February 2013 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of February 2013.
Suicide Bomber Hits U.S. Embassy in Turkey (Feb. 1): Ecevit Sanli detonates a bomb near a gate at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. Sanli dies after detonating the bomb. One Turkish guard is also killed. Didem Tuncay, a respected television journalist, is injured in the blast. Unlike the bombing at the embassy in Benghazi last September, the U.S. government immediately calls the bombing a terrorist attack. According to Turkish officials, the attack is from the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party, which has been labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. and other nations.
French President Makes Triumphant Visit to Mali (Feb. 2): French President Francois Hollande receives a huge welcome when he arrives in Mali. Thousands of people come out to greet him with music and dance, chanting, "Vive la France!" During his visit, Hollande congratulates French and Malian troops on "an exceptional mission," after the troops chased Islamic extremists out of Mali's cities last month. While speaking to the troops, Hollande also admits that "the fight is not over."
Pope Benedict XVI Announces He Will Resign (Feb. 11): The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI announces his retirement, becoming the first pope to do so since 1415. He will retire on February 28. He cites advancing age and a growing physical weakness as his reasons for retirement. Speaking to a small group of cardinals at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI says, "Before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited" for leading the Catholic Church.
North Korea Appears to Detonate Third Nuclear Bomb (Feb. 12): North Korea says it has detonated a third nuclear bomb. World leaders, scientists, and intelligence officials rush to determine if the bomb is fueled by uranium or plutonium. Plutonium is used in earlier tests in 2006 and 2009, and officials say if uranium powered the bomb then it is a signal that North Korea is on its way to developing a larger and more powerful arsenal. The explosion is small compared to those detonated by China in the 1960s and the U.S. in 1945, but larger than North Korea's previous tests.
Pistorius Arrested for Killing Girlfriend (Feb. 14): South African runner Oscar Pistorius is arrested on Valentine's Day after police find his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, dead from multiple gunshot wounds in his apartment. Early news reports that Pistorius had mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder and accidently shot her, but by the end of the day he is charged with murder. (Feb. 19): On the same day as Steenkamp's funeral, Pistorius faces charges of premeditated murder in the Magistrate Court in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius denies murdering his girlfriend in an affidavit read by Barry Roux, his lawyer, "I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated. I had no intention to kill my girlfriend."
Syrian Opposition Open to Talks, Excluding al-Assad (Feb. 15): The National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces announce that they are open to talks with members of the Syrian government in the hope of finding a political solution. However, the offer comes with conditions, mainly that Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad be excluded. The opposition also wants military leaders to be excluded from the talks. Meanwhile, heavy fighting continues in Aleppo, a city in northern Syria where rebel fighters take control of a military base.
Livni Joins Netanyahu's Coalition to Head Talks with Palestine (Feb. 19): Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invites former foreign minister Tzipi Livni to join his coalition and head Israel's peace talks with Palestine. Livni, who formed the Hatenuah party to run against Netanyahu in last month's election, will also serve as Justice Minister. Netanyahu and Livni make the announcement at a press conference, both saying they have set aside past disagreements and rivalries to work together. "I criticized the government's management over the past four years, but since the election, we've come to understandings to put all that aside," says Livni.