January 2016 Current Events: World News

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

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

Here are the key events in world news for the month of January 2016.

  • Landmark Iran Nuclear Deal Goes into Effect (Jan. 16): Iran's sanctions are lifted by the U.S. and European nations. The longstanding sanctions, both financial and oil, are lifted after inspections prove that Iran has dismantled the weapons as agreed upon in the nuclear deal. Around $100 billion of Iran's assets are also released after the inspections by international representatives. The release of assets and sanctions comes hours after a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iran. Three Americans, a marine, a Washington Post reporter, and a pastor, are freed from Iran and sent to Germany to receive medical treatment at an American military base before returning to the United States. A fourth American prisoner, Nosratollah Khosravi, is freed in the exchanged, but decides to stay in Tehran. A fifth American is freed in a separate arrangement. The U.S. releases seven Iranians charged with breaking embargoes. The U.S. also removes 14 other Iranians from international wanted lists. (Jan. 17): With the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran now in effect, President Obama reaches out to Iranians, asking them to "pursue a new path" with the West. Meanwhile, the U.S. imposes minor new sanctions on Iran for performing missile tests that have been banned.

  • Taiwan Elects First Female President (Jan. 16): In Taiwan's presidential elections, Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman and nominee Tsai Ing-wen comes in first with 56.1% of the vote, followed by Kuomintang's Eric Chu with 31%, and the People First Party's James Soong with 12.8%. The first woman elected president of Taiwan, Tsai is scheduled to take office on May 20, 2016. Tsai is also the first unmarried president elected as well as the first to have never held another elected post. (Jan. 18): Two days after Taiwan's election, Premier Mao Chi-Kuo attempts to resign, but President Ma Ying-jeou rejects the resignation, prompting Mao to take a leave of absence. Vice Premier Simon Chang would become premier on Feb. 1.

  • First Female President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen
    President-elect Tsai Ing-wen
    Source: AP Photo/ Ng Han Guan

  • Evidence Released of Suspected Match-Fixing in Professional Tennis (Jan. 18): BuzzFeed and the BBC both publish reports that 16 players in the top 50 have been flagged by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) due to suspicions that the players have thrown matches over the past several years. However, according to the reports, all the players, including Grand Slam Champions, have been allowed to continue competing. BuzzFeed and the BBC are not naming the players because they haven't been able to determine whether the players personally took part in the match fixing. Set up to police professional tennis, TIU has said that it has zero-tolerance for any betting-related corruption in the sport. About the reports, Chris Kermode, the head of the Association of Tennis Professionals, says. "While the BBC and BuzzFeed reports mainly refer to events from about 10 years ago, we will investigate any new information." The reports are published as the first major tournament of 2016, the Australian Open, begins. (Jan. 19): The world's number one professional male tennis player, Novak Djokovic, responds to the thrown matches reports by admitting that a member of his staff was approached about fixing a match years ago. According to Djokovic, an offer of $200,000 was made to have him throw a match in 2007 at the St. Petersburg Open in Russia, a tournament he ended up not participating in. "Of course, we threw it away right away. The guy that was trying to talk to me, he didn't even get to me directly. There was nothing out of it," Djokovic says in a press conference.

  • Djokovic, Kerber Win the Australian Open (Jan. 30–31): Angelique Kerber of Germany upset defending champion Serena Williams, 6–4, 3–6, 6–4 to win her first Australian Open Women's Singles Championship. With her win, Kerber becomes the first German of any gender to win a Grand Slam since Steffi Graf's last championship at the French Open in 1999. Serbia's Novak Djokovic successfully defends his men's singles title, beating Andy Murray, 6–1, 7–5, 7–6. This is Djokovic's sixth Australian Open title.

  • Boko Haram Burns Nigerian Village (Jan. 30): Boko Haram raids the village of Dalori, Nigeria, and kills at least 65 people. Dalori residents say that as many as 100 people are killed in the attack. During the raid, children are abducted and the entire village is burned. So far, 2.5 million people in four countries have fled from attacks and threats by Boko Haram.

  • Suicide Attack in Damascus Kills Dozens (Jan. 31): A suicide attack in Damascus kills more than 70 people. Two suicide bombers and a car bomb hit the Sayeda Zeinab area of Damascus where Syria's holiest Shi'ite shrine is located. The attack comes on the eve of Syria peace talks in Geneva. Mediated by the U.N., members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government will participate in the talks along with major opposition groups. ISIS, who claims responsibility for the attack, is not invited to the talks.