- Title: YEARENDER PART 2: World news round up July to December 2012
- Date: 17th December 2012
- Summary: RESIDENTS STANDING OUTSIDE THE REFINERY
- Embargoed: 10th January 2013 20:36
- Location: United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA18G3H94ASB2NNZDP0IT7A4MYR
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL PLEASE NOTE: ADDITIONAL SHOTS 33-38 FOR THE MURDER OF A BRITISH FAMILY IN FRANCE HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE EDIT A round up of the world's biggest news stories in the second half of 2012.
SOURCE: REUTERS/REUTERS PICTURES/NBC/NASA TV/PRESS TV/BBC/ITN/NRK POOL/PUSSY RIOTAHRAR TV/LIBYAN NATIONAL GUARD/ITALIAN COAST GUARD/GEO TV/REUTERS PICTURES/US STATE DEPT/UK POOL/CCTV/SOCIAL MEDIA/CTV/GREEK POOL/RED BUL STRATOS/LBC/PARLIAMENT TV/PALMEDIA/TV TOKYO/YAMANASHI POLICE HANDOUT/ABS-CBN
JULY It was all eyes on London on July 27 when the Olympic Games opened with a spectacular opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium.
Britain's Sport and Cultural Secretary Jeremy Hunt was left red-faced when his bell broke during a pre-Olympic bell-ringing ceremony, after saying the Games could not completely go off without a hitch.
The games did go without a hitch, and the star athlete was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt who bagged himself three gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.
AUGUST U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan announced on August 1 that he was stepping down from his role, saying that it was 'impossible' for him to push for a political solution in Syria because of a lack of united international pressure.
His departure comes in the face of an armed rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as violence continues and shows no sign of abating after 21 months of strife.
Annan's role had been plagued by deep divisions within the international community over how to resolve the conflict. China and Russia had vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions intended to ratchet up the pressure on Assad to stop his attacks on civilians and halt the fighting, which quickly escalated into a full-scale civil war. Annan said the split had undermined his ability to pursue a diplomatic solution.
Fire crews toiled in triple-digit heat around drought-stricken Oklahoma on August 4 to contain at least 15 blazes that destroyed more than 120 structures and left a small town smouldering.
Authorities said they were investigating whether the fire that devastated the town of Luther was deliberately set.
The Mars science rover Curiosity landed on the Martian surface shortly after 10:30 p.m. Pacific time on August 5 to begin a two-year mission seeking evidence the Red Planet once hosted ingredients for life.
Mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles burst into applause and cheered as they received signals relayed by a Mars orbiter confirming that the rover had survived a make-or-break descent and touched down within its landing zone.
NASA described the feat as perhaps the most complex achieved in robotic spaceflight.
Two strong earthquakes struck northwest Iran on August 11, killing 153 people and injuring more than 1,300 as buildings were reduced to rubble, Iranian officials said.
Thousands fled their homes and remained outdoors as at least 20 aftershocks hit the area.
South African police opened fire on August 16 on thousands of striking miners armed with machetes and sticks at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, leaving several bloodied corpses lying on the ground.
A Reuters cameraman witnessed the shooting, which occurred when police laying out barricades of barbed wire were outflanked by some of an estimated 3,000 miners massed on a rocky outcrop near the mine, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg.
Police officers said talks with leaders of the radical Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) had failed, leaving them no option but to disperse them by force.
Ecuador has granted political asylum to WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said on August 16, a day after the British government threatened to storm Ecuador's embassy in London to arrest Assange.
Britain has said it is determined to extradite the former computer hacker, who enraged Washington in 2010 when his WikiLeaks website published secret U.S. diplomatic cables, to Sweden, where he has been accused of rape and sexual assault.
But even with asylum granted, Assange has little chance of leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London without being arrested. There has been speculation he could travel to an airport in a diplomatic car, be smuggled out in a diplomatic bag, or even be appointed an Ecuadorian diplomat to give him immunity.
Three members of a feminist punk band Pussy Riot were found guilty on August 17 of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" after they staged an anti-Kremlin protest in a church.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, say their protest on Feb. 21 was intended to highlight the close ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and state, and not to offend believers.
Attackers armed with machetes, bows and arrows and spears locked Kenyan villagers in their houses, set the structures alight and killed anyone who tried to escape, leaving at least 48 dead overnight on August 21 police said.
The raid in Kenya's coastal region was part of a long-running dispute between the area's Pokomo and Orma groups over grazing land and water.
Kenyan Red Cross officials say they had counted 59 bodies, and the group had ferried more than 40 injured people to a hospital in Malindi town, 150km (93 miles) away from the scene.
A Norwegian court found Anders Behring Breivik sane on August 24 and gave him a maximum jail term for murdering 77 people in a shooting and bombing last year, offering closure to a Nordic nation devastated by its worst attack since World War Two.
Breivik, who has admitted blowing up the Oslo government headquarters with a fertiliser bomb, killing eight, before gunning down 69 at the ruling party's summer youth camp, was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum penalty in Norway.
A fire that ensued after an explosion tore through Venezuela's biggest oil refinery on August 25 killed at least 26 people, and wounded more than 50, halting the facility's operations in the OPEC nation's worst industrial accident in recent memory.
Most of those killed were National Guard troops who were providing security for the refinery.
The incident followed repeated accidents and outages across installations run by state oil company PDVSA during the last decade that have limited output and crimped expansion plans.
SEPTEMBER Muammar Gaddafi's former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi was taken into Libyan government custody on September 5 after being extradited by Mauritania to face charges of crimes against humanity.
Senussi, among the most feared members of Gaddafi's regime before rebels toppled it last year, was captured in the West African state in March, triggering a tug of war between Libya, France and the International Criminal Court for his extradition.
At least one man died and dozens of people were missing after a boat carrying Tunisian migrants sank off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa on September 7.
Coastguards rescued 56 people, including a pregnant woman, after the migrants telephoned the emergency services overnight to say their boat had run into trouble close to the tiny island of Lampione west of Lampedusa a spokesman said.
Last year tens of thousands of refugees and would-be migrants arrived in Lampedusa during the Arab Spring revolutions in North Africa, setting off a crisis that threatened to overwhelm the tiny island. Migrant flows have eased this year following the ouster of long-time rulers in Libya and Tunisia.
Italy has borne the brunt of clandestine seaborne migration to southern Europe which has ebbed and flowed for several years.
Most migrants risk the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea in small, overcrowded fishing boats, and thousands have died as a result of shipwreck, harsh conditions at sea or lack of food and water.
Lampedusa lies south of Sicily and about 130 km (80 miles) east of Tunisia, the closest point on the north African coast.
On September 8 a British couiple on holiday in the French Alps were found shot dead in their car, their young children were wounded but survived the attack.
Forensics experts conducted autopsies on the bodies and there were thorough searches of both the murder scene and the family home in the UK. No motive for the killings has been found.
A military helicopter plucked a teenaged Pakistani girl accused of blasphemy from a prison yard on September 8 and flew her to a secret location.
Live broadcasts on local television channels showed heavily-armed police surrounding Rimsha Masih, a girl believed to be about 14 years old who was accused of burning pages from the Koran in a pile of trash.
A judge granted her bail the day before, and a government minister said an application was being made to have charges against her dismissed.
The lawyer prosecuting Masih has suggested she could be lynched if she is found not guilty and set free.
After Masih's arrest last month accusations emerged that she had been framed by a local cleric eager to expel Christian families living in the slum where she lived.
Egyptian protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo on September 11 and pulled down the American flag during a demonstration over what they said was a film being produced in the United States that insulted Prophet Mohammad.
Once the U.S. flag was hauled down, protesters tore it up, with some showing off small pieces to television cameras. Then others burned remains.
Many Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet to be offensive.
Similar protests also took place in other countries across the Middle East.
Some of the most violent protests were in the Pakistani cities of Karachi and Islamabad.
In Libya the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack on their car, a Libyan official said, as they were rushed from a consular building stormed by militants denouncing the U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad.
Gunmen had attacked and burned the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, a centre of last year's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, late on September 11 evening, killing one U.S. consular official. The building was evacuated.
The Libyan official said the ambassador, Christopher Stevens, was being driven from the consulate building to a safer location when gunmen opened fire.
On September 14, French magazine Closer ran a series of photos of Britain's Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, sunbathing topless dealing a blow to the British royal family as it tried to move on from a scandal over naked shots of Prince Harry.
Closer, a weekly round-up of celebrity gossip, ran a five-page spread of photos of Middleton relaxing topless with Prince William on a balcony at a 19th century hunting lodge in the south of France owned by a son of the late Princess Margaret.
The photos show the Duchess removing her bikini top then relaxing on a sun lounger, apparently oblivious to paparazzi lurking nearby as the pair vacationed at the property in early September.
There was no formal reaction from the couple, who are on an official visit to Malaysia, but a royal source said the couple were angry at the images, which were believed to be genuine, and Buckingham Palace planned to contact French lawyers.
Portuguese protesters demonstrating against new tax hikes clashed with police on September 15.
100,000 protesters marched in Lisbon, while most dispersed peacefully between three and four thousand stayed outside the parliament building into the evening.
Organised via the Internet, the rallies brought together Portuguese from all walks of life, chanting: "Out of here! IMF is hunger and misery!" and calling on the centre-right government to resign.
Tax hikes and spending cuts imposed since last year's bailout have contributed to record unemployment above 15 percent and pushed the economy into its worst recession since the 1970s.
Pope Benedict arrived in Beirut on September 14, on a three-day tour during which he promoted peace in the region torn by civil war in neighbouring Syria.
The Pontiff was greeted by Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman and his wife Wafaa at Beirut's Rafik Hariri airport.
It was the first papal visit to Lebanon in 15 years but Pope Benedict's fourth visit to the Middle East in his time as leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
Rival miners from Bolivia's No. 2 tin mine, Colquiri, threw sticks of dynamite and rocks at each other in the city of La Paz on September 18, injuring at least seven people.
The hour-long street battle showed leftist President Evo Morales's move to seize control of the mine in June was not enough to end a conflict between unionized workers and independent miners.
The government took over operations at Colquiri after miners had fought for weeks over control of the site, located about 200 km (125 miles) south of La Paz. The state takeover drew an angry response from its former owner, global commodities trader Glencore.
Anti-Japan protests broke out in Hong Kong on September 18 as a crisis over a territorial dispute escalated on the day the Chinese commemorated Japan's 1931 occupation.
Around 200 people chanting anti-Japanese slogans and carrying Chinese flags marched onto the Japanese Consulate in the heart of Hong Kong's business district.
The escalating tensions forced some Japanese firms in China to close temporarily as relations between Asia's two biggest economies falter.
The dispute over the uninhabited group of islands in the East China Sea -- known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China - worsened after two Japanese activists landed on an island on the sensitive anniversary.
The activists briefly landed on one of the islands, having paddled up to it in a rubber raft and swum ashore before returning to the boat, Japanese broadcaster NHK said.
A flotilla of around 1,000 Chinese fishing boats was also reported by Chinese and Japanese media to be heading to the area, which contains potentially large gas reserves.
At the first International Conference against Transnational Organized Crime, representatives from 20 countries agreed on September 20 to create an Inter-American Commission to co-ordinate regional crime-fighting efforts in the western hemisphere.
Outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderon, known for his controversial crackdown on powerful drug cartels, lauded the project.
Mexico has sent police and security reinforcements to patrol a suburb of Mexico City for the first time in September to combat rising in drug-related violence that is beginning to encroach on the capital.
A combined force of around 1,000 soldiers, federal police and local police took to the streets of Nezahualcoyotl on Mexico City's eastern flank, which was suffering from a dispute between two rival drug cartels.
President Felipe Calderon's fight against drug gangs overshadowed his administration, and the deployment in Nezahualcoyotl brought the conflict to the doorstep of his successor Enrique Pena Nieto.
In the Netherlands on September 21, riot police broke up crowds of youths in the town of Haren, when they turned violent after several thousand people descended on the community following an invitation to a birthday party posted on Facebook.
Some 30,000 people received the invitation from a girl announcing her 16th birthday party on Facebook, according to media reports. The party was intended to be a small-scale celebration, but the girl did not set her Facebook event to private and the invitation went viral.
Reports said up to 3000 people showed up in the town of 18,000.
Haren had been bracing for the event for most of the week. The party host and her family were evacuated from their home by police for safety reasons.
On September 26, angry protesters chanted 'traitors' in front of the parliament in Athens during a mass rally and a general strike called by the country's biggest unions.
Shops were closed, transport disrupted, museums closed, flights suspended and boats docked, hospital services vastly reduced as the unions representing 2.5 million workers went on a general strike calling on the government not to introduce any more cuts in wages and jobs.
Up to 70,000 people joined the protest which soon turned violent when hooded youths hurling petrol bombs and flaming canisters at riot police who steered the protesters away from the front of the parliament.
Police officials estimated the demonstration was the largest since a May 2011 protest and among the biggest since near-bankrupt Greece first resorted to aid from international lenders in 2010 - which has come at the price of painful austerity cuts.
A small plane struck a bird and crashed shortly after take-off from the Nepali capital of Kathmandu on September 28, killing 19 people, including seven British and five Chinese passengers.
The crash of the propeller-driven Dornier aircraft was the sixth fatal air accident in less than two years in Nepal, where more than a dozen small private carriers often brave bad weather to fly to mountain areas served by no proper road network.
Tourism officials said the latest accident could deter foreign tourists from embarking on treks in Nepal. Many of the dead were trekkers.
OCTOBER At least 25 people died after a Hong Kong ferry packed with more than 120 people collided with another ferry and sank near Lamma island on the night of October 1 in one of the city's worst maritime accidents.
Low visibility hampered rescue efforts, with many passengers trapped in the flooded upturned ferry before it sank, said survivors.
Protesters gathered in Tehran's Grand Bazaar on October 3, protesting against the collapse of the Iranian currency that briefly shut down the market.
It remains unclear whether the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be able to stabilise the currency, which has been undermined by policy missteps by Iranian authorities and Western economic sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear programme.
Three people including a child were killed and at least nine others seriously wounded when a mortar bomb fired from Syria hit Turkey's southeastern border region of Akcakale on October 3.
A Reuters witness saw at least eight seriously wounded people being taken to hospital, three of them police officers. Television footage showed a cloud of smoke and dust rising up as residents ran to help the wounded.
The conflict in neighboring Syria has affected border areas in the past when stray bullets have flown into Turkish territory.
Gunmen shot dead at least 26 students in an attack overnight on their college residence in northeast Nigeria, witnesses told Reuters on October 3.
The attack took place at the Federal Polytechnic Mubi in the remote Adamawa state.
Witnesses said some people were shot, others were killed with machetes.
Adamawa state, like much of the north, has been targeted by Islamist insurgents, but police were also investigating whether the killings might have been motivated by a political feud inside the college.
Officials said the student halls had been raided by police last week as part of a sweep against Boko Haram militants.
During the raid, police recovered weapons including a rocket propelled grenade, dozens of homemade bombs, knives and automatic assault rifles. He added that it could not be ruled out that Boko Haram militants who had infiltrated the students who were behind it.
A Vatican court on October 6 found Pope Benedict's former butler guilty of stealing sensitive documents and sentenced him to 18 months in prison.
Paolo Gabriele had earlier told the court in his last appeal that he had acted exclusively out of deep, "visceral" love for the Roman Catholic Church and the pope. He admitted being the source of leaks of highly sensitive papers, including letters to the pope that alleged corruption in the Vatican's business dealings.
The head of the three-judge panel, speaking "In the name of Holiness", said Gabriele had abused the pontiff's trust in him.
The former cricketer turned politician Imran Khan led a rally against U.S. drone strikes on October 6 along the Kashmir highway outside Islamabad.
Surrounded by a few hundred protesters, Khan marked the start of the peace procession with an address to the crowd.
Drone attacks are highly controversial in Pakistan, where there is anger over civilian casualties and what is perceived as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty.
Protesters broke off pieces of marble from the sidewalks of Athens' central Syntagma Square on October 9 and volleyed them at riot police who responded with tear gas, stun grenades and pepper spray, dispersing the crowds of workers, students, and union members who had turned out to protest against the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Police detained 217 protesters and arrested 24 as angry crowds chanted anti-austerity slogans and pinned a placard outside parliament depicting Angela Merkel in clown paint.
Taliban gunmen in Pakistan shot and seriously wounded on October 9 a 14-year-old schoolgirl who rose to fame for speaking out against the militants, authorities said.
Malala Yousufzai was shot in the head and neck when gunmen fired on her school bus in the Swat valley, northwest of the capital, Islamabad. Two other girls were also wounded.
Malala was flown to the UK for further treatment at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on October 15.
An Austrian daredevil leapt into the stratosphere from a balloon hovering near the edge of space 24 miles above Earth on October 14, breaking as many as three world records including the highest skydive ever, project sponsors said.
Cheers broke out as Felix Baumgartner, 43, jumped from a skateboard sized shelf outside the 11-by-8-foot (3.3-by-2.4 meter) fiberglass and acrylic capsule that was carried as high as 128,000 feet by an enormous balloon.
Fighting in Syria continued into October with Syrian rebels and government forces fighting street by street and village by village.
In Aleppo, in the northwest of the country, Free Syria Army fighters said they were making progress in their battle against troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Amateur video obtained by Reuters on October 17 purports to show a Syrian military helicopter being shot down The video, said to be shot in the Syrian city of Idlib shows the helicopter spiralling downwards with smoke coming from the engines before it explodes in a ball of flames.
It has appeared that Syrian rebels have managed to acquire heavy weapons that have forced the government's air force to bomb rebel-held zones from higher altitude, leading to claims of more indiscriminate bombing.
At least two people were killed and 15 wounded by a huge bomb that exploded in a street in central Beirut on October 19, witnesses and a security source said.
A Reuters reporter saw at least one body at the scene and the security source confirmed two dead.
It was not immediately clear if the explosion targeted any political figure in Lebanon's divided community but it occurred at a time of heightened tension between Lebanese factions on opposite sides of the Syria conflict.
Hurricane Sandy began battering the U.S. East Coast on October 29 with fierce winds and driving rain, as the monster storm shut down transportation, shuttered businesses and sent thousands scrambling for higher ground hours before the worst was due to strike.
About 50 million people from the Mid-Atlantic to Canada were in the path of the nearly 1,000-mile-wide (1,600-km-wide) storm, which forecasters said could be the largest to hit the mainland in U.S. history.
As Sandy ripped through New York City with hurricane force winds, a huge fire destroyed dozens of homes in one of the city's most remote neighborhoods, Breezy Point in the borough of Queens.
NOVEMBER A video posted to a social media website on November 1, appears to show soldiers being gathered by Syrian rebels and then shot dead in what is said to be a building in Saraqeb, 50 km (30 miles) southwest of Aleppo Some of the dead were shot after they had surrendered the footage indicates. The video shows a group of petrified men, some bleeding, lying on the ground as rebels walked around, kicking and stamping on their captives.
Then the men are shot dead.
Reuters could not independently verify the footage.
U.N. investigators accuse pro-government forces of war crimes, including the murder and torture of civilians, in what they said in August may be a state-directed policy. They said rebel fighters were also guilty of war crimes, including executing prisoners, but on a smaller scale.
More than 32,000 people have been killed since protests against Assad, an Alawite who succeeded his late father Hafez in ruling the mostly Sunni Muslim country, first broke out on city streets. The revolt has since degenerated into full-scale civil war, with the government forces relying heavily on artillery and air strikes to thwart the rebels.
U.S. President Barack Obama won won a second term in the White House on November 7 by beating Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
With the U.S. economic recovery at stake, Obama and his Democrats will be forced to put aside partisan differences and work with Republicans to find a way to stave off the austerity measures.
Republicans maintained their majority in the House of Representatives and Democrats kept control of the Senate.
The administration now has a second chance to implement plans to create jobs and reduce the federal debt - issues that voters cited as priorities.
The nationwide popular vote remained extremely close with Obama taking about 50 percent to 49 percent for Romney after a campaign in which the candidates and their party allies spent a combined $2 billion.
Obama scored impressive victories in the crucial state of Ohio and heavily contested swing states of Virginia, Nevada, Iowa and Colorado. They carried the Democrat past the 270 electoral votes needed for victory in America's state-by-state system of choosing a president, and left Romney's senior advisers shell-shocked at the loss.
Obama, America's first black president, won by convincing voters to stick with him as he tries to reignite strong economic growth and recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. An uneven recovery has been showing some signs of strength but the country's 7.9 percent jobless rate remains stubbornly high.
Greece's government narrowly voted to approve an austerity package early on November 8 to unlock vital aid and avert bankruptcy, despite an internal rift and violent protests at the gates of parliament.
Lawmakers approved the spending cuts, tax hikes and measures making it easier to hire and fire workers after nearly 100,000 Greeks waving flags and chanting "Fight! They're drinking our blood!" descended on Syntagma Square in central Athens.
CIA Director David Petraeus resigned his post as head of the nation's leading spy agency on November 9, saying he had engaged in an extramarital affair and acknowledging that he "showed extremely poor judgement."
In a letter to the CIA workforce, Petraeus, age 60, said that he met with President Barack Obama at the White House and asked "to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position."
China opened a congress of its ruling Communist Party on November 8 that ushered in a once-in-a-decade leadership change against a backdrop of growing social unrest, public anger at corruption and a yawning gap between rich and poor.
More than 2,000 hand-picked delegates gathered at Beijing's cavernous Great Hall of the People for the week-long session, which will see President Hu Jintao give up his role as party chief to anointed successor Vice President Xi Jinping.
Hamas's military chief was killed when his car was hit by an Israeli airstrike on November 14, the Palestinian Islamist group said, with multiple Israeli attacks rocking the Gaza Strip.
Hamas said Ahmed Al-Jaabari, who ran the organisation's armed wing, the Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam, died along with a passenger after their car was targeted by an Israeli missile.
Israel's Shin Bet domestic intelligence service confirmed it had carried out the attack, saying it had killed Jaabri because of his "decade-long terrorist activity".
Cross border violence continued for several days as the Israeli military continued its relentless attacks on Gaza, determined to end militant rocket fire aimed at Israel.
On November 20 Palestinian gunmen shot dead six alleged collaborators in the Gaza Strip who "were caught red-handed", according to a security source quoted by the Hamas Aqsa radio.
The Hamas radio said the men, who were suspected of working for Israel, were shot. It did not elaborate.
Gunmen chained the body of one of the alleged collaborators to a motorcycle and dragged it throughout the main streets of Gaza City.
An explosion hit a bus in the heart of Tel Aviv on November 21, wounding at least 10 people in what officials said was a terrorist attack.
The blast shattered windows on the bus, which was driving on a street that runs alongside Israel's defence headquarters.
The bombing happened on the eighth day of an Israeli offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and threatened to complicate Egyptian-led efforts to secure a ceasefire.
Celebratory gunfire rang out in Gaza City when local radio stations reported news of the Tel Aviv explosion.
Palestinians marched side by side with yellow Fatah flags and green Hamas flags in a rare show of unity on November 22 through Gaza City. Marking the ceasefire between militants based in Gaza and Israel.
Protesters in Cairo began to gather in Tahrir Square during November in scenes reminiscent of the Arab Spring protest in 2011 that saw President Hosni Mubarak ousted from power. The protesters this time were also calling for an overthrow of the regime after President Mohamed Mursi issued a decree on November 22 assuming sweeping powers and announcing a referendum on December concerning a new constitution.
Continued protests led Mursi to cancel his Presidential decree on December 9, but Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood said a referendum on a new constitution would go ahead as planned - suggesting the climbdown by Mursi may not be enough to satisfy the opposition.
Congo rebels on Tuesday November 20 took control of Goma, the largest city in eastern Congo after days of clashes with U.N.-backed Congolese soldiers, a spokesman for the M23 rebel group said.
Heavily armed rebels were seen walking through the city unchallenged as United Nations peacekeepers watched and small groups of residents greeted them.
The rebels, who are widely believed to be backed by Rwanda, were earlier repelled by the U.N -backed Congolese forces as they attempted to wrestle control of the airport.
Fire swept through a garment factory on the outskirts of Bangladesh's capital killing more than 100 people, the fire brigade said on November 25, in the country's worst-ever factory blaze.
Forensic experts took samples from Yasser Arafat's buried corpse in the West Bank on November 27, trying to determine if he was murdered by Israeli agents using the hard-to-trace radioactive poison, Polonium.
Palestinians witnessed the funeral of their hero and longtime leader eight years ago, but conspiracy theories surrounding his death have never been laid to rest.
DECEMBER Nine people in Japan were killed on December 3 after a motorway tunnel near Tokyo collapsed.
Japanese fire department officials said that a 50-60 metres (165-197 feet) long section of the tunnel's concrete ceiling panels collapsed onto cars at about 8 a.m on Sunday (23:00 GMT Saturday December 1) as they were driving through, trapping people and and causing a fire.
An official from the highway operator, Central Nippon Expressway (Nexco), said the metal rods used to secure the concrete panels to the tunnel's walls may have become loose.
The ceiling panels had not been repaired or reinforced since they were built in 1977 but they passed safety checks in September, Japan's NHK reported.
The government vowed to take care of the victims and to prevent similar accidents.
The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines in 2012 pounded the southern island of Mindanao on December 4 leaving about 40 people dead or missing, media said, after the storm destroyed homes and brought down power and communication lines.
Typhoon Bopha, with wind gusts of up to 195 kph (121 mph), made landfall at dawn, uprooting trees and tearing off roofs.
About 40 people were killed or missing in flash floods and landslides near the mining province of Compostela Valley on Mindanao, ABS-CBN television reported, saying waters and soil had swept through the area.
Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, left hospital on the morning of December 6..
The Duchess had been admitted to hospital on December 3 suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, a very acute morning sickness which causes severe nausea and vomiting.
A London hospital targeted by a prank call while treating Prince William's pregnant wife Kate said the nurse who took the call was found dead on December 7.
The death, which police said they were treating as unexplained, comes days after the King Edward VII hospital apologised after falling for the call from an Australian radio station and relaying details about Kate's condition.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal ended decades of exile on Friday (December 07) with a triumphal first ever visit to the Gaza Strip that underscored the Islamist group's growing confidence following its latest conflict with Israel.
After passing through the Egyptian border crossing, Meshaal knelt and touched the ground with his forehead, offering up a prayer of thanks. He was then greeted in the warm December sun by dozens of Palestinian officials from an array of factions.
Thousands of supporters lined the streets, which were decked in green Hamas flags, as he drove through the coastal enclave, boisterous resistance songs blasting from loudspeakers and gun shots ringing out in welcome as his motorcade reached the city.
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