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2014 World News

Major World News Stories of 2014

—Beth Rowen
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The Ebola outbreak in Western Africa, Russia's annexation of Crimea, the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and government troops, and the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) dominated the headlines in 2014. President Barack Obama's pledge to "degrade and destroy" ISIS led to airstrikes in Iraq and Syria and sparked widespread concern that the U.S. might become dragged into another long conflict. However, 2014 wasn't all doom and gloom on the diplomatic front, and there were some positive steps toward democracy in 2014. The U.S. and Cuba restored diplomatic relations, and elections were held in Afghanistan, Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Some of the elections were considered largely free and fair, while others were less so. In addition, 86% of voters in Scotland turned out to decide if Scotland should remain independent. Here's an overview and analysis of some of the biggest international stories of 2014.

ISIS Explained

Sunni militants terrorize Iraq and Syria in their bid to implement an Islamic state

Ebola Outbreak in Western Africa

The worst single Ebola outbreak in history kills thousands

Russia Annexes Crimea

Putin reclaims region after referendum

The U.S. and Cuba Resume Diplomatic Relations

Pope Francis helped to broker a deal between Presidents Obama and Castra

Russian-Backed Separatists Seek to Claim Territory in Ukraine

After the annexation of Crimea, Russian-backed rebels seize other cities in eastern Ukraine

Taliban Attack on an Army-Run School Kills Dozens in Pakistan

Gruesome attack is retribution for military offensive that killed 1,800 militants

North Korea Accused of Launching a Cyberattack on Sony

Move thought to be in retaliation for comedy about an attempt to assassinate Kim Jong-un

Senate Report Highly Critical of CIA Interrogation Program

Dianne Feinstein accused CIA not only of downplaying torture techniques but also of spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee and hacking its computer network

Scottish Independence Referendum

Record number of voters head to the polls

U.S. Frees Taliban Prisoners in Exchange for Army Sergeant

Obama criticized for potentially compromising anti-terrorism agenda

New Prime Minister of Iraq Forms a Power-Sharing Government

Nuri al-Maliki finally steps aside, allowing Haider al-Abadi to become prime minister

Significant Elections Held Around the Globe

Some were more democratic than others

Boko Haram Kidnaps Hundreds of School Girls in Nigeria

Islamic sect that opposes Western education terrorizes civilians

U.S. and NATO End Combat Operation in Afghanistan

Remaining U.S. troops will continue to seek out militants

Former President Hosni Mubarak Cleared; Protesters and Journalists Receive Harsh Sentences

Rulings largely turned back the clocks on the Arab Spring protests

The 2014 Hamas Israel Conflict

The murders of Israeli and Palestinian teenagers ignite another conflict in Gaza

New Military Legislation and Call for New Elections Dominate the Political Front in Israel

New law exempts ultra-Orthodox Israelis from military service and Netanyahu dismisses members of his cabinet

UN-Led Negotiations Fail in Syria

Syrian government criticized for its lack of commitment to the peace process

Iran Agrees to Scale Back Nuclear Program, but Permanent Deal Remains Elusive

Hopeful a deal can be reached, the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany and Iran extend talks

Migrant Minors Flood into the U.S.

Unaccompanied children entering the U.S. from Central America create a humanitarian crisis

Protesters Occupy Government and Business Districts in Hong Kong

Demonstrators demand that citizens have a direct say in who can run in upcoming elections

President of Burkina Faso Deposed in a Coup

Under pressure from the African Union, military agrees to a year-long transition to democracy

Turkey Resists Enaging in the Fight Against ISIS

Eventually shifts its policy under pressure from the U.S.

Military Stages a Coup in Thailand

Country experiences second military coup in less than 10 years

The Artist Known As Banksy

The mysterious artist who continues to make headlines throughout the year

Did you know?
For more than a billion Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a "month of blessing" marked by prayer, fasting, and charity.