August 2011 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of August 2011.
Crackdown Continues in Syria (Aug. 1): For the second day in a row, the uprising against President Assad's government is met with bombing attacks by Syrian forces in the west-central city, Hama. (Aug. 3): Despite global condemnation, the Syrian government orders its military to march into Hama after three days of bombing. Tanks and soldiers seize the central square. Even Russia, a Syrian ally, gives its support to possible Security Council Action against Syria. (Aug. 4): Syrian military kill more than 100 people in 24 hours in Hama, bringing the civilian casualties to more than 200 since the bombing began. (Aug. 7): Still ignoring international condemnation, the military in Syria initiate another attack, this time in the eastern city of Deir al-Zour. Thousands of people flee and dozens are killed as tanks roar into the city. Hama and Deir al-Zour have been the setting for mass protests in recent weeks and have been the most defiant in the uprising. (Aug. 15): The Syrian government sends navy vessels along with tanks and soldiers to the port city of Latakia. At least 25 people are killed, including three children. The attack sparks renewed outrage, partly because they occur during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. (Aug. 18): Britain, France, and Germany release a joint statement stating that President Assad has lost legitimacy as a leader and that he must step down. For the first time, President Obama calls for Assad to leave office. Obama also announces new sanctions against Syria including freezing all Syrian assets. (Aug. 22): President Assad says American and European calls for him to step down are "meaningless" and suggests that the military in Syria will continue its crackdown. (Aug. 26): Inspired by the fall of Col. Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, thousands of protestors take to the streets in Syria, demanding that President Assad leave. Security forces continue to fight the protestors, including severely beating Ali Farzat, Syria's best-known political cartoonist. The attack on him comes just days after Farzat published a cartoon showing President Assad hitching a ride out of town with Qaddafi.
Mubarak Trial Begins (Aug. 3): Tens of millions watch live on television as an ailing Hosni Mubarak is rolled into the courtroom on a hospital bed for the beginning of his trial. Mubarak, the former Egyptian president, faces charges of corruption and complicity in the killing of protesters. Mubarak was ousted earlier this year after an 18-day revolution in Egypt.
Violent Riots Spread Throughout Britain (Aug. 6): A protest over the police shooting of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old local man, turns violent. Rioters with makeshift weapons fight police in Tottenham and set fire to two police cars and several buildings. (Aug. 8): Over two days, riots breakout in Enfield, Lambeth, Camden, Walthamstow, Oxford Circus and Islington. Rioters smash storefronts and burn cars. Two officers are hit by a car in Walthamstow. (Aug. 9): Several hundred rioters burn cars and fight with police in several London neighborhoods. A man in south London is shot and killed, becoming the first fatality in the riots. (Aug. 10): Ten thousand police officers patrol London. Residents are strongly advised to stay home and businesses close early. Prime Minister David Cameron pledges in a speech to "fight back" against the rioters, describing them as "groups of thugs."
American Forces Experience Deadliest Day in Afghan War (Aug. 6): Thirty U.S. armed servicemen, including 22 members of the Navy SEALs, are killed in Afghanistan when insurgents shoot down their Chinook helicopter. The casualties make the day the deadliest for U.S. forces in the decade-long war. Most of the 22 Navy SEALS killed are members of SEAL Team Six, the unit responsible for finding and killing Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. (Aug. 11): The Pentagon releases the names of the servicemen that died on August 6 and reports that none of the men killed were involved in the Osama bin Laden mission back in May.
Yemen President Leaves Hospital (Aug. 7): President Saleh, having recovered from injuries sustained in June when the presidential compound was attacked, is discharged from a hospital in Saudi Arabia, but chooses to remain in the country. An official in Yemen says that Saleh is not well enough to function as president. (Aug. 11): President Saleh appears on state television looking healthy and walking. (Aug. 17): Yemen opposition leaders form a national council. The government instantly condemns the act. (Aug. 23): Prime Minister Ali Mujawar returns to Yemen from Saudi Arabia where he was treated for injuries sustained in the June attack, while President Saleh remains in Saudi Arabia despite vows to return to Yemen.
Rebel Forces Advance in Libya (Aug. 18): Rebels opposing Col. Muammar Qaddafi seize Zawiyah and gain control of the city's oil refinery. Zawiyah, a port city just 31 miles west of Tripoli, is a key victory. (Aug. 21): Rebel forces advance into Tripoli as foreigners try to flee the city. With the rebels meeting little resistance from loyalists, residents in Tripoli take to the streets to celebrate the end of Qaddafi's 42 years in power. (Aug. 23): Rebels seize Qaddafi's compound. Qaddafi and his family flee and remain at large. In a radio broadcast from an undisclosed location, Qaddafi vows to continue the fight. Rebels respond by placing a $2 million bounty on his head. (Aug. 24): More than 30 foreign journalists who had been held hostage in Tripoli's Rixos hotel by loyalists since the rebels invaded the city are freed, yet another sign that Qaddafi's rule is coming to an end. (Aug. 26): Rebels begin transferring their administration from Benghazi to Tripoli, Libya's capital. (Aug. 27): Five mass executions carried out by Qaddafi loyalists during his final hours in power are uncovered. (Aug. 29): Qaddafi's whereabouts remain unknown, but three of his children and his second wife flee to Algeria.
Attacks in Israel Cause More Tension with Gaza and Egypt (Aug. 18): Multiple attacks are made near Eilat, a popular resort in Israel, killing eight Israelis and wounding more than 30. Authorities blame the Popular Resistance Committees, a group that has worked with Hamas, for the attacks. Authorities believe the attackers crossed into Israel from Egypt. Israel responds with several airstrikes on Gaza, killing the Popular Resistance Committees' commander, among others. Egyptian officials deny that the attackers crossed through Egypt to get to Eilat. Hamas also denies Israel's accusations. (Aug. 19): Tension between Israel and Egypt increases when three Egyptian security officers near the border are inadvertently killed during Israeli airstrikes. The cross-border terrorist attacks along with the Israeli airstrike retaliation threatens the decades of peace between Israel and Egypt. Meanwhile, Palestinian militants fire more than 10 rockets into Israel. (Aug. 20): Palestinian militants continue to fire rockets into Israeli territory from Gaza, killing one civilian and wounding six. Hamas, which controls Gaza, takes credit for four of the rockets fired into Israel. (Aug. 29): A Palestinian man from the West Bank hijacks a taxi in Tel Aviv. He drives the cab to a popular nightclub where he runs over police officers and stabs several bystanders. Four police officers and the taxi driver are wounded.
Japanese Parliament Selects New Prime Minister (Aug. 30): Japan's finance minister Yoshihiko Noda is elected prime minister by parliament. Noda becomes the nation's sixth prime minister in five years. He faces a country still recovering from an earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster earlier this year as well as a weakened economy and ongoing concern over Japan's debt.