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A Look At The Top News Stories Of 2013

posted 15 Dec 2013, 09:31 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 15 Dec 2013, 09:34 ]

A look back at the world's top news stories from January to March in 2013.

HYDERABADANDHRA PRADESHINDIA (JANUARY 06, 2013)  (ANI) -  Five men accused of the gang rape and murder of an Indian student appeared in court on Monday (January 7) to hear charges against them, after two of them offered evidence possibly in return for a lighter sentence in a case that has provoked widespread anger.

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The five men, along with a teenager, were accused of raping the 23-year-old physiotherapy student when she boarded their bus after going to the cinema inNew Delhi on Dec. 16. She died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.

The attack on the student ignited protests against the government and anger towards the police for their perceived failure to protect women. It also provoked a rare national debate about rising violence against women.

A convoy of over 20 French armoured vehicles, arrived in Niono on Saturday afternoon (January 19), situated on the road to Diabaly, only 50 kms away.

Despite news of rebels being on the run from Diabaly, residents in Niono are still fearful of their return.

Authorities have not allowed any media to enter the Tiguentourine site of the Algerian state oil company Sonatrach on Saturday (January 19) where the armycarried out what they said was a final assault on al Qaeda-linked gunmen holed up in the desert gas plant.

An Algerian soldier stands at a checkpoint near a road sign indicating 10 km (6 miles) to a gas installation in Tiguentourine (spelled Tigantourine by Reuters wires).

Come back to work was the message one of the engineers at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria told expat colleagues on Thursday (January 31), as he thanked theAlgerian military for their action in ending a siege there earlier this month by Islamic militants.

Speaking as cameras were taken to the plant and the nearby residential compound where foreign workers had stayed during their stints there, engineer Haouch Abdelhak said the attack could have been much worse were it not for the actions of the Algerian military.

A man jumped on stage and pointed a gun at the leader of Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish party before security guards wrestled him to the ground during a televised conference on Saturday (January 19).

Ahmed Dogan, the long-time leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) escaped unscathed, and it was not immediately clear why the attacker had targeted him at the party congress in downtown Sofia.

U.S. President Barack Obama was sworn in for a second term in office on Sunday in a small, private ceremony in the White House's Blue Room. Chief Justice John Roberts, who leads the U.S. Supreme Court, administered the oath of office to the president, repeating a role he took in 2009, when Obama became the first black president of the United States.

Amateur video captured bystanders helping rescue workers pull people out of a burning night club Sunday morning (January 27) in southern Brazil.

The nightclub fire killed at least 232 people after a band's pyrotechnics show set the building ablaze and fleeing patrons were unable to find the emergency exits in the ensuing panic, officials said.

FEBRUARY: Malians chanting "Thank you, France!" and "Papa Hollande" mobbed President Francois Hollande on Saturday (February 2) as he visited the desert town of Timbuktu and pledged France's sustained support for Mali in expel jihadists from the country.

In Timbuktu, Hollande visited the Djingarei-ber or Grand Mosque and the Ahmed Baba Institute, a library of ancient manuscripts that was ransacked by the rebels.

Police in Pretoria confirmed on Thursday (February 14) that a 30-year-old woman had been shot and killed at the home of South Africa's Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius.

The 26-year-old Pistorius, known as the "Blade Runner" for his racing prosthetics, was arrested and police said they had opened a murder case after an early morning incident at the upmarket Silverlakes gated community on the outskirts of the capital.

Jamaat-e-Islami leaders on Monday (February 2) threatened to paralyseBangladesh if the government does not free its leaders immediately. Thousands ofJamaat-e-Islami leaders and supporters marched on the streets of Dhaka on Monday to call for the immediate release of its leaders accused of crimes against humanity during the country's war of independence.

Some 1,000 people were injured when a meteor shot across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday (February 15), sending fireballs crashing to Earth, shattering windows and damaging buildings, RIA Novosti said, quoting the Russian Interior Ministry.

People heading to work in Chelyabinsk heard what sounded like an explosion, saw a bright light and then felt a shockwave according to a Reuters correspondent in the industrial city 1,500 km (950 miles) east of Moscow.

A zinc factory in Chelyabinsk was seen with a partially collapsed roof and walls in the morning after meteor pieces rained on the town.

Sixty-four people including school children died on Saturday (February 16) in a bomb attack carried out by extremists from Pakistan's Sunni Muslim majority, police said.

A spokesman for Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni group, claimed responsibility for the bomb in Quetta, which caused casualties in the town's main bazaar, a school and a computer centre. Police said most of the victims were Shi'ites.

A car bomb killed more than 50 people and wounded more than 250 others in central Damascus on Thursday (February 21) when it blew up on a busy highway close to ruling Baath Party offices and the Russian Embassy, state media and activists said.

Syrian television described the blast as a suicide bombing by "terrorists" battling President Bashar al-Assad. It said 53 people were killed.

A hot air balloon crashed near the Egyptian town of Luxor at dawn on Tuesday after a mid-air gas explosion, killing 19 Asian and European tourists, a local industry official and the state news agency said.

A spokesman for balloon operators in the area told Reuters that one tourist and the pilot had survived the crash, which followed the blast at 1,000 feet (300 metres).

Pope Benedict left the Vatican on Thursday (February 28) and headed to the papal summer residence where he will become the first pontiff in six centuries to resign instead of ruling for life.

A white Italian air force helicopter lifted off from the Vatican's heliport to fly the 85-year-old pope to Castel Gandolfo, just south of Rome, where at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) he will resign and leave the papacy vacant.

MARCH: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died after a two-year battle with cancer, ending the socialist leader's 14-year rule of the South American country, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in a televised speech.

The flamboyant 58-year-old leader had undergone four operations in Cuba for a cancer that was first detected in his pelvic region in mid-2011. His last surgery was on Dec. 11 and he had not been seen in public since.

Weeping and shouting, a sea of Hugo Chavez's supporters paraded his coffin through the streets of Caracas on Wednesday (March 6) in an emotional outpouring that could help his deputy win an election and keep his self-styled socialist revolution alive.

Mourners from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to U.S. Oscar-winnerSean Penn paid an emotional farewell to Hugo Chavez at Friday's (March 8) funeral for the charismatic but divisive Venezuelan leader who changed the face of politics in South America.

The U.S. and South Korea are conducting an annual military training "Foal Eagle" from March 1 through April 30 and another annual joint drill "Key Resolve" will be conducted from March 11 through March 21.

North Korea on Friday (March 8) continued threatening the South, releasing stills and video of its leader Kim Jong-un inspecting two military units near the border with the South on Thursday (March 7).

Bolshoi Ballet dancer accused of organising an attack that nearly blinded the Russian theatre's artistic director said in court on Thursday (March 7) that he did not intend for the victim to be splashed with acid.

Pavel Dmitrichenko indicated he had agreed when the alleged accomplice accused of carrying out the Jan. 17 attack on Sergei Filin suggested roughing him up, but did not tell him to throw acid in Filin's face.

White smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday (March 13) and the bells of St. Peter's rang out, signaling cardinals had elected a new pope to succeed Benedict and take charge of the troubled Roman Catholic Church.

The election came on the first full day of voting by the 115 cardinal-electors, who secluded themselves behind the Vatican's mediaeval walls on Tuesday afternoon -- more quickly than many had expected.

Cheering crowds greeted the newly-elected Pope Francis with tears and joy as he appeared on a balcony over St Peter's Square on Friday (March 13).

Clutching mobile phones and cameras to record the moment, hundreds of thousands filled the square as Francis appeared.

Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, delivered his first blessing to the huge crowd, asking for the prayers of "all men and women of good will" to help him lead the Catholic Church.

Car bombs and a suicide blast hit Shi'ite districts of Baghdad and south of Iraq's capital on Tuesday (March 19), killing at least 50 people on the 10th anniversary of the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

The car bombs exploded near a busy Baghdad market, close to the heavily fortified Green Zone and in other districts across the capital. A suicide bomber driving a truck attacked a police base in a Shi'ite town just south of the capital, police and hospital sources said.