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Top News Stories from 2014

World Events

World Statistics

Population: 4.378 billion
population by decade
Nobel Peace Prize: Jointly to Kailash Satyarthi (India) and Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan) "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education." In announcing the prize, the Nobel Committee highlighted the symbolism of the award given the recipients are from nations long engaged in geopolitical turmoil. "The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism."
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  • Oct. 13: Britain Parliament votes 274-12 to give diplomatic recognition to Palestine. The symbolic nonbinding vote is an indication of a shift in British government since the recent conflict in Gaza, the latest round of failed peace negotiations, and Israel continuing to build settlements.
  • Feb. 7: Despite threats of terrorist attacks, complaints about poor preparations, and the international condemnation over their anti-gay law, Russia kicks off the costliest Olympic Games in history. On the same day as the opening ceremony, a passenger on a Turkish jetliner tells the crew a bomb is on board and to fly the plane to Sochi. Instead, the crew sends a signal to Istanbul where it lands. The suspect is taken into custody. No bomb is found onboard.
  • Mar. 24: A judge in Egypt sentences 529 people to death for the killing of a police officer during the protests against the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in August 2013. About 400 people are sentenced in absentia. It is a stunning verdict that met with international condemnation.
  • Feb. 11: High-ranking officials from China and Taiwan meet in Nanking, China. It is the first time since the 1949 split that minister-level officials held talks. While the meeting is largely symbolic, it signals that both sides want to maintain stability and warmer ties.
  • April 15: Iraq announces the "complete closure" of Abu Ghraib, the infamous prison in which members of the U.S. military physically and sexually abused Iraqi prisoners. The Iraqi government cites security concerns as the reason for the closure due to the Sunni insurgency over the last year.
  • May 17: Mali Prime Minister Moussa Mara visits the northern towns of Timbuktu, Kidal, and Gao. In Kidal, rebels shoot at him when he arrives. Mara calls the provocation a "declaration of war," and about 1,500 Malian troops are dispatched to Kidal and attack the rebels. The military is outmatched by the rebels, who kill 50 troops, take 50 prisoners, and capture a government fort in Kidal. Hundreds of troops surrender.
  • Nov. 11: After weeks of discussion, China and the U.S. reach a landmark agreement on climate change. The agreement includes a commitment for the first time by China to stop its emissions from increasing by 2030.
  • Nov. 29: An Egyptian court drops all charges against former president Hosni Mubarak for his role in the killing of hundreds of unarmed protesters in the Arab Spring protests of 2011. His security chief and several high-ranking police officials are also cleared. Thousands of people protest the verdict in Tahrir Square.
  • Oct. 22: Four security guards for the private security company Blackwater Worldwide are convicted by a jury in a Washington Federal District Court of manslaughter, murder, and weapons charges for their involvement in the September 2007 shooting deaths of 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians. Nicholas Slatten is convicted of murder, and Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, and Paul Slough are convicted of voluntary manslaughter and weapons violations. The killings sparked furious protests in Iraq.
  • May 20: Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army chief, declares martial law throughout Thailand. He says the move is to restore peace and order and requests that both sides stop protesting. He explicitly says the military is not launching a coup-something it has carried out on numerous occasions. May 22: Gen. Prayuth announces that he has indeed seized power from the interim government in a coup. It is the second military coup in less than 10 years.
  • May 31: After years of negotiations, the U.S. and Taliban complete a prisoner swap. The Taliban surrenders Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held prisoner for five years, and the U.S. release five top members of the Taliban leadership from the Guantanamo Bay prison.
  • Aug. 5: Maj. Gen. Harold Greene is gunned down by an Afghan soldier while touring a military training academy near Kabul, Afghanistan. He is the first general killed in battle since the Vietnam War.
  • Jan. 16: Massive protests in Ukraine continue. Parliament hastily passes sweeping measures that stifle protesters and demonstrations. Feb. 21: In a deal between the opposition and President Yanukovich brokered by European Union officials, the president agrees to hold elections by the end of the year and accepts a weakening of the presidency. Russia refuses to endorse the deal. Feb. 22: Yanukovich flees Kiev on Feb. 22, and an interim government is put in place. The next day, Parliament votes to give speaker Oleksandr Turchynov the authority to fulfill the responsibilities of the president. Yanukovich, however, insists he remains in office. Feb. 27: Demonstrations against the turn of events in Ukraine break out in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, a pro-Russian region in eastern Ukraine. Masked gunmen, believed to be ethnic Russian extremists, take over several government buildings and raise the Russian flag. Feb. 28: Similarly clad gunmen appear at two airports in Simferopol. There are no reports of violence by the gunmen, but officials fear a separatist revolt may break out. Russia denies any involvement by its military. Mar. 1: Russia dispatches troops to Crimea, citing the need to protect Russians from extremist ultranationalists, referring to the anti-government protesters in Kiev. Mar. 3: Russia is reportedly in control of Crimea. The move sparks international outrage and condemnation. Mar. 6: The U.S. imposes sanctions on Russian officials, advisers, and other individuals who have been involved in the undermining of democracy in Crimea. The Crimean Parliament approves a referendum, scheduled for March 16, asking voters if they want to secede from Ukraine and be annexed by Russia. Mar. 16: Nearly 97% of voters in Crimea choose to secede from Ukraine in the referendum. Mar. 17: The Crimean Parliament declares the region independent and formally seeks annexation by Russia. On same day, Obama imposes more economic sanctions. Mar. 21: The European Union and Ukraine sign a portion of the EU Association Agreement-the same deal that former President Yanukovich refused to sign, sparking the unrest. Mar. 24: Ukraine withdraws its military from Crimea. Meanwhile, on the same day, the members of the Group of 8 industrialized nations announces that they have suspended Russia from the group and move the upcoming meeting from Sochi, Russia, to Brussels. May 2: The Ukrainian government launches an offensive in the rebel-held eastern city of Sloviansk. May 7: As the fighting and chaos escalates in eastern Ukraine and the U.S. and Europe threaten additional sanctions for Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin announces the withdrawal of the 40,000 troops from the border with Ukraine, and says Russia will participate in negotiations to end the crisis. July: The Ukrainian military begins an aggressive campaign, using airstrikes to back up ground troops. The military takes control of some of the border crossings through which Russia had been arming the rebels. The offensive is not without cost: by the end of the month, about 1,130 people are killed, including about 800 civilians. Aug. The rebels continue to struggle, as Ukrainian government troops move into Luhansk and Donetsk, former rebel strongholds. Sept. 5: Ukraine cease-fire begins.
  • April 7: The 2014 general election begins in India. The election is scheduled to run until May 12, making it the longest election in the history of India. Projected to cost around $5 billion dollars, the election is the second most expensive in world history. In terms of population, 814 million people are eligible to vote, making it the largest election ever. May 12: In election results, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party trounces the governing Indian National Congress Party, taking about 60% of the seats in parliament. The decisive victory gives the party an outright majority in parliament. Narendra Modi becomes prime minister. May 21: India invites Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the inauguration of Narendra Modi. May 26: Sharif accepts the invitation to attend the inauguration. The two shake hands and exchange pleasantries at the ceremony, a sign that there may be a thaw in relations between India and Pakistan.
  • June 2: The Palestinian government announces a new "government of national unity" with Hamas. The reconciliation agreement ends two separate governments in Gaza and the West Bank. The new government will still be led by moderate Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Hamdallah and is considered a huge step toward ending the seven year battle between the two separate political factions in Palestine.
  • Dec. 16: The Taliban attacks the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar, in northwest Pakistan. At least 145 people are killed in the siege, including more than 100 children. It is the most brazen and deadly attack by the Taliban in years.
  • Feb. 17: The United Nations Human Rights Council releases a report accusing North Korea of crimes against humanity and compare the regime to that of Nazi Germany. The report is stunning in its graphic description of the horrors endured by political prisoners-who number between 80,000 and 120,000. The council recommends that North Korea be referred to the International Criminal Court.
  • June 2: In Spain, King Juan Carlos announces that he will abdicate after 39 years at the throne. His son, Felipe, 46, will succeed him.
  • June 11: Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) take control of Mosul, in northern Iraq, dealing the government an enormous-and unexpected-blow. As many as 500,000 people flee Mosul. Prime Minister Maliki declares a state of emergency and appeals for help from international allies. The militants press on after seizing Mosul, taking Tikrit and oil facilities in Baiji as they head south toward Baghdad. June 14: ISIS continues to seize more territory in the north and west, putting pressure on the U.S. and other nations to consider a military response. June 21: President Obama says 300 military advisers will be sent to Iraq but says combat troops will not be deployed. There are calls from both inside Iraq and by foreign leaders for Maliki to step down so a unity government can be formed. July 1: ISIS changes its name to the Islamic State and declares the territory in Iraq. Aug. 7: ISIS militants take control of the largest dam in Iraq, which is located in Mosul. President Obama announces in a press conference that he has authorized limited airstrikes on ISIS as well as airdrops of humanitarian supplies. While not a full-scale engagement in Iraq, the mission does mean the return of the U.S. military for the first time since 2011. Aug. 19: Members of ISIS behead American journalist James Foley, 40, in apparent retaliation for U.S. airstrikes against the group. ISIS releases a graphic video of his killing. Sept. 2: ISIS releases a video showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff, 31, who worked for Time and had been abducted in 2013 in Syria. Sept. 10: President Obama authorizes airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. He also asks Congress to authorize money to fund and train moderate rebel groups in Syria to aid in the fight, which it does in late September. Sept. 13: ISIS beheads a third victim, British aid worker David Cawthorne Haines. Sept. 23: Airstrikes begin in Syria, with Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates joining the U.S. in its campaign against ISIS. Oct. 14: The U.S. launches airstrikes on Kobani, Syria, in an effort to prevent ISIS from taking over the strategically located town and gaining additional smuggling routes to arm fighters. Oct. 27: ISIS maintains its hold on many cities in the largely Sunni Anbar Province, as U.S.-led airstrikes prove largely ineffectual without the support of Iraqi troops on the ground. U.S. and Iraqi officials are concerned that if ISIS takes over Anbar, it can then close in on Baghdad and the international airport there. Nov. 10: Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the most virulent militant organization in Egypt, pledges allegiance to ISIS. The move not only expands the reach of ISIS into Egypt, it also increases the resources available to Ansar Beit al-Maqdis to wage war against the government.
  • Dec. 17: Cuba frees U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross, who had been sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2011 after his effort to create a way to communicate outside of limitations set by the Cuban government. The government cites humanitarian grounds as the reason for the prisoner release. In response to the prisoner release, President Barack Obama announces that he will begin working with Cuba on resuming full diplomatic relations between the two countries for the first time since 1961.
  • June 3: In Syria presidential elections, Bashar al-Assad is re-elected to a third seven-year term, taking about 89% of the vote. However, votes are cast only in areas under government control as the opposition boycotts the election.
  • Dec. 14: In a move that signals the end of the protests in Hong Kong, police clear tents from the main protest area, ten weeks after the protests began. The Chinese government does not make any concessions, but the protesters make clear that they can challenge the government. These are the largest protests since the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations.
  • Dec. 15: An armed man holds 17 employees and customers hostage for more than 16 hours in a downtown cafe in Sydney, Australia. The armed man is identified as Man Haron Monis, an Iranian-born, 50-year-old man with a criminal record. Dec. 16: After being held for 16 hours, six hostages escape the cafe. Soon after, gunshots are heard inside and police storm the building. Three people are killed, including two hostages and Monis.
  • Sept. 2: After gaining wide support from both Shia and Sunnis, the Houthis enter the Yemen capital, Sana, and set up camp there. Yemen president, Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi, agrees to form a new government, with the Houthis nominating the prime minister. The Houthis, however, reject his concessions. Fighting breaks out between the rebels and security forces in Sana days later and continues until the Houthis take control of Sana. Sept. 20: The UN brokers a peace deal between the Houthis and the government. Sept. 21: Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa announces his resignation. As part of the deal the Houthis agree to withdraw from Sana, and Hadi says he will reinstate the fuel subsidy, and a "technocratic national government" will be established. Oct. 13: Khaled Bahah,former ambassador to the UN, is named new prime minister of Yemen.
  • Sept. 18: In an independence referendum, Scottish voters opt, 55% to 45%, to remain part of the United Kingdom. More than 4.2 million voters (86% turnout) take to the polls in record numbers to vote.
  • July 2: The body of a missing Palestinian teenager is found the day after the burial of the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped and killed while hiking in the West Back in June. Both incidents increase tension between Israelis and Palestinians, including riots in East Jerusalem and an exchange of rocket fire in Southern Israel and Gaza. July 9: Hundreds of rockets are launched into Israel by militant groups in Gaza. In response, Israel launches an aerial offensive in Gaza, killing dozens of Palestinians, and calls up thousands of reservists for a potential ground operation. July 17: Israel launches a ground offensive into Gaza. July 24: 16 Palestinians are killed and more than 100 wounded in an attack on a UN elementary school in Gaza. Israel denies launching the attack, saying Hamas militants are responsible, missing their target. Aug. 26: After fighting for seven weeks and attempting several short-term cease-fires, Israel and Hamas agree to an open-ended cease-fire. The agreement is mediated by Egypt. Since the conflict began last month, 2,143 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians, with more than 11,000 wounded and 100,000 left homeless. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and six civilians have been killed.
  • Mar. 10: North Korea holds legislative elections. Considered a sham election for the rubber-stamp Parliament, only one candidate appears on the ballot for each district. Not one vote is cast against pro-government candidates, and voter turnout is 100%.
  • April 14: Islamist militant group Boko Haram is accused of kidnapping about 280 girls from a school in northeast Nigeria with the intention of making the girls sex slaves. The mass kidnapping sparks international outrage. May 5: Boko Haram claims responsibility for kidnapping in a video.

U.S. Events

U.S. Statistics

President: Barack Obama
Vice President: Joe Biden
Population: 318,892,103
Life expectancy: 79.56 years
More U.S. Statistics...
  • May 23: A gunman, identified as Elliot Rodger, kills six people and wounds 13 others in Isla Vista, California, a small town near Santa Barbara. He stabs three men in his apartment before driving to locations throughout the town where he kills three students.
  • Nov. 3: More than 13 years since the twin towers were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, One World Trade Center opens for tenants in lower Manhattan. The new building is 1,776 feet high. Magazine publisher Condé Nast becomes the first tenant, occupying one third of the 104-story building.
  • Jan. 10: The Obama administration announces that the federal government will recognize the marriages of the 1,300 same-sex couples in Utah even though the state government has currently decided not to do so. With federal approval, same-sex couples will be able to receive spousal benefits, like health insurance for federal employees and filing joint federal income tax returns.
  • Feb. 24: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announces that the Pentagon will be shrinking the U.S. Army to the smallest size it has been since before World War II. The cuts come as the Pentagon prepares for nearly a trillion dollars in spending reductions over the next decade.
  • Feb. 27: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes a bill that would have allowed businesses in the state to deny service to gays and lesbians in the name of religious beliefs. The bill has sparked controversy and outrage from the LGBT community as well as civic leaders, even Sen. John McCain urged Brewer to veto the bill.
  • June 25: In an unanimous vote, the Supreme Court rules that police need a warrant to search the cellphone of anyone that they arrest. The decision is for two cases on the same issue that the Court heard back in April, Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie.
  • June 25: The Supreme Court decides in a six to three vote that the start-up streaming company Aereo violated copyright laws by capturing and offering broadcast signals to their subscribers for a fee. The ruling in ABC v. Aereo is in favor of the major networks in the television broadcasting industry which argued that Aereo was stealing their programming.
  • Jan. 6: The United States Senate confirms American economist Janet Yellen as the 15th Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Yellen, the current vice-chairman, becomes the first woman to hold the position.
  • Mar. 11: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) lashes out at the CIA, accusing it of spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee, covering up its torture and detention program, and potentially violating the constitution. After her speech, the Senate Judiciary Committee announces it will investigate the accusations. July 31: The CIA announces that an internal report found that agents did in fact hack into the Senate Intelligence Committee computer network and used a false identity when doing so. In addition, the CIA inspector general says that agents read the emails of the committee members. The news sparks bipartisan outrage.
  • Oct. 6: The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear appeals of rulings in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin that allowed same-sex marriage. The move paves the way for same-sex marriages in the five states. Nov. 20: The U.S. Supreme Court denies a request to block same-sex marriage in South Carolina. Thus, South Carolina becomes the 35th U.S. state where same-sex marriage is legal.
  • Nov. 24: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigns. Hagel will remain in the job until the Senate confirms a successor. Officials point to the rising threat from ISIS, which requires a different skill set than Hagel brings to the position, as the reason for the resignation.
  • Dec. 20: In Brooklyn, New York, Ismaaiyl Brinsley walks up to the passenger window of a police car and shoots Officer Wenjian Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos in the head. Brinsley then runs into a nearby subway station and shoots himself. Before the incident, Brinsley vows through online posts to put "wings on pigs," in response to the recent killings of unarmed black men by white police officers. Dec. 21: The death of the two officers only increases the tension of an already strained relationship between Mayor de Blasio and New York City police unions. Hours after Liu and Ramos are killed, officers turn their backs on de Blasio when he visits the hospital. Dec. 27: When Mayor de Blasio speaks at the funeral of Officer Ramos, officers can be seen outside the church turning their backs to the large screen broadcasting the service.
  • June 30: In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court decides in favor of corporations owned by religious families. In a close five to four vote, the Court rules that corporations like Hobby Lobby cannot be forced to pay for insurance that covers contraception for female workers under the Affordable Care Act because it is a violation of the federal law protecting religious freedom. The ruling is seen as the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act. July 22: Two conflicting rulings are handed down, jeopardizing a key component of the Affordable Care Act. Both cases center on the Internal Revenue Service rule that makes some people who buy insurance on federal exchanges eligible for subsidies. The rule says that subsidies are offered in exchanges "established by the State." In Halbig v Burwell, a three-judge panel in Washington, DC, rules 2-1 that the federal subsidies are illegal because they are not explicitly mentioned in the law. Thirty-six states have not created their own exchanges, forcing residents to enroll through federal exchanges. In the other ruling, King v Burwell, the panel in Virginia unanimously upholds the rule. The rule will likely end up before the Supreme Court.
  • Sept.: The National Football League (NFL) struggles to deal with multiple incidents of domestic violence. TMZ releases video footage from an elevator camera that captured Baltimore Raven Ray Rice punching his fiancee, Janay Palmer, in the face. The video release renews criticism that the initial two game suspension of Rice had been too lenient. Sept. 9: During a CBS News interview, Goodell reiterates that no one in the NFL had access to the video prior to the initial suspension of Rice. Sept. 10: The Associated Press publishes a report that a copy of the video had been sent to a league official in April 2014. Sept. 12: Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is indicted by a Texas grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. After a second abuse claim surfaces involving Peterson and another son, the Vikings announce that Peterson has been placed on the Exempt List which requires him to stay away from all Vikings activities. Sept. 19: Goodell holds a press conference to apologize for the way he and the league has handled the domestic violence incidents. Nov. 4: Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson pleads no contest to the charge of misdemeanor reckless assault of a child in Texas. Nov. 18: The NFL bans Peterson for the rest of the year, citing the new conduct policy, which calls for a six-game suspension for first time domestic abuse offenders. Nov. 28: Judge Barbara Jones rules that the NFL and Commissioner Goodell had no new evidence in Sept. when they increased the suspension of Ray Rice. Therefore, Rice wins his appeal and can be reinstated to the NFL. The league accepts the decision, but it is unclear if a team will sign Rice.
  • April 29: The Supreme Court rules 6-2 that under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has the authority to regulate air pollution emitted from coal plants that crosses state lines. Smog from coal plants in 28 Midwest and Appalachia states blows toward the east and increases pollution in states that are downwind of the plants.
  • April 2: In another blow to campaign-finance reform, the Supreme Court strikes down caps on the total amount individuals can donate to federal campaigns and political parties. The court rules 5-4 in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission that the limits violate free speech protections.
  • April 11: After the national health care open enrollment deadline passes, Kathleen Sebelius resigns as secretary of health and human services. Both Sebelius and the Obama administration insists the move is voluntary, but administration officials have done little to hide their outrage about the many problems that dogged HealthCare.gov. The president nominates Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace Sebelius.
  • April 22: The Supreme Court rules, 6–2, in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action to uphold a constitutional amendment that bans public universities and colleges in Michigan from implementing a race-sensitive admissions policy. The ruling does not address the affirmative action policy in Michigan; instead, it confirms the constitutionality of the amendment process.
  • Sept. 19: After the first family leaves the main residence, Omar Jose Gonzalez jumps the fence and runs across the North Lawn of the White House, carrying a knife. Gonzalez enters the main residence where he is apprehended by an officer. In the days following the breach, a House committee holds a hearing to examine how the U.S. Secret Service failed to prevent the intrusion. Oct. 1: The first female director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, resigns just days after the House committee hearing examined how the U.S. Secret Service failed to prevent the intrusion into the White House and uncovered other lapses in security. Former special agent Joseph Clancy is named interim Secret Service director.
  • May 5: In Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Supreme Court rules 5-4 that Christian prayers said at the beginning of council meetings in an upstate New York town do not violate the constitutional prohibition against government establishment of religion.
  • Jan. 17: President Obama announces reforms to the U.S. surveillance program based on recommendations from his advisory panel. The reforms he outlines include: requiring NSA analysts to get a court order to access phone data unless in cases of emergencies; an eventual end to the collection of massive amounts of metadata by the government; the NSA will stop eavesdropping on leaders of allied nations; officials can pursue a phone number linked to a terrorist association by two degrees rather than three; and Congress will appoint advocates to argue on the side of civil liberties before the FISA court. Mar. 25: President Obama introduces a NSA reform plan, developed by the Justice Department and intelligence agencies, which will be presented to Congress for approval. The plan reflects many of the proposals he made in January. He goes further, however, saying the NSA will no longer collect phone data from Americans. Instead, the phone companies will collect and store that information for 18 months, as it currently does, and make it available in a standard format. The NSA will have to seek a court order to access the phone records.
  • Nov. 4: In the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans take back the majority in the Senate for the first time since 2006, while also adding to their majority in the House. The GOP even makes huge gains by winning governor races in states that usually lean Democratic, such as Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois.
  • Nov. 20: In a prime-time, televised speech, President Barack Obama announces he is taking executive action to delay the deportation of some 5 million illegal immigrants. Under the new policy about 4 million people who are parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents will receive deportation deferrals and authorization to work legally if they have been in the U.S. for more than five years and pass background checks. The deferrals are renewable. The action also amends the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows people under age 31 who were brought to the U.S. as children to apply for two-year deportation deferrals and work permits. The policy change lifts the age ceiling and adds a year to the deferral period. However, neither program offers the immigrants a path to citizenship.
  • Mar. 26: Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, is convicted by a federal jury in Manhattan of conspiracy to kill Americans, conspiring to provide support to al-Qaeda, and providing support to al-Qaeda. He is the most senior member of those close to bin Laden to be tried in a civilian court in the U.S. since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. U.S. officials hope his conviction by a civilian jury will silence critics who think suspected terrorists should be tried by military tribunals.
  • Aug. 9: Police Officer Darren Wilson shoots and kills Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old teenager in Ferguson, Mo. Details of the shooting are disputed. Aug. 10: After a candlelight vigil for Brown, protesters fill the streets near the shooting. Police officers arrived on the scene with riot gear, including rifles and shields. The protest turns violent and images from cellphones go viral on social media, including several accounts of looting in Ferguson. Aug. 11: The F.B.I. begins a civil rights investigation in the shooting of Brown while protests continue in Ferguson. Aug. 14: At a press conference, President Obama asks Attorney General Eric Holder to "do what is necessary to help determine exactly what happened and to see that justice is done." Aug. 16: Citing looting, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declares a state of emergency and imposes a curfew from midnight to five a.m. in Ferguson. The announcement is met with more protests and arguments that the curfew will only create more violence. Aug. 17: The curfew is extended for another night and violence erupts again. Attorney General Holder announces that because of the "extraordinary circumstances" in the case, the Justice Department will conduct its own autopsy of Brown. Meanwhile, the private autopsy preliminary results are released and show that Brown had been shot at least six times, including twice in the head. Aug. 18: Gov. Nixon lifts the curfew and deploys the National Guard to assist the police. However, the presence of the National Guard fails to quell the unrest. That night at least two people are shot and dozens are arrested as bottles and Molotov cocktails are thrown from the crowd. Nov. 24: A grand jury in Missouri decides not to indict Officer Wilson. While some people respond to the decision with peaceful protests, others set fire to police cars, loot, and destroy buildings. Several buildings are severely damaged. Dozens of protestors are arrested. Protests spread to other cities, including Boston, Chicago, and New York. Dec. 4: Protests continue to grow throughout the country after a Staten Island grand jury decides not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner. Crowds of protesters gather in New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh.
  • Sept. 25: After six years as the first African American attorney general, Eric Holder resigns. He is the fourth-longest serving attorney general in U.S. history.

Economics

US GDP (1998 dollars): $167 billion
Federal spending: $302 billion
Federal debt $182 billion
Unemployment: 7.3%
Cost of a first-class stamp: 49 cents

Sports

Super Bowl
The Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos, 43-8, to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
World Series
The San Francisco Giants defeat the Kansas City Royals in an eventful seven games to win their third World Series title in five years. In the final game of the series, the Giants beat the Royals 3-2 with relief help from 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner.
NBA Championship
The San Antonio Spurs win their fifth NBA championship, dominating the Miami Heat, 104–87, in game five.
Stanley Cup
The Los Angeles Kings defeat New York Rangers in five games (4-1) to win their 2nd Stanley Cup Championship in three years.
Wimbledon
Women: Petra Kvitova beat first time Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard, 6–3, 6–0.
Men: Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer in a thrilling five set match, 6–7, 6–4, 7–6, 5–7, 6–4.
Kentucky Derby Champion
California Chrome wins with the time of 2:03.66.
NCAA Basketball Championship
The University of Connecticut takes both the Men and Women NCAA Basketball Championships for the second time in history. First, the UConn men defeat Kentucky, 60-54. Then, in a historic win, the UConn women beat Notre Dame, 78-58, for a record ninth title and coach Geno Auriemma breaks his tie with Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt for the most all-time championship wins.
NCAA Football Champions
Fourth ranked Ohio State beat the second ranked Oregon Ducks, 42-20, to win the inaugural College Football Playoff championship.
World Cup
Germany beats Argentina by a score of 1–0 in extra time.

Entertainment

Entertainment Awards

Academy Award, Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Nobel Prize for Literature: Patrick Modiano (France) "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation."
More Entertainment Awards...

Movies

  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • The LEGO Movie
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction
  • Maleficent
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Big Hero 6
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Music

  • Frozen, Soundtrack
  • Beyonce, Beyonce
  • 1989, Taylor Swift
  • Midnight Memories, One Direction
  • Marshall Mathers LP 2, Eminem
  • Pure Heroine, Lorde
  • Crash My Party, Luke Bryan
  • Prism, Katy Perry
  • Blame It All on My Roots, Garth Brooks
  • Heres to the Good Times, Florida Georgia Line

Books

  • The Fault in Our Stars (trade paper), John Green
  • The Long Haul, Jeff Kinney
  • Divergent, Veronica Roth
  • Insurgent, Veronica Roth
  • Killing Patton, OReilly/Dugard
  • Allegiant, Veronica Roth
  • Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  • The Fault in Our Stars (movie tie-in), John Green
  • The Fault in Our Stars (hardcover), John Green
  • Frozen, Victoria Saxon

Science

Nobel Prizes in Science

Chemistry: Jointly to Eric Betzig (U.S.), Stefan W. Hell (Germany), and William E. Moerner (U.S.) "for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy."
Physics: Jointly to Isamu Akasaki (Japan), Hiroshi Amano (Japan), and Shuji Nakamura (U.S.) "for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources."
Physiology or Medicine: One-half jointly to May-Britt Moser (Norway) and Edvard I. Moser (Norway), and one-half to John OKeefe (U.S. and UK) for "their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain"
More Nobel Prizes in 1998...
  • April 27-29: Tornadoes touch down throughout the Southeast, killing at least 29 people. A single half-mile wide tornado appears to be responsible for much of the damage in Arkansas where 16 of the 29 casualties happen. The tornado is the largest of several that strikes across central and southern states.
  • April 10: A coding error is discovered in OpenSSL, encryption software that makes transactions between a computer and a remote secure, making users vulnerable to having their usernames, passwords, and personal information stolen. Millions of banks, Internet commerce companies, email services, government sites, and social media sites rely on OpenSSL to conduct secure transactions. The coding error, dubbed "Heartbleed," was made in 2012.
  • Mar. 31: The United Nation Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases an alarming report that predicts dire environmental and economic consequences for the entire world if the leading economies do not start to reduce greenhouse gas emissions immediately. The repercussions of climate change include a rise in sea level, a shrinking of ice and snow cover, the melting of glaciers, food and water shortages, crop loss, destruction caused by coastal storms, and increased poverty. In addition, the report says drought caused by global warming could contribute to geopolitical conflicts over water and land.
  • May 2: As many as 2,100 people are killed in a mudslide in Abi Barak, a village in northern Afghanistan. The tragedy is the worst natural disaster to strike the country in a decade.
  • Nov. 12: For the first time ever, a spacecraft lands on a comet. After leaving the mother ship Rosetta, a probe named Philae lands on Comet 67P, located 310 million miles from Earth.
  • April 18: At least 16 Sherpa guides die in an avalanche on Mount Everest. The Sherpa guides are fixing ropes for climbers at an elevation of 19,000 feet when the avalanche hits. It is the deadliest avalanche ever recorded on Mount Everest.
  • April 16: A ferry carrying 459 people, mostly high school students, sinks off the southern coast of South Korea. When the ship begins sinking, the captain, Lee Jun-seok, is not at the helm.
  • Mar. 22: A mudslide in Oso, Washington, kills at least 41 people.
  • Aug. 18: At least 160 people are killed in floods and landslides after days of heavy rain in Nepal and northern India.
  • Aug. 3: A 6.1 magnitude earthquake hits Ludian County, Yunnan, China. At least 617 people are killed and 2,400 others are injured.
  • May 15: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina are hit with the heaviest rains and flooding in over a century. At least 44 people are killed in the flooding, and authorities believe that the death toll will rise.
  • July 31: According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is the worst since the virus was first identified almost forty years ago. Oct. 8: The first person to be diagnosed with Ebola from the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, dies. Oct. 12: Nina Pham, a nurse who treated Duncan, becomes the first person to contract Ebola within the United States. Oct. 18: Obama appoints political adviser Ron Klain to be the Ebola response coordinator in the United States. Oct. 22): The Obama administration announces that passengers from all countries affected by the virus must travel through one of five U.S. airports. Oct. 23: The CDC places restrictions on travelers from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Oct. 24: Nina Pham is declared free of Ebola and released from the hospital. Health officials in Mali confirm that the first Ebola patient there has died. The victim is a 2-year-old girl who had traveled to Mali from Guinea with her grandmother. Nov. 6: President Obama asks Congress for more than $6 billion to fight Ebola in West Africa as well as protect U.S. citizens from the virus. Nov. 8: The World Health Organization issues new protocol for burying Ebola victims since that is when they are at their most infectious. Nov. 12: According to the World Health Organization, 5,160 people have now died from the Ebola outbreak. The total number of cases has increased to 14,098, including the 5,160 deaths.
  • Mar. 8: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, carrying 239 people, loses contact en route to Beijing, China. Mar. 24: After days of searching, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak announces that satellite data confirms that the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean, a remote location far off course.

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