April 2015 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of April 2015.
Somalian Militants Continue to Target Non-Muslims (Apr. 2): Shabab militants attack Garissa University College in northeast Kenya. In a daylong siege, the militants separate Muslims and non-Muslims, sparing Muslims. The non-Muslims are taken hostage and more than 140 are killed. Security officials free the surviving hostages and kill the four gunmen. In a statement, Shabab says the attack was a planned "operation against the infidels."
Iran Agrees to Nuclear Deal Despite Interference by Congress, Netanyahu (Apr. 2): Despite the interference by the U.S. Congress and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, the U.S., and the four other permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany agree on a detailed, comprehensive framework for the future of Iran's nuclear program. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's minister of foreign affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, engage in marathon negotiation sessions for eight days to secure the deal. The breadth of the agreement exceeds expectations. The deadline to reach a final agreement is June 30, 2015. Iran agrees to a lengthy list of concessions, including reducing the number of centrifuges spinning enriched uranium at Natanz, Iran's main nuclear facility, to 5,000 from about 19,000; not to enrich uranium over 3.67% for at least 15 years; not to build enrichment facilities for 15 years; that the enrichment site at Fordo will be converted to produce nuclear material for medical purposes for 15 years, and to allow all equipment and centrifuges not in use to be placed in storage monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA will have access to inspect all of Iran's nuclear sites. In addition, the length of time it will take Iran to obtain enough fissile material for one weapon will be extended to one year, up from the current 2 to 3 months. Iran agrees that the one-year break-out period will be in effect for 10 years. In exchange, the U.S. and the European Union will lift nearly all the sanctions against Iran once the final deal is signed. The sanctions have crippled Iran's economy.
U.S. and Cuba Have Highest-Level Meeting in Decades (Apr. 9): U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez meet in Panama. It is the highest-level meeting between the U.S. and Cuba in more than half a century. Their meeting comes a day before the Summit of the Americas. According to U.S. officials, the meeting between Kerry and Rodriguez goes well, lasting for at least two hours. (April. 11): U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro meet at the Summit of the Americas in Panama. It is the first time the countries' leaders have a face-to-face meeting in more than 50 years. According to news reports, Obama and Castro vowed to open embassies in both countries. "Our governments will continue to have differences," Obama says. "At the same time, we agreed that we can continue to take steps forward that advance our mutual interests."
Morsi Receives 20 Years in Prison (Apr. 21): Mohammed Morsi and 14 members of the Muslim Brotherhood are found guilty of ordering the torture and illegal detention of protesters in Egypt. They are sentenced to 20 years in prison. The charges stem from violent protests against Morsi in December 2012. They are acquitted of inciting the murder of a journalist and two opposition figures.
Saudi Arabia Attempts to End Air Campaign in Yemen (Apr. 21): The Saudi Arabia-led air bombing coalition ends its campaign in Yemen. According to coalition officials, the campaign ends because it has "achieved its military goals." The month-long campaign, called Decisive Storm, has targeted Houthi rebels, but failed to stop their advance. Meanwhile, the fighting has claimed hundreds of civilian lives, displaced as many as 150,000, and destroyed neighborhoods. An embargo of food and medicine, which the Saudis enforced, has created a humanitarian crisis. Coalition officials announce that a new operation, Restoring Hope, will now focus on counter-terrorism and a political solution in Yemen. (Apr. 22): Saudi Arabia resumes airstrikes.
Turkey Removes Vatican Ambassador over Pope Francis Comment (Apr. 24): Pope Francis calls the 1915 murder of between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War I the first genocide of the 20th century. He makes the comment at a mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of the massacre. Turkey withdraws its ambassador to the Vatican in response. About 20 countries, the Council of Europe, and European Parliament have formally acknowledged the genocide. The U.S. refers to the mass murder of Armenians as "one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century," but has stopped short of calling it a genocide. Turkey denies that a genocide took place and claims that a much smaller number died in a civil war, and it remains illegal to even discuss the persecution of Armenians in Turkey.
Nigerian Army Frees Boko Haram Hostages (Apr. 27): Forces in Nigeria advance into the Sambisa Forest and begin freeing the women and children who have been held as hostages by Boko Haram. (Apr. 28): Almost 300 hostages are freed. (Apr. 29): A firefight between the Nigerian army and Boko Haram kills over 400 Boko Haram rebels. One woman is killed and eight others injured. (Apr. 28): The Nigerian military destroys 13 Boko Haram camps and frees more women and children. By the end of April, close to 700 hostages are rescued.