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A Look At The Top News Stories Of 2013

posted 15 Dec 2013, 10:16 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 15 Dec 2013, 10:16 ]

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

LONDONUNITED KINGDOM (REUTERS ARCHIVE) - APRIL: Baroness Thatcher died on Monday (April 8) morning aged 87 following a stroke. The former prime minister, who had suffered bouts of illness for many years, was said to have died peacefully.

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UK Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a statement saying she succeeded against all the odds, and that she not only led the country, but saved it.

Two explosions ripped through the crowd at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday (April 15), killing three people, maiming others and injuring more than 100 in what a White House official said would be treated as an "act of terror."

The blasts a few seconds apart knocked some runners off their feet and shattered what had been a resplendent spring day with the state of Massachusettscelebrating Patriots' Day, which commemorates the U.S. war of independence on the third Monday in April.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings is in "critical but stable condition" Sunday (April 21) according to Boston PoliceCommissioner Ed Davis.

A somber crowd gathered at a make shift memorial on Sunday (April 21) where the bombings took place at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

With one suspect in custody and the other killed in a shootout with police, crowds have began the healing process after the attacks.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang flew to the quake zone after a strong 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit a remote, mostly rural and mountainous area of south-western China's Sichuan province on Saturday (April 20), killing at least 102 people and injuring about 2,200, state television CCTV said.

On a flight to the provincial capital Chengdu, Li said that all efforts must be put into rescuing victims to limit the death toll.

An eight-storey block housing garment factories and a shopping centre collapsed on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital (April 24).

Fire fighters and army personnel worked frantically at the Rana Plaza building inSavar, 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka, to rescue people trapped in the rubble.

The death toll eventually rose to 1,129 people, making it one of the world's worst industrial accidents.

Japanese activists were forced to leave the area surrounding a group of islands disputed between Japan and China in the East China Sea on Tuesday (April 23), after eight Chinese ships entered the area.

The Japanese Coast Guard said this was the most number of Chinese surveillance ships to enter disputed territorial waters since Tokyo bought the islands from private owners last September.

MAY: A huge tornado with winds of up to 200 miles per hour tore through theOklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday (May 20), ripping up at least two schools and leaving a wake of tangled wreckage as a dangerous storm system threatened as many as 10 U.S. states.

Aerial video showed tracts of homes destroyed, cars tossed about and piled atop one another, and at least one building on fire.

Rescuers went building to building in search of victims and thousands of survivors were homeless on Tuesday (May 21), a day after a massive tornado tore through a suburb of Oklahoma City, wiping out whole blocks of homes and killing at least 24 people.

Two suspects, aged 22 and 28, are under guard in hospitals after being shot and arrested by police following the murder of 25-year-old Afghan war veteran Lee Rigby on Wednesday in broad daylight. They have not yet been charged.

The trial of two Muslim converts accused of hacking to death a British soldier in broad daylight on a London street began on Friday (November 29) in a case that has shocked many in Britain.

One of two men arrested over the murder of a British soldier in a London street was detained in Kenya in 2010 on suspicion of seeking to train with an al Qaeda-linked group in SomaliaKenyan police said on Sunday (May 26).

JUNE: Angelina Jolie made her first public appearance since announcing her double mastectomy on Sunday (June 2), joining fiance Brad Pitt on the red carpet in London where she welcomed the debate on women's health that the surgery had sparked.

The Oscar-winning actress has stayed out of the spotlight since announcing her operation in a New York Times column last month, saying the decision was made after finding she carried a gene giving her an 87 percent chance of getting breast cancer.

Suburbs of northern Budapest are experiencing record-level floods after the Danube broke its banks on Friday (June 7) and the water is still rising.

At least 1,200 people have been forced to leave 28 towns and villages and nearly 50 roads have been closed

Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that the river Danube will peak at record high levels in Budapest on Sunday (June 9) and that dykes have been strengthened at critical points to protect the capital from flooding.

Schools have been shut and most parts of the Bavarian town of Deggendorf were without electricity on Friday (June 7) after the river Danube flooded large parts of this southern German city.

Deggendorf, some 50 kilometres from the Czech border and one of many towns hit by the floods in recent days was almost entirely submerged in water after extended heavy rain caused the rivers Danube and Isar and further north the Elbe to overflow.

Turkish riot police using tear gas and water cannon battled protesters for control ofIstanbul's Taksim Square, hours after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan demanded an immediate end to 10 days of demonstrations on Tuesday (June 11).

Police fired volleys of tear gas canisters into a crowd of thousands - people in office clothes as well as youths in masks who had fought skirmishes throughout the day - scattering them into side streets and nearby hotels. Water cannon swept across the square targeting stone-throwers in masks.

Protesters hold a Turkish flag as riot police use a water cannon to disperse them atTaksim square in central Istanbul on Saturday (July 6).

Fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden goes public with details of U.S. spying programmes in video on Britain's Guardian newspaper.

Stories are published in Britain and the United States, including on the existence of the programme Prism and a court order to force telecoms company Verizon to hand over phone records of millions of Americans.

The Greek government announced on Tuesday (June 11) it was shutting down the country's state broadcaster and will instead re-open a more streamlined channel that will cost less.

Thousands of supporters were preparing to spend the night protesting outside the headquarters of the Greek television state broadcaster ERT in Athens on Tuesday (June 11) after the government's decision to close it for cost-cutting measures.

Rescue operations were underway on Tuesday (June 18) in northern India after early monsoon rains swelled the Ganges, India's longest river, and swept away houses, killing at least 60 people and left tens of thousands stranded.

The rains are at least twice as heavy as usual in northwest and central India as the June-September monsoon spreads north, covering the whole country a month faster than normal.

Two people, one an American, were killed when protesters stormed an office ofEgypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria, adding to growing tension ahead of mass rallies aimed at unseating the Islamist president.

A third man was killed and 10 injured in an explosion during a protest in Port Said, at the mouth of the Suez Canal. Police on Saturday (June 29) said the cause was unclear but protesters, believing it was a bomb, attacked an Islamist party office in the city.

JULY: Egypt's armed forces overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on Wednesday (July 3), sparking wild rejoicing in the streets at the prospect of new elections as a range of political leaders backed a new political transition.

Claiming a mandate from the people, millions of whom have protested against political upheaval and economic stagnation under Brotherhood rule, armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Mursi had failed to meet demands for national unity.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl activist who survived a Taliban assassination attempt, gave her first speech since her recovery on Friday (July 12) at the United Nations (U.N.) headquarters in New York appealing for compulsory free schooling for all children.

Friday was also her 16th birthday, and is commemorated by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as "Malala Day" to represent her plight.

To wild cheers and with the glare of the world's media on them, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge showed off their new baby as they emerged from a London hospital on Tuesday (July 23), 27 hours after the third-in-line to the British throne was born.

Catherine, or Kate as she is more popularly known, held the baby as the couple emerged from the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital. The royal couple waved and beamed from ear to ear, before Kate delighted the crowds by handing the baby over to Prince William to present to the world.

CCTV video footage from Wednesday's train crash (July 24) that killed at least 78 people has emerged.

The Spanish train that derailed entered a sharp bend at high speed then careered off the tracks, smashing into a wall running alongside the rail, security camera footage showed on Thursday (July 25).

AUGUST: The government of Iraqi Kurdistan has set an entry quota of 3,000 refugees a day to cope with an influx of Kurds fleeing the civil war in Syria, but there are signs many more are coming.

Summer heat, overcrowding and lack of international relief are adding to the plight of some 50,000 Syrian refugees at Domiz camp in northern Iraq.

At least 13 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in two explosions outside mosques in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli on Friday (August 23), security sources and witnesses said.

The explosions, which appeared to be coordinated, went off outside two mosques as Friday prayers ended in the largely Sunni Muslim city.

A series of bombings and attacks across Baghdad killed at least 51 people and wounded dozens on Wednesday (August 28), police and medical sources said, asIraq battles the country's worst wave of violence in at least five years.

In one blast, a car exploded in a commercial street in Baghdad's Shi'ite slum ofSadr City killing seven people and wounding 16 others, police sources said.

Syrian activists accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of launching a nerve gas attack that killed at least 213 people on Wednesday (August 21), in what would, if confirmed, be by far the worst reported use of poison gas in the two-year-old civil war.

Reuters was not able to verify the accounts independently and they were denied by Syrian state television, which said they were disseminated deliberately to distract a team of United Nations chemical weapons experts which arrived three days ago.

Syria's opposition accused government forces of gassing hundreds of people on Wednesday (August 21) by firing rockets that released deadly fumes over rebel-held Damascus suburbs, killing men, women and children as they slept.

Videos posted on a social media website appear to show scores of dead people in the town of Mouadamiya in Western Ghouta in the suburb of Damascus, allegedly killed by chemical weapons.

SEPTEMBER: U.S. President Barack Obama urged the United Nations on Tuesday to back tough consequences for Syria if it refuses to give up chemical weapons and urged Russia and Iran to drop their backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Speaking to the U.N. General Assembly, an annual gathering of world leaders, Obama laid out U.S. priorities for the volatile Middle East and North Africa. He stressed that the United States wants diplomatic outcomes to festering disputes, but does not rule out the use of military force or direct action against extremist threats.

OCTOBER: Safety concerns have prevented inspectors from a global chemical weapons watchdog from reaching two of the 23 sites declared by Syria as part of an agreement to destroy its toxic arsenal, the organisation said on Monday.

The Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had verified 21 sites up to October 27, the deadline agreed as part of Syria's destruction programme.

The world's chemical weapons watchdog is confident it will be able to meet deadlines to destroy Syria's toxic stockpile even though some sites are in disputed or rebel-held territory, a special adviser to the organisation's director general said.

Under a Russian-American brokered deal, Syria has until November 1 to destroy or render unusable all chemical agent production and weapon filling facilities.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemicals weapon arsenal, won the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

Set up in 1997 to eliminate all chemicals weapons worldwide, its mission gained critical importance this year after a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascuskilled more than 1,400 people in August.