Febuary 2016 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of Febuary 2016.
Syria Peace Talks Begin (Feb. 1): The latest attempt at Syria peace talks, mediated by the United Nations, begin in Geneva. The talks start the day after a suicide attack in Damascus killed more than 70 people. ISIS, who claimed responsibility for the attack, is not invited to the talks. Members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government will participate in the talks along with major opposition groups. (Feb. 3): The U.N. decides to suspend the talks, citing that there is more work to be done by everyone involved before progress can be made. During the press conference announcing the suspension, U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura says, "I have concluded, frankly, that after the first week of preparatory talks there is more work to be done, not only by us but by the stakeholders. I'm not prepared to have talks for the sake of talks." The peace talks will resume by Feb. 25. (Feb. 5): At a donor conference in London, several countries come together to donate more than $10 billion in aid to Syria. The countries contributing include the United States, Germany, Norway, and Kuwait. The money will go toward helping the millions of people who have been forced to flee Syria because of the civil war.
North Korea Launches a Satellite into Orbit (Feb. 6): North Korea's Kwangmyongsong, or shining star, rocket sends a satellite into orbit. While North Korean officials claimed it was for peaceful purposes, the U.S. and South Korea condemn the move as a thinly veiled attempt to test their intercontinental ballistic missile technology, which is banned under UN Security Council resolutions.
Suicide Bombing in Nigerian Refugee Camp Kills Dozens (Feb. 11): At least 58 people are killed and another 78 wounded in a suicide bombing at a refugee camp in Nigeria. The suicide bombers are three girls who had been welcomed into the camp. Two of the girls blow themselves up with bombs, while the third girl chose not detonate her bomb and gave herself up to authorities after seeing members of her immediate family in the camp. The refugee camp is for people fleeing Boko Haram. At least 2.5 million have fled from attacks and threats by the militant group.
Temporary cease-fire planned for Syria (Feb. 12): A partial cease-fire is announced for Syria. The cease-fire along with sending humanitarian aid to the worn torn country is being implemented by a U.N. task force. It's a partial cease-fire because it will not include U.N. designated terrorist groups, ISIS and the Nusra Front. As of Feb. 2016, at least 470,000 people have died from the war in Syria, which began in 2011. Since the war started, life expectancy in Syria has gone from age 70 to 56, a decrease of 14 years.
2015 Had Deadliest Year on Record for Afghan Civilians (Feb. 14): The United Nations (UN) releases a report stating that at least 3,545 civilians were killed and 7,457 others were injured in Afghanistan during 2015. Those numbers make 2015 the worse year for Afghan civilian casualties since the UN began keeping track of civilian deaths in 2009. The report states that suicide attacks by the Taliban and fighting in Kunduz, a northern city, are the primary reasons for the rise in numbers. The report singles out Aug. 7, 2015, when two suicide attacks killed 42 civilians and injured 313 others in Kabul, as the single worst day for civilian casualties on record.
China Deploys Missiles on Disputed Island (Feb. 16): According to a U.S. official at the Pentagon, China has deployed missiles to a disputed island in the South China Sea. News of the deployment immediately increases tension in the region because Vietnam, the Philippines, and other countries have also claimed the island. Leaders of those countries also express concern over China's recent efforts to create artificial islands in the same area. The Chinese Ministry of Defense does not comment on the missile deployment.
Obama Announces Historic Visit to Cuba (Feb. 18): Plans are announced for U.S. President Barack Obama to visit Cuba next month. It is another major step in renewed relations between Cuba and the United States since the last and only president to visit Cuba was Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
Syrian Government, Opposition Make Another Attempt to End Fighting (Feb. 22): Under the terms of the deal, which was brokered by the United States and Russia, both sides agreed to a "cessation of hostilities," government-led forces will end their siege of rebel-held towns, and humanitarian aid will be delivered to those cities, which had been cut off from delivery of food and medicine. The Islamic State and the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate based in Syria, were not part of the truce. They are two most extremist groups involved in the 5-year-long civil war.
Voters Reject a Fourth Term for Bolivian President (Feb. 25): In a referendum, voters narrowly defeat a referendum that would have changed the constitution to allow Evo Morales the opportunity to run for president again in 2020. He had been immensely popular as a president of the people, but has fallen out of favor for fathering a child out of wedlock, allegations of corruption, and for consolidating power.