Top News Stories from 2013

World Events

World Statistics

Population: 4.378 billion
population by decade
Nobel Peace Prize: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for "its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."
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  • Sep. 22: Chinese politician Bo Xilai is sentenced to life in prison. Eastern China's Jinan Intermediate People's Court finds him guilty of embezzlement, accepting bribes, and abuses of power, including a failed attempt to stifle the murder allegations against his wife.
  • July 22: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gives birth to a baby boy. The baby is born at 4:24 p.m. and weighs 8 pounds 6 ounces. He is later named George Alexander Louis. He will also have the title His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge and is be third in line to the throne, following Prince Charles and Prince William.
  • Feb. 14: South African runner Oscar Pistorius is arrested after police find his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, dead from multiple gunshot wounds in his apartment. He is later charged with premeditated murder.
  • March 13: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is elected as the new pope, succeeding Benedict XVI. Bergoglio, 76, becomes the Catholic Church's 266th pontiff. He is the first pope from Latin America and the first Jesuit pope. He chooses the name Francis.
  • July 30: Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agree to begin new peace talks with the goal of reaching an agreement within nine months. The negotiations will be mediated by Martin Indyk, the U.S. State Department's new Mideast peace envoy.
  • March 14: Xi Jingping assumes the presidency of China. Of the 2,956 delegates, only one votes against Xi. He had earlier been named chairman of the Central Military Commission and general secretary of the Communist Party.
  • Feb. 11: Pope Benedict XVI announces his retirement, becoming the first pope to do so since 1415. He cites advancing age and a growing physical weakness as his reasons for retirement. He steps down on Feb. 28.
  • March 5: Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, dies of cancer at age 58. He had been in office for 14 years.
  • July 4: The military deposes Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and suspends the constitution, saying the move is an attempt at "national reconciliation" rather than a coup. Morsi, however, calls it a "complete military coup." He is taken into custody and several members of his inner circle are placed under house arrest. The move sparks massive protests in support of Morsi.
  • Jan. 1: France sends its military forces to Mali to fight against extreme Islamist militants. (Jan. 16): Islamist militants take about 40 foreign hostages at a remote BP site in Algeria. Many fear that the hostage situation is a result of the conflict in Mali.
  • Jan. 22: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is elected to a third term.
  • Feb. 12: North Korea says it has detonated a third nuclear bomb. Earlier nuclear tests were conducted in 2006 and 2009.
  • Jan. 25: Violent protests erupt throughout Egypt on the second anniversary of the revolution. Demonstrators focus their ire on the Muslim Brotherhood and the government of President Mohammed Morsi, frustrated that the country is on an ideologically conservative path and that Morsi has failed to bolster the economy or fulfill promises to introduce broader civil liberties and social justice. Dozens of people are killed in the violence. Morsi declares a state of emergency in three large cities: Suez, Ismailia, and Port Said.
  • March 8: In response to North Korea's nuclear test in February 2013, the UN Security Council unanimously passes another round of strict sanctions against North Korea. In a first, China is involved in drafting the sanctions. In response, North Korean president Kim Jong-un promises to launch "a pre-emptive nuclear strike" against the U.S. and South Korea and says he has voided the 1953 armistice that ended the war between North and South Korea.
  • Aug. 1: Russia grants Edward Snowden, the American who leaked info about U.S. surveillance, asylum for one year. The temporary asylum allows him to leave the Moscow airport where he has been since June.
  • April 1: Despite stiffer sanctions from the UN, North Korean president Kim Jong-un announces plans to expand his country's nuclear weapons and strengthen the economy. Kim prohibits South Korean workers from entering the Kaesong industrial park, which is run jointly by the two countries and is located in North Korea. Apr. 3: At a rare plenary meeting of the Central Committee, Kim says North Korea will continue to develop its nuclear weapons program despite sanctions and restart the mothballed nuclear facility in Yongbyon. Apr. 4: The U.S. announces it is deploying a missile defense system to Guam as a precautionary move.
  • Nov. 1: Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan, is killed in a CIA drone strike in Danday Darpa Khel, a militant stronghold in North Waziristan. It is an important victory over the Taliban for the U.S.
  • Aug. 14: Police raid camps in Cairo, Egypt, where protesters have been demonstrating since the July ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. More than 500 people are killed, and the government declares a state of emergency. Mohamed ElBaradei resigns as vice president in protest of the military's action.
  • Oct. 5: U.S. commandos capture Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, a high-ranking al-Qaeda operative who is known as Abu Anas al-Libi, in Tripoli, Lebanon. He was indicted for helping plan the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
  • Nov. 1: The trial of deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi on charges of inciting the murder of protesters opens briefly in Cairo, but is adjourned until January 2014.
  • Aug. 14: Israelis and Palestinians officially begin peace talks in Jerusalem. Expectations are low going into the talks, the third attempt to negotiate since 2000, and nearly five years since the last attempt. The talks begin just hours after Israel releases 26 Palestinian prisoners.
  • Oct. 18: Saudi Arabia declines a non-permanent seat on the Security Council, a position it had been working toward for several years. The unprecedented move stuns both the UN and U.S. diplomats. "Allowing the ruling regime in Syria to kill and burn its people by the chemical weapons, while the world stands idly, without applying deterrent sanctions against the Damascus regime, is also irrefutable evidence and proof of the inability of the Security Council to carry out its duties and responsibilities," the Saudi ambassador to the UN says in a statement.
  • June 26: Australian prime minister Julia Gillard resigns after being ousted as Labor Party leader in a party vote. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd replaces her as party leader and, the following day, replaces her as prime minister.
  • June 18: The Afghan National Security Force assumes complete responsibility for the security of the country, taking over the last areas under NATO control.
  • June 15: Hassan Rowhani, a moderate cleric and Iran's former negotiator on nuclear issues, wins Iran's presidential election, taking just under 51% of the vote.
  • Nov. 24: Iran reaches a six-month deal with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany to scale back its nuclear program. Iran agrees to halt production of uranium beyond 5 percent, which means it could only produce uranium for peaceful purposes; dilute or convert to oxide its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent; not install new centrifuges; give UN inspectors daily access to enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo. In return, the crippling sanctions against Iran will be eased, pumping between $6 billion and $7 billion back into Iran's economy.
  • Aug. 21: Opposition groups accuse the Syrian government of attacking rebel areas in Zamalka, Ein Terma, and Erbeen, suburbs east of Damascus, with chemical weapons. Gruesome, graphic images in the media show victims foaming at the mouth and twitching and lines of covered corpses. The opposition say as many as 1,000 people died in the attack. The government denies it used chemical weapons.
  • Sep. 1: President Barack Obama announces that he will seek Congressional approval for military action against Syria in response to its alleged attack with chemical weapons on civilians. Sep. 4: The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes, 10 to 7, to authorize military action in Syria. Sep. 15: A U.S.-led military attack is averted and diplomacy prevails when Russia and the U.S. reach an agreement that Syria must provide an inventory of its chemicals weapons and production facilities within a week and either turn over or destroy all of its chemical weapons by mid-2014. If the government fails to comply, then the UN Security Council will take up the issue.
  • Sep. 16: The UN confirms in a report that the chemical agent sarin was used near Damascus on Aug. 21. "Chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale," the report says. Sep. 26: The five permanent members of the Security Council agree on a resolution that requires Syria to hand over its stockpile of chemical weapons. If Syria fails to comply, then the Security Council will reconvene to determine repercussions, which could include military action or sanctions.
  • June 30: On the first anniversary of President Mohammed Morsi's inauguration, as many as one million people take to the streets in planned demonstrations throughout Egypt and call for the president to step down. Their complaints against Morsi include the dismal state of the economy, Morsi's installation of members of the Muslim Brotherhood into many positions of power, as well as his failure to stem the sectarian divide between Sunnis, Shiites, and Christians, among other issues.
  • Dec. 1: Hundreds of thousands of protesters in Kiev, Ukraine, demand that President Viktor Yanukovich resign. The protesters also call for the country to develop stronger ties to Europe and the West and move away from Russia. The protests started earlier after Yanukovich refused to sign political and free trade agreements with the European Union under pressure from Russia.
  • Sep. 21: Shabab militants, based in Somalia, attack an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing nearly 70 people and wounding about 175.
  • Dec. 5: Nelson Mandela dies at age 95, after a lung infection and several months of ill health.
  • April 18: Diplomats from both Britain and France report to the United Nations that there is credible information that the government in Syria has used chemical weapons recently in its civil war. According to both diplomats, the Syrian government has used chemical weapons multiple times since December 2012. Officials from Israel also say they have evidence that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. President Obama has said that the use of chemical weapons by Syria's government could lead to a military response by the United States.
  • April 14: Nicolas Maduro wins the special presidential election in Venezuela the successor of Hugo Chavez. He takes office on April 19.
  • June 9: Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee, admitted that he was the source of leaks about the top-secret surveillance activities of the National Security Agency. June 21: The U.S. government filed espionage and theft charges against Snowden, who had earlier fled to Hong Kong. The government also requested that Hong Kong extradite Snowden. June 23: Fighting extradition, Snowden traveled from Hong Kong to Moscow.
  • April 13: Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad resigns amid infighting among the top echelon of the Palestinian Authority and popular discontent. Fayyad is credited with cracking down on corruption in the West Bank, improving infrastructure, and boosting the economy, which resulted in an increase in international aid.
  • June 4: A human rights team working for the United Nations reports that there are "reasonable grounds" to believe that government forces in Syria have used chemical weapons. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius reports that sarin, a nerve gas, has been used on multiple occasions.
  • April 24: A large building containing several factories in Bangladesh collapses, killing at least 900 people. Hundreds more are missing in the building's rubble. Known as Rana Plaza, the factories within the building make clothing for European and American retailers such as JC Penny, Cato Fashions, Benetton and others.
  • May 31: In Istanbul, Turkey, a sit-in protesting government plans to raze Gezi Park in Taksim Square to build a shopping mall develops into enormous anti-government demonstrations after police begin spraying protesters with tear gas and water cannons. The demonstrations spread to dozens of cities throughout Turkey. June 13: Police storm the park, again spraying protesters with tear gas and water, and force protesters out of the area.

U.S. Events

U.S. Statistics

President: Barack Obama
Vice President: Joe Biden
Population: 317,229,760
Life expectancy: 78.84 years years
More U.S. Statistics...
  • Feb. 12: In the first State of the Union Address of his second term, President Obama focuses on the role government should play in growing the economy and stabilizing the middle class. He veers away from any ambitious proposals such as a new stimulus plan in the speech.
  • Jan. 1: The Senate approve a last minute deal to raise tax rates from 35 to 39.9 percent for those earning more than $400,000. The deal also temporarily suspends across-the-board spending cuts. Later that night, the House also passes the legislation. The House vote ends the long dramatic showdown over the fiscal cliff with only a few hours left of the 112th Congress.
  • Jan. 21: On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Obama is sworn in for a second term. He becomes the first president to say the word gay in an Inaugural Address when he compares the battle for same-sex marriage to past battles over gender and racial equality.
  • Nov. 5: In November general elections, the Democrats get a key victory in Virginia when Terry McAuliffe is elected governor in a tight race. In New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie easily wins a second term as governor. The decisive win cements him as a frontrunner for the Republican presidential contender in 2016. In New York City, Democrat Bill de Blasio is elected mayor in a landslide. He defeats Joseph J. Lhota, former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman, by 49 percent. It is the biggest victory for a New York City mayor since Edward Koch won by 68 percent in 1985. Boston elects a new mayor for the first time in twenty years in a nonpartisan election. Democrat Martin J. Walsh narrowly beats Democrat City Councilman John R. Connolly, 52 to 48 percent.
  • Dec. 16: The first ruling against the NSA surveillance program is handed down by Judge Richard Leon of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia. He says the program is "significantly likely" to violate the Fourth Amendment which addresses protection against unreasonable searches. Dec. 18: Just days after the ruling, an advisory panel commissioned by President Obama releases a 300-page report that recommends 46 changes to the NSA surveillance program.
  • Aug. 12: Notorious Boston gangster James (Whitey) Bulger is found guilty of 31 of the 32 charges he faced, including murder, extortion, money laundering, drug dealing and possession of weapons. Nov. 14: Bulger, age 84, receives two consecutive life sentences, plus five years.

  • Sept. 10: Voters in Colorado throw out of office Democrats John Morse and Angela Giron for their support of recently enacted gun-control laws that mandate background checks on private gun sales and limit magazine clips to 15 rounds. The election draws national attention not only for the ouster of the officials but also for the influx of money on both sides, from the National Rifle Association and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun-control advocate.
  • Sept. 30: The Senate rejects a Republican bill that will fund the government but delay the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The rejection increases the chance of a government shutdown at midnight because the spending bill must pass to fund the government. With just hours left before the deadline, the Senate votes against the spending bill, which the House approved over the weekend. The rejection by the Senate sends the bill back to the House. Oct. 1: Congress fails to agree on a budget and pass a spending bill, causing the government to shut down. Republicans show no signs of backing down, passing a new bill of their own in the House. Their bill will fund the government but delay the Affordable Care Act and eliminate a tax on medical devices that would cover some costs of the new health care program. The government shutdown forces about 800,000 federal workers off the job. Oct. 10: In an effort to end the shutdown they began, Republicans in the House offer President Obama a plan to increase the debt limit through Nov. 22 if he promises to negotiate with them on a tax overhaul and long-term deficit reduction deal. Oct. 16: The night before the debt ceiling deadline, both the House and Senate approve a bill to fund the government until January 15, 2014, and raise the debt limit through February 7, 2014. The bill ends the 16-day government shutdown. It also ends the Republican standoff with President Obama over the Affordable Care Act.
  • Aug. 21: Private Bradley Manning, age 25, is sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking over 700,000 U.S. government files to WikiLeaks, files that contained classified U.S. military activities. It is the longest sentence ever given in the U.S. involving leaked government data to the public. Private Manning can be up for parole in seven years, according to his attorney. Aug. 22: The day after his sentencing, Manning announces that he is female and wants to be referred to from now on as Chelsea. In his statement, Manning writes: "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun."
  • Nov. 21: The Senate deploys the "nuclear option," voting 52-48 to end the right of the minority to filibuster executive and judicial branch nominees. Under the new rules, a simple majority is required to end debate and move forward with a vote on nominees. The vote is called a monumental, once in a generation change to Senate procedure.
  • Oct. 21: In an unanimous vote, the New Jersey Supreme Court rejects a request by Gov. Chris Christie to delay the implementation date of same-sex weddings. Immediately same-sex couples begin to marry, making New Jersey the 14th state to recognize same-sex marriages.
  • June 6: The Guardian receives information that reveals that the National Security Agency (NSA) is using PRISM to spy on the web activities, including email, of U.S. citizens. Through PRISM, a clandestine national security surveillance program, the NSA has direct access to Facebook, YouTube, Skype, Google, Apple, Yahoo and other websites. June 7: The Wall Street Journal reports that the NSA also monitors the credit card transactions and customer records of three major phone service providers. June 8: The Guardian publishes a report on another NSA tool called Boundless Informant, used by the U.S. government to watch activity in every country in the world. President Obama confirms the existence of PRISM and its use to spy on the online activity of U.S. citizens. June 9: Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee, comes forward and admits that he is the source of the recent NSA leaks.
  • March 1: Congress and President Obama do not reach an agreement in time to stop the large budget cuts to federal spending. As the cuts go into effect, Congressional leaders pledge to end the disagreements over the federal budget that have threatened to shut down the government for the last two years.
  • March 26: The Supreme Court begins two days of historical debate over gay marriage. During the debate, the Supreme Court will consider overturning Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law passed during the presidency of Bill Clinton, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court decision will be announced in June 2013.
  • May 2: After same-sex marriage legislation passes in both houses of the state legislature, Governor Lincoln Chafee signs it into law. The new law, legalizing same-sex marriage, goes into effect in Rhode Island on August 1, 2013.
  • May 7: Governor Jack Markell signs the Civil Marriage Equality and Religious Freedom act, legalizing same-sex marriage for the state of Delaware. The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2013.
  • May 13: In Minnesota, the State Senate votes 37 to 30 in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. The vote comes a week after it passes in the House. Governor Mark Dayton, a supporter of same-sex marriage, says he will sign the bill the following afternoon. Gay couples will be able to marry in Minnesota in August 2013.
  • June 24: In Fisher v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court allows universities to continue considering race as a factor in admissions to achieve diversity, but it does tell them that they must prove that "available, workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice" before considering race. The ruling is considered a compromise between conservative and liberal factions of the court.
  • June 25: In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court strikes down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which established a formula for Congress to use when determining if a state or voting jurisdiction requires prior approval before changing its voting laws. Currently under Section 5 of the act nine-mostly Southern-states with a history of discrimination must get clearance from Congress before changing voting rules to make sure racial minorities are not negatively affected. While the 5-4 decision does not invalidate Section 5, it makes it toothless.
  • June 26: The Supreme Court rules that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. In a 5 to 4 vote, the court rules that DOMA violates the rights of gays and lesbians. The court also rules that the law interferes with the rights of each state to define marriage. It is the first case ever on the issue of gay marriage for the Supreme Court. June 26: The Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage opponents in California did not have standing to appeal the lower court ruling that overturned the ban, known as Proposition 8. This ruling will most likely remove legal battles for same-sex couples wishing to marry in California. However, the ruling does not directly affect other states.
  • July 13: A jury in Florida finds George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. The verdict sparks outrage on the internet and protests in cities throughout the U.S., but no riots or extreme violence are reported.
  • Sept. 16: Former Navy reservist Aaron Alexis, 34, kills 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, near the U.S. Capitol. Alexis, who had been employed at the base by a military subcontractor, is killed in a shootout with police.
  • Nov. 5: Illinois becomes the 15th state to recognize same-sex marriages when the House of Representatives approves the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which passed the state Senate in February 2013. The new law will be implemented on June 1, 2014.
  • Nov. 12: Hawaii becomes the 16th state to recognize same-sex marriages when the Senate passes a gay marriage bill, which had already passed in the House. Beginning December 2, gay couples who are residents of Hawaii as well as tourists can marry in the state.
  • April 15: Multiple bombs explode near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. At least three people are killed. One is an eight year old boy. More than 170 people are injured. Apr. 18: The FBI releases photos and video of two suspects in the hope that the public can help identify them. Just hours after the FBI releases the images, the two suspects rob a gas station in Central Square then shoot and kill a MIT police officer in his car. Afterwards, the two men carjack a SUV and tell the driver that they had set off the explosions at the marathon. Police pursue the vehicle into Watertown. During the shootout, a MBTA officer is shot and one of the suspects, identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, age 26, is killed. Apr. 19: The other suspect, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, age 19, remains at large for several hours, causing a massive manhunt and lockdown for all of Boston, Cambridge, and many other surrounding communities. The manhunt ends that evening when he is found alive, but seriously injured, hiding in a boat behind a house in Watertown.
  • Jan. 16: In response to recent massacres, including the killing of 20 first graders in Newtown, Conn., and 12 moviegoers in Aurora, Colo., President Barack Obama introduces proposals to tighten gun-control laws. His plan includes universal background checks for gun sales, the reinstatement and strengthening of the assault weapons ban, limiting ammunition magazines to a 10-round capacity, and other measures.


US GDP (1998 dollars): $167 billion
Federal spending: $345 billion
Unemployment: 7.3%
Cost of a first-class stamp: 46 cents


Super Bowl
In a wild game, which includes a 34 minute stadium blackout, the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31.
World Series
The Boston Red Sox defeat St. Louis Cardinals in six games to win their third World Series title since 2004.
NBA Championship
The Miami Heat win their second NBA championship in a row, beating the San Antonio Spurs in seven games. LeBron James is named the Finals MVP for the second straight year.
Stanley Cup
The Chicago Blackhawks defeat the Boston Bruins in six games to win their fifth Stanley Cup.
Women: Marion Bartoli of France defeats Sabine Lisicki of Germany in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4.
Men: Andy Murray becomes the first British man in 77 years to take the Wimbledon Singles Championship when he beats number one seed Novak Djokovic in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.
Kentucky Derby Champion
Orb, the favorite, wins with a time of 2:02.89.
NCAA Basketball Championship
Louisville wins their first national title since 1986 and their third overall by beating Michigan 82-76.
NCAA Football Champions
Number two ranked Alabama rolls over top-ranked Notre Dame, 42-14, for their third title in four years.


Entertainment Awards

Academy Award, Best Picture: Argo
Nobel Prize for Literature: Alice Munro (Canada) "master of the contemporary short story"
More Entertainment Awards...


  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  • Iron Man 3
  • Frozen
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Man of Steel
  • Monsters University
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Fast & Furious 6
  • Oz The Great and Powerful


  • 20/20 Experience, Justin Timberlake
  • Night Visions, Imagine Dragons
  • The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Unorthodox Jukebox,Bruno Mars
  • Marshall Mathers LP2, Eminem
  • Heres to the Good Times, Florida Georgia Line
  • Nothing Was the Same, Drake
  • Crash My Party, Luke Bryan
  • Prism, Katy Perry
  • Truth About Love, Pink


  • Hard Luck (Wimpy Kid #8), Jeff Kinney
  • Inferno, Dan Brown
  • Killing Jesus, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  • Proof of Heaven, Eben Alexander
  • The House of Hades, Rick Riordan
  • Divergent, Veronica Roth
  • Jesus Calling, Sarah Young
  • Sycamore Row, John Grisham
  • The Third Wheel (Wimpy Kid #7) , Jeff Kinney
  • Happy, Happy, Happy, Phil Robertson


Nobel Prizes in Science

Chemistry: Jointly to Martin Karplus (France and U.S.), Michael Levitt (U.S.), and Arieh Warshel (U.S.) for "the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems"
Physics: Jointly to François Englert ( Belgium) and Peter W. Higgs (UK) for "the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider"
Physiology or Medicine: Jointly to James E. Rothman (U.S.), Randy W. Schekman (U.S.), and Thomas C. Südhof (Germany) for "their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells"
More Nobel Prizes in 1998...
  • Sept. 23: A 7.7 magnitude earthquake hits Baluchistan, an area of deserts and mountains in Pakistan. The earthquake causes hundreds of mud houses to collapse on residents. At least 327 people are killed.
  • Feb. 15: Debris from a meteor hits Siberia, Russia, and more than 1,000 people are killed. The 10-ton meteor exploded and created a shock wave when it hit the Earth's atmosphere travelling at more than 40,000 mph.
  • March 14: Physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) confirm that the new particle discovered during the summer of 2012 appears to be a Higgs boson.
  • May 20: An enormous category 4 tornado hits several cities in Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City, Moore, and Newcastle. Moore is hardest hit. The city's Plaza Towers Elementary School is flattened. At least 24 people are killed in the storm. The tornado, stretching about a mile wide, is on the ground for 40 minutes.
  • Oct. 21: Schools are closed in Harbin, a northeast city in China, because of extreme air pollution. Visibility is so bad, less than 10 meters, that traffic stalls and the airport also closes. The extreme pollution problem is dubbed the "Airpocalypse".
  • Nov. 8: Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms to ever make landfall, hits several islands in the central Philippines. Tacloban, a coastal city with a population of 220,000, is destroyed. According to the Social Welfare and Development Department, Typhoon Haiyan, called Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, affects 4.28 million people in at least 270 towns.
  • Nov. 17: At least 60 tornadoes hit the Midwest. It is the deadliest and most violent tornado outbreak on record in Illinois for the month of November. Along with Illinois, tornadoes touch down in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. Thousands lose power. Sixty tornadoes are confirmed, 119 are reported. Eight people die due to the tornadoes, strong winds and heavy rain.


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