April 2009 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of April 2009.
- Sweden Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage (Apr. 1): Sweden becomes the fifth European country to legalize same-sex marriage. The law, passed by Parliament, will go into effect May 1. The other countries with the same rights are The Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and Spain.
- Helicopter Crash in Scotland Kills 16 (Apr. 1): A helicopter crash in northeast Scotland kills 16 people, 14 BP oil workers and 2 crew members. The weather conditions were reportedly warm and sunny; the cause of the crash is as yet unknown.
- World Leaders Commit to Pledge $1.1 Trillion for Fiscal Crisis (Apr. 2): At the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London, England, world leaders commit a total of $1.1 trillion to help stimulate economies of developing countries, encourage world trade, and more strictly regulate financial firms.
- Sarkozy Offers to Take Guantánamo Bay Detainee (Apr. 3): In a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in France, French president Nicolas Sarkozy of France says he will take a Guantánamo Bay detainee if necessary to close the prison. Sarkozy and U.S. President Barack Obama come to the agreement after meeting in France.
- North Korea Launches Rocket, Defies World Leaders (Apr. 4): North Korea launches a rocket in defiance of world leaders and resolutions from the United States, China, and the U.N. North Korea claimed the rocket launch was an effort to shoot a satellite into space, though most assume it was actually an effort to demonstrate the country's capability to deploy long-rancge missiles.
- Earthquake in Italy Kills at Least 92 (Apr. 6): An earthquake of magnitude 6.3 strikes central Italy, killing at least 92 people and leaving 40,000 to 50,000 people homeless. The town of L'Aquila is the epicenter of the earthquake, but as many as 26 towns are reportedly affected. (Apr. 7): The death toll of the earthquake has rises to 235 with many still missing, said Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The number of people left homeless has been reduced to 17,000. Rescuers are still working to pull bodies from the debris.
- North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-il, Takes Third Term (Apr. 9): The Parliament of North Korea elects the current leader, Kim Jong-il, to another 5-year term. This will be his third term in office. Kim Jong-il has been in failing health since his reported stroke in Aug. 2008, but the government gave no indication of who would succeed the leader should he die in office.
- Iraq Suicide Bomb Kills Five U.S. Soldiers and Two Iraqis (Apr. 10): A suicide bomb in Mosul, Iraq kills 5 U.S. soldiers and 2 Iraqis, the deadliest attack against the American military in Iraq in 13 months. The truck bom detonated just outside the entrance to the American military base. At least 70 people in the area are wounded. (Apr. 23): At least 80 people are killed in three separate suicide bombings in Baghdad, Iraq. This is the largest single-day death toll due to attacks since February 2008. One of the bombings is reportedly set off by a female, who was standing among a group of women and children receiving food aid. (Apr. 24): Another 60 people are killed in two more attacks, this time set off outside the holiest Shiite site in Baghdad, the shrine of Imam Musa al-Kadhim. At least 140 people are killed and 240 wounded in Iraq in the past two days.
- South Africa's Governing Party Wins Elections (Apr. 24): South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress, achieves overwhelming support in the elections, with 67% of the vote and two-thirds of the ballots counted. Populist favorite Jacob Zuma will become the next president, despite being surrounded by controversy for years, including being accused of rape in 2006 and corruption in early 2009.
- Over 100 Dead in Mexico of Swine Flu (Apr. 26): The swine flu has killed as many as 103 people in Mexico, most likely the epicenter of the worldwide outbreak. Government officials have outlawed gatherings of large groups of people in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus. Schools, churches, and stadiums have closed indefinitely. (Apr. 29): At least 150 in Mexico are dead from the swine flu. In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, the health minister of France has requested a suspension of all flights from the European Union to Mexico. While the World Health Organization maintains that flight bans will not effectively stop the disease from mushrooming, it raises its pandemic alert to 5, the second-highest level. This action indicates that the virus is a cause for concern and that all nations should prepare for a flu pandemic.
- Assassination Attempt on Dutch Royal Family Leaves Five Dead (Apr. 30): A Dutchman drives his car into a crowd of people, including Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, during a festival, leaving five dead. A dozen others are wounded. The man admits he was trying to kill the royal family. He later dies of injuries sustained in the crash.