January 2013 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of January 2013.
French Troops Head to Mali (Jan. 1): In response to a plea from the Mali government, France sends its military forces to the country to fight against extreme Islamist militants. French forces, including paratroopers, engage in combat in Mali with the Islamists militants. The exact number of French troops in Mali is unknown, but it is estimated to be between 800 and 900. French President Francois Hollande says in a statement, "French forces brought their support to Malian army units to fight against terrorist elements. This operation will last as long as is necessary." (Jan. 17): France sends reinforcements, bringing the number of French troops in Mali to 1,400. Reinforcements are needed because the militants have seized much of the country and the battleground has expanded.
More Than 60,000 Have Died in Syria's Civil War (Jan. 2): The United Nations releases information that more than 60,000 people have been killed during Syria's civil war, which has been going on now for 22 months. The report exceeds previous estimates of casualties.
At Least 41 Engineers Are Held Hostage in Algeria (Jan. 16): Islamist militants take about 40 foreign hostages at a remote BP site in Algeria. At least sixty armed militants attack the BP gas field. Among the engineers who are taken hostage are several British and U.S. citizens. Many fear that the hostage situation is a result of the conflict in Mali. (Jan. 17): Algerian forces raid the site where the hostages are held. According to officials in Algeria, 37 hostages are killed in the raid, including three Americans. Also in the raid, 29 kidnappers are killed and three are captured.
Election Shows a Slight Move Toward the Center for Israel (Jan. 22): As polls close in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims victory for what will be his third term, but the election is not the expected landslide. The overwhelming favorite, Netanyahu is followed closely by Yair Lapid, who founded Yesh Atid, a new centrist party. With 99 percent of the vote in, Likud-Beiteinu, Netanyahu's party has 31 seats, followed by 19 seats for Lapid's party. Lapid, the host of a popular Israeli television show, says in a speech after the election, "The citizens of Israel today said no to politics of fear and hatred. They said no to the possibility that we might splinter off into sectors, and groups and tribes and narrow interest groups. They said no to extremists, and they said no to antidemocratic behavior."
Protests Threaten Morsi Government (Jan. 25): Violent protests erupted throughout Egypt on the second anniversary of the revolution. Demonstrators focus their ire on the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohammed Morsi's government, frustrated that the country is on an ideologically conservative path under the Islamists and that Morsi has failed to bolster the economy or fulfill promises to introduce broader civil liberties and social justice. Dozens of people are killed in the violence at the protests. Morsi declares a state of emergency in three large cities: Suez, Ismailia, and Port Said. (Jan. 26): The violence is particularly gruesome in Port Said after 21 people are sentenced to death for their role in the deadly brawl at a Feb. 2012 soccer match that resulted in the death of about 75 people. Defying the state of emergency and attendant curfew, rioters, who are upset with the verdict, wreak havoc throughout the city, attacking police stations, a power plant and a jail. At least 45 people die in Port Said alone. News reports indicate the victims are shot by police. Police also reportedly shoot live ammunition and tear gas at protesters in other cities, including Cairo.
Azarenka, Djokovic Repeat as Australian Open Champions (Jan. 26–27): Victoria Azarenka from Belarus defeats Li Na of China, 4–6, 6–4,6–3 to win her second straight Australian Open Women's Singles Championship. Serbia's Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray of Scotland, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 to take the Men's Singles Championship. With the win, Djokovic becomes the first man in the 45-year-old Open era to win three consecutive singles titles at Australian Open.