2013


 
       

One day in March my best friend Ed (for 36 years) did a flashback activity. We played some Chip n' Putt and relived those golden memories.

In April, I went to Chicago to see Lee DeWyze perform at Viper Valley. Here I am with his wife, and my dear friend Jonna Walsh for whom I run a web site supporting her acting/modeling career.

The annual family vacation to LBI in June. With my brother in law Dave and my nephew Dylan at the water park.

Also in June I attended Philly Comic Con for the first time. As an avid AOTS fan, my highlight was meeting Candace Bailey and Sara Underwood.

In September I had an opportunity to meet my favorites band and see an amazing concert. You can read about my experience HERE   Just spending a lovely day with Michelle around the holiday's. A truly amazing woman.

 

Sports History
..Philadelphia Phillies (MBL) . 73-89

4th Place NL East
Missed Playoffs

..Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) ..23-22-0-3 4th Place Atlantic Division
Missed Playoffs
..Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) ..10-6 1st Place NFC East
Lost in Wild Card to New Orleans Saints 26-24
..Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) 34-48 Last Place, Atlantic Division
Missed Playoffs
..Philadelphia Wings (MLL) ..7-9

3st Place
Lost Division Semi Finals

..Philadelphia Soul (Arena Football) .112-62 1st Place Eastern Conference
Lost Arena Bowl to Arizona 48-39
..Penn State (College Football) 97-5 Not Bowl Eligible
..Salisbury University (my college) ..

National Champions -
Women's Lacrosse

Conference Champions -
Baseball
Men's Track & Field
Women's Track & Field
Field Hockey
Women's Lacrosse
Volleyball
Softball

Bowl Champions -
Football ECAC


What Happened This Year?

JANUARY

01 - In the early hours of January 1, 2013, the Senate approve a deal to raise tax rates from 35 to 39.6 percent for those earning more than $400,000. The deal also temporarily suspends across-the-board spending cuts. Later that night, the House also passes the legislation. The House's vote ends the long dramatic showdown over the fiscal cliff with only a few hours left of the 112th Congress

02 - The United Nations releases information that more than 60,000 people have been killed during Syria's civil war, which has been going on now for 22 months. The report exceeds previous estimates of casualties.

07 - Number two ranked Alabama rolls over top-ranked Notre Dame and wins its second straight national title. The 42-14 routing is also the Crimson Tide's third title in four years.

16 - In response to recent massacres, including the killing of 20 first graders in Newtown, Conn., and 12 moviegoers in Aurora, Colo., President Barack Obama introduces proposals to tighten gun-control laws. His plan includes universal background checks for gun sales, the reinstatement and strengthening of the assault weapons ban, limiting ammunition magazines to a 10-round capacity, and other measures. Some of the measures outlined in his speech the president intends to achieve through 23 executive actions, while he called on Congress to do its part to enact stricter gun control legislation.

16 - Islamist militants take about 40 foreign hostages at a remote BP site in Algeria. At least sixty armed militants attack the BP gas field. Among the engineers who are taken hostage are several British and U.S. citizens. Many fear that the hostage situation is a result of the conflict in Mali

17 - Everyone knew that Andy Reid’s run as Eagles head coach was coming to an end. Still, even announcing the news on New Year’s Eve couldn’t slow the reaction of the dismissal of a man who had spent 14 seasons as Eagles head coach. For over a decade, all Eagles fans knew was Andy Reid, and they had gotten pretty sick of it all, to put it kindly. Reid’s last two years were a disaster, finishing with worse-than-it-looked 8-8 record in 20011, and an every-bit-as-bad-as-it-looked 4-12 record in 2012. Sure, the firing happened on the last day of 2012, but the story lasted well into 2013. Eagles fans were warming up the Gus Bus, with the entire football world sure that the Eagles second meeting with former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley meant the team was going to hire him to be their new head coach. Especially because the other apple Howie Roseman’s eye, Chip Kelly, had turned the Eagles down and decided to return to Oregon. SURPRISE! Chip Kelly changed his mind, and the Gus Bus drove to Jacksonville. After some mid-season struggles, the Eagles have won five straight and Kelly looks like the hire of a lifetime.

18 - Lance Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey during his televised interview on OWN that he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career, despite vehement denials for years. "I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times," he said, explaining that he used a litany of banned substances while winning seven Tour de France races.

21 - On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Obama is sworn in for a second term. Obama uses Dr. King's Bible as well as Abraham Lincoln's Bible to take the oath of office. He also becomes the first president to say the word gay in an Inaugural Address when he compares the battle for same-sex marriage to past battles over gender and racial equality. "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well," Obama says in his address

26, 27 - Victoria Azarenka from Belarus defeats Li Na of China, 4–6, 6–4,6–3 to win her second straight Australian Open Women's Singles Championship. Serbia's Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray of Scotland, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 to take the Men's Singles Championship. With the win, Djokovic becomes the first man in the 45-year-old Open era to win three consecutive singles titles at Australian Open.



FEBRUARY

01 - Ecevit Sanli detonates a bomb near a gate at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. Sanli dies after detonating the bomb. One Turkish guard is also killed. Didem Tuncay, a respected television journalist, is injured in the blast. Unlike the bombing at the embassy in Benghazi last September, the U.S. government immediately calls the bombing a terrorist attack. According to Turkish officials, the attack is from the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party, which has been labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. and other nations.

01 - The jobs report is released for January 2013. U.S. employers add 157,000 new jobs in January, while unemployment rises to 7.9%, slightly higher than the 7.8% it was in December. Construction, retailing, health care, and wholesale trade all add significantly to the new job numbers in January.

03 - in a wild game, which includes a 34 minute stadium blackout, the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is named MVP. The game, held in New Orleans, draws 108.4 million viewers, making it the third highest rated television program ever.

08 - Two areas of low pressure collide to create Winter Storm Nemo, also referred to as the Blizzard of 2013. Boston, Massachusetts receives 24.9 inches of snow, the fifth-highest snowfall in the city's recorded history. Portland, Maine gets 31.9 inches of snow, a record for the city. However, the highest snowfalls are in Connecticut. For example, Hamden, Connecticut, receives 40 inches. The storm also brings hurricane-like winds and flooding. At least 18 people are killed in the storm.

11 - The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI announces his retirement, becoming the first pope to do so since 1415. He will retire on February 28. He cites advancing age and a growing physical weakness as his reasons for retirement. Speaking to a small group of cardinals at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI says, "Before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited" for leading the Catholic Church.

12 - In the first State of the Union Address of his second term, President Obama focuses on the role government should play in growing the economy and stabilizing the middle class. He veers away from any ambitious proposals such as a new stimulus plan in the speech. "Let me repeat: Nothing I'm proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It's not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth," he says during the address.

15 - Debris from a meteor hit Siberia and more than 1,000 people are hurt, including 200 children. The injuries are mostly from shattered glass, which occurred when the meteor entered the atmosphere and exploded over Russia. Russian scientists believe that the 10-ton meteor exploded and created a shock wave when it hit the Earth's atmosphere. They believe the meteor exploded and evaporated about 30 miles above the Earth, but small fragments fell to the Earth's surface. Most of the people injured are residents of Chelyabinsk, a city about 950 miles east of Moscow. Chelyabinsk has many factories that build nuclear weapons, but the damage caused no radiation leaks, according to Russian officials.

24 - On her way to the podium to accept her Best Actress statuette for Silver Linings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence tripped on her voluminous Dior Haute Couture frock. It only served to endear us more to the goofball-next-door. Besides, she wouldn't stumble again all year, with a record-breaking opening weekend for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and growing buzz that she might go back-to-back with the Academy thanks to a strong supporting performance in Playbook helmer David O. Russell's follow-up, American Hustle.

27 - In a policy shift for party members, several Republicans back a legal brief asking the Supreme Court to rule that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. More than 100 Republicans are listed on the brief, including former New Hampshire Congressman Charles Bass and Beth Myers, a key adviser to Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign. The brief is filed as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to consider overturning Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage, as well as overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law passed during Bill Clinton's presidency, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.


MARCH

01 - Congress and President Obama do not reach an agreement in time to stop the large budget cuts to federal spending. As the cuts go into effect, Congressional leaders pledge to end the disagreements over the federal budget that have threatened to shut down the government for the last two years. President Obama responds to the budget cuts in a news conference where he says, "I don't anticipate a huge financial crisis, but people are going to be hurt."

06 - Comedy Central superstar Jon Stewart is reportedly taking a 12-week break from The Daily Show this summer. Stewart, who has hosted the popular satirical news show for 14 years, will use the time to direct his first film, Rosewater. Stewart wrote the screenplay for the adaptation of BBC journalist Maziar Bahari's best-selling memoir Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival, about Bahari's 2009 arrest by the Iranian government while covering an election protest. While Stewart is gone, Daily Show correspondent John Oliver will guest host.

08 - In response to the North Korea's nuclear test last month, the UN Security Council unanimously passes another round of strict sanctions against North Korea. In a first, China is involved in drafting the sanctions. The sanctions come shortly after the U.S. and South Korea begin annual military drills near the north-south border. Reacting to the sanctions and the exercises, President Kim Jong-un promises to launch "a pre-emptive nuclear strike" against the U.S. and South Korea and says he has voided the 1953 armistice that ended the war between North and South Korea. Kim's threats are mostly dismissed as bluster, but are nevertheless the most menacing in years by any leader. He continues his bellicose tone throughout March and shuts down not only Red Cross hotlines between North and South Korea, but also military hotlines. At a rare plenary meeting of the Central Committee, Kim says North Korea will continue to develop its nuclear weapons program despite sanctions, saying the weapons ""are neither a political bargaining chip nor a thing for economic dealings."

13 - Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is elected as the new pope, succeeding Benedict XVI. Bergoglio, 76, becomes the Catholic Church's 266th pontiff. He is the first pope from Latin America, where 480 million Catholics live. Bergoglio receives the required two-thirds of the vote after just two days of the conclave. Accepting his election, Bergoglio chooses the name Francis.

14 - Xi Jingping assumes the presidency of China. Of the 2,956 delegates, only one votes against Xi. Three delegates abstain. Li Yuanchao is named vice president. Assuming the presidency completes the transition of power to Xi. This final step puts him in charge of all three centers of power in China.

22 - President Obama visits Israel and helps negotiate a reconciliation with Turkey. During Obama's visit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expresses sincere regret to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, for the commando raid in 2010 on a Turkish ship that killed nine people. Israel also offers compensation for the incident. Erdogan accepts Israel's apology. After the apology, both countries announce that they will reinstate ambassadors and completely restore diplomatic relations. President Obama supports the apology in this statement, "the United States deeply values our relationships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them, in order to advance regional peace and security." The press in Israel greets Obama's visit with enthusiasm. Multiple newspapers use the phrase he said in Hebrew during his visit, "You are not alone," as a headline.

25 - Cinderella’s slippers belonged to Dr. John Giannini, Tyrone Garland and the Southwest Philly Floater. The La Salle Explorers unlikely run was highlighted by Garland’s big shot to beat Mississippi State, and a trip to the Sweet 16. We say we don’t care about how the rest of the country feels about Philadelphia, but it’s hard not to bask in the glow when one of our own is a national darling.

26 - A new trial is ordered by the Court of Cassation, Italy's highest court, for Amanda Knox, the exchange student from the U.S. who was accused of murdering Meredith Kercher, her 21-year-old roommate in 2007. The ruling means the case will be reheard, this time by a new appeals court in Florence. The new trial will be later this year or in 2014. Currently attending the University of Washington in Seattle, Knox releases a statement through a spokesman and calls the ruling "painful."

26 - The Supreme Court begins two days of historical debate over gay marriage. During the debate, the Supreme Court will consider overturning Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law passed during Bill Clinton's presidency, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court's decision will be announced in June 2013.

APRIL

01 - Despite stiffer sanctions from the UN, Kim Jong-un announces plans to expand North Korea's nuclear weapons and strengthen the country's economy. His plans defy warnings from the United States that North Korea needs to abandon its nuclear weapons arsenal. Kim prohibits South Korean workers from entering the Kaesong industrial park, which is run jointly by the two countries and is located in North Korea. (Apr. 3): At a rare plenary meeting of the Central Committee, Kim says North Korea will continue to develop its nuclear weapons program despite sanctions and restart the mothballed nuclear facility in Yongbyon. (Apr. 4): The U.S. announces it is deploying a missile defense system to Guam as a precautionary move. The deployment is two years ahead of schedule. (Apr. 5): South Korea reports that North Korea now has a missile within range of its coast, but the missile cannot reach the United States

05 - Only 88,000 jobs are added in March, less than half the amount economists had predicted. The amount is also significantly less than the 268,000 jobs that were added in February. Unemployment decreases from 7.7 percent in February to 7.6 percent in March. However, the decrease comes from more people leaving the labor force, not from new hires.

08 - Louisville wins their first national title since 1986 and their third overall by beating Michigan 82-76. Louisville Cardinal Luke Hancock is named the Final Four's outstanding player. Louisville's win makes it the fifth time in N.C.A.A. history that schools from the same state have won titles back-to-back. Louisville follows rival school Kentucky's win last season.

15 - Multiple bombs explode near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Two bombs go off around 2:50 in the afternoon as runners finish the race. At least three people are killed. One is an eight year old boy. More than 170 people are injured. Another explosion happens during the afternoon at the JFK Library, but officials confirm that the incident is not connected. Later in the day, President Obama says from the White House briefing room, "We still do not know who did this or why, and people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all the facts, but make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice." (Apr. 18): President Obama speaks at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston's South End. After the service, both the president and First lady Michelle Obama visit those injured in the explosions who are still recovering in the various hospitals throughout Boston. Later in the day, the FBI releases photos and video of two suspects in the hope that the public can help identify them. "Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers, or family members. Though it may be difficult, the nation is counting on those with information to come forward and provide it to us," says FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers upon the release of the photos and video. Just hours after the FBI releases the images, the two suspects rob a gas station in Central Square then shoot and kill a MIT police officer in his car. Afterwards, the two men carjack a SUV and tell the driver that they had set off the explosions at the marathon. Police pursue the vehicle into Watertown. During the shootout, a MBTA officer is shot and one of the suspects, identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, age 26, is killed. A suicide vest is found on his body. (Apr. 19): The other suspect, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, age 19, remains at large for several hours, causing a massive manhunt and lockdown for all of Boston, Cambridge, and many other surrounding communities. The manhunt ends that evening when he is found alive, but seriously injured, hiding in a boat behind a house in Watertown. The two suspects are brothers and had been living together on Norfolk Street in Cambridge. They have lived in the U.S. for about a decade, but are from an area near Chechnya, a region in Russia.

15 - Paul Kevin Curtis of Tupelo, Miss., is arrested for sending letters contaminated with poison ricin to President Obama, a Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, an a local judge. The letters are intercepted by mail-sorting facilities. (Apr. 23): Charges against Paul Kevin Curtis are dismissed. Curtis is released as the investigation turns toward a new suspect. (Apr. 27): A new suspect, J. Everett Dutschke, is arrested in the ricin case. Dutschke has been charged with developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining and possessing a biological agent to use as a weapon.

17 - An explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas, kills 12 people and injures around 200 others. A section of the town is destroyed, including 50 homes. West, Texas is 80 miles south of Dallas. The explosion happens twenty minutes after a fire breaks out at the plant.

20 - To honor the Boston Marathon bombing victims, Neil Diamond performed Red Sox favorite "Sweet Caroline" live at Fenway Park.

20 - A strong earthquake strikes southwestern China. At least 186 people are killed and around 8,200 people are injured. The earthquake causes mountainsides to collapse. Available drinking water becomes a problem following the earthquake. Reports conflict on the magnitude of the earthquake. China's Earthquake Networks Center reports that the earthquake was a 7.0 magnitude, while the U.S. Geological Survey puts it at 6.6.

23 - The lower house in France's National Assembly votes 331 to 225 in favor of same-sex marriage. The legislation is expected to be approved by the Constitutional Council and signed into law by President François Hollande. The vote makes France the 14th nation in the world to pass legislation for same-sex marriage. Uruguay and New Zealand have also both recently passed same-sex marriage legislation.

MAY

01 - Three arrests are made in connection to the Boston Marathon bombing. Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov are arrested and charged with concealing evidence during a federal investigation. Robel K. Phillipos is charged with lying to impede the federal investigation. All three are close friends with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. If Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are found guilty they face up to five years in prison. Phillipos faces eight years.

03 - According to the Labor Department, 165,000 jobs are added in April, exceeding the 140,000 jobs predicted by economists. It is also a big improvement over March's numbers. The Labor Department also provides more good news, revising the number of jobs added in February and March. Their latest data adds 114,000 jobs to totals from February and March. However, unemployment drops only slightly from 7.6 percent in March to 7.5 percent in April.

04 - Orb, the favorite, wins the Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:02.89. Golden Soul finishes second. Revolutionary comes in third. For winning the race, Orb takes home 1.4 million. Coolers and large purses are banned from the event due to the recent Boston Marathon bombing.

05 - Israel makes two airstrikes on Damascus. The first happens on Friday, May 3, and the second two days later. Israeli officials maintain that the airstrikes are not meant as a way for Israel to become involved in Syria's ongoing civil war. Instead, the strikes focus on military warehouses in an effort to prevent Hezbollah from getting more weapons. Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shiite militia group with strong ties to Iran.

20 - An enormous category 4 tornado hits Oklahoma City, Moore, and Newcastle. Moore is hardest hit. The city's Plaza Towers Elementary School is flattened. At least 24 people are killed in the storm. The tornado, stretching about a mile wide, is on the ground for 40 minutes.

25 - Hezbollah and Syrian forces bomb the rebel-controlled town of Al-Qusayr, Homs. Dozens are killed. (May 26): Multiple rockets strike Beirut, mainly hitting Shiite suburbs, which are also strongholds of Hezbollah. (May 27): The ban against arming the Syrian rebels is lifted by the European Union. (May 28): U.S. Senator John McCain travels to Syria and meets with rebels in a show of support. With them, he discusses the possible future involvement of the U.S. in Syria's civil war.

JUNE

04 - A human rights team working for the United Nations reports that there are "reasonable grounds" to believe that government forces in Syria have used chemical weapons. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius reports that sarin, a nerve gas, has been used on multiple occasions. (June 5): Syrian rebels pull out of the town of Al-Qusayr, a former strategic stronghold for them. The Syrian Army regains control of the town. Iran's government, in an official statement, congratulates the Syrian army for recapturing Al-Qusayr.

06 - The Guardian receives information that reveals that the National Security Agency (NSA) is using PRISM to spy on the web activities, including email, of U.S. citizens. Through PRISM, a clandestine national security surveillance program, the NSA has direct access to Facebook, YouTube, Skype, Google, Apple, Yahoo and other websites. In its report, The Guardian does not state who they received the information from. (June 7): The Wall Street Journal reports that the NSA also monitors the credit card transactions and customer records of three major phone service providers. U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper calls the recent newspaper reports on government surveillance "reprehensible." (June 8): The Guardian publishes a report on another NSA tool called Boundless Informant, used by the U.S. government to watch activity in every country in the world. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Larry Page both deny any knowledge of PRISM. President Obama confirms PRISM's existence and its use to spy on the online activity of U.S. citizens. The New York Times reports that some companies, such as Facebook and Google, negotiated with the U.S. government over spying on customers. The report contradicts previous denials by those companies. (June 9): Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee, comes forward and admits that he is the source of the recent NSA leaks. Snowden, fearing prosecution, defects to Hong Kong and is currently on the run, wanted for questioning.

07 - According to the Labor Department, 175,000 jobs are added in May, ten thousand more jobs than were added in April. However, unemployment increases slightly as well, from 7.5 percent in April to 7.6 in May.

08 - Serena Williams beats last year's champion, Maria Sharapova, 6-4, 6-4, to win her second French Open women's championship. It is exactly eleven years to the day that Serena beat her older sister Venus to win her first French Open in 2002. (June 9): Rafael Nadal beat fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, to take the men's crown for a record eighth time. The men's championship is interrupted by two anti-gay marriage protesters. One of them runs on the court with a flare. The incident is reminiscent of the 1993 on court stabbing of Monica Seles in Germany.

25 - In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court strikes down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which established a formula for Congress to use when determining if a state or voting jurisdiction requires prior approval before changing its voting laws. Currently under Section 5 of the act nine-mostly Southern-states with a history of discrimination must get clearance from Congress before changing voting rules to make sure racial minorities are not negatively affected. While the 5-4 decision does not invalidate Section 5, it makes it toothless. Chief Justice John Roberts says the formula Congress now uses, which was written in 1965, has become outdated. "While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions," he says in the majority opinion. In a strongly worded dissent, Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg says, "Hubris is a fit word for today's demolition of the V.R.A." (Voting Rights Act).

26 - Prime Minister Julia Gillard resigns after being ousted as Labor Party leader in a party vote. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd replaces her as party leader and, the following day, replaces her as prime minister. It is a dramatic turn of events and ironic because it was Gillard who replaced Rudd as Labor Party leader in 2010. During a news conference after her resignation, Gillard says, "I am pleased that in this environment, which wasn't easy, I have prevailed to ensure that this country is made stronger, and smarter, and fairer for the future." Gillard also says that it was a privilege to serve as Australia's first female prime minister.

26 - The Southern celebrity chef fell on hard times when she admitted, under oath in a courtroom, that she'd used the N-word in the past. During an eyeliner-streaking Today show interview, she began a long, uphill climb to rehabbing her public image.

30 - Members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots are killed fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire. The wind suddenly changed direction, giving the firefighters little time to escape its path. The fire consumed 8,000 acres. It was the worst single loss of firefighters since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

JULY

03 - Bolivia finds itself involved in the international controversy surrounding the future of Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who leaked top-secret information about U.S. domestic surveillance to several news organizations in June 2013. A plane carrying Morales from Russia back to Bolivia is diverted because several European nations, believing that Snowden is on board the plane, refuse Morales access to their airspace. The move creates a diplomatic furor, and Morales calls the incident an "affront to all [Latin] America," and the vice president, Alvaro Garcia, says Morales is "being kidnapped by imperialism." (July 4): France apologizes the day after the incident. Morales's regional allies, including presidents from Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela, meet in a show of solidarity and demand an explanation about the incident.

05 - According to the Labor Department, 195,000 jobs are added in June, twenty thousand more jobs than were added in May. Meanwhile, unemployment held at 7.6 percent, the exact same percent as in May.

06 - A passenger jet of Asiana Airlines crashes at the San Francisco international Airport while attempting to land. The plane, traveling from Seoul, South Korea, catches fire. Three people are killed. More than 180 others are injured and taken to various San Francisco hospitals. The cause of the plane crash is not clear. The National Transportation Safety Board begins an investigation immediately.

06 - In the Wimbledon Women's Singles Championship, Marion Bartoli of France defeats Germany's Sabine Lisicki in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. It is the first Grand Slam title for Bartoli. It is only the second Wimbledon Championship match in the Open era played by two women who have never won a Grand Slam. Andy Murray becomes the first Brit in 77 years to take the Wimbledon Men's Singles Championship. He beat number one seed Novak Djokovic in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. Of the historic match, Murray says, "That last game will be the toughest game I'll play in my career, ever."

09 - Kevin Weeks, a key government witness, testifies against his former mentor James (Whitey) Bulger. In his testimony, Weeks recounts how Bulger killed two men in 1982 in South Boston. Weeks gets a reduced sentence for testifying. His testimony is the most damaging yet because it ties Bulger to at least two of the 19 murders he's been accused of playing a part in. (July 10): As Weeks testimony continues, he and Bulger trade expletives in the courtroom. It is the first words the two have spoken to each other in over 16 years. The trial, which began on June 12, 2013, is expected to continue through September.

13 - A jury in Florida finds George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. The six jurors, all of which are women, deliberate for 16.5 hours before the verdict. Of the jurors, five women are white and one is a minority. After the verdict, Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, tweets: "Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY." Both sides ask for peace after the verdict. The verdict does spark outrage on the internet and protests in cities throughout the U.S., but no riots or extreme violence are reported.

17 - One of the most controversial magazine covers of the year, Rolling Stone featured Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the front of their August issue. Despite being boycotted by CVS and Walgreens, the issue sold twice as many copies as average

22 - Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gives birth to a baby boy. The baby is born at 4:24 p.m. and weighs 8 pounds 6 ounces. Catherine gives birth in the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital in London, the same place where Prince William was born. (July 24): The baby's name is announced: George Alexander Louis. He will also have the title His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge and is be third in line to the throne, following Prince Charles and Prince William.

24 - A passenger train derails and crashes in northwest Spain, just outside of Santiago de Compostela. At least 78 people are killed and dozens more are injured. Investigators are looking into the reason for the incident, although early reports have said that the train was traveling at an excessive speed, taking a curve at more than twice the speed limit just before it derailed.

AUGUST

01 - Russia grants Edward Snowden, the American who leaked info about U.S. surveillance, asylum for one year. The temporary asylum allows him to leave the Moscow airport where he has been since June. Russia grants Snowden asylum despite strong urging from the U.S. not to do so. In response, President Obama cancels a planned summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin which was to be held in Moscow in September.

05 - Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, buys The Washington Post for $250 million. Bezos is currently ranked 19th on Forbes' billionaire list. He has an estimated fortune of more than $25 billion. Despite his extensive wealth and success, Bezos' purchase comes as a surprise because he has not previously mentioned an interest in the newspaper business.

12 - Notorious Boston gangster James (Whitey) Bulger is found guilty of 31 of the 32 charges he faced, including murder, extortion, money laundering, drug dealing and possession of weapons. Bulger, at age 83, faces a sentence of life in prison, plus thirty years. His sentencing is scheduled for November 13.

14 - Israelis and Palestinians officially begin peace talks in Jerusalem. Expectations are low going into the talks, the third attempt to negotiate since 2000, and nearly five years since the last attempt. The talks begin just hours after Israel releases 26 Palestinian prisoners. The prisoner release is a step on Israel's part to bring Palestine back to the negotiating table. Israel says the prisoner release will be the first of four. However, Palestinian officials are concerned over Israel's ongoing settlement building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, land that will be part of an official Palestinian state. "The talks might collapse any time because of the Israeli practices," says Yasser Abed Rabbo, adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking on Voice of Palestine radio about the settlements. Israelis are also aware of the challenges ahead. In a TV interview just before the talks began, Israel's chief negotiator Tzipi Livni says, "It will be complicated and complex, but I am not giving up."

16 - No one would argue that Charlie Manuel was doing a particularly good job in 2012 or 2013 managing the Phillies. Many would even say that it would be a fair decision to not bring Manuel back for the 2014 season. But to make Manuel the “fall guy” for the team’s troubles, was silly to almost everyone. For Manuel to go, and it be the man who put together the team that got him fired, Ruben Amaro Jr. to do it, started a fan revolt, and turned Manuel into more of a folk hero than he already was. In some ways, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to Manuel’s legacy, going out with loving tributes instead of being the face of the team’s failure.

17 - As of mid-August, 34 wildfires are burning in eleven states. There are ten wildfires in Idaho alone. Idaho residents near the town of Ketchum are forced from their homes as 1,200 firefighters battle the state's biggest wildfire, which currently burns across 1,000 acres. More than 2,300 homes have been evacuated so far in central Idaho. The fire is six percent contained. (Aug. 26): One of the biggest fires in California's history continues to spread near Yosemite National Park. The fire, which is being referred to as the Rim Fire, is seven percent contained and has burned through 144,000 acres, making it the 14th largest fire in California since 1932, the year the state started keeping wildfire records. The size of the fire is roughly the size of Chicago. The fire's location makes it a threat to San Francisco's electrical and water supply. Nearly 3,000 firefighters are battling the blaze.

19 - Dozens of Hindu pilgrims are killed while crossing the tracks near a remote station in eastern India when an express train crashes into them. After the crash, the crowd drags out the train's driver and beats him. The crowd also sets the train on fire. The Bihar train station is not accessible by road and express trains usually come through without stopping at a speed of 50 miles per hour. Officials say the driver of the train had clearance to pass through the station. Thirty-seven people are confirmed dead, including several children.

21 - Private Bradley Manning, age 25, is sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking over 700,000 U.S. government files to WikiLeaks, files that contained classified U.S. military activities. It is the longest sentence ever given in the U.S. involving leaked government data to the public. Private Manning can be up for parole in seven years, according to his attorney.

25 - A day that will live in twerk-famy Miley Cyrus twerked. Robin Thicke was twerked upon. People clutched their pearls. And that was all before she got naked with demolition equipment, launched a million memes, and started Internet brawling with Sinead O'Connor!

SEPTEMBER

01 - President Obama surprises many when he announces that he will seek Congressional approval for military action against Syria. The military action will be in response to the chemical attack that killed 1,429 people last month. In a televised address, Obama calls Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons "an assault on human dignity." He also says, in the address, that a failure to respond "could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm. In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted." (Sept. 4): The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes, 10 to 7, to authorize military action in Syria. In the following days, Obama attempts to rally support for the strike, but both the public and Congress expresses increases reluctance for military action. (Sept. 9): A diplomatic solution is back on the table after U.S. secretary of state John Kerry suggests half-heartedly that a strike can be averted if Assad agrees to hand over all chemical weapons. Russia takes the proposal seriously. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov says, "If the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in the country will prevent attacks, then we will immediately begin work with Damascus. And we call on the Syrian leadership to not only agree to setting the chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also to their subsequent destruction." (Sept. 12): Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem also embraces the option. "We are ready to reveal the locations of the chemical weapon sites and to stop producing chemical weapons and make these sites available for inspection by representatives of Russia, other countries and the United Nations," he says in a statement on Sept. 12. It is the first time the Syrian government acknowledges it has chemical weapons. Given the uncertainty of Congressional authorization, diplomacy will spare Obama a potential rebuke that can undercut his authority for the remainder of his presidency. (Sept. 15): Russia and the U.S. reach an agreement that Syria must provide an inventory of its chemicals weapons and production facilities within a week and either turn over or destroy all of its chemical weapons by mid-2014. If the government fails to comply, then the UN Security Council will take up the issue. The timetable is extremely aggressive; such disarmament typically takes years, not months. While the agreement delays a Congressional vote on a military strike, the U.S. keeps that possibility on the table. "If diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act," Obama says.

08 - Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic in four sets (6–2, 3–6, 6–4, 6–1) to win his second U.S. Open Men's Singles Championship. Serena Williams is tested in a tough three set match (7–5, 6–7, 6–1) against Victoria Azarenka for the U.S. Open Women's Championship. It is Serena's fifth U.S. open win and her seventeenth major singles title.

12 - A fire destroys the Jersey Shore boardwalk nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy caused massive damage to the same area. The fire begins at an ice cream shop before spreading over six-blocks, taking out at least 20 businesses. The Funtown Pier, the same pier that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, is immersed in flames. The fire wipes out months of rebuilding and recovery from the hurricane. At a news conference, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calls the blaze "unthinkable" and admits that when he heard the news, "I said to my staff, 'I feel like I want to throw up.'" (Sept. 17): Officials declare the fire an accident. The investigation determines that the fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring, which may have been damaged by water and sand during Hurricane Sandy last fall.

16 - Former Navy reservist Aaron Alexis, 34, kills 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, near the U.S. Capitol. Alexis, who had been employed at the base by a military subcontractor, is killed in a shootout with police.

16 - The UN confirms in a report that the chemical agent sarin was used near Damascus on Aug. 21. "Chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale," the report says. "The environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used." The report does not indicate who was responsible for launching the attack. (Sept. 18): Russia denounces the UN's report, calling it incomplete. In a statement broadcast on Russian television, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei A. Ryabkov says, "We think that the report was distorted. It was one-sided. The basis of information upon which it is built is insufficient." (Sept. 26): The five permanent members of the Security Council agree on a resolution that requires Syria to hand over its stockpile of chemical weapons. If Syria fails to comply, then the Security Council will reconvene to determine repercussions, which could include military action or sanctions. Meanwhile, the fragile coalition of opposition groups further splinter, when 11 rebel groups announce that they will no longer recognize the Syrian National Coalition, the dissident leadership that is based in Turkey. Instead, the groups say they will work together to establish sharia, or Islamic law, in Syria. The move signals the rising power of groups affiliated with al-Qaeda.

20 - Nina Davuluri wins the Miss America Pageant. Davuluri, who represented New Jersey, is the first Indian-American to win the Miss America title.

23 - A 7.7 magnitude earthquake hits Baluchistan, an area of deserts and mountains in Pakistan. The earthquake causes hundreds of mud houses to collapse on residents. At least 327 people are killed. The earthquake is the worst in the country since 2005 and is felt throughout South Asia. Hundreds of soldiers from Pakistan's army are airlifted to help in the rescue effort. The earthquake hits Pakistan while the country is still in mourning over the deaths of more than 80 Christians in the suicide bombing of the All Saints Church in Peshawar.

24 - Despite hiring Dr. Conrad Murray as Michael Jackson's doctor, a jury found concert promoters AEG not liable in the pop icon's death.

30 - The Senate rejects a Republican bill that will fund the government but delay the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The rejection increases the chance of a government shutdown at midnight because the spending bill must pass to fund the government. With just hours left before the deadline, the Senate votes against the spending bill, which the House approved over the weekend. The bill will delay the Affordable Care Act for a year and eliminate a tax on medical devices that would cover some costs of the new health care program. The Senate's rejection sends the bill back to the House. However, Republicans in the House show no signs of backing down on the bill. Speaker John Boehner says on the House floor, "The House has done its work. We passed a bill on Saturday night — sent it to the United States Senate — that would delay Obamacare for one year, and would eliminate permanently the medical device tax that is costing us tens of thousands of jobs that are being shipped overseas." Boehner also says that the health care law "is not ready for prime time." The impact of a possible U.S. government shutdown is already being felt by the world's financial markets as stocks fall around the globe

OCTOBER

01 - Congress fails to agree on a budget and pass a spending bill, causing the government to shut down. The failure to pass a bill is largely due to a standoff over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Republicans show no signs of backing down, passing a new bill of their own in the House. Their bill will fund the government but delay the Affordable Care Act and eliminate a tax on medical devices that would cover some costs of the new health care program. Some Americans feel the impact of the shutdown more than others. The partial shutdown means that unemployment, social security and Medicare benefits will not be interrupted. The mail service will continue. Federal air traffic controllers and airport security screeners will still report to work. However, all national parks and Smithsonian museums close. People seeking government backed mortgages and loans might see delays. Active military personnel, about 1.4 million people, will stay on duty, but their paychecks will be delayed. Health and safety inspectors will stop workplace inspections except in emergency situations. Overall, the government shutdown forces about 800,000 federal workers off the job. (Oct. 10): In an effort to end the shutdown they began, Republicans in the House offer President Obama a plan to increase the debt limit through Nov. 22 if he promises to negotiate with them on a tax overhaul and long-term deficit reduction deal. If Obama agrees, the debt ceiling increase proposal may come to a vote in the House within twenty-four hours. Currently, the government is scheduled to hit its debt ceiling on October 17. (Oct. 16): The night before the debt ceiling deadline, both the House and Senate approve a bill to fund the government until January 15, 2014, and raise the debt limit through February 7, 2014. The bill ends the 16-day government shutdown. It also ends the Republican standoff with President Obama over the Affordable Care Act. With a new federal budget needed by early 2014, the stage is set for another Congressional standoff in just a few weeks. Hoping to avoid that, Obama speaks shortly after the Senate passed the latest bill. He urges Congress to move ahead to the next budget negotiation, "We've got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis. We could get all these things done even this year, if everybody comes together in a spirit of, how are we going to move this country forward and put the last three weeks behind us?"

05 - U.S. commandoes capture Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, a high-ranking al-Qaeda operative who is known as Abu Anas al-Libi, in Tripoli. U.S. authorities have been pursuing Abu Anas, who was indicted for helping plan the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, for about 15 years. While commandoes capture Abu Anas, U.S. Navy SEALs storm a villa in Somalia in pursuit of an Al Shabab leader who goes by the name Ikrimah. The commandos are met with strong resistance and engage in a gun battle with militants before retreating without capturing or killing Ikrimah. U.S. officials do not link Ikrimah to the mall attack in Nairobi last month, but do say he is one of the militants in charge of planning attacks outside Somalia and that he is connected to members of Al Qaeda who masterminded the 1998 attack on the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

07 - It wasn’t so much that the Flyers Peter Laviolette; that wasn’t much of a surprise. It was a little surprising that it happened so few games into the season, but the Flyers were bad, and Snider had to do something. But the press conference announcing the change to Craig Berube took a turn for the interesting, when Howard Eskin and Mike Sielski challenged the team’s “culture” and the franchise’s habit of changing head coaches. Ed Snider didn’t like the line of questioning, and his quote of “I think we have a pretty good culture,” will live on in Philly lure. Just a couple of months later, Peter Luukko’s decision to quit the Flyers and Comcast-Spectacor still sits in a strange place, with most waiting for whatever the other shoe is, to drop.

15 - A powerful earthquake hits the Philippines and kills at least 144 people. Nearly 300 more are injured. The quake also destroys one of the country's oldest churches and causes widespread damage. According to Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the center of the earthquake hits near Carmen, a small town on Bohol Island. Solidum also explains the intensity of the earthquake in a statement, "A magnitude 7 earthquake has an energy equivalent to around 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs. This one had a magnitude of 7.2." Tremors from the earthquake reach all of the islands in the central Philippines, destroying several buildings, roads and bridges.

21 - In an unanimous vote, the New Jersey Supreme Court rejects Gov. Chris Christie's request to delay the implementation date of same-sex weddings. Immediately same-sex couples begin to marry. Just hours later, Christie drops his appeal to legalize same-sex marriages. Therefore, New Jersey becomes the 14th state to recognize same-sex marriages.

21 - At Sparks Middle School in Nevada, a middle-school student shoots and kills Michael Landsberry, a math teacher. The student then shoots himself in front of other students

22 - Documents leaked to the media by Edward Snowden about the National Security Agency's surveillance program reveal that in one 30-day period between Dec. 2012 and Jan. 2013, the NSA collected information on some 70 million digital communications in France. President Francois Hollande expresses outrage. France's government summoned the U.S. ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin, to a meeting at the foreign ministry.

22 - After being delayed for over two weeks because of the government shutdown, the September jobs report is released. The U.S. economy adds just 148,000 jobs in September. That is less than the 169,000 jobs added in August and less than the monthly average over the last year. However, those 148,000 jobs are enough to lower the unemployment rate from 7.3 percent in August to 7.2 percent in September.

24 - NSA documents leaked to the media by Edward Snowden reveal that the agency tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone for about 10 years, beginning in 2002. Outraged, she calls U.S. president Barack Obama, who apologizes and promises that such activity will not continue. The incident sours the relationship between the U.S. and Germany who are normally close allies.

NOVEMBER

01 - The U.S. achieves an important victory over the Taliban with the assassination of Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan. He dies in a CIA drone strike in Danday Darpa Khel, a militant stronghold in North Waziristan. While the government expresses outrage that the U.S. overstepped its boundaries, many citizens indicate they are relieved about the death of a man whose group has destabilized and terrorized the country. The Pakistani Taliban is responsible for the death of thousands of Pakistanis mostly through suicide bombings and has been battling the country's army in the tribal belt. The drone program has come under fire in Pakistan and in the U.S., as opponents say the attacks have claimed far too many civilians. However, a report by Pakistan's defense ministry released days before Mehsud's death found that since 2008, the drone strikes have killed 2,160 militants and 67 civilians-far fewer civilians than expected. The government also says Mehsud's death may thwart plans to hold peace talks with the Taliban.

01 - Paul Ciancia opens fire at the Los Angeles International Airport. One Transportation Security Administration agent is killed. Several more people are injured. Ciancia, age 23, is shot by officers at LAX and is in critical condition at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He is charged with the murder of a federal officer and acts of violence in an international airport. A note is found on Ciancia. The note says that Ciancia wanted to kill Transportation Security Administration employees to "instill fear."

03 - Nick Foles is in the pro football Hall Of Fame. This is a fact. At least until someone throws eight touchdowns in a game. Foles tied an NFL record by throwing seven touchdown passes in a game, sparking a winning streak, and a stretch of play from Foles that even his biggest supporter would have expected. He started the season as a backup, and ended up setting the record for highest QB rating ever in a calendar month, and throwing 19 touchdowns before he threw his first interception. Though the story of the record is history, the legend of Nick Foles is still growing.

04 - Richard Shoop, age 20, opens fire inside the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall in New Jersey. He fires his weapon, a modified rifle, at least six times. About 400 people are inside the mall at the time of the shooting. No injuries are reported. Police order a lockdown of the entire mall. Six hours after the shooting, Shoop's body is found. Authorities report that Shoop is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

05 - The Democrats get a key victory in Virginia when Terry McAuliffe is elected governor in a tight race. McAuliffe is a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as a key Democratic fund-raiser. In his victory speech, McAuliffe thanks the "historic number of Republicans who crossed party lines to support me." In New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie easily wins a second term as governor. The decisive win cements him as a frontrunner for the Republican presidential contender in 2016. In New York City, Democrat Bill de Blasio is elected mayor in a landslide. He defeats Joseph J. Lhota, former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman, by 49 percent. It is the biggest victory for a New York City mayor since Edward Koch won by 68 percent in 1985. "Make no mistake: The people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together," de Blasio says in his victory speech. Boston elects a new mayor for the first time in twenty years in a nonpartisan election. Democrat Martin J. Walsh narrowly beats Democrat City Councilman John R. Connolly, 52 to 48 percent. Walsh succeeds Thomas M. Menino, the city's longest-serving mayor. Menino has been the mayor of Boston since 1993.

07 - Disney-LucasFilm announced plans to release "Star Wars: Episode VII," in December, 2015.

08 - Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms to ever make landfall, hits several islands in the central Philippines. Tacloban, a coastal city with a population of 220,000, is destroyed. According to the Social Welfare and Development Department, Typhoon Haiyan, called Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, affects 4.28 million people in at least 270 towns. Electricity and phone service is knocked out in many areas. Philippine Red Cross Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang is able to text this message, "The local Red Cross chapter has seen many bodies. An actual body count has to be done to determine the exact number." According to meteorologists, Typhoon Haiyan hits the Philippines with winds of up to 190 miles per hour.

08 - The U.S. economy adds 204,000 jobs in October. It is an unexpectedly high number, especially since the federal government was partially shut down for half the month. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate increases from 7.2% in September to 7.3% in October.

12 - The Phillies finished 81-81 in 2012, and took another step back in 2013, finishing 73-89. Though it cost Charlie Manuel his job, it didn’t change the thinking of a front office who continues to invest in its aging core. While many suggest the Phillies need a youth movement, Amaro Jr. and company continue to add band-aids to close the giant wound, and old band-aids at that. Marlon Byrd is 36, and they signed Carlos Ruiz, 35 years old, to a three year deal. You want to grow old together in marriage, but not a baseball team.

12 - The U.S. Justice Department reaches an agreement to allow American Airlines and US Airways to merge. In order to merge, the airlines had to agree to fewer flights into certain airports in major cities, such as New York's LaGuardia and Washington's Reagan National. The merger is expected to be completed by December 2013, creating the biggest airline in the world.

14 - Notorious Boston gangster James (Whitey) Bulger receives two consecutive life sentences, plus five years. Bulger, age 84, stares straight ahead and shows no emotion while Judge Denise J. Casper of Federal District Court reads through a list of his murders and how he stuffed the bodies in trunks or left them at the crime scene. "Unfathomable acts conducted in unfathomable ways," the judge says just before announcing Bulger's sentence.

17 - At least 60 tornadoes hit the Midwest. It is the deadliest and most violent tornado outbreak on record in Illinois for the month of November. Along with Illinois, tornadoes touch down in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. Thousands lose power. Sixty tornadoes are confirmed, 119 are reported. Eight people die due to the tornadoes, strong winds and heavy rain.

19 - JPMorgan agrees to pay the U.S. Government $13 billion, about half the bank's yearly profit. It is the largest amount that any company has ever paid the government. The payment is an attempt to avoid a lawsuit over the bank's questionable mortgage practices which occurred before the 2008 financial crisis. Of the $13 billion, $4 billion will go to struggling homeowners, $2 billion to prosecutors and $7 billion will go to federal agencies across the country.

24 - Iran reaches a six-month deal with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany. Iran agrees to halt production of uranium beyond 5%, which means it could only produce uranium for peaceful purposes; dilute or convert to oxide its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20%; not install new centrifuges; give UN inspectors daily access to enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo. In return, the crippling sanctions against Iran will be eased, pumping between $6 billion and $7 billion back into Iran's economy.

25 - China announces a new air defense zone in an area over disputed islands in the East China Sea. However, their new air defense zone overlaps with an air zone declared by Japan decades ago. China's announcement includes a warning that it would take "relevant measures according to different air threats" against any aircraft flying through the zone without first notifying the country. The United States challenges the new military action threat by sending two unarmed B-52 bombers into the new air defense zone. China responds that their military closely monitored the planes from the United States. (Nov. 28): Japan and South Korea announce that they have also flown military planes into the newly declared air defense zone and that the flights were not uninterrupted by China. China responds by sending fighter jets into the airspace. After sending the fighter jets, China attempts to clarify the meaning of the new air defense zone. The People's Liberation Army releases a statement that the air zone was "not a territorial airspace." Meanwhile the U.S. State Department says, "We have urged the Chinese to exercise caution and restraint, and we are consulting with Japan and other affected parties throughout the region." The islands below China's newly claimed air defense zone have been the source of a dispute between Japan and China for years. Both countries claim the islands.

DECEMBER

01 - A Metro-North train traveling from Poughkeepsie derails in the Bronx. Eight of the train's cars fly off the tracks, several landing on their sides. The train operator tells first responders that the train was going to fast into a turn, forcing him to use an emergency braking maneuver. Four people are killed and more than 60 are injured.

05 - After a lung infection and several months of ill health, Nelson Mandela dies at age 95. The former president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize recipient is mourned all over the world.

06 - According to the Labor Department, the U.S. economy adds 203,000 jobs in November. The unemployment rate falls three tenths of a percentage point to 7.0%. That's the lowest it's been since November 2008.

13 - Seeking revenge against a faculty member, Karl Halverson Pierson opens fire inside Arapahoe High School in Centennial, a suburb of Denver. Pierson, age 18, shoots one student, Claire Davis, at point-blank range before taking his own life. Davis is currently in critical condition and stable, but in a coma.

16 - The first ruling against the NSA's surveillance program is handed down by Judge Richard Leon of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia. He says the program is "significantly likely" to violate the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches. The case is brought by a group led by conservative legal activist Larry Klayman. "I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic and high tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval," says Leon. The government has relied on the 1979 Supreme Court case Smith v. Maryland to justify its spying program. The ruling says police can capture information about phone numbers a suspect called without a warrant because suspects cannot expect to keep such information private when using a service of a third party. Leon says that given the changes in technology, the Smith ruling no longer applies to current circumstances.

29 - At least sixteen people are killed in a suicide bombing at a railroad station in Volgograd, a city in southern Russia. Nearly three dozen others are wounded. (Dec. 30): Another suicide bombing takes place on a trolley bus in the same city. At least ten people are killed and ten others are wounded. Both explosions come just six weeks before the Winter Olympics are being held in Sochi, 400 miles away from Volgograd. Never has a host country experienced this level of violent terrorism so close to the Olympic Games. President Putin vows to double security in all of Russia's railway stations and airports. During the Olympics, more than 40,000 law enforcement officials will be on hand at the event.