The Curtain Falls
Dec 28: Nato formally ended its war in Afghanistan, holding a low-key ceremony in Kabul, after 13 years of conflict that have left the country in the grip of worsening insurgent violence. The event was kept secret due to the threat of Taliban strikes.
A Great Honour Indeed!
Jan 01: The Pakistani flag was raised at headquarters of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) to mark Pakistan’s formal entry into the world’s premier scientific organisation. Pakistan is the first Asian country to be admitted to CERN as associate member.
Clash of Civilizations?
Jan 07: Heavily armed men stormed the headquarters of a satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris, killing 12 people including several members of the magazine’s staff. The magazine regularly published cartoons and articles satirizing jihadists, and also drew blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The Strongman Ousted
Jan 09: With heavy support from the Tamil and Muslim voters, Maithripala Sirisena, the joint opposition candidate in Sri Lanka’s presidential election, emerged victor in the race with a 51.28 per cent vote, beating incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa who secured 47.58pc.
Navigating the ‘Uncharted’ Territory
Jan 16: The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary probe into Israel’s possible war crimes committed against Palestinians, including during last year`s Gaza war. Israel and the United States strongly criticized the move by the ICC.
Brutality and Magic
Jan 18: Swashbuckling South African AB de Villiers struck the fastest century in one-day international cricket off just 31 balls in the second match against West Indies. The previous record of 36 balls was set by New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson.
The Wounded Bear Looks East
Jan 20: Russia signed a deal with Iran, said to be a joint response to US “interference”. The deal provides for joint exercises and military training, as well as cooperation in peacekeeping, maintaining regional and international security and stability, and fighting against separatism and extremism.
The Schism Widens
Jan 21: US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress without consulting President Barack Obama. A White House spokesman Josh Earnest termed the move as “a departure from the protocol.”
A Historic Thaw
Jan 21: The highest level US delegation to visit Cuba in decades launched two days of historic talks in Havana to end Cold War-era animosity and re-establish diplomatic relations. Each side described the talks as productive and constructive.
Adios, the Reformer King
Jan 23: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who had been king since 2005 and effectively in charge since his brother Fahd’s stroke in 1995, died aged 90 after a short illness. He has been succeeded by Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, his half-brother.