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Chronology of global news events in 2012

/ 10:58 AM January 01, 2013

Former Chief Justice Renato Corona. INQUIRER file photo


May 1. The Libyan government formally challenges the International Criminal Court’s right to try Moammar Gadhafi’s son for war crimes, arguing that he should face justice on Libyan soil despite concerns he may not receive a fair trial there.

May 2. Egypt’s worst violence in months escalates the confrontation between political forces and the ruling military ahead of a landmark presidential election, as suspected army supporters attack mainly Islamist protesters outside the Defense Ministry, sparking clashes that left at least 11 people dead.


May 3. Syrian forces storm student dormitories during an anti-government protest at Aleppo University, firing tear gas and bullets in an hours-long siege that killed at least four students and forced the closure of the state-run school, activists said.

May 4. With a series of quickly choreographed steps, the U.S. and China outline a tentative deal to send a blind legal activist to America for study and potentially bring a face-saving end to a delicate diplomatic crisis.

May 5. Thousands of Japanese march to celebrate the switching off of the last of their nation’s 50 nuclear reactors, waving banners shaped as giant fish that have become a potent anti-nuclear symbol.

May 6. France hands the presidency to leftist Francois Hollande, a champion of government stimulus programs in a victory that could deal a blow to the German-led drive for austerity that has been the hallmark of Europe in recent years. Greek voters turn against mainline parties that backed the tough terms of the country’s massive international bailout.

May 7. Vladimir Putin takes the oath of office in a brief but regal Kremlin ceremony, while on the streets outside thousands of helmeted riot police prevent hundreds of demonstrators from protesting his return to the Russian presidency.

May 8. In a stunning reversal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls off early elections after reaching an agreement to bring Israel’s main opposition party into the government, a move that puts a more moderate face on his hawkish coalition.

May 9. Yulia Tymoshenko ends a nearly three-week long hunger strike as the imprisoned former Ukrainian prime minister is moved from jail to a hospital for treatment of a severe back condition under the supervision of a German doctor.

May 10. Twin suicide car bombs explode outside a military intelligence building and kill 55 people in the deadliest attack against a regime target since the Syrian uprising began 14 months ago, fueling fears of a rising Islamic militant element among the forces seeking to oust President Bashar Assad.


May 11. Islamists suffer a surprising defeat in Algeria’s parliamentary elections, bucking a trend that saw them gain power across North Africa after Arab Spring uprisings.

May 12. Spaniards angered by increasingly grim economic prospects and unemployment hitting one out of every four citizens protest in droves in the nation’s largest cities, marking the one-year anniversary of a spontaneous movement that inspired similar anti-authority demonstrations in many countries.

May 13. A gunman in a car assassinates a former high-ranking Taliban official working to end the decade-long war in Afghanistan, dealing a powerful blow to the fragile, U.S.-backed effort to bring peace to the country.

May 14. Nigeria’s defense minister says his country is ready to send troops to Guinea-Bissau and Mali as part of a regional force heading to the West African nations recently struck by coups.

May 15. The UN’s observer mission in Syria is caught up in a burst of violence captured on video, with a roadside bomb damaging its cars just minutes after witnesses said regime forces gunned down mourners at a funeral procession nearby.

May 16. A major European Jewish organization is urging European governments to quickly adopt measures to tackle anti-Semitism and far-right extremism, including possibly banning a hardline Greek party that did unusually well in recent elections.

May 17. The US has plans in place to attack Iran if necessary to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, Washington’s envoy to Israel says, days ahead of a crucial round of nuclear talks with Tehran.

May 18. Syrian forces on Friday fire on protesters holding the largest opposition marches yet in Aleppo, a sign of rising anti-regime sentiment in the country’s biggest city, which has largely remained supportive of President Bashar Assad throughout the 15-month uprising.

May 19. Residents of the eastern Libyan city that served as the cradle of the uprising that toppled Moammar Gadhafi vote for a local council in the Benghazi’s first elections since the longtime dictator’s capture and killing last year.

May 20. Officials from both sides say Palestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah agree on a new timetable for a power-sharing deal that envisions elections in about six months.

May 21. A Yemeni man detonates a bomb hidden in a uniform during a rehearsal for a military parade, killing 96 fellow soldiers and wounding at least 200 in one of the deadliest attacks in the capital in years. Al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen claims responsibility, proving it can strike sensitive targets in Sanaa, the capital.

May 22. Iran makes the first move in attempts to gain an edge in nuclear talks with the U.S. and other world powers: It agrees in principle to allow UN inspectors to restart probes into a military site suspected of harboring tests related to atomic weapons.

May 23. After a lifetime of being told who will rule them, Egyptians dive enthusiastically into the uncertainty of the Arab world’s first competitive presidential race, wrestling with a polarizing choice between secularists rooted in Hosni Mubarak’s old autocracy and Islamists hoping to infuse the state with religion.

May 24. Iran and six world powers wrap up talks still far apart over how to oversee Tehran’s atomic program, but with resolve to keep dialogue going as an alternative to possible military action.

May 25. The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate and a veteran of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak’s autocratic regime will face each other in a runoff election for Egypt’s president. The divisive showdown dismays many Egyptians who fear either one means an end to any democratic gains produced by last year’s uprising.

May 26. Gruesome video shows rows of dead Syrian children lying in a mosque in bloody shorts and T-shirts with gaping head wounds, haunting images of what activists call one of the deadliest regime attacks yet in Syria’s 14-month-old uprising. The U.N. says the assault on Houla, a group of villages northwest of the central city of Homs, killed more than 90 people, including at least 32 children under the age of 10.

May 27. Iran’s nuclear chief says there are no reasons at the moment for his country to halt production of uranium enriched to 20 percent, a key demand of world powers, concerned the material could be used in nuclear weapons.

May 28. Qatar’s Interior Ministry says 13 children are among 19 people killed in a fire that broke out in one of the country’s fanciest shopping malls, raising questions about building safety in the booming Gulf state.

May 29. Senators fire the Philippines’ Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona for failing to declare $2.4 million in bank accounts in a politically colored trial that has reinvigorated President Benigno Aquino III’s campaign to clean up the government.

May 30. The former top media adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron is arrested and charged with perjury in the trial of a flamboyant ex-Scottish lawmaker — the latest case tied to allegations of wrongdoing by British tabloid newspapers.

May 31. Democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi uses her first foreign trip in 24 years to fight for her Myanmar countrymen suffering abroad — millions of economic migrants unable to work at home but vulnerable to exploitation elsewhere. In Thailand, they greet her by the thousands.

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TAGS: 2012, Features, Foreign affairs, Government, Politics, Security, Terrorism, Violence
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