show of civil disobedience.

Sept. 30

- U.S. and Afghan officials sign a long-delayed security pact to keep nearly 10,000 American forces in Afghanistan beyond the planned final withdrawal of U.S. and international combat forces at the end of the year.

October

Oct. 1

— The United States sharply criticizes Israel over a housing project in east Jerusalem.

Oct. 2

— Hong Kong's embattled leader refuses demands by pro-democracy protesters to step down and instead offers talks to defuse a week of massive demonstrations that have grown into the biggest challenge to Beijing's authority since China took control of the former British colony in 1997.

Oct. 3

— An Internet video purports to show an Islamic State group militant beheading British hostage Alan Henning, the fourth such killing carried out by the extremist group now targeted by U.S.-led airstrikes.

Oct. 4

— North Korea's presumptive No. 2 leader and other members of Pyongyang's inner circle meet with South Korean officials in the rivals' highest level face-to-face talks in five years.

Oct. 5

— A suicide bomber blows himself up in Grozny, killing five policemen and wounding 12 others as the Chechen capital celebrates the birthday of its pro-Russian leader.

Oct. 6

— A Spanish nurse tests who treated a missionary for Ebola tests positive for the virus, its first known transmission outside of West Africa.

Oct. 7

— Two Japanese scientists and a Japanese-born American win the Nobel Prize for physics for inventing a new kind of light-emitting diode or LED that promises to revolutionize the way the world lights its offices and homes.

Oct. 8

— A Liberian man who was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States dies despite intense but delayed treatment, and the U.S. government announces it is expanding airport screening to guard against the spread of the deadly disease that has killed thousands in West Africa.

Oct. 9

— Six U.S. military planes arrive in the Ebola hot zone with more Marines as West African leaders plead for the world's help in dealing with a tragedy "unforeseen in modern times."

Oct. 10

— A 17-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, and a 60-year-old Indian, Kailash Satyarthi, are co-winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, honored for risking their lives for the rights of children to education and to live lives free of abuse.

Oct. 11

— World finance leaders promise "bold and ambitious" action to boost a global economic recovery that has shown recent disturbing signs of weakness.

Oct. 12

— A donor conference in Cairo to raise money for Gaza after this year's war between Hamas and Israel ends with pledges of $5.4 billion, half of which will be dedicated to the reconstruction of the coastal strip.

Oct. 13

— North Korea's official news agency says leader Kim Jong Un has made his first public appearance in 40 days, ending an absence that fueled speculation about his health and control over the country.

Oct. 14

— Conservative Roman Catholic bishops at a Vatican conference on family values distance themselves from a document that contains an unprecedented opening toward gays and divorced Catholics and vow to make changes to the final version.

Oct. 15

— Fresh signs of slow global economic growth and the Ebola crisis send stocks on Wall Street tumbling as much as 460 points in the most turbulent day since 2011 before partially recovering. European shares slide as well.

Oct. 16

— Riot police move in on a Hong Kong pro-democracy protest zone in a dawn raid, taking down barricades, tents and canopies that have blocked key streets for more than two weeks.

Oct. 17

— The World Health Organization acknowledges it botched attempts to stop the now-spiraling Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff, lack of information and budget cuts.

Oct. 18

— Roman Catholic bishops scrap their landmark welcome to gays and cannot agree on another contentious issue —communion for divorced and remarried Catholics — at a two-week meeting called by Pope Francis to chart a more merciful approach to ministering to the family.

Oct. 19

— An Associated Press investigation finds that dozens of Nazis war criminals and SS guards collected millions in U.S. Social Security pension payments after being forced out of the United States.

Oct. 20

— New York's Metropolitan Opera opens "The Death of Klinghoffer" amid protests outside and inside the theater that the work glorifies Palestinian terrorists.

Oct. 21

— North Korea's reclusive regime abruptly frees an American man nearly six months after he was arrested for leaving a Bible in a nightclub.

Oct. 22

—A gunman shoots to death a soldier standing guard at a war memorial, then storms Canada's Parliament in the heart of downtown Ottawa before he is shot and killed by the usually ceremonial sergeant-at-arms.

Oct. 23

— Jerusalem's mayor calls for an end to a wave of Palestinian unrest and police strengthen security after a Palestinian with a history of anti-Israel violence rams his car into a light rail train station, killing a baby girl.

Oct. 24

— A coordinated assault on an army checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula kills 30 Egyptian troops, making it the deadliest single attack on the military, which has been trying to stem a wave of violence by Islamic extremists.

Oct. 25

— The World Health Organization says more than 10,000 have been infected with Ebola and nearly half of them have died as the outbreak continues to spread.

Oct. 26

— Left-leaning Dilma Roussef is narrowly re-elected in Brazil's tightest presidential election since its return to democracy three decades ago.

Oct. 27

— A river of molten lava from Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanos, threatens residents of a Hawaiian village who may have to leave their homes.

Oct. 28

— Thousands of flag-waving, cheering people give a noisy send-off to a group of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga troops who leave for Turkey on their way to help their Syrian brethren fight Islamic extremists in the embattled border town of Kobani.

Oct. 29

— Egypt demolishes dozens of homes along its border with the Gaza Strip after the military ordered residents out to make way for a buffer zone meant to keep out militants and smugglers.

Oct. 30

— Israel closes all access to Jerusalem's most sensitive religious site, a rare moved that ratcheted up tensions after the attempted assassination of a Jewish religious activist and the killing of a Palestinian suspect in the case by security forces.

Oct. 31

— The president of Burkina Faso steps down after protesters storm parliament and set the building ablaze, ending the 27-year reign of one of Africa's longest serving rulers who had survived previous attempts to topple him.

November

Nov. 1

— 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.

Nov. 2

— 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.

Nov. 3

— Russia offers warm support for rebel-organized elections in breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine that are roundly condemned by the West.

Nov. 4

— 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.

Nov. 5

— 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.

Nov. 6

— 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.

Nov. 7

— 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.

Nov. 8

— 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.

Nov. 9

— 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.

Nov. 10

— 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.

Nov. 11

— 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.

Nov. 12

— 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.

Nov. 13

— 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.

Nov. 14

— 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.

Nov. 15

— 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.

Nov. 16

— 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."

Nov. 17

— 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.

Nov. 18

— 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.

Nov. 19

— 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.

Nov. 20

— 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.

Nov. 21

— 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.

Nov. 22

— 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.

Nov. 23

— 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.

Nov. 24

— 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.

Nov. 25

— Two teenage girls set off explosives in a suicide bombing in Maiduguri, a provincial capital in northeast Nigeria, killing more than 40 people.

Nov. 26

— 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.

Nov. 27

— 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.

Nov. 28

— 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.

Nov. 29

— 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.

Nov. 30

— 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.

December

Dec. 1

— Protesters march in several Mexican cities to mark the second anniversary of President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration and demand the government find 43 students who disappeared at the hands of police.

Dec. 2

— Lebanese authorities detain a woman and young boy believed to be the wife and son of the reclusive Islamic State group leader and question her.

Dec. 3

— Iranian jets have carried out airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq, U.S. officials and independent analysts say, underscoring the strange alliances generated by war against the extremist group.

Dec. 4

— Police wage hours-long gun battles with Islamic militants who attacked Chechnya's capital of Grozny, leaving at least 20 people dead and underscoring Russia's vulnerability just as President Vladimir Putin used patriotic and religious imagery in his state-of-the-nation address to defend his standoff with the West.

Dec. 5

— NASA's newest space vehicle, Orion, accomplishes its first test flight with precision and pizazz, shooting out more than 3,600 miles (5,800 kilometers) from Earth for a hyperfast, hot return not seen since the Apollo moon shots.

Dec. 6

— An American photojournalist and a South African teacher are killed during a high-risk U.S. raid to free them from al-Qaida-affiliated militants in Yemen.

Dec. 7

— Six prisoners held for 12 years at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have arrived in Uruguay, a South American nation with only a tiny Muslim population, amid a new push by President Barack Obama to close the U.S. prison.

Dec. 8

— American and NATO troops close their operational command in Afghanistan, lowering flags to mark the formal end of their combat mission in a country still mired in war 13 years after the mission began.

Dec. 9

— U.S. Senate investigators conclude the United States brutalized scores of terror suspects with interrogation tactics that turned secret CIA prisons into chambers of suffering and did nothing to make Americans safer after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Dec. 10

— A Palestinian Cabinet member dies after a scuffle with Israeli troops and images of the encounter stir anger among Palestinians at a time of badly strained relations with Israel.

Dec. 11

— CIA Director John Brennan, responding to the U.S. Senate torture report, acknowledges that "abhorrent tactics" were used on terror detainees but said it was "unknown and unknowable" whether the harsh treatment yielded crucial intelligence that could have been gained in any other way.

Dec. 12

— Traffic is back to normal in Hong Kong's financial district after authorities demolish a protest camp at the heart of the city's 2 1/2 month pro-democracy movement.

Dec. 13

— Thousands of protesters march in New York, Washington and other U.S. cities to call attention to the killing of unarmed black men by white police officers who faced no criminal charges.

Dec. 14

— Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe scores a decisive election victory and promises to push efforts to revitalize the world's third largest economy.

Dec. 15

— Police storm a cafe in the heart of Sydney, Australia, to end a 16-hour hostage siege by an Iranian-born self-styled Muslim cleric. Three are killed — the gunman and two of his hostages— and four are wounded.

Dec. 16

— Taliban gunmen storm a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, killing at least 141 people, mostly children.

Dec. 17

— The United States and Cuba restore diplomatic relations, sweeping away one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.

Dec. 18

— President Vladimir Putin warns West it cannot defang the metaphorical Russian bear, vowing to shore up the plummeting ruble and revive economy within two years.

Dec. 19

— President Barack Obama says Sony "made a mistake" in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader and pledges the U.S. will respond to the hacking attack that led to the withdrawal.

Dec. 20

— Cuban President Raul Castro sends a blunt message to Washington as the White House works to reverse a half century of hostility between Washington and Havana: Don't expect detente to do away with the communist system.

Dec. 21

— Thousands of members of Nigeria's home-grown Islamic extremist group Boko Haram strike across the border in Cameroon in coordinated attacks on towns, a troop convoy and major barracks.

Dec. 22

— North Korea experiences sweeping Internet outages for hours before coming back online. The White House and the State Department refuse to say if the U.S. government was responsible.

Dec. 23

—"The Interview" is put back into theaters when Sony Pictures Entertainment announces a limited release of the comedy that provoked an international incident with North Korea and outrage over its canceled showing.

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