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January 2010 Current Events: World News

* Facing Threats, U.S., U.K. Embassies Close in Yemen (Jan. 3): The United States and the United Kingdom have closed their embassies in the country of Yemen due to ongoing security threats from the terrorist group alQaeda. Military and intelligence organizations in Yemen had information about plans to attack Western groups in the capital; military action prevented the threatened attack, however. The suicide bomber on the Christmas Day flight to Detroit has been tied to the terrorist organization in Yemen.

* 7.0-Magnitude Earthquake Devastates Port-au-Prince, Haiti (Jan. 12): The beleaguered country of Haiti is dealt a catastrophic blow when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake strikes 10 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, the country's capital. It is the region's worst earthquake in 200 years. The quake levels many sections of the city, destroying government buildings, foreign aid offices, and countless slums. (Jan. 13): Assessing the scope of the devastation, Prime Minister Préval says, "Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed." He calls the death toll "unimaginable," and expects fatalities to near 100,000. The United Nations mission in Haiti is destroyed, 16 members of the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti are killed, and hundreds of UN employees are missing. (Jan. 14): International aid begins pouring in, and the scope of the damage caused by the quake highlights the urgent need to improve Haiti's crumbling infrastructure and lift it out of endemic poverty—the country is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. (Jan. 19): Though the dead are going uncounted and unidentified in Haiti while authorities attempt to bury those killed during the earthquake and its aftermath, experts estimate a staggering death toll of 200,000 people.

* Aide to Saddam Hussein "Chemical Ali" Executed in Iraq (Jan. 25): Ali Hassan al-Majid, cousin of and former aid to Saddam Hussein, is executed in Iraq for his role in the poison-gas attack of the village of Halabja, where 5,000 Kurds were killed. Nicknamed "Chemical Ali", al-Majid is part of the group of leaders responsible for the deaths of approximately 180,000 Kurds in the Iraq-Iran War.

February 2010 Current Events: World News

* Three American Soldiers Killed in Pakistan (Feb. 3): Three American soldiers, along with four Pakistanis, are killed in a suicide bombing attack in Pakistan. Members of the Taliban are responsible for the blast. While Pakistan is officially an ally to the United States, Pakistan does not allow American combat forces in the country. However, a Special Operations team of 60–100 American soldiers is currently in Pakistan to train the paramilitary Frontier Corps in counterinsurgency techniques. (Feb. 4): Pakistan officials arrest 35 people who they suspect were involved in the suicide bombing that killed 3 American soldiers.

* Olympic Luger from Republic of Georgia Dies in Training Crash (Feb. 12): A luger from the Republic of Georgia, Nodar Kumaritashvili, dies tragically in a crash during training for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Just hours before the Opening Ceremony, Kumaritashvili lost control of his sled while traveling at 90 miles per hour on the Whistler Sliding Centre track. The safety of the track, built in 2007, has been called into question recently because of the sheer speed at which the athletes are able to travel.

* Multi-Country Offensive Launched in Afghanistan (Feb. 12): Thousands of American, Afghan, and British troops storm the city of Marja, Afghanistan in an attempt to destroy the Taliban's latest haven. The attack by the 6,000 troops is the biggest offensive in the country since the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001. (Feb. 14): A U.S. rocket strike that went awry kills at least 10 civilians in the Helmand province. Five children were among those killed.

* Taliban's Top Commander Captured (Feb. 15): The Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is captured in Karachi, Pakistan in a secret joint operation by the American and Pakistani intelligence forces. American officials claim that Barader is the most significant human capture since the in Afghanistan began in 2001. (Feb. 18): Two senior Taliban leaders are arrested in Pakistan. Afghan officials are calling the two men "shadow governors" in two provinces of the country. Their arrest, along with the capture of Barader, severely hamper the Taliban leadership and their presence in Pakistan.

* NATO Airstrike in Afghanistan Kills 27 Civilians (Feb. 22): An airstrike launched by the United States Special Forces in Kabul, Afghanistan, targeted at insurgents, accidentally kills 27 Afghan civilians. President Hamid Karzai condemns the killings.

March 2010 Current Events: World News

* Violence Mars Election in Iraq (Mar. 7): Explosions marked general election day in Iraq, where two bombs killed at least 38 people. Iraq's election commission reports that 62% of Iraqis voted in the election, though that number drops to just 53% in Baghdad, where the violence occurred. Final results are not expected for several weeks, but preliminary figures put the State of Law alliance, led by Prime Minister Maliki, and the Iraqi National Movement, headed by former prime minister Ayad Allawi, in a close race ahead of the other candidates. Election officials said none of the alliances will emerge with a clear majority, forcing the winner to assemble a broad coalition to form a government. The glacial pace of the vote count was attributed to a painstaking process intended to reduce the risk of election fraud. (Mar. 29): Final results of the election give the Iraqi National Movement, led by former prime minister Ayad Allawi, 91 seats in Parliament out of 325. The State of Law alliance, headed by Prime Minister Maliki comes in a close second with 89 seats. A Shia religious movement, including followers of radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr, wins 70. The two main Kurdish parties together receive 43 seats. Maliki refuses to accept the results and says he will challenge them in court.

* U.S. Defense Department Contracted Killers in Middle East (Mar. 14): A Defense Department official set up a network of contractors to track and kill militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The official, Michael Furlong, hired contractors from private companies that employ former CIA operatives and had them track suspected militants in the Middle East. They were then told whether or not those militants should be killed.

* U.S., Russia Have Breakthrough in Arms Negotiations (Mar. 24): The United States and Russia report a breakthrough in arms control negotiations. Both countries agree to lower the limit on deployed strategic warheads and launchers by 25% and 50%, respectively, and will also implement a new inspection regime. President Obama and President Medvedev will sign in a treaty that outlines this agreement. A signing ceremony is planned for April 8 in Prague.

* Female Suicide Bombers Kill 39 in Russian Subway Stations (Mar. 29): Two female suicide bombers, acting just minutes apart, detonate bombs in two Moscow subways stations, killing at least 39 people. This is the first terrorist attack in the capital city since 2004, when Moscow experienced a string of deadly violence. Authorities attribute the attacks to the mostly Muslim north Caucasus region. Doku Umarov, a former Chechen separatist and the self-proclaimed emir of the north Caucasus, claims responsibility for masterminding the attack. (Mar. 31): Two explosions kill 12 people in the north Caucasus region of Dagestan. The attacks prompt concern that Prime Minister Putin will crack down on civil liberties and democracy as he did in 2004, following the siege of a school in Beslan.

April 2010 Current Events: World News

* 34 Rescued from Chinese Mine (Apr. 4): Rescue crew free 34 people trapped in a flooded coal mine in China, where they have been trapped since March 28. After the flood, 108 miners were immediately rescued, but the remainder of the workers, 153 total, remained trapped underground. All those freed remain in stable condition.

* Militants in Pakistan Attack U.S. Consulate (Apr. 5): Militants launch an assault on the United States Consulate in Pakistan. Six Pakistanis are killed and 20 are wounded; no Americans are harmed. At least five suicide bombers mounted the attack, though they were unable to reach the inner area of the compound. Azam Tariq, a spokesperson for the Pakistani Taliban, claims responsibility for the attack, saying they were acting in retaliation to American missile strikes and Pakistani military operations in the area.

* Kyrgyzstan President Forced to Flea Amid Protests (Apr. 7) President Bakiyev fleas Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan amid deadly protests and demonstrations, and former foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva, acting as the leader of the opposition, assumes power as acting president. Government troops and demonstrators are battling in the streets, and nearly 70 people are killed and more than 400 wounded. Demonstrations over sharp increases in utility prices broke out in the city of Talas and promptly spread to the capital of Bishkek, where protesters are also rallying against government corruption. Bakiyev refuses to resign despite Otunbayeva's support. Obama administration officials express concern that the upheaval may affect the deal United States and Kyrgyzstan made in 2009 over use of the Manas air base. Otunbayeva, however, says the supply route would remain in operation for the time being.

* Russia, U.S. Sign Nuclear Arms Pact (Apr. 8): The United States and Russia usher in a supposedly new era in nuclear arms control after President Obama and President Medvedev sign an arms reduction treaty and agree to act in a united fashion against the threat of Iran's nuclear program. The pact, called the New Start, has each country promise to scale back on their nuclear arsenals.

May 2010 Current Events: World News

* Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Offers to Hold Early Elections (May 3): Prime Minister of Thailand, Vejjajiva Abhisit, offers to hold early elections—one of the key demands of protesters loyal to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, called red shirts, who have been rioting since April—if the protesters called off their demonstrations, but they reject the gesture. Abhisit withdraws his offer and orders troops to blockade the protest area. (May 13): What started as a peaceful protest disintegrates into violence; the military fires upon the protesters and hits Khattiya Sawatdiphol, a general who sided with the red shirts. He later dies of his injuries. His death sparks further violence, and the protesters retaliated with grenade attacks. (May 17): The red shirts then offer to negotiate with the government, but are rebuffed. They then engage in large-scale rioting, looting, and the firebombing of several buildings, including Thailand's stock exchange and largest department store. The government cracks down on the movement (May 19): Rioters disperse, and protest leaders surrender. They will face terrorism charges. In the 68 days of the protests, 68 people died. The red shirts bore the brunt of most of the casualties.

* Picasso Painting Sells for Record-Setting $106.5 Million (May 5): A Picasso painting sells for a record-breaking $106.5 million at a Christie's auction. The painting, "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust," depicts Picasso's mistress and was painted in just one day in 1932. It was being sold by the estate of philanthropist Frances Lasker Brody.

* Prime Minister Brown Announces Imminent Resignation (May 10): British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announces he will resign as the head of his Labour Party by September. The country's general election produced a hung Parliament—none of the competing parties won enough votes—last week, and Brown announces his commitment to negotiate a new government before he leaves office. (May 11): Brown formally resigns as prime minister after acknowledging that his Labour Party will be unable to form a majority in Parliament. He recommends Conservative Party leader David Cameron as his successor; consequently, Cameron creates a coalition government with the ideologically opposed Liberal Democrats and becomes the prime minister of the United Kingdom. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, will become deputy prime minister. This is the first coalition government in the U.K. since World War II.

* U.S. Forms Agreement with Russia, China, and Others on Sanctions for Iran (May 19): The United States and major world powers Russia, China, and others agree to impose a fourth set of sanctions on Iran's nuclear program, in an attempt to stop the country from enriching uranium. The agreement is revealed shortly after Iran announces its own deal with Turkey and Brazil to relinquish half of the country's stockpile of nuclear fuel for a year. None of the three previous sets of sanctions had any effect on Iran's program to enrich uranium nor its willingness to fully disclose actions to international inspectors.

* Israeli Attack on Pro-Palestinian Aid Flotilla (May 31): Nine people are dead after an Israeli navy commando attacks a flotilla of cargo ships and passenger boats on their way to Gaza to provide aid and supplies for the area. Israel claims that the passengers on the flotilla, who were pro-Palestinians and mostly Turks, presented themselves as humanitarians but were clearly hostile.

* Al Qaeda Leader in Afghanistan Killed in American Strike (May 31): The top financial chief and co-founder of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, is killed in an American drone attack in Pakistan. American intelligence officials say he was the third highest leader in the organization, behind Osama Bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri.

June 2010 Current Events: World News

* Prime Minister of Japan Announces Resignation (June 1): Just nine months into his term as Prime Minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama announces his resignation from office. His countrymen reportedly find him an indecisive and ineffective ruler and have been clamoring for him to quit. He will be the fourth prime minister to leave in just four years.

* U.N. Security Council Passes Sanctions Against Iran (June 9): The United Nations Security Council passes another set of sanctions against Iran's nuclear program, in hopes that they can stop Iran's production of nuclear fuel. President Obama strongly supported the sanctions, though only 12 of the 15 members of the council voted in favor of passing it.

* U.S. Finds $1 Trillion in Untapped Mineral Deposits in Afghanistan (June 13): The United States finds more than $1 trillion in mineral resources in the mountains of Afghanistan, far more than expected or previously estimated. The findings, which include previously unknown deposits of iron, copper, gold, and lithium, could drastically improve the country's economy and fundamentally change the outcome of the war there.

* Ethnic Fighting in Kyrgyzstan Reaches Horrific Level (June 17): Street fighting between ethnic Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks escalated in the city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, leaving at least 200 people dead. Thousands of people are displaced after Uzbek neighborhoods are torched, and approximately 100,000 people have crossed the border into Uzbekistan, forcing that country's government to close its borders. (June 24): The death toll in the ethnic fighting in Kyrgyzstan rises to 2,000, yet the cause of the original skirmish remains unknown. Many of those who fled the country have begun to return.

* Graeme McDowell Wins Golf's U.S. Open (June 20): In a surprise victory, Graeme McDowell wins golf's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California, beating second place Frenchman Gregory Havret by just one stroke. McDowell, from Northern Ireland, is the first European to win the tournament since 1970.

July 2010 Current Events: World News

* Serena Williams Wins Women's Wimbledon Title (July 3): American tennis champ Serena Williams dominates the women's Wimbledon final with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Vera Zvonareva of Russia. This win gives Williams her 13th Grand Slam title. (July 4): Spain's Rafael Nadal wins the men's Wimbledon title in a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 set against Czech opponent Tomas Berdych. The win marks Nadal's eighth major title win.

* U.S., Russia Swap Imprisoned Spies in Trade Agreement (July 9): After discovering and imprisoning 10 Russian spies masquerading as civilians in the United States, the U.S. and Russia agree to and implement a swap of the captured spies. The Russian government traded four Russians who were purportedly spying for the U.S. or another Western country.

* Spain Beats Netherlands 1-0 to Win World Cup (July 11): After four weeks and 64 games, the 32 countries who entered the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa were whittled down to just two; the final game, between Spain and the Netherlands, went into overtime after a scoreless game. Spain finally scored in the 129th minute, winning the game and the World Cup title.

* Coordinated Bombings Kill 70 in Uganda (July 11): The Shabab, an Islamic insurgent group from Somalia, claim responsibility for the coordinated bombings that kill at least 70 people in a crowd of soccer fans in Uganda.

* Stampede During German Parade Kills 21, Wounds 500 (July 24): Twenty-one people are killed and 500 more wounded during a stampede at a German music festival, dubbed the Love Parade. While attempting to enter the festival, the large crowd crushed into an underpass, suffocating and trampling the victims of the tragedy. Prosecutors are investigating whether the event managers' negligence caused the stampede and subsequent deaths.

* Alberto Contador Wins the Tour de France (July 25): Alberto Contador wins the Tour de France, his third title in the world's most prestigious cycling race, and his second in a row.

August 2010 Current Events: World News

* Russia Bans Grain Export in Response to Drought, Wildfires (Aug. 5): Russian president Valdimir Putin bans the export of grains from his country, citing the widespread drought and wildfires that are crippling Russia. They are suffering from the country's worst heat wave in 130 years. Putin claims that the damage to their crops has increased food prices in Russia dramatically. (Aug. 6): At least 52 people have been killed in the more than 800 wildfires that have swept across Russia.

* Sucide Bomber Kills At Least 48 in Attack on Iraqi Army (Aug. 17): A suicide bomber blows himself up at an Iraqi Army recruiting office, killing at least 48 army recruits and soldiers, and wounding 120 others.

* State Department Increasing Civilian Presence in Iraq (Aug. 18): The U.S. State Department announces that it will increase the presence of civilian contractors in 2011 as the military prepares to leave the country. Contractors will be responsible for training Iraqi police and preventing confrontations between the Iraqi Army and civilian groups.

September 2010 Current Events: World News

* American Hiker Released on Bail from Iranian Prison (Sept. 12): The female American hiker imprisoned in Iran on charges of espionage is released on $500,000 bail. Sarah Shourd has been in prison for over a year, along with the two male American friends she was hiking with, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal. The three friends were hiking in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq in July 2009 when they allegedly passed over into Iranian territory and were arrested.

October 2010 Current Events: World News


U.S. Grenade May Have Killed British Aid Worker (Oct. 11): British aid worker Linda Norgrove, who was kidnapped by the Taliban while she was working in Afghanistan for an American aid organization, may have been killed during an American rescue raid, and not by a suicide bomb detonated by her captors, as was previously believed. British Prime Minister David Cameron announces the possibility that her death was an accident caused by a U.S. grenade, after learning of an investigation into the matter lead by General David Petraeus, top NATO commander in Afghanistan.

Talks to End Afghan War Between Karzai, Taliban Leaders (Oct. 19): Leading members of the Taliban in Afghanistan – members of the Quetta shura – and President Karzai and his advisors, meet to discuss the end of the nine-year war in Afghanistan. The Taliban leaders, whose identities are kept secret in order to prevent rival Taliban leaders from harming or killing them, were lead to the meetings from their safe havens in Pakistan by NATO troops.

Mass Protests in France Over Retirement Reform (Oct. 19): A one-day strike over the French government's pension reform plan turned into widespread protests, gas shortages, blockaded roads, closed schools, and violence in France. President Sarkozy and his government are proposing raising the legal minimum requirement age from 60 to 62, which resulted in the demonstrations of millions of French citizens.

Suspicious Packages on Airplane Bound for U.S. Contain Explosives (Oct. 29): President Obama confirms that the suspicious packages found on an airplane originating in Yemen and bound for the United States contained explosive materials. Saudi intelligence officials tipped the U.S. government about the packages, resulting in a brief terrorism scare across the country. No additional exploseives were found.

Church Attack in Baghdad Kills 58 (Oct. 31): An Al Qaeda-affiliated massacre at a church in Baghdad leaves 58 dead and scores more wounded. This is the largest attack on Iraqi Christians since the war in Iraq began in 2003. Gunmen took over 100 hostages in the church before killing most with two suicide bombs.

November 2010 Current Events: World News


Obama Backs India for Permanent U.N. Security Council Seat (Nov. 8) President Obama, breaking with tradition, announces support of India for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. A closer relationship between the United States and India should reduce some of the power of rapdidly growing China. The governments of China and Pakistan, both countries with strained relationships with India and close ties with the United States, respond with concern over the growing relationship.

Irish Prime Minister Dissolving Government After 2011 Budget Approval (Nov. 22): Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen announces he will disolve his government and hold a new election after the 2011 budget passes. This announcement comes just one day after the Irish government requested a $100 billion bailout package from the European Union and IMF to help save its flailing economy.

North Korean Military Attacks South Korean Island, Killing 4 (Nov. 23): The military of North Korea unexpected attacks the island of Yeonpyeong in South Korea, killing two civilians and two marines. Eighteen others are wounded. This is the first time North Korea has fired on a civilian target since the suspension of the Korean War in 1953.

December 2010 Current Events: World News


Russia, Qatar Win World Cup Bids for 2018, 2022 (Dec. 2): Russia wins its bid as host for the 2018 World Cup, while Qatar secures the host duties for the international soccer tournament in 2022. The United States, in particular, was disappointed by the announcement; the country was hoping to host the World Cup in 2022. Qatar will be the first Middle Eastern country to the tournament; Russia has never had the privilege either.

WikiLeaks Founder Arrested in Sweden for Alleged Sex Offenses (Dec. 7): Julian Assange, the Australian-born co-founder of WikiLeaks, is arrested in England on a Swedish warrant in connection to accusations made in August: two women in Sweden accused him of sexual assault. He is denied bail by a London court. (Dec. 8): Hundreds of Internet activists attack several businesses seen as "enemies" of WikiLeaks, in response to Assange's imprisonment.,, and the MasterCard website are among those attacked with an onslaught of web traffic. (Dec. 14): Assange is released on $310,000 bail, but remains in British custody temporarily. He faces possible extradition to Sweden for his alleged sexual assaults on two women.

Source: 2010 Current Events —
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