January 2010 Current Events: World News

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

U.S. News | Business News | Science/Disasters News

Here are the key events in world news for the month of January 2010.

  • 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.
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