We've composed a photo gallery depicting some of the most important events which happened in 2013 in Russia and across the globe.
Itar-Tass News Agency presents 10 key events in the world in 2013 ahead of New Year.
On February 11, Pope Benedict XVI said he renounced the papacy. On March 13, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected head of the Roman Catholic Church. For the first time in the history the Vatican elected the first pope from Latin America. Cardinal Bergoglio was the first pontiff, who took the name of Saint Francis.
On February 15 a meteorite exploded in the atmosphere above the Chelyabinsk Region in the Urals. The celestial body, its size estimated at 17 metres in diameter and mass, at 10,000 tonnes, streaked across the early morning sky at a speed of 10 kilometers to 30 kilometres per second. The incident is unrivalled in the world’s recorded history by the number of those injured by minor fragments - over 1,500. On October 16, the largest fragment weighing 650 kilograms was recovered from the bed of Lake Chebarkul.
April 15, during the Boston marathon, two explosions went off near the finish line with a 12 second interval. Three people died, over 260 were injured. U.S. authorities are convinced that Tsarnaev brothers are behind the attack – 26-year-old Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, who turned 20 this summer.
A few days after the terrorist act Tamerlan was shot dead by the police in a firefight. Dzhokhar was discovered hiding in a powerboat stored in a backyard of a private residence in a Boston suburb; he was neutralized and arrested after a special operation. First court hearings were held in July. Tsarnaev refused to admit his guilt on all accounts – he is accused of a total of 30 transgressions.
The next hearing is scheduled for February 12, 2014.
A group of gunmen stormed the upscale shopping mall Westgate in Nairobi opened fire at the shoppers, taking seven people hostage. It was later reported that Al-Shabab militants attacked the visitors of Westgate shopping mall and took about 30 hostages. After the military operation Kenyan authorities reported 67 deaths, including six police officers. Rescuers found nine bodies under the rubble.
In June 2013 former NSA contractor Edward Snowden gave The Washington Post and The Guardian secret documents on the U.S. and British special services spying in the Internet. The publications sparked a diplomatic row. According to the U.S. National Security Agency, from 50 to 200,000 secret documents fell into the hands of journalists. Then Snowden left for Hong Kong. On August 1, he was granted temporary asylum in Russia for a year and left the transit zone of Sheremetyevo’s Airport. We have complete coverage of Edward Snowden's leaks in our special section.
On July 3, the leaders of Egypt’s Armed Forces said President Mohamed Morsi had been dismissed from office. The transition period was declared. The Coercion Act was approved. The parliament was dissolved. Mass protest actions occurred in the Egyptian cities in July-August. Over 1,000 people were killed. A state of emergency was effective in the country from August 14 to November 12. Muslim Brotherhood, a major Islamic organization which supported the ousted president was officially dissolved and banned from politics and later outlawed.
In September Russian diplomats averted the threat of force in Syria due to be used by Washington and its allies. The chemical attack on Damascus’ suburbs on August 21 was one of the reasons. The opposition and the authorities accused each other of using chemical weapons. On September 10, Syria agreed to take chemical weapons under international control and gave documents on joining the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. On September 14, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reached a framework agreement on the elimination of chemical weapons.U.S. believes that the objective of destroying Syrian chemical weapons by the middle of 2014 is realistic.
On September 18, the environmental organization Greenpeace’s activists attempted to disembark from the ice-strengthened vessel The Arctic Sunrise operated by Greenpeace to the Russian oil and gas platform Prirazlomnaya in the Pechora Sea; 30 activists from 19 countries were detained, the ship was towed to Murmansk. In October, a Murmansk court charged all detainees with piracy; the charge was later reclassified to hooliganism. In November the arrested were transferred to St. Petersburg; by the end of the month the activists were released on Greenpeace bail.
On November 8 the Haiyan powerful typhoon raged the Philippines. It killed over 5,500 people and over 1,700 people went missing. Totally, about 10 million of residents in the 10,000-people’s settlements were hurt by the typhoon.
On November 21, the Ukrainian government suspended the signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union. The decision led to mass protest actions, which had been organised by supporters of Ukraine’s European integration. Police and special task services used force against protesters. They demanded the government resign, early presidential and parliamentary elections be held. On December 12, the Ukrainian authorities said they resumed talks with the European Union over the Association Agreement, however, they did not go anywhere at the time. European Commission did not see any grounds for continuing talks on signing an association agreement with the incumbent Ukrainian leadership in the current situation, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said upon the end of the EU winter summit. You can follow the story of Ukraine's political struggles here.