February 2015 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of February 2015.
ISIS Militants Execute More Captives (Feb. 3): ISIS militants immolate Jordanian Muath Kasasbeh, a flight lieutenant pilot who they captured during U.S.-led attacks. In response, the Jordanian government executes two terrorists and vows revenge. Kasasbeh's execution follows the murder of two Japanese hostages, Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto. (Feb. 6): ISIS announces that its last U.S. hostage, Kayla Mueller, 26, is killed when a building, which is hit by a Jordanian airstrike, collapses. (Feb. 10): The White House and Mueller's parents confirm her death, but say the cause is unknown. (Feb. 15): A group of militants aligned with ISIS beheads 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who had been kidnapped from Sirte. Egypt responds by launching airstrikes on Derna, a militant stronghold in eastern Libya.
Argentine President Under Investigation (Feb. 3): While continuing her investigation into Alberto Nisman's death, Prosecutor Viviana Fein announces that an arrest warrant draft for President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been found among Nisman's papers. Later on, prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita brings formal accusations of conspiracy against President Fernandez for her role in a possible cover up of Iranian suspects in the 1994 car bombing. Government officials react angrily to the news. Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich calls it "an active judicial coup." Anibal Fernandez, the presidential secretary, says that the charges are "ridiculous, embarrassing and a clear manoeuvre of anti-democratic destabilisation." Judge Daniel Rafecas is scheduled to begin reviewing the case by the end the month. For years, Nisman had been the chief investigator of the worst terrorist attack in Argentina's history, the 1994 car bombing of a Jewish Community center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and injured hundreds more.
Houthis Dissolve Yemen Parliament (Feb. 6): The Houthis dissolve Yemen's Parliament and announce it will be replaced with a national council that will form a committee to name a new president. In response to the turmoil, Saudi Arabia withholds aid to Yemen because of the Houthis' ties to Iran. In an attempt to form a compromise government, the UN brokers talks between the Houthis and rival political parties. However, the negotiations quickly break down.
Nigeria Postpones Election (Feb. 6): Nigeria's election commission postpones for six weeks presidential elections scheduled for Feb. 14 after the military says it cannot protect voters in the northeast from Boko Haram. Some question if the decision is influenced by President Jonathan, whose victory is by no means guaranteed. Indeed, he faces a strong challenge from Muhammadu Buhari, a former military leader who was behind a 1983 coup.
Expectations Low for Renewed Truce Agreement in Ukraine (Feb. 12): Amid the crisis in Ukraine, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France meet to try to resurrect the peace agreement signed in September 2014 in Minsk, called the Minsk Protocol. After 16 hours of negotiations, the parties agree to a cease-fire and to end the war in eastern Ukraine. However, some terms of the agreement leave many skeptical that the cease-fire will hold. For example, the location of the truce line is not defined. They do agree that both sides will remove heavy weapons and release prisoners, the constitution will be amended, the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk will be given "special status," and foreign troops and weapons will be withdrawn.
Denmark Sees Worst Terrorist Attack in Thirty Years (Feb. 14): Two people are killed in two attacks. In the first attack, a gunman fires into a cafe where Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks is speaking. Vilks, who is on a list of Al-Qaeda targets for his Prophet Muhammad caricature, is unharmed in the attack. One man is killed, and three police officers are wounded. The gunman escapes, setting off a manhunt by police. (Feb. 15): Hours later, another attack happens outside a synagogue. One man is killed, and two officers are wounded. The gunman escapes and police continue the manhunt. Later in the day, police shoot and kill the suspect in a shootout. (Feb. 16): Details emerge about the gunman, Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, including his release from jail two weeks ago where he had been serving a sentence for attacking a train passenger with a knife. Details suggest that El-Hussein may have been radicalized while in jail. The two shootings are the worst terrorist attack in Denmark since the July 22, 1985 bombings of the Great Synagogue and the Northwest Orient airlines office in Copenhagen, which killed one person and injured twenty-six.
Russian Opposition Leader Is Assassinated (Feb. 27): A vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Boris Y. Nemtsov is shot and killed in Moscow. The shooting takes place on a bridge near Moscow's Red Square, not far from the Kremlin. Putin condemns the killing and promises to lead the investigation into Nemtsov's death. Nemtsov has been an outspoken critic of Putin, and most recently, of the war in Ukraine. Nemtsov's murder is the biggest assassination to happen in Russia during Putin's presidency. The incident sparks outrage and protests, with tens of thousands marching in Moscow in the days after the assassination.
Venezuelan President Retaliates Against U.S. Sanctions (Feb. 28): During a rally at the presidential palace, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro calls for a major decrease in the number of U.S. diplomats at the American Embassy there. He also declares that from now on U.S. citizens will need visas to visit Venezuela. Maduro's actions are seen as retaliation for the sanctions that the U.S. government has imposed on government officials in Venezuela. Maduro's speech comes hours after four U.S. missionaries are released and leave the country. The missionaries had been held by Venezuelan authorities for four days.