- Title: VARIOUS: NEWS REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2007 - YEARENDER
- Date: 24th December 2007
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (MARCH 23, 2007) (REUTERS) BABY POLAR BEAR KNUT DRINKING WATER, RUNNING UP ONTO ROCK AS HE IS INTRODUCED TO PUBLIC
- Reuters ID: LVAE47KHLZ80JYRZ7CSADDADDXPM
- Duration: 00:00:15
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: General
- Story Text: JANUARY - Millions of Romanians and Bulgarians revelled in their first day as citizens of the European Union after a night of fireworks and street parties celebrating their countries' entry into the bloc. Violence continued to take its toll in Iraq. In one particlar attack at least 80 people were killed, including more than 60 at the University of Baghdad, in a series of bomb blasts on January 16. The attacks came as the United Nations said more than 34,000 civilians were killed in Iraq last year. Democratic Senator Barack Obama as well as fellow U.S. Senator and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announced their plans to run for U.S. president in the 2008 race. In Lebanon, thousands of protesters blocked main roads in Beirut and around the country with rubble and burning tyres at the start of a general strike called by the opposition to try to topple the government.
FEBRUARY - A U.N. report on climate change officially projected a big rise in temperatures, warning of heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels linked to greenhouse gases, released mainly by the use of fossil fuels. In an effort to draw attention to energy consumption, the Eiffel Tower turned its famous night-time illuminations off for five minutes. The Puerta de Alcala, one of Madrid's most symbolic monuments, also switched its lights off, as did Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. Floods in the Indonesian capital Jakarta displaced nearly 200,000 people from their homes. Former Playboy model and oil heiress Anna Nicole Smith collapsed in a Florida hotel and was rushed to hospital. Smith, a platinum blonde who grew up idolizing screen legend Marilyn Monroe and gained fame as a model for Guess jeans and Playboy, was later pronounced dead at a Hollywood, Florida hospital. Clashes broke out at one of the world's holiest sites as anger grew over Israeli plans to excavate near the Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Israeli security forces were deployed around the Old City of Jerusalem and prevented Muslim worshippers from streaming into the Aqsa compound, where Islam's third holiest site is located.
Palestinian youth hurled stones at police positioned in roads leading to the Old City as forces fired back with stun grenades to disperse the crowds. In a historic case, Bosnia had asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to rule on whether Serbia committed genocide through the incidence of killing, rape and ethnic cleansing during the Bosnian war. The highest U.N. court cleared the Serbian state of direct responsibility for genocide in Bosnia during the 1992-95 war, but said Serbia had violated its responsibility to prevent genocide. Cuban leader Fidel Castro made a surprise call into Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's nightly radio programme, in his first public comments since turning over power to his brother Raul last July. The two leaders talked for more than 20 minutes, discussing Castro's health as well as world issues. Demonstrators protested against the imprisonment of Australian Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks, the first inmate at the complex to be convicted of supporting terrorism by a U.S. military court. After pleading guilty, Hicks returned to Australia in May to serve out his remaining sentence at home.
MARCH - Thousands of cheering Ghanians celebrated the 50th anniversary of their nation's independence. Ghana was the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to win independence. An assassination plot rocked the comic book world after Marvel Comics' Captain America was shot by a sniper's bullet and possibly left for dead after 66 years. The plot twist had the comic book flying off shelves, but many saw the storyline as a political statement. As U.S. President George W. Bush continued his six-nation Latin American tour, he chose to join the percussion line and dance along with Brazilian teens in their musical performance. Moments after arriving at Galbeg police station in Mogadishu, newly graduated soldiers were attacked by unknown militants in a fierce firefight. At least one person was killed in the clash. Iran, embroiled in a row with the West over its nuclear ambitions, issued a new 50,000 rial banknote carrying an atomic symbol. Spectators and participants of the Cricket World Cup were shocked by the death of Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer which made headline news as police announced he was strangled and they were treating his death as murder. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was left shaken but unhurt after an explosion sent shockwaves through a building where he was giving a news conference. Ban, on his first and unannounced visit to Baghdad after taking his post in January, ducked, grimaced and hurriedly pocketed his notes after the blast which shook the heavily fortified Green Zone where he was holding the briefing with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Explosions at Berlin's Brandenburg gate were more welcome as the EU celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Rome Treaty with a dazzling fireworks display. But like Ban in Baghdad, the northwestern Iraqi town of Tal Afar was also rocked by explosions. At least 55 people were killed and 180 wounded when truck bombs targeted Shi'ite neighbourhoods. Germany, meanwhile, was gripped by "Knut-fever" as the country and indeed the world was transfixed by a three-month-old polar bear cub rejected by his mother. A two storey villa in China also became a symbol for isolation and a beacon for the rights of the common person against those of big business in rapidly developing China as its owners refused to accept eviction notices handed out by real estate developers and government officials.
APRIL - Fifteen British military personnel captured by Iran in the Gulf in March arrived back in Britain, receiving both cheers and to questions about the incident and its implications. A French train smashed the world speed record on rail, reaching 574.8 kilometres per hour. A paternity test confirmed that Larry Birkhead, the former boyfriend of the late model Anna Nicole Smith, is the father of her seven-month-old daughter. The baby, named Dannielynn, could one day be worth a fortune if Smith's estate wins a decade-long battle to inherit from former oil tycoon husband J. Howard Marshall. American university Virginia Tech became the site of a massacre that killed 32 people after 23-year-old gunman Seung-Hui Cho went on a shooting spree, killing teachers and classmates on campus. A Kremlin spokeswoman confirmed the death of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who buried the Soviet Union then led Russia through its chaotic first years of independence.
Medical sources said Yeltsin, 76, died of heart failure. British physicist and renowned Stephen Hawking, who is normally confined to a wheelchair, tasted a world of weightlessness as he tested zero gravity in space. A wave of riots erupted in Estonia after the removal of a memorial of Red Army soldiers uncovered a deep rift in relations between Estonians and a majority Russian population living in the country after it regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. A major part of a San Francisco freeway collapsed after a fuel truck crashed and exploded.
MAY - The disappearance of four-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann became a mystery for the whole world to follow. WIth several twists and turns in the case, including an audience with the Pope for her parents, the mother of missing girl was formally declared a suspect in September, more than four months after her daughter's disappearance. The leaders of Northern Ireland's rival pro-British and nationalist communities, arch-foes during decades of sectarian conflict, swore-in a new power-sharing, home-rule government, aiming to put a final end to violence. A Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800 fell into densely forested swampland in Cameroon, killing all 114 people onboard. Nicolas Sarkozy became president of France, officially taking over from his conservative predecessor Jacques Chirac. Chirac and Sarkozy held a brief meeting during which Chirac handed over the secret codes of France's nuclear strike force to his 52-year-old successor, who comfortably defeated Socialist Segolene Royal in a May 6 run-off ballot. Paul Wolfowitz resigned as World Bank president, following controversy over his promotion of his companion Shaha Riza, an expert at the bank. Lebanese troops battled Islamist militants based in a the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp. At least 23 soldiers and 19 militants died in the clashes which became Lebanon's bloodiest internal fighting since the 1975-90 civil war.
JUNE - German police clashes with hundreds of protesters in the port of Rostock following a much larger peaceful demonstration against next week's Group of Eight summit in a nearby Baltic resort. Violence continued in Lebanon with a blast that killed anti-Syrian Member of Parliament Walid Eido and nine other people. Palestinian factions fought fiercely for control in Gaza as Hamas fighters captured bastions of forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, declaring control of the impoverished strip the sound of gunfire and explosions echoed through the city streets.
Britain witnessed the worst flooding in a generation as rivers overflowed, destroying infrastructure and leaving hundreds homeless. Hotel heiress Paris Hilton was released after a brief stint in a California prison. British Prime Minister Tony Blair was also released, from his duties at No. 10 Downing Street, as former chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown took up the post.
Two days after the handover of power, Britain was rocked by a bomb plot in the middle of Piccadilly Circus that was thwarted. The national security level was raised to "critical". The following day, a truck rammed into a terminal building at Glasgow airport and burst into flames in what police described as an attack lilnked to the London bomb plot.
JULY - Friends and family of kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston, as well as fellow journalists from around the world, breathed a sigh of relief when he was set free by his captors after 114 days in captivity in Gaza. At least 75 supporters of hardline clerics were killed in a commando assault on Islamabad's Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, which ended a week-long standoff between militants and the security forces. Ten soldiers were also killed. Media mogul Conrad Black has been found guilty of fraud and obstruction of justice by a U.S. jury. He was later sentenced in December to spend 78 months in prison for the offences. Six foreign medics convicted of deliberately infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV are freed after a partnership deal between Tripoli and the European Union ended their eight-year ordeal and returned to Bulgaria in what Libya's critics called a human rights scandal. Brazil suffered its worst-ever plane crash when a TAM plane carrying 186 passengers and crew slid off a short, rain-soaked runway at Congonhas airport. New Yorkers fled the Grand Central area during rush hour after an underground steam pipe exploded, causing huge clouds of smoke and steam.
Shocked onlookers in Portugal found themselves running for their lives as a delapidated building on Portugal's Sao Miguel island crumbled and collapsed before them. After a day-long stand-off between protesters and Welsh Assembly officials, Shambo the bull has been removed from his pen in Wales to be sent for slaughter. An Appeal Court ruled the bullock must die in accordance with government policy of slaughtering TB-positive cattle despite thousands who petitioned against the killing and proposals by a charity in India, where cows are sacred, to take Shambo out of the country. At least 29 people died and hundreds of thousands were cut off from their homes after monsoon flooding in eastern India and Bangladesh.
AUGUST - A highway bridge in Minneapolis collapsed during rush hour traffic, killing at least four people. Dozens more were missing after the incident. A Russian submersible planted a flag on the ocean floor in the resource-rich North Pole, but Canada dismissed suggestions of a Russian claim to the area. After failed efforts to reach six trapped miners that cost the life of three rescuers, a mine in Utah permanently closed down. Gun-wielding Hamas security forces violently broke up a Fatah wedding celebration in Gaza where guests were singing traditional Fatah songs. The Peruvian town of Pisco was one of the hardest hit by an earthquake that left more than 33,000 families homeless. Passengers onboard a plane that was hijacked as it travelled from northern Cyprus to Turkey broke out of the plane as it sat on the tarmac and helped others to escape from emergency exits. Four passengers and two crew members were held hostage as negotiations took place before the hijackers gave themselves up. Passengers on a Taiwan plane also had a lucky escape, from a burning jet just seconds before it exploded on the tarmac of a Japanese airport. Parts of Greece were decimated by unrelenting and deadly fires. A statue of former South African president Nelson Mandela was unveiled in London's Parliament Square. Taliban insurgents freed its South Korean hostages in two separate batches, six weeks after seizing the Christian missionaries in Afghanistan.
SEPTEMBER - Air crews searching for U.S. adventurer Steve Fossett vastly expanded their search area over the Nevada desert after his plane went missing. To date neither Fossett nor his aircraft have been found.
Ahead of the sixth anniversary of September 11th, Osama bin Laden issued a new video statement. Family and friends of Luciano Pavarotti held an emotional final goodbye to the tenor at Modena Cathedral in Italy. Rock stars and politicians joined bereaved family members for the mass after the singer lost a long fight with pancreatic cancer. The trial continued in Moscow of Alexander Pichushkin, a supermarket porter who prosecutors say murdered 49 people, which would make him Russia's worst serial killer in a decade. Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of the governing New Democracy party clinched victory in Greek parliamentary elections. Former U.S. football star O.J.
Simpson was arrested and held without bail in connection with an alleged armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room. Customers of besieged lender Northern Rock queued to remove their savings despite an unprecedented guarantee from the British government that their savings are safe. Disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori was extradited from Chile and arrived in Peru for the first time in seven years to face charges of abusing human rights and stealing public money during his decade-long rule in the 1990s. Thousands of monks wearing saffron-coloured robes marched peacefully in the streets of Myanmar, initially to protest hikes in fuel prices but in a show of protest that came to symbolise a movement against the ruling junta. A military order to crackdown on the protests was blamed for the death of a Japanese journalist shot dead in Yangon.
OCTOBER - The second historical summit between the two war-torn Koreas began after South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun crossed the border and met leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang. The first summit in 2000 was seen as a landmark moment that led to an easing of tensions on the divided peninsula.
British novelist Doris Lessing was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize for literature for a body of work that looked unflinchingly at society's ills and inspired a generation of feminist writers. The 87-year-old writer was underwhelmed at being honoured by the Swedish Academy. Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto ended eight years of self-exile, returning to Karachi where a huge crowd of supporters welcomes her home. But the celebrations were marred by bombs that exploded near Bhutto's convoy, killing at least 133 people. The historic Sands Hotel, an Atlantic City landmark, was forced to implode to make way for a new massive casino. The world's largest passenger jet, the Airbus A380, completed a historic first commercial flight from Singapore to Sydney in Australia. Turkish ground forces backed by fighter jets and helicopter gunships prepared for military action against Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq after PKK separatists there killed a dozen Turkish soldiers. Argentina's first lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner claimed victory in a presidential election widely seen as a vote for stability and continuity for the country previously ruled by her husband Nestor.
NOVEMBER - Tourists visiting the tomb of Tutankhamun in Luxor, Egypt viewed the boy pharaoh's face for the first time as part of an effort by experts to preserve the mummy. Mexican President Felipe Calderon toured the flood-stricken Tabasco state to supervise clean-up and recovery operations. A teenage pupil fired 69 bullets at a high school in southern Finland, killing seven students a head teacher and himself, just hours after posting a video on the internet predicting a massacre. Literary giant Norman Mailer, the pugnacious two-times Pulitzer Prize winner who was a dominating presence on the U.S. literary scene across seven decades, died of kidney failure. Ukraine suffered its worst mining accident after more than 100 miners died in a methane blast at the Zasyadko mine near Donetsk. Australia entered a new era of Labour rule led by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd after conservative John Howard lost an election following 11 years in power. At a mideast peace summit in Annapolis, Maryland, Israeli and Palestinian leaders Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas took steps towards further negotiations and a peace treaty by the end of 2008, sealing the deal with a historic handshake. The Colombian government broadcast videos of kidnapped politician Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans in the first proof since 2003 that the high-profile rebel hostages were still alive.
DECEMBER - British teacher Gillian Gibbons caused a wave of protests in Sudan after her class of seven-year-olds named a teddy bear Mohammad, the same name as Islam's Prophet as part of a school project.
Demonstrators believed she had insulted Islam and should serve more than her 15 days of imprisonment. She was released early, after spending more than a week in a jail in Khartoum. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe controversially attended an EU-Africa summit in Lisbon, causing British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to boycott the event. When asked what his message was to Europe, Mugabe lifted his fist in the air in defiance. Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore and the head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Rajendra Pachauri jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize for their environmental work. At least 26 people were killed when suspected al Qaeda militants detonated twin car bombs near a United Nations compound in the capital Algiers, in one of the bloodiest attacks since civil strife in the 1990s.
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