Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
Here are the key news events of the month organized into three categories: World News, U.S. News, and Business, Society, and Science News.
- Ukrainian President Dissolves Parliament (April 2): President Viktor Yushchenko accuses Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, his bitter rival, of attempting to consolidate power. Yushchenko sets elections for May 27.
- British Sailors Captured in Iran Are Freed (April 4): The 15 sailors and marines who were seized in disputed waters on March 23 by Iranian troops are freed. Iran claimed the sailors illegally entered Iranian waters, while British officials maintained they were in Iraqi territory.
- Thousands of Iraqis Protest American Occupation (April 9): Iraqis loyal to the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr rally in the streets of Najaf against the foreign occupation of Iraq.
- Iranian President Announces Ability to Enrich Uranium (April 9): President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the country has the ability to enrich uranium on an industrial scale, which is part of the process to make fuel for a nuclear bomb or reactor.
- Serbian Court Convicts Four of War Crimes (April 10): Four Serbs—former paramilitary officers—are found guilty of executing six Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica in Trnovo.
- Bombs Kill Dozens in Algeria (April 11): Some 35 people are killed and hundreds are wounded when suicide bombers attack a government building in the capital, Algiers, and a police station on the outskirts of the capital. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claims responsibility for the attack.
- Iraq Parliament and Beloved Bridge Are Attacked (April 12): Eight people, including two Iraqi legislators, die when a suicide bomber strikes inside the Parliament building, which is located in Baghdad's fortified International Zone. An organization that includes al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia claims responsibility for the bold attack. In another attack, the Sarafiya Bridge that spans the Tigris River is destroyed.
- Bombs Kill Nearly 200 in Baghdad (April 18): Five bombs targeting Shiite neighborhoods ravage the Iraqi capital in the worst violence in weeks. One bomb alone kills about 140 in Sadr City area.
- Atomic Agency Confirms Iran's Progress in Uranium Enrichment (April 18): International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran is enriching uranium in some 1,300 centrifuges.
- Nigerian Presidential Election Is Called Deeply Flawed (April 21): Umaru Yar’Adua, the candidate of the governing party, wins the election in a landslide, taking more than 24.6 million votes. Second-place candidate Muhammadu Buhari tallies only about 6 million votes. International observers call the vote flawed and illegitimate. The chief observer for the European Union says the results “cannot be considered to have been credible.” Many expect a prolonged legal battle to determine the next step in the process.
- Conservative and Liberal Candidates Top Vote in French Elections (April 22): Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative candidate, prevails over Ségolène Royal, of the Socialist Party, taking 30.7% of the vote to Royal’s 25.2%. They will face each other in a second and final round in May. Centrist candidate François Bayrou places a distant third, with 18.4%.
- U.S. Squadron Hit by Suicide Bombers in Iraq (April 24): Nine U.S. soldiers are killed and at least 20 are wounded by two bombers attacking an American post in Diyala.
- Russia Says It Will Suspend Weapons Treaty (April 26): President Vladimir Putin announces Russia will suspend the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, which limits conventional weapons in Europe. Several U.S. officials speculate that Putin was acting in response to U.S. plans to build a missile shield in Europea move strongly opposed by Russia.
- Inspectors Report Rebuilding Projects in Iraq Are Deteriorating (April 30): Stuart Bowen, Jr., head of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, faults both the U.S. and Iraq, criticizing the construction and maintenance of several projects throughout Iraq. Problems include power generators that don't work, overflowing sewage systems, and faulty electrical systems.
- Israeli Prime Minister Reprimanded for Handling of Lebanon War (April 30): A commission that investigated 2006's war between Israel and Lebanon says Ehud Olmert was responsible for "a severe failure in exercising judgment, responsibility, and prudence." It also says Olmert rushed to war without an adequate plan. Defense Minister Amir Peretz and former army chief Dan Halutz are also criticized.
- Supreme Court Rules Government Can Regulate Emissions (April 2): Court rules, 5–4, that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate automobile emissions of heat-trapping gases and that the agency cannot shun its responsibility to do so unless it provides a scientific reason.
- Senate Passes Bill on Stem Cell Research (April 11): Votes, 63–34, in favor of legislation that eases restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. President Bush says he will veto the bill, as he did a similar bill in 2006.
- Gonzales Faces Tough Questions About Prosecutor Dismissals (April 19): Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tells Senate Judiciary Committee that although the process in which eight U.S. attorneys were fired was flawed, the dismissals were justified. Gonzales cited a bad memory more than 50 times when he failed to answer questions about key parts of the dismissal process. Republican Tom Coburn and Democrat Charles Schumer call on Gonzales to resign.
- Congress Passes Combat Spending Bill (April 25): The House votes, 218–208, in favor of a $124 billion spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill requires that the Bush administration establish benchmarks to evaluate the progress of the Iraqi government and sets a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. President Bush says he will veto the legislation. (April 26): The Senate approves, 51–46, a $124 billion spending bill that stipulates that troops must begin withdrawing from Iraq by Oct. 1, setting up a showdown between Congress and the White House.
- Earthquake and Tsunami Strike the Solomon Islands (April 3): Magnitude 8.0 earthquake and tsunami that follows kill at least 20 people and destroy villages.
- UN Panel Reports Consequences of Emissions of Greenhouse Gases (April 6): Group, composed of several of the world's top scientists on climate change, finds that Earth's climate and ecosystems are already being affected by the accumulation of greenhouse gases and warns that without immediate action to slow the buildup of such emissions, droughts, flooding, and the extinction of species are imminent. Panel also says that poor regions are most vulnerable.
- North Carolina Prosecutor Dismisses Assault Case Against Duke Students (April 11): State attorney general Roy Cooper says lacrosse players who were accused of sexually assaulting a stripper in March 2006 are innocent and had been falsely accused. He also criticizes the prosecutor in the case, Michael Nifong, calling him a "rogue prosecutor."