Key events in 2016

By AFP   December 31, 2016 | 04:25 pm GMT+7

Here are some of the main events that marked the past 12 months.

The shock election of Donald Trump to the White House, Britain's vote to leave the European Union, attacks in Europe and the deaths of Mohammed Ali and David Bowie: 2016 has been a momentous news year.

January

- 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.

- 16: Taiwan - Tsai Ing-wen of the main opposition party is voted the island's first female leader in a landslide victory over the ruling Kuomintang, as voters reject closer China ties.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen attends the New Years Eve news conference in Taipei, Taiwan December 31, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Fabian Hamacher

Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen attends the New Year's Eve news conference in Taipei, Taiwan December 31, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Fabian Hamacher

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 leaves 19 dead in a seaside resort.

- 18: Turkey/E.U. - Turkish and E.U. 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: U.S./Cuba – U.S. President Barack Obama holds talks with Cuban counterpart Raul Castro in Havana, setting aside a bitter five decade standoff between Washington and the communist island.

- 22: Belgium - Suicide bombings at Brussels airport and a metro station blamed on a cell linked to the Islamic State group kill 32 people.

Ceremony in Hanoi honors victims of Brussels terrorist attacks. Photo by VnExpress/Tomas Slavicek

Ceremony in Hanoi honors victims of Brussels terrorist attacks. Photo by VnExpress/Tomas Slavicek

- 27: Pakistan - A Taliban suicide bomber attacks a 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.

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi walk after they attended ASEAN Foreign Minister Meeting on Rohingya issue in Sedona hotel at Yangon, Myanmar December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (pointing). Photo by Reuters/Soe Zeya/File Photo

- 30: Libya - A U.N.-backed Government of National Accord takes office in Tripoli headed by Fayez al-Sarraj

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 7.8-magnitude quake kills more than 670 people and injures almost 6,300.

A company list showing the Mossack Fonseca law firm is pictured on a sign at the Arango Orillac Building in Panama City in this April 3, 2016 file photo. Photo by Reuters/File Photo

A company list showing the Mossack Fonseca law firm is pictured on a sign at the Arango Orillac Building in Panama City. Photo by Reuters/File Photo

May

- 9: Philippines - Firebrand 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 U.S. air strike.

- 27: U.S./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.

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks in front of housewives and mothers, that participate in the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the provincial government and Dutertes war on drugs at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, Philippines December 22, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks in front of housewives and mothers on December 22, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Erik De Castro

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 in a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul's main airport, one of a series of bloody attacks blamed on IS or Kurdish guerrillas.

July

- 3: Iraq - More than 300 people are killed when a suicide car bomber attacks a b.y 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 to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a failed coup.

- 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.

Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered plane piloted by Bertrand Piccard of Switzerland, flies over the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, California, U.S. Photo by: Reuters

Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered plane piloted by Bertrand Piccard of Switzerland, flies over the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, California, U.S. Photo by: Reuters

August

- 5: Olympic Games - The Rio summer Olympic Games open in Brazil, the first in Latin America.

- 9: Russia/Turkey/Syria - Putin and Erdogan hold their first meeting since a bitter feud erupted over Ankara's downing of a Russian warplane over the Turkey-Syria border.

- 24: Italy - A powerful quake hits mountain villages in a remote area straddling the regions of Umbria, Marche and Lazio. The small 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 targeting Kurdish rebels and IS fighters.

- 31: Brazil - President Dilma Rousseff is impeached for illegally manipulating the national budget.

2016 Rio Olympics - Opening ceremony - Maracana - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 05/08/2016. Fireworks explode during the opening ceremony. Photo by Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski

2016 Rio Olympics - Opening ceremony - Maracana - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 05/08/2016. Fireworks explode during the opening ceremony. Photo by Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski

September

- 1: Venezuela - Mass street protests take place, 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.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets scientists and technicians in the field of research into nuclear weapons in this undated photo released by North Koreas Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 9, 2016. Photo by KCNA/Files via Reuters.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets scientists and technicians in the field of research into nuclear weapons in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 9, 2016. Photo by KCNA/Files via Reuters.

October

- 4: Haiti - Hurricane Matthew leaves more than 540 dead, devastating the southwest of the country.

- 8: Yemen - More than 140 people are killed when air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition supporting President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against Huthi rebels hit a funeral ceremony.

- 13: Music - The Nobel Literature Prize is awarded to U.S. 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 100,000 people have fled.

November

- 8: United States - Republican billionaire Donald Trump defeats Hillary Clinton to take the U.S. presidency, stunning America and the world in an explosive upset fuelled by a wave of grassroots anger.

- 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.

- 25: Cuba - Death of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.

Cubas President Fidel Castro gestures during a tour of Paris in this March 15, 1995 file photo. Ailing Cuban leader Castro said on February 19, 2008 that he will not return to lead the country, retiring as head of state 49 years after he seized power in an armed revolution. Photo by Reuters/Charles Platia

Cuba's President Fidel Castro gestures during a tour of Paris in this March 15, 1995 file photo. Ailing Cuban leader Castro said on February 19, 2008 that he will not return to lead the country, retiring as head of state 49 years after he seized power in an armed revolution. Photo by Reuters/Charles Platia

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. Incumbent Yahya Jammeh initially accepts defeat but later challenges the result

- 1: France - Socialist President Francois Hollande announces he will not seek re-election next year.

- 4: Italy - Italian voters overwhelmingly reject constitutional reform proposals in a referendum. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns and is replaced by Paolo Gentiloni.

- 7: Ghana - Opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo wins presidential election.

- 9: South Korea - Lawmakers impeach President Park Geun-Hye over a corruption scandal.

- 11: Turkey - Twin bombings claimed by a Kurdish militant group kill 44 people near an Istanbul football stadium.

- 12: U.N. - Portugal's Antonio Guterres is sworn in as the ninth U.N. secretary general.

United Nations Secretary-General-designate Mr. Antonio Guterres of Portugal speaks to members of the media after being sworn in at UN headquarters in New York, U.S., December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

United Nations Secretary-General-designate Mr. Antonio Guterres of Portugal speaks to members of the media after being sworn in at UN headquarters in New York, U.S., December 12, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Lucas Jackson

- 19: Germany - A commandeered lorry smashes into the crowd at a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people. The suspect is shot dead by police in Italy four days later.

- 19: Turkey/Russia - Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov is killed in Ankara by an off-duty policeman to avenge victims of Aleppo in Syria. The policeman is shot dead as well.

- 22: Syria - Regime forces recapture the entire northern city of Aleppo in their biggest victory against rebels. Since March 2011, the war has killed more than 310,000 people.

- 23: U.N. - The Security Council demands Israel halt settlement activities in Palestinian territory, as the U.S. refrains from using its veto.

- 27: Japan/U.S.: Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe make a joint pilgrimage to Pearl Harbor, where a Japanese attack dragged the United States into World War II.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama greet Pearl Harbor survivors during their visit to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, U.S., December 27, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama greet Pearl Harbor survivors during their visit to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, U.S., December 27, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

- 28: Israel/Palestinians/U.S.: U..S Secretary of State John Kerry forcefully criticizes Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank, warning it was putting a two-state solution to the conflict in jeopardy. Israel slams the speech as "biased".

- 29: United States/Russia - Obama takes retaliatory measures against Moscow for allegedly meddling in the U.S. election.

- 29: Syria/Russia - Putin announces a Syria ceasefire deal and that the warring parties have agreed to sit down for peace talks. The ceasefire comes into force at midnight and holds across most of Syria.

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