8 minute read
15 Dec 2016
11:17 am

Key events in 2016


Here is a panorama of world events in 2016:

Partial view of the coastline of Santo Domingo, near the Port of Haina on October 3, 2016 as strong winds and rain are expected in the next few hours in Dominican Republic. Hurricane Matthew claimed its first victims, officials said Monday, leaving one dead and one person missing in Haiti as it churns through the Caribbean as the most menacing storm in nearly a decade. / AFP PHOTO / Erika Santelices

– January –

– 3: SAUDI ARABIA/IRAN – Saudi Arabia breaks off diplomatic ties with Iran in a row over the execution of a Shiite cleric, sparking protests during which the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran is firebombed.
– 8: MEXICO – Crime boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is arrested six months after a spectacular prison escape.
– 10: MUSIC – Death of David Bowie
– 15: BURKINA FASO – 30 people, mainly westerners, are killed during a raid claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Murabitoun group on a hotel and restaurant in Ouagadougou.
– 16: IRAN – Iran’s historic nuclear deal with global powers comes into force. Under the deal, all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran are lifted. In return, Tehran accepted curbs on a programme that Western powers feared would pave the way for atomic weapons.
– 16: TAIWAN – Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan’s main opposition party is voted the island’s first female president, winning a landslide victory over the ruling Kuomintang, as voters turn their backs on closer China ties.

– February –

– 11: SCIENCE – Scientists say they have glimpsed gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein.
– 12: VATICAN – In Cuba, Pope Francis meets Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill — the first such meeting between the heads of their two branches of the Church in nearly 1,000 years.

– March –

– 13: IVORY COAST – An attack claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) leaves 19 dead in a seaside resort near Abidjan.
– 15: SCIENCE – A Google-developed programme defeats Go grandmaster Lee Se-Dol.
– 18: TURKEY-EU – Turkish and EU leaders agree a deal to curb the huge flow of asylum-seekers to Europe, aimed at easing the biggest migration crisis since World War II.
– 20-22: US/CUBA – US President Barack Obama holds talks with Cuban counterpart Raul Castro in Havana, setting aside a bitter standoff between the United States and the communist island that had lasted more than 50 years.
– 22: BELGIUM – Suicide bombings at Brussels airport and a metro station blamed on a cell linked to the jihadist Islamic State group kill 32 people.
– 27: PAKISTAN – A Taliban suicide bomber attacks a Pakistani park crowded with families on Easter Sunday, killing 75 including many children.
– 30: MYANMAR – Aung San Suu Kyi’s democracy movement takes power after 50 years of military rule in Myanmar, with a close aide of the Nobel Peace Laureate sworn in as president.
– 30: LIBYA – A UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) takes up office in Tripoli headed by prime minister designate Fayez al-Sarraj, three months after a power-sharing agreement was signed.

– April –

– 3: PANAMA PAPERS – A massive leak of 11.5 million documents allegedly exposes the secret offshore dealings of aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin, world leaders and celebrities including Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
– 16: ECUADOR – A devastating 7.8-magnitude quake in Ecuador kills more than 670 people and leaves almost 6,300 injured.

– May –

– 9: PHILIPPINES – Firebrand Philippine politician Rodrigo Duterte secures a landslide presidential victory built on foul-mouthed populist tirades.
– 21: AFGHANISTAN – Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour is killed in a US air strike, in a blow to the resurgent militant movement.
– 27: US/JAPAN – Obama pays tribute to victims of the world’s first atomic bomb and calls for an end to nuclear weapons as he makes a historic visit to the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
– 30: CHAD – Former president Hissene Habre is sentenced to life in prison for war crimes by a special African court in Dakar.

– June –

– 4: BOXING – Death of triple world champion Muhammad Ali.
– 12: UNITED STATES – Forty-nine people are killed when a gunman, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, opens fire and seizes hostages at a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The gunman is killed in a shootout with police.
– 23: BRITAIN – Britain votes by almost 52 percent to leave the European Union in a shock referendum result. Prime Minister David Cameron steps down and is replaced in July by Theresa May.
– 28: TURKEY – Forty-seven people are killed and more than 200 are injured in a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul’s main airport, one of a series of bloody attacks in the country blamed on IS or Kurdish guerrillas.

– July –

– 3: IRAQ – More than 300 people are killed when a suicide car bomber attacks a busy shopping area in Baghdad. The blast is claimed by IS.
– 8-11: SOUTH SUDAN – At least 300 people die in clashes between forces backing President Salva Kiir and rival Riek Machar.
– 14: FRANCE – A Tunisian national rams a truck into people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing 86. IS claims the attack.
– 15: TURKEY – A rogue military faction tries unsuccessfully to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The regime says exiled Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen is behind the putsch and carries out a purge in which more than 100,000 people are detained, dismissed or suspended over alleged links to the coup-plotters.
– 23: AFGHANISTAN – IS jihadists claim responsibility for twin explosions that rip through crowds of Shiite Hazaras in Kabul, killing 85 people in the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital since 2001.
– 26: AVIATION – Solar Impulse 2 becomes the first aircraft to circle the globe powered only by the sun.

– August –

– 5: OLYMPIC GAMES – The Rio summer Olympic Games open in Brazil, the first time they are held in Latin America.
– 9: RUSSIA/TURKEY/SYRIA – Russia’s Putin and Turkish counterpart Erdogan hold their first meeting since a bitter feud erupted over Ankara’s downing of a Russian warplane over the Turkey-Syria border. At the meeting in Saint Petersburg they pledge to reinvigorate ties.
– 24: ITALY – A 6.0-6.2 magnitude quake hits mountain villages in a remote area straddling the Italian regions of Umbria, Marche and Lazio. The small mountain town of Amatrice bears the brunt of the earthquake that kills 297 people and injures hundreds more.
– 24: SYRIA-TURKEY – Turkey launches an offensive in Syria aimed at Kurdish rebels and IS fighters.
– 31: BRAZIL – President Dilma Rousseff is impeached for illegally manipulating the national budget. She is replaced by bitter rival Michel Temer.

– September –

– 1: VENEZUELA – Mass street protests take place in Venezuela, with the opposition seeking a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro.
– 4: VATICAN – Pope Francis declares Mother Teresa of Kolkata a saint.
– 9: NORTH KOREA – Pyongyang carries out its fifth and most powerful nuclear test to date.
– 28: ISRAEL – Death of former president and Nobel laureate Shimon Peres.
– 30: SPACE – Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft concludes a 12-year odyssey with a controlled crash-landing onto the comet it orbited and probed for two years in a quest to demystify the Solar System’s origins.

– October –

– 4: HAITI – Hurricane Matthew leaves more than 540 dead in Haiti, devastating the south-west of the country.
– 8: YEMEN – More than 140 people are killed when air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against Huthi rebels hits a funeral ceremony.
– 13: MUSIC – The Nobel Literature Prize is awarded to US singer/songwriter Bob Dylan.
– 17: IRAQ – Iraqi forces launch an offensive aimed at retaking Mosul, IS’s last stronghold in the country. Since the launch of the assault more than 80,000 people have fled the fighting.
– 24: FRANCE – France begins clearing the so-called “Jungle” migrant camp in the northern city of Calais ahead of its planned demolition.

– November –

– 8: UNITED STATES – Republican billionaire Donald Trump defeats Hillary Clinton to take the US presidency, stunning America and the world in an explosive upset fuelled by a wave of grassroots anger.
– 15: SYRIA – Regime forces and their ally Russia launch a new assault to recapture the entire northern city of Aleppo from rebels. Rebel areas come under the heaviest bombardment for two years and regime forces have so far seized more than 90 percent of the rebel territory. Since March 2011, the country’s civil war has killed more than 312,000 people.
– 24: COLOMBIA – President Juan Manuel Santos, the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and FARC guerrilla leader Rodrigo “Timochenko” Londono sign a new peace deal to end their half-century conflict.
– 26: CUBA – Death of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.
– 29: UKRAINE – A huge metal safety dome is set in place over the Chernobyl nuclear power plant’s doomed fourth reactor.

– December –

– 1: THAILAND – Maha Vajiralongkorn is crowned king following the death in October of his father, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who had reigned for 70 years.
– 1: GAMBIA – Adama Barrow wins the presidential election. Current President Yahya Jammeh initially accepts defeat before challenging the vote a week later.
– 1: FRANCE – President Francois Hollande announces he will not seek re-election next year, four days after Francois Fillon, a conservative reformist, clinches the rightwing nomination.
– 4: ITALY – Italian voters overwhelmingly reject constitutional reform proposals in a referendum. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns.
– 4: AUSTRIA – At a rerun presidential election Greens-backed independent Alexander Van der Bellen beats Norbert Hofer, who had sought to become Europe’s first far-right president.
– 7: GHANA – Opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo wins the presidential election.
– 9: SOUTH KOREA – lawmakers impeach President Park Geun-Hye over a corruption scandal.
– 11: EGYPT – A bomb attack claimed by IS kills 25 people at a Coptic church in Cairo.
– 12: UN – Portugal’s Antonio Guterres becomes the ninth UN secretary general.