Another solid year of Comic Cons & Concerts. May 10 at Philly, met Stephen Amell (most sincere guy ever) & Katie Cassidy of Arrow. Ben McKenzie & Kevin Conroy of Batman fame. Then met THE Batman & Robin, Adam West & Burt Ward in Atlantic City May 16. Also in A.C. Willa Holland of Arrow and my All Time favorite Hollywood Celebrity Danielle Panabker who was super nice to me and actually talked to me about many of our Twitter conversations. Finally in this photo, my dude Lee DeWyze. I caught a few more gigs this year. This was September at the Sellersville Theatre

June is family vacation time at the Jersey Shore. Specifically LBI. There was a ton of memories this year but this collage which was originally posted to my Instagram account shows some of the families favorite spots. Holiday Snack Bar, Chicken or the Egg (great wings), Skipper Dipper (Best Ice Cream around) and the mini golf / water park with the amusement park across the street. I have really come to appreciate this week every year.

June 22 is a special day. For many decades I've been a Bryan Adams fan. This night actually was my 115th time seeing him live. What made it special however was that after many years of talking to fans around the world, on this night I met three of my favorite friends united through BA music Alvaro (@BadAbraxas) from Spain Line (@linehansen91) from Denmark and Steven (@stevemstanley) from England After meet Babs (@BabsGinger) last year, its safe to safe that BA are pretty amazing. Fortunate to know such a great group of people.

In September a spontaneous trip with Joe to Ocean City, MD. I love this place. I should just move here. Someday. At any rate, Pickles Pub has Salisbury Memories for me and now Nephew memories for me so taking a picture at this spot just felt appropriate.



Biking and Health became very important to me this past year. Below is some of my favorite images I captured while biking through NJ, PA and MD

October 10 Homecoming at Salisbury University. While I love everything about my involvement with this University this picture is both wonderful and heart breaking. This is my friend Rob Schultheis and one week after this picture was taken, he tragically lost his life in an accident. Rob and I served on the Alumni Board of Directors for 11 years together. One of my really good friends in the SU community. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him. Researching for this, I realized that this photo is the last thing that he tweeted. Miss you my dear friend.   Have I ever mentioned that social media is a Strange Strange World? It is, but its a good strange. Where else do you have the opportunity to meet people all around the world (like I posted a few panels earlier), but also get the opportunity to interact witch people in the public eye. In some cases, those people reciprocate the tweets, posts, pics, etc and you develop a friendliness. In rarer cases, you ACTUALLY develop a friendship with these people. This year, I definitely became a lot friendlier with Ashley Leggat (@AshleyLeggat). A genuine, kind, nice and caring soul. It was a pleasure supporting her career, but a privilege to call her a friend.


Sports History
..Philadelphia Phillies (MBL) . 63 -99

5th Place NL East
Missed Playoffs

..Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) .33-31-18 6th Place Metroppolitsn Division
Missed Playoffs
..Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) ..7-9 3rd Place NFC East
Missed Playoffs
..Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) 18-64 Last Place, Atlantic Division
Missed Playoffs
..Salisbury University (my college) ..

National Champions -
Women's Lacrosse

Conference Champions -
Football (NJAC)
Men's Basketball
Men's Lacrosse

Men's Soccer
Men's Track (Outdoor & Indoor)
Field Hockey
Woman's Basketball
Women's Lacrosse

What Happened This Year?


01 - In his New Year speech, President Putin said "An atmosphere of kindness, goodwill and generosity warms our hearts." He talked patriotism: "Love for one's Motherland is one of the most powerful and enlightening feelings. It has found its reflection in our fraternal aid to the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol, after they made the firm decision to return to their native home. This event will remain a landmark in national history." He thanked his listeners for "your innermost truthfulness, honour, justice and responsibility for the fate of your country, for your invariable readiness to defend Russia's interests, to be with it both in days of triumph and in times of trial, to strive for the implementation of our bravest and grandest of plans." In his State of the Union speech on December 4, Putin referred to a challenge to Russian patriotism by the West's old policy of containment, adding that "every time when anyone only thinks Russia has become strong, independent, such instruments are applied immediately." He said, "We will never pursue the path of self-isolation, xenophobia, suspicion and search of enemies. All this is manifestation of weakness, while we are strong and self-confident." BBC News reports today that "more than a dozen protesters" have been arrested in central Moscow following their "demonstrating all night against the conviction of prominent opposition leader Alexei Navaln." Today the Moscow Times headlines "Despite oil riches, life in Putin's Russia is hard - and about to get harder." It describes "ordinary Russians" as aware of problems at home but having "a limited grasp of how their country compares to the outside world, or its role internationally."

05 - The 114th Congress convenes under full Republican control for the first time since 2006. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday morning television yesterday gave the country his analysis why the economy hasn't being growing as fast as he thinks it should: government regulations. He said his party's top priority will be easing regulations to boost the economy. McConnell foresees relief in passage of the Keystone oil pipeline and overhauling the Affordable Care Act (Obama care). On December 18 he said "a Republican Senate will redouble efforts to combat the president's war on Coal. And a Republican Senate will have the opportunity to push back on the president's unilateral action of immigration." More economic analysis comes in a comment to the Huffington Post: "The economic crash was a purposeful and treasonous acted of the democrat controlled 110th congress." Someone replies: "Here we go with revisionist right wing chatter. Out of the right wing parallel universe." Someone else tells Democrats to "shut your ugly and immoral pieholes ... Elections have consequences, and you lost." How much Republicans will be able to reason with President Obama and his fellow Democrats remains to be seen. Obama's approval rating, by the way, was 46 percent on the 3rd.

05 - The jury selection begins for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial in Boston, Mass. There are 1,200 individuals in the jury pool. To be chosen, jury members will have to be willing to impose the death penalty if Tsarnaev is convicted. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to charges in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 260 as well as the killing of an M.I.T. police officer.

06 - Demonstrations continue in Germany by the movement called Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West (PEGIDA). It began in October in response to street battles in Hamburg between Kurds and Salafists. And there were demonstrations in Dresden by immigrants in support of the Kurd struggling against ISIS. In December, PEGIDA demonstrations grew in size to seven, ten and seventeen thousand, with signs calling for preserving "our culture," against "religious fanaticism" and against "religious wars on German soil." In her New Year message Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the movement, saying everyone has the right to voice their opinion, but she advised against following those who have called the rallies "because all too often they have prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts." BBC News reports "some 18,000 people" attending an anti-immigration rally in Dresden yesterday, and it writes of "weekly protests" and "counter demonstrations ... with thousands marching in Berlin, Cologne, Dresden and Stuttgart." It adds that a "total of 22,000 anti-Pegida demonstrators rallied in Stuttgart, Muenster and Hamburg." According to the German tabloid Bild, people are saying "no" to xenophobia and "yes" to diversity and tolerance. The demonstrators in Dresden marched in silence, and they avoided triviolizing their demonstration by talking to reporters.

07 - More killing for God and his messenger. In Paris. two men with assault rifles invade the offices of a satirical magazine and murder twelve people, including two police officers. The killers left shouting "Allah Akbar. We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad." The magazine, Charlie Hebdo, reprinted a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in 2006 that had originally appeared in Danish publication. Recently, Charlie Hebdo tweeted a cartoon of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

12 - Fourth ranked Ohio State beat the second ranked Oregon Ducks, 42-20, to win the inaugural College Football Playoff championship. Even this season's Heisman winner, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, cannot stop the Ohio State Buckeyes, with their third-stringer quarterback Cardale Jones, from winning its sixth national championship. This is the Buckeyes first win since 2002. This is Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer's third national title, his previous two coming at Florida.

13 - Making the news today is a tweet on January 9 by Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, which read: "Maybe most Moslems [are] peaceful but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible." In Al Jazeera, Tony Karen writes that the suggestion that Muslims are collectively responsible for crimes committed by someone who shares the same faith "has sparked outrage." Mr Karen writes of questions being asked such as whether all Catholics were responsible for the child abuse among the clergy, and a man asking whether his aging Muslim parents in North Carolina should be expected to help destroy terrorist groups.

21 - Authorities in China fire four local officials whom they hold responsible for the thirty-six deaths that occurred in Shanghai when a packed crowd celebrating the coming New Year rushed to pick up fake money thrown from the balcony of a nightclub. Rather than blame people in the crowd, authorities accused the officials of having failed to prevent public risk. BBC News quotes a government accuser: "Preventative and response preparation was sorely lacking, early warnings on the night were weak, and the response measures were not suitable."

21 - A measles outbreak is spreading from California into other states. According to health officials, 59 cases have been diagnosed in California so far, with eight more in Utah, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Mexico. The outbreak has been traced back to Disneyland where it began in mid-December. Five Disneyland workers are among those infected. Forty-two of the 59 cases in California have been traced back to Disneyland. The outbreak is increasing the debate over vaccinations. Those in favor of vaccinations point to a rise in measles cases since the U.S. was declared free of the disease in 2000. In 2014, there were 644 measles cases from 27 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


01 - New England Beats Seattle to Take Fourth Super Bowl: The New England Patriots defeat the Seattle Seahawks, 28-24, and win their fourth Super Bowl. Tom Brady is named Super Bowl MVP for the third time after throwing four touchdowns and leading the team to a ten point fourth quarter rally. The Patriots are the first team to come back and win after a ten point deficit in the Super Bowl. It is the fourth Super Bowl win for Brady and head coach Bill Belichick. The victory comes after the team had been under scrutiny for possibly deflating footballs during last month's AFC Championship game, a scandal dubbed by the media as deflategate

02 - Reuters news service reports that for his 2016 budget, unveiled today, President Obama will close a loophole that allows US corporations to pay no taxes on profits from overseas earnings. Today, corporations do not have to pay taxes on such earnings if the money is not transferred to the US. The billions gained from this change, according to the White House, as described by Reuters, would "fund repairs and improvements to roads, bridges, transit systems and freight networks that would replenish the Highway Trust Fund." Yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press" Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said, "What I think the president is trying to do here is to, again, exploit envy economics."

02 - The US had its big party yesterday – a fun time for millions watching the Superbowl on television. A record for TV viewing was set. Tickets for watching in the stadium are said to have gone for something like $10,000 per seat. Paul McCartney and John Travolta were there. TV commercials were a part of the attraction. And there was the half-time show headlined by Katy Perry screaming declarations while riding a giant electronic tiger, with lots of electronic flash and heavy metal sound. The game came to a close with the Seattle Sea Hawks on the verge of scoring to win. They had three tries to advance one yard to the goal line for six points, but they risked the one thing could lose the game for them: their quarterback through the ball into a crowd of players and the pass was intercepted by a player for the New England Patriots. The Patriots let the clock run out and the game was over. The Patriots won 28 to 24. There was a lot of cheer and a minor brawl among the players. Although it broke a television viewing record about half of television viewers were watching something else and many more were spending yesterday without watching television. Puritans opposed to the fun were difficult to find in the media this morning, but there was the comment of one young man who claimed that the game created great memories for him.

04 - In Britain, scientists can now replace the faulty embryo nucleus of one woman with a healthy nucleus from another woman – the DNA of the two women allowing a male and female couple to have a healthy child. BBC News describes this as a three-person baby and as stopping a genetic disease being passed from mother to child. Parliament has voted its approval, 382 for and 128 against. Arguments against leaned toward fear of a slippery slope to the unknown.

09 - A failure in strategy by ISIS was discussed on yesterday's Sunday morning talk show on CNN – Zakaria's GPS. Fawaz Gerges, a Mid-East scholar, said that "ISIS is strangling itself. ISIS is pitting itself against the Muslim mainstream, Muslim public opinion and Arab public opinion. There is really shock and outrage throughout the Arab and Muslim world. I would argue that ISIS is digging its own grave." Lately ISIS was described as burning the Jordanian pilot alive in a cage for its shock value, to demonstrate effective power and win new recruits. ISIS mentality is authoritarian, and they make opponents by ignoring appeals to hearts and minds, for some a strategy of weakness. ISIS appeared to be winning some Jordanians into wanting Jordan to withdraw from the anti-ISIS coalition, but after burning the pilot the Jordanians swung behind their king and a greater determination to fight ISIS. ISIS is a little like the authoritarian military men in Russia fighting the Bolsheviks. These tough old anti-Bolsheviks were abusive toward the peasants they should have been trying to win to their side, and they pushed peasants to the side of the Bolsheviks.

13 - President Obama predicts that the Islamic State "will lose." And he is asking for authorization from Congress for hit and run boots on the ground – limited operations rather than a prolonged ground war – to help produce that outcome. He says, "I'm convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war." He speaks of the air strikes against IS engaged in by the US in a coalition with other nations as having put the Islamic State on the defensive.

14 - Denmark Sees Worst Terrorist Attack in Thirty Years: Two people are killed in two attacks. In the first attack, a gunman fires into a cafe where Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks is speaking. Vilks, who is on a list of Al-Qaeda targets for his Prophet Muhammad caricature, is unharmed in the attack. One man is killed, and three police officers are wounded. The gunman escapes, setting off a manhunt by police. (Feb. 15): Hours later, another attack happens outside a synagogue. One man is killed, and two officers are wounded. The gunman escapes and police continue the manhunt. Later in the day, police shoot and kill the suspect in a shootout. (Feb. 16): Details emerge about the gunman, Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, including his release from jail two weeks ago where he had been serving a sentence for attacking a train passenger with a knife. Details suggest that El-Hussein may have been radicalized while in jail. The two shootings are the worst terrorist attack in Denmark since the July 22, 1985 bombings of the Great Synagogue and the Northwest Orient airlines office in Copenhagen, which killed one person and injured twenty-six.

25 - An big showdown offensive targeting the city of Mosul has been announced. It's the largest city controlled by the Islamic State, where Iraqi troops last year dropped their weapons and fled. A half million people left the city in 2014 and more than one million remain, virtually all Sunni Muslims. The force attempting to retake Mosul will be mostly Shia, about 25,000 strong, and some observers have described the US as too optimistic about the ability of the mission to succeed. Success will be the ability to hold the city and keeping it reasonably secure. Meanwhile, last week ISIS blew up Mosul's public library. More than 8,000 rare old books and manuscripts are reported as having been burned.

26 - Yesterday, Amnesty International called for UN reform. It urged an end of the veto by Security Council members in cases of mass atrocities. In a 415-page annual report detailing abuses in 160 countries, the human rights organization described d global responses to conflict from Nigeria to Syria as having been "shameful and ineffective." It claimed the five permanent Security Council members – Britain, China, France, Russia and the US – "consistently abused" their veto rights to "promote their political self-interest or geopolitical interest above the interest of protecting civilians." Russian and Chinese vetoes on the Syrian crisis were described as having given President Bashar al-Assad's regime "a blank check." Calls for such reform also occurred back in September by world leaders addressing the UN General Assembly. Among them were Erdogan of Turkey and Hollande of France.

26 - FCC Votes to Regulate Internet Service: The FCC votes 3-2 to regulate internet service as a telecommunications service, and thus subject broadband providers such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T to strict government regulation. The ruling will prevent those companies from blocking or slowing traffic on the web as well as creating faster internet for their paying subscribers. The ruling is the toughest yet on broadband providers.

28 - Jon Stewart appears onstage at Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs" in New York. Stewart ended 16 years as host of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" in August.


01 - The top story in today's English version of the Moscow Times is the massive outpouring today in Russia for the anti-Putin activist Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister. He was assassinated two days ago while walking home from a restaurant in central Moscow. The paper describes Putin as having called the assassination a "provocation" and as having vowed to pursue those who killed Nemtsov. Nemtsov was Jewish, and some have suggested the possibility of his being murdered by Islamistic extremists to blacken Putin's name. The Moscow Times writes that "Some young people walking in central Moscow asked: 'Who is Nemtsov anyway?'" The paper describes Putin's opponents as talking about Putin having whipped up nationalism, hatred and anti-Western hysteria to rally support for his policies on Ukraine and deflect blame [regarding] an economic crisis.

04 - Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Begins: The trial of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev begins at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in South Boston, Massachusetts. During the trial's first day, Tsarnaev's attorneys surprise the court by admitting that he is responsible for the terror attack. Meanwhile, prosecutors show new video footage from the marathon scene and witnesses share their vivid, disturbing memories of that day. Tsarnaev faces a total of 30 charges, 17 of which come with the possibility of the death penalty.

05 - A US Department of Justice investigation reports that in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, "City and police leadership pressure officers to write citations, independent of any public safety need, and rely on citation productivity to fund the City budget." The report describes emails from "current city officials" over the past several years as containing racially insensitive remarks, one describing President Obama as a "chimpanzee." The report said several Ferguson officials "routinely dismissed parking tickets for their friends, colleagues and acquaintances" and complained about residents not taking responsibility regarding their tickets.

10 - Hillary Clinton Addresses Personal Email Use: In a press conference at United Nations headquarters, Hillary Rodham Clinton answers questions about her use of a private email account while she held the position of secretary of state. During the press conference, Clinton explains that she used one email account for convenience. "Looking back, it would've been better for me to use two separate phones and two email accounts," she says. (March 11): The Associated Press (AP) sues the U.S. State Department for the release of Clinton's email while she was secretary of state. This latest legal action follows several previous requests by AP, including one made five years ago. Filing the suit under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, AP is asking for correspondence relating to the Osama bin Laden raid and National Security Agency surveillance practices as well as emails with people likely to be involved in Clinton's probable campaign for the 2016 presidency.

14 - Iraqi forces with Iranian help have been advancing in the city of Tikrit. The so-called Islamic State is late in launching a counter offensive. The longer it waits the higher the morale and the stronger its enemy. Instead, Islamic State resistance appears to be the strategy of those headed for defeat, similar to the use of body traps by retreating armies. It's reminiscent of 1943 when Germany and Japan were losing their wars but would continue fighting a year or two more. The Islamic State appears to be less than the tiger some have believed it to be. It makes a show of murdering non-combatants, but as a military force it isn't holding up, and probably like Germany and Japan during the World War it will pursue futility rather than make it easier for itself by quitting early.

25 - In the US, whites are becoming less of a majority, as most of us know. Pew Research describes whites as 78 percent of the population for the age group 69-84 and 57 percent for the age group 18-33 – the so-called millennials. For these same age groups blacks are up from 8 percent to 13 percent, Asians from 4 to 6 percent. Hispanics among the millennials are 21percent, up from 8 percent. How many older whites resent this change is not reported. Pew Research in September 2014 reported the 69-84 age group as 23 percent "mostly conservative" and 22 percent "mostly liberal." The millennials were 12 percent mostly conservative and 28 percent mostly liberal. In other words, old white conservatives are in decline, and some among them no doubt don't like it.

27 - People were dismayed yesterday by the news that the crash of the German airliner three of days ago was deliberate. Today the top news story is that it was the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, age 28, who did it. He had been treated for depression years ago but had been considered recovered or cured. Yesterday people who knew Lubitz superficially expressed disbelief. Lubitz was able to play God and take 148 passengers and 5 other crew members with him in death after the pilot left the cockpit to go to the toilet. Lubitz took advantage of the security system that enables someone inside the cockpit to block the code system that unlocks the door from the passenger side. And the door was too strong for the pilot to break down – a drama that can be heard on the flight tape. The strategy of having of someone in the cockpit able to block the code system was strategy against the possibility of a hijacker forcing the code from a crew member. In the US if one of the two in the cockpit leaves he is simultaneously replaced by a flight attendant who is supposed put things right if something happens to the person flying the plane. Another possible precaution: both the pilot and co-pilot could have the means on their person to nullify the locking of the door. The episode is a reminder how easy it has been for many people, including child suicide bombers, to kill others by the dozens, or even hundreds without great anguish.


01 - Indiana and Arkansas Amend New Religious Freedom Laws: The day after the Arkansas Senate passes its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Gov. Asa Hutchinson refuses to sign it, asking for changes to the law's language. (April 2): Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs an amendment that he says will "clarify" his state's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The amendment, which easily passes both Indiana's House and Senate, directly addresses sexual orientation and gender identity. In fact, the amendment is the first time any Indiana law mentions either term. After signing the amendment, Gov. Pence releases a statement, "There will be some who think this legislation goes too far and some who think it does not go far enough, but as governor I must always put the interest of our state first and ask myself every day, 'What is best for Indiana?' I believe resolving this controversy and making clear that every person feels welcome and respected in our state is best for Indiana." (April 3): Gov. Hutchinson signs the bill with his requested changes, changes similar to the amendment that has been added to Indiana's new law. Changes to the new laws in Arkansas and Indiana make them more similar to the federal law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, signed by President Bill Clinton. RFRA "ensures that interests in religious freedom" are protected and forbids businesses to use the federal law as a form of discrimination

02 - Regarding an agreement between Iran and the US on Iran's nuclear program, hardliners in Iran are opposed to the agreement and better relations or integration with the West. They think integration would contaminate Iran culturally and politically. With Iran's Islamic revolution of 1979 in mind, they see Iran as a cause, and they don't want that cause weakened. They would rather Iran remain isolated – somewhat like North Korea. So said Karim Sadjadpour, Carnegie Endowment policy analyst, in a broadcast yesterday on Charlie Rose. The Obama administration appears to be on the side of Iran joining the international community and liberalizing. Some others in the US inadvertently put themselves on the same side as Iran's hardliners. Two Republicans, Senator McCain of Arizona and former UN ambassador John R Bolton, are among those who have spoken in favor of bombing Iran rather than the Obama administration's negotiations – the latter mentioned in a Washington Post column today by Dana Milibank. Bombing Iran, some believe, would enhance the standing in Iran of the country's anti-integrationists.

02 - The United States, Iran and five European Union powers announce an agreement on the shape of Iran's nuclear program. It is announced that s comprehensive nuclear accord would be drafted by 30 June. Secretary of State John Kerry tweets "Big day." Prime Minister Netanyahu tweets a note of belligerence, declaring that any deal must stop Iran's "terrorism and aggression."

06 - DUKE and UConn Extend Legacy with NCAA Championship Wins (April 6-7): Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his Duke Blue Devils win their fifth NCCA Men's Basketball Championship in a thrilling victory over Wisconsin, 68-63. The fifth national title puts Krzyzewski in second place in Division I men's coaches, behind John Wooden. The University of Connecticut takes the Women's NCAA Basketball Championship for the third year in a row. UConn beats Notre Dame, 63-53, to win a record tenth title. With the tenth win, UConn coach Geno Auriemma ties Wooden for the most NCAA national championship wins. The Associated Press Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, UConn's Breanna Stewart is also named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player for a record third time. It is her third championship in her three years at UConn.

07 - Today Worldmeters indicates that so far this year we have 15,148,500 deaths and 36,713,675 births. That is 21,565,175 more persons since January 1 despite the warring and killings that take place daily. Most of us hope the increase is in someone else's community. Some of us see this as 21.6 million more souls. Some others see soul in both life and afterlife and their number as incalculable. Some worry about the impact that population growth has on societies and the world. Some others prefer to ignore any such connection. Anyway, the number of people in the world today is 7.3 billion. In 1950 it was only 2.4 billion. The Population Institute tweets today about the Ministry of Health in Burkina Faso and authorization of a family planning pilot project. Meanwhile the CIA World Factbook tells us that the highest birth rates are in Africa, led by Niger, Mali, Uganda and Zambia – between 46 and 42 births per 1,000 people in a one year period. The US figure for 2014 is 13.42 per thousand. South Korea, Sinagapore and Japan are down around 8 per one thousand.

08 - Jury Finds Tsarnaev Guilty in First Phase of Boston Marathon Bombing Trial: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is found guilty on all 30 charges in the first phase of his federal death penalty trial. The jury reaches its verdict after deliberating for 11 hours. The verdict is read in front of bombing survivors and families of the victims in a Boston courtroom. Because the verdict is guilty the trial now moves to phase two where the same jury will decide whether to sentence Tsarnaev to life in prison or death. The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing is the worst act of terrorism to take place in the U.S. since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

12 - Hillary Clinton Announces Second Bid for President (April 12): After two years of sitting on the sidelines of elective or diplomatic office, Hillary Rodham Clinton announces her candidacy for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. The announcement comes as no surprise. The only surprise is how long it took to make official what had been long assumed. In her second run for president, Clinton hopes to add another first to her long list of accomplishments, which include the first female partner at Arkansas's prestigious Rose Law firm, the first First Lady to hold a post-graduate degree, the first former First Lady to hold a seat in the U.S. Senate, the first former First Lady to hold a cabinet seat, and the first former First Lady to run for president. (April 13): U.S. Senator Marco Rubio announces his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He is the third Republican senator to join the 2016 race, his announcement coming after Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

12 - Death in Baltimore Leads to Riots: Cellphone video reveals 25-year-old African American Freddie Gray being dragged into a police van, while screaming in pain, during his arrest in Baltimore. Soon after Gray arrives at the police station, he is rushed to the hospital. Police later admit that Gray should have received medical treatment at the site of his arrest. (April 19): Gray dies after suffering from multiple injuries, including his spinal cord being severed. Protests begin in Baltimore in reaction to his death. (April 25): After almost a week of peaceful protests, a demonstration turns violent when protestors fight with police officers at the city's baseball park, Camden Yards. (April 27): After Gray's funeral, angry residents take to the streets of northwest Baltimore to protest another death of a black man at the hands of police. Gov. Larry Hogan declares a state of emergency and sets a curfew as demonstrators throw rocks and cinder blocks at police and firefighters, loot stores, and set buildings and cars on fire. Fifteen police officers are injured in the rioting. It is not known how many protesters are injured, but two people are shot in separate incidents. (April 28): The National Guard arrives in Baltimore.

19 - Today a boat carrying as many as 700 migrants is said to have capsized. Italy is pursuing a rescue operations. Hundreds are thought to have drowned. Pope Francis has expressed his "deepest sorrow" over the sinking and appeals to the international community to prevent such incidents from happening again. The European Union he EU is reported as having been criticized for halting its rescue operation last year. BBC News reports that "Some EU members said they could not afford it and expressed concerns that it was encouraging more migrants." Someone comments to the Huffington Post: 'When Africans drown off the coast of Africa, why does this fuel calls for a stronger response from Europe. Shouldn't it fuel calls for a stronger response from Africa?" Someone blames Obama for having intervened in Libya. Someone else describes Sicily as poor and getting worse and as having no work available for the migrants.

27 - The World's attention is on the big earthquake, landslide and rescue near Katmandu, Nepal. The death toll may rise to 10,000 when all the bodies are recovered. Nepal's economy is tourism-dependent and Slate magazine says the destruction may depress the economy for years. Seismologists expected the earthquake to come soon, but Nepal is among the poorer countries unable to prepare well for a big natural disaster. Virtually no one is raising the issue of fatalism, while In the US, at catholicism.about.com, concern is expressed and the disaster is described as the result of humanity's disobedience. People are asked to pray that the physical destruction be turned into the spiritual well-being of those who have survived.

29 - Yesterday's arguments at the Supreme Court began with civil rights Attorney Mary Bonauto for the plaintiffs calling marriage the "foundation of family life in our society," and she said that denying gay couples the right to marriage relegated them to second-class status and put a "stain of unworthiness" on them. Chief Justice Roberts raised the definition of "marriage" issue. He said that for hundreds of years marriage has been defined as between a man and a woman, and he asked why should it change. Justice Ginsberg pointed to changes that have occurred in marriage over the years and appeared to be on the side of overcoming the past. From other justices came questions about societal benefits: a concern about harm to children and, oddly enough, procreation. And Justice Scalia spoke of the ancient Greeks and Romans not having marriages for homosexuals, hardly making a connection between the purposes of marriage in those ancient cultures and the dignity and equal rights for people in the United States today raised by Mary Bonauto. Justice Scalia is known more for his interest in cultural preservation than he is in overcoming the past, and he has till June to work on the issue. Then he and the other justices make their decision.


02 - More setback for those opposed to integrating with the 21st century. Nigeria announces 234 more women and children hostages have been rescued from Boko Haram. Earlier this past week Nigerian troops pushed Boko Haram militants out of the area around the town of Bama in north-east Nigeria. President Goodluck Jonathan (who leaves office on May 29) predicts that Boko Haram will be routed in one month.

02 - The Duchess of Cambridge Gives Birth to a Girl: Catherine gives birth to her second child, a girl Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. She weighs 8lbs 3oz. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, her official title, is fourth in line to succeed Queen Elizabeth II, her great-grandmother.

06 - NFL Finds Brady Guilty in Deflategate: An NFL investigator releases a report that finds "substantial and credible evidence" that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knew that the team's employees were deflating the footballs. (May 11): Based on the findings of the report, the NFL suspends Brady for the first four games of the 2015-2016 season. The New England Patriots stand behind Brady after the NFL's investigation released its report. Patriots owner Bob Kraft says in a statement, "Tom Brady has our unconditional support. Our belief in him has not wavered." According to his agent, Brady will appeal his four-game suspension. For the team's role in deflategate, the New England Patriots are fined $1 million and lose two top draft picks.

07 - Yesterday the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported a new record in wordwide carbon dioxide levels – 400 parts per million. They described this as a level not reached for the last two million years, that CO2 has risen more than 120 parts per million since pre-industrial times and that "half of that rise has occurred since 1980." The agency collects air samples from forty sites around the world, including remote islands. The burning of oil, gas and coal for energy is described as contributing to the rise.

12 - Eight Killed in Amtrak Northeast Regional Crash: An Amtrak Northeast Regional train traveling to New York City derails and overturns in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There are 238 passengers and five crew members on board. More than 200 are injured, 11 critically, and eight people are killed. The train is traveling around a curve at 102 mph in a 50 mph zone when it jumps the tracks. National Transportation Safety Board officials investigating the crash say in a news conference that the train may have been hit by a projectile on the front window before it derailed. The train's engineer has no memory of the incident. The crash is the deadliest on the Northeast Corridor since 16 people were killed in a train wreck outside Baltimore in 1987.

12 - Second Earthquake Hits Nepal: Another magnitude-7.8 earthquake hits Nepal just three weeks after the first one. At least 40 people are killed and well over 1,000 injured in the magnitude-7.8 earthquake, whose epicenter is about 50 miles east of Kathmandu.

14 - In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the minister of defence, Hyon Yong Chol, a couple of weeks ago was at concert hall watching the country's most popular band perform "Glorious Motherland" and "My Country is the Best." For General Choi's there were days filled with pomp, ceremony and exchanges of bows. He has been described as a sociable man and committed to his work. In his uniform heavy with medals he delivered a speech warning the US of his country's ability to launch a "nuclear strike." Then, suddenly, he was charged with treason and executed in front of a gathering of military men at a firing range. The weapon was an anti-aircraft cannon – all this according to South Korea's intelligence service, the NIS. In the US an expert on North Korea, Michael Madden, is reported by AlJazeera as saying that ""Internally, there does not seem to be any respect for [the supreme leader] Kim Jong-un within the core and middle levels of the North Korean leadership." Kim Jung Un appears to be using a failed method for holding on to power – a method that didn't work for Caligula, Nero or Robespierre.

15 - Boston Marathon Bombing Jury Sentences Tsarnaev to Death: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is sentenced to death during the second phase, the penalty phase, of his federal death penalty trial. The sentence is read in front of bombing survivors and families of the victims in a south Boston courtroom. The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing is the worst act of terrorism to take place in the U.S. since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

18 - In Waco Texas, biker gangs wage war against each other in front of a hangout, a Twin Peaks restaurant that features waitresses in Bikinis. Police report 8 deaths and 18 injured, and "hundreds of bikers from several rival factions" involved. According to the New York Times. "The fight spilled into the parking lot, initially involving just fists and feet, but escalating quickly to chains, knives, clubs and firearms." At a press conference a policeman said, "There are dead people still there, there is blood everywhere ... There are bullet holes in vehicles all over the parking lot," Police report that people arrived with weapons as news of the gang fight spread and that they were arrested on sight. More than 165 are reported jailed. Someone comments: "People have been killing each other since we came into existence. Nothing new. Skin tone is pretty irrelevant."

19 - The Islamic State (IS) is not on the run as described on this timeline for March 14. It has been driven out of Tikrit, but Iraqi forces moving on to strike against them in the north, in Mosul, appears to have been slowed. Today's BBC News headline reads, "IS militants tighten grip on Ramadi." It continues: "Militants were going door-to-door looking for government sympathizers and throwing bodies in the Euphrates river, residents were quoted as saying." Ramadi is the capital of Anbar province, about 65 miles west of Baghdad. An Iran-backed Shia militia is moving against Ramadi. IS is described as in control of about half of Anbar province. Rearding Iraq, in the US the columnist Michael Gerson tells Republican presidential candidates that "the alternative to invasion and occupation is not retreat." He speaks instead of "the determined exercise of power at a distance." Meanwhile the Obama administration promises to help Iraqi forces retake Ramadi. According to BBC News, "Officials said coalition aircraft were already seeking Islamic State targets in and around Ramadi, carrying out eight strikes in a 24-hour period ending Monday [yesterday], while noting 32 such strikes had been carried out over the past three weeks."

20 - "The Late Show with David Letterman" marquee appears at The Ed Sullivan Theater during the last taping of the program in New York. Letterman retired after 33 years in late night television, 6,028 broadcasts, nearly 20,000 total guest appearances, 16 Emmy Awards and more than 4,600 career Top Ten Lists

26 - In China a government strategy document proclaims a naval focus to "open seas protection" rather than just "offshore waters defence." And it announces faster development in the country's cyber force to challenge "grave security threats." A news reader for state media makes a seemingly hyperbolic comment that war with the United States may be "inevitable." Reuters reports today that Japan is to join the US and Australia in war games, which it describes as "a sign of growing security links between the three countries as tensions fester over China's island building in the South China Sea."

28 - President Obama on the 26th said that the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Water Act (1972) are moving to protect streams and rivers, from polluters. "One in three Americans," he said, "now gets drinking water from streams lacking clear protection... Too many of our waters have been left vulnerable to pollution." Landowners vulnerable to the charge of pollution are irate and letting Congress know of their opposition to being told how to manage their own property. The House of Representatives has passed legislation to block Obama's move, and the Senate has a similar bill pending. The Associated Press reports that Republican Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, will consider a measure this summer and "continue our work to halt EPA's unprecedented land grab."

28 - Last year, Texas suffered from drought. In recent days Texas has experienced record rain falls. Floods are reported as having killed nineteen. Bill Ney, the science guy, has complained that no weather newspersons are uttering the phrase Climate Change. Deniers have expressed outrage with Nye for mentioning climate change. A sampling of newscasts in Europe yesterday did produce talk of "extreme weather," including Britain's BBC News reporting that "Extreme weather has been wreaking havoc in the US, where storms and tornadoes have caused major flooding in the states of Oklahoma and Texas."

29 - U.S. Takes Cuba Off State-Sponsored Terrorism List: In another step toward resuming full diplomatic relations, the U.S. removes Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. Of the decision, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke says in a statement, "While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba's policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a state sponsor of terrorism designation."


01 - Cruise Ship Capsizes on River in China (June 1): A cruise ship, the Oriental Star, carrying 458 passengers capsizes in the Yangtze River, in central China. Strong winds and heavy rain are believed to have contributed to the accident. Few are expected to survive.

03 - President Obama signs into law the USA Freedom Act. It ends the government's gathering of telephone records, not a gathering of data that was personal, just the fact that the calls were made, thousands of calls simultaneously, without content of the communication. Now the record of calls having been made will stay with the telecom companies, but the government can search the content of specific telephone calls from the telecom companies after it provides a court order for that specific search. In the matter of personal privacy little has changed. Some put themselves at the center of it, seeing it as an issue of the government spying on them personally. Others see data collection as an important tool for national security that only those plotting crimes need worry about. Republicans have been split on the issue, with Senator Rand Paul on the side of privacy, complaining with emotion about the loss of freedom gained with independence in the late 1700s. He said something close to the old line that he was "sick and tired and wasn't going to take it any more." Senator Paul is expected to excite too few people in his bid to become the next US President.

04 - Millions Exposed by Computer Hacking Linked to China: U.S. officials announce that at least four million federal employees are involved in a data breach by hackers who have been traced to China. The breach is one of the largest ever of federal employee data and involves employees past and present. The Obama administration announces that the breach was first discovered in April of this year, but may have started in late 2014.

05 - Job Recovery Continues in May: According to the Labor Department, the U.S. economy adds 280,000 jobs in May, a nice increase over the monthly average throughout 2014. The unemployment rate increases slightly to 5.5% in May from 5.4% in April because more Americans begin looking for jobs.

05 - War in Ukraine is heating up despite the cease-fire agreed to in February. Ukraine's President Poroshenko favors more power to mayors and making governors and officials at the regional intermediaries between the federal government and local government. This decentralization is not enough for pro-Russians in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. They are reported as wanting leaders perhaps powerful enough to be more loyal to Moscow than to Kiev. Poroshenko has told his military to prepare for a possible "full scale" invasion from Russia. Fighting has resumed in Eastern Ukraine, with a report yesterday of casualties of 25 dead and dozens more injured. The border between Russia and the pro-Russian regions remains open. Russia is being described as sending equipment and military men into the regions and Putin's denial as lying.

06 - Canada Hosts the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup: The seventh FIFA Women's World Cup (WWC) begins in Canada. Six cities spanning the breadth of the North American country, including Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Winnipeg, will play host to 24 international teams playing in 52 total matches to determine which team will bring home the championship cup on July 5. Teams to watch include the defending champions, Japan; a team Germany has its eye on, France; highest ranked Germany, and the United States, looking for its third WWC win.

06 - Serena Williams and Stan Wawrinka Win French Open (June 6-7): Serena Williams wins her third French Open women's championship by beating Lucie Safarova, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2. The win gives Williams her 20th singles title, putting her third on the all-time list behind Margaret Court (24 titles) and Steffi Graf (22 titles). Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka beat favorite, world number one Novak Djokovic, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 to take the men's crown for the first time. This is Wawrinka's second title overall, having won the Australian Open in 2014.

08 - President Obama, at the close of the G7 summit in Germany asks regarding President Putin, "Does he continue to wreck his country's economy and continue Russia's isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to recreate the glories of the Soviet empire? Or does he recognise that Russia's greatness does not depend on violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries?" Putin was not in attendance, Russia having been excluded from what had been G8 conferences. Obama spoke of the possibility of "additional steps" could be taken to punish Russia. Also today, Reuters headlines, "With eye on US election, Republicans assail Russia's Putin." It continues: "The Russian president has emerged as a symbol for what they view as President Barack Obama's weak foreign policy, and an easy route for criticizing his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, the Democrats' likely choice for the November 2016 election."


01 - Cuba and U.S. Agree to Open Embassies: Cuba and the U.S. reach an agreement to open embassies in Washington D.C. and Havana. The U.S. Embassy in Havana is scheduled to open by the end of July. The reestablishment of embassies is another major step in rebuilding relations between the two countries. (July 20): Cuba's flag is raised outside its mission in Washington DC, officially re-opening it as an embassy and restoring full diplomatic relations between the two countries for the first time since 1961. In Havana, the U.S. mission is also restored to embassy status, but the American flag will not be raised until Secretary of State John Kerry visits next month.

05 - U.S. Beats Japan in Women's World Cup: In the 2015 Women's World Cup Final in Vancouver, British Columbia, the U.S. rout Japan, 5-2. It is a rematch of the 2011 final, which Japan won with penalty kicks. Carli Lloyd scores the first hat trick in Women's World Cup final history, scoring three goals in the first fifteen minutes of the game. Lloyd is awarded the Golden Ball for being the World Cup's most outstanding player. It's a record third World Cup for the U.S. women, having previously won in 1991 and 1999.

10 - South Carolina Removes Confederate Flag: The Confederate flag is removed from the statehouse grounds during a ceremony, ending 54 years of it being on display at the Capitol. A large crowd applauds and chants "U.S.A." while South Carolina Highway Patrol honor guards lower the flag. Its removal comes after a highly emotional debate in South Carolina following last month's mass shooting at a historic African American church in Charleston. The flag will now be placed in a museum.

14 - Iran Agrees to Historic Nuclear Deal: Iran and the group of six nations, the United States, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany, reach a historic agreement to limit Iran's ability to produce a nuclear weapon in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions. "Today's announcement marks one more chapter in our pursuit of a safer, more helpful and more hopeful world," says U.S. President Barack Obama. He also says the agreement is "not built on trust, it is built on verification." Obama now faces the difficult task of persuading the U.S. Congress to endorse the agreement. Congress has 60 days to vote on the deal. Obama vows to veto any legislation that blocks implementation of the agreement. "Today is the end to acts of tyranny against our nation and the start of cooperation with the world," says President Hassan Rouhani. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls the agreement a "historic mistake," and says, "Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and in the world." Iran agrees to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 98%, place two-thirds of their installed centrifuges under international supervision, give the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) permanent access "where necessary when necessary," and accept a resumption of sanctions if Iran violates any of the terms.

14 - New Horizons Spacecraft Reaches Pluto: The spacecraft New Horizons passes by Pluto, and comes within 7,800 miles of its surface, its closest flyby. The craft captures images of Pluto and sends them back to Earth. The mission measures the diameter of Pluto (1,472 miles), confirms the presence of nitrogen and methane ice at the polar region, and discovers that there are higher levels of nitrogen emitting from the atmosphere into space.

27 - Boy Scouts End Gay Adult Ban: The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) ends its ban on gay adult leaders. The organization's new policy is effective immediately and ends a controversy that has gone on for years. The new policy is approved by the BSA National Executive Board by a 45-12 vote. In a Yahoo News Video, BSA President, and former Defense Secretary, Robert Gates says of the new policy, "For far too long this issue has divided and distracted us. Now it's time to unite behind our shared belief in the extraordinary power of Scouting to be a force for good." The policy does still allow church-sponsored Scout groups to ban gay adults for religious reasons.

28 - Tom Brady Appeal Denied, Four Game Suspension Upheld: After hearing Tom Brady's appeal, Commissioner Roger Goodell decides to uphold Brady's four game suspension over the deflategate scandal. In a 20-page statement, the league writes that Goodell's decision is largely based on the fact that Brady had an assistant destroy a cellphone he used the week of the game. The cellphone is seen as potential evidence. For the team's role in deflategate, the New England Patriots have been fined $1 million and lost two top draft picks.

29 - Taliban Leader Death Announced: Afghanistan's intelligence agency announces that it believes that Mullah Muhammad Omar, the founder and reclusive leader of the Taliban, died in 2013 in Pakistan. Rumors of his death have been frequent, and he has not been seen for several years. The Taliban has not confirmed Omar's death.


06 - Republicans Hold First 2016 Presidential Debate: The first prime time debate for the 2016 Republican presidential candidates is held in Cleveland, Ohio. The debate features the top ten candidates in the polls, including Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. As expected, Trump makes waves throughout the night, including a refusal to pledge his allegiance to an eventual Republican nominee because he will not rule out a third-party bid.

09 - Iraq Prime Minister Calls for Overhaul of Government: Iraq experiences a blistering heatwave during the summer of 2015, with daytime temperatures above 120 degrees. Despite the oppressive heat, government electrical grids can only provide a few hours of air conditioning per day. Angry citizens blame government corruption on the lack of relief and take to the streets in protest. After several weeks, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announces an anti-corruption drive and an overhaul of the government, which includes abolishing the posts of three vice presidents and three deputy prime ministers and eliminating cabinet positions for Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds that are based on quotas. Parliament approves the sweeping plan and it wins the support of revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. The move, though necessary, comes with the risk of further alienating minority Sunnis, who have complained of being disenfranchised.

09 - State of Emergency Declared in Ferguson: In Ferguson, Mo., gunfire is exchanged near protests being held on the first anniversary of Michael Brown's death. During the exchange, an 18 year-old African American man, Tyrone Harris Jr. is shot and critically wounded by police. (Aug. 10): Harris is charged by prosecutors on multiple counts, including felony assault on a police officer. Meanwhile, Steve Stenger, the St. Louis County executive, declares a state of emergency in Ferguson. Police arrive from nearby cities to help maintain control of the town

14 - American Flag Raised in Cuba: The U.S. flag is raised outside the newly reopened embassy in Havana during a ceremony in which Secretary of State John Kerry also speaks. The ceremony is another signal to an end of fifty years of strained relations between the U.S. and Cuba. During his televised speech, Kerry says, "We remain convinced the people of Cuba would be best served by a genuine democracy, where people are free to choose their leaders, express their ideas, practice their faith."

16 - Several Fires Rage in Western United States: Firefighters work to contain several fires throughout multiple western states, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, and California. The wildfires are moving rapidly due to wind, heat, and drought conditions. Thousands of people are evacuated from the region. Many people in Washington have lost power. Several homes and buildings are destroyed in Oregon, Idaho, and California. In Montana, fires burn on the Flathead Indian Reservation and in Glacier National Park.

16 - Plane Crash Kills Dozens in Indonesia: Trigana Air Service Flight TGN267, a commercial aircraft, disappears during bad weather and crashes in a remote part of eastern Indonesia. All 54 people on board are killed. It is Indonesia's third major aircraft crash in the last eight months. (Aug. 18): According to the National Transportation Safety committee, Indonesian rescue teams reach the crash site and recover all 54 bodies as well as the plane's black box.

21 - Train Attack Thwarted by Americans and a Briton in France: Three Americans: Alek Skarlatos, a specialist in the National Guard, Airman First Class Spencer Stone, college student Anthony Sadler, and Briton Chris Norman overpower a man armed with an AK-47, a pistol, and a box cutter as he walks down the aisle on a train outside of Paris, France. (Aug. 24): Norman, Sadler, Skarlatos, and Stone are awarded the Legion of Honor, France's highest honor by President Hollande for their bravery and thwarting a potentially devastating attack.

21 - First Female Army Rangers Make History: Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver make history by becoming the first two women to graduate from the Army Ranger School, along with 94 other students. They graduate in the first year that the Army has opened the course to women. About 2015's course, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh says in a statement, "This course has proven that every Soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential." Despite graduating from the Army Ranger School, Griest and Haver will not be allowed to serve with the 75th Ranger Regiment because it has yet to lift its ban on female soldiers.

24 - ISIS Destroys Ancient Temple in Palmyra: ISIS militants destroy several important antiquities, including the Temple of Baalshamin, one of the most majestic and well-preserved structures in Palmyra, and a 5th-century Roman Catholic monastery. Militants also behead Khaled Asaad, the 81-year-old former director of antiquities at Palmyra. The militants reportedly torture him for information about unexcavated treasures in the city. Palmyra, a historic city in central Syria, is home to several ancient ruins and is a UN World Heritage Site.


03 - Judge Reverses Tom Brady's Suspension: Judge Richard Berman of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan reverses Tom Brady's four game suspension in the NFL's deflated football scandal, dubbed deflategate by the media. Judge Berman's decision does not cover if Brady tampered with the footballs or if Brady knew that the team's employees had been deflating them. Instead, the ruling says that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell does not have the authority to suspend Brady under the contract between the NFL and the players' union.

10 - Vote Against Iran Nuclear Deal Is Blocked by U.S. Senate Democrats: Democrats in the U.S. Senate block a Republican-led attempt to thwart the nuclear deal with Iran, handing President Barack Obama a major victory. Senate Republicans do not have enough votes to end a Democratic filibuster on the resolution of disapproval. Meanwhile, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says there will be no further negotiations with the U.S. beyond the nuclear deal. (Sept. 15): Once again, Republicans in the U.S. Senate attempt to stop the nuclear deal by pushing through a resolution rejecting it. However, Senate Democrats block it just as they did the previous week. In the deal, Iran has agreed to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 98%, place two-thirds of their installed centrifuges under international supervision, give the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) permanent access "where necessary, when necessary", and accept a resumption of sanctions if it violates any of the terms. If Iran ever decides to flout the accord, by agreeing to the restrictions, it will take the country about a year to develop the fuel to make a bomb.

10 - New Pre-Human Species Is Revealed: Scientists announce the discovery of a new pre-human species, Homo naledi, found in 2013, at Rising Star Cave outside Johannesburg, South Africa. The discovery introduces a new pre-human species of hominid that existed 2.5 million to 2.8 million years ago. More than 1,550 bone fragments have been found deep within a chamber, suggesting that the species buried its dead, a ritual previously believed to have been unique to humans.

12 - Flavia Pennetta and Novak Djokovic Win the U.S. Open (Sept. 12-13): Flavia Pennetta defeats her childhood friend and fellow Italian Roberta Vinci, 7–6, 6–2, to win her first Grand Slam title. Minutes later, during the award ceremony on-court interview, Pennetta shocks the tennis world by announcing that she is retiring from tennis. The previous day, Vinci provides another major surprise when she defeats heavy favorite Serena Williams in one of the biggest upsets in tennis history. Before the upset, Williams had been only two wins away from a rare calendar grand slam, which hasn't been achieved since Steffi Graf did it in 1988. The following day, Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer in four close sets, 6–4, 5–7, 6–4, 6–4, to win his third Grand Slam title in 2015, and tenth overall.

14 - The Immigration Crisis Continues (Sept.): The immigration crisis in Europe intensifies throughout September. Migrants continue to flee war and conflict in Afghanistan, Syria, and regions of Northern Africa, pouring into the Balkans at a rate of about 3,000 a day. They hope to end up in Western Europe, but many of those nations only offer refuge to a small number of migrants. The impasse creates a crisis in Hungary, where thousands of migrants are stuck at Budapest's Keleti train station as they wait for officials to decide their fate. Hungary responds to the influx by building 109-foot razor-wire fence along the Serbian border and passing laws allowing the arrest of migrants who attempt to cross into Hungary from Serbia illegally. (Sept. 14): European Union officials meet to decide on how to respond to the crisis. However, no agreement is made. Officials cannot agree on a proposal by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a plan that would give an additional 120,000 refugees asylum within the European Union countries. Officials will meet again in October to discuss the crisis.

16 - Candidates Attack Trump in Second Republican Debate: A second Republican debate is held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. The three-hour debate featured several 2016 presidential candidates in the crowded field, including Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Also joining in to this debate is former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina. Fiorina seizes the opportunity in the debate to address Trump's controversial comments attacking her appearance in a recent Rolling Stone interview. Responding to his comments in the debate, Fiorina says, "I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said." Her response receives thunderous applause from the audience. (Sept. 21): Less than a week after the debate, Scott Walker holds a press conference to announce that he is quitting his Republican presidential campaign. Since entering the race, Walker has been slipping in the polls. During the press conference, Walker says, "I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner." That front-runner, Donald Trump, still leads in the polls after two debates.

16 - Millions Evacuated after Earthquake in Chile: An 8.3 magnitude earthquake hits Chile, killing at least five people and causing one million people to evacuate. It is the largest earthquake the country has seen in years. After the earthquake hits, a Tsunami alert is issued for Chile as well as Peru, New Zealand, Hawaii, and California.

17 - Multiple Massive Wildfires Rage in California: Three wildfires are burning in California. The Valley Fire has burned through 73,000 acres in Lake and Napa Counties, killing one person, destroying 600 houses, and forcing thousands of people to evacuate. The Butte Fire, burning in Amador and Calaveras Counties, has destroyed more than 450 buildings and made its way through 70,000 acres. Finally, the Rough Fire, the state's largest fire, has burned more than 140,000 acres and threatens to destroy some of the biggest and oldest trees in the world. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Lake, Napa, Amador and Calaveras Counties.

22 - Pope Francis Visits the U.S.: Pope Francis arrives in Washington D.C. to begin his first visit to the United States. President Obama is present to welcome him at Andrews Air Force Base. It is the first time Obama has greeted a foreign visitor at the military base. Pope Francis will be in Washington D.C. until Sept. 24. Then he travels to New York City and Philadelphia. While in New York City, he will go to the United Nations to meet with world leaders. He returns to Rome on the evening of Sept. 27.

23 - Hundreds Killed in Stampede During Pilgrimage: While making a pilgrimage, at least 717 people are killed during a stampede near Mecca, Saudi Arabia. More than 800 people are injured. The incident occurs during one of the holiest Islamic events, Eid al-Adha.

25 - Speaker of the House John Boehner Resigns: During a press conference, John Boehner announces that he is stepping down as Speaker of the House. He also announces that he will retire from Congress on October 30, 2015. Boehner goes on to say he had originally planned to announce his departure on his 66th birthday on Nov. 17, but moved up the date because of the "turmoil that's been churning now for a couple of months" in Congress. Republican House members will vote on his replacement during the Oct. 8 leadership elections.

28 - Taliban Captures Major City in Afghanistan (Sept. 28): The Taliban seizes control over Kunduz, a northern Afghanistan city. It is the first major city that the Taliban has captured in over a decade. Afghan officials respond by saying that a counterattack is coming. (Sept. 29): Afghan forces launch their counterattack to retake Kunduz. The U.S. supports the counterattack by launching airstrikes against the Taliban.

30 - Temporary Spending Bill Prevents Government Shutdown (Sept. 30): A few hours before the fiscal year begins, a temporary spending bill is passed, avoiding a federal government shutdown. The temporary measure will keep all federal offices funded and open through Dec. 11. However, the bill does not address any of the major fiscal policy disputes between Democrats and Republicans, setting the stage for another battle in December.


01 - Gunman Kills at least Seven at Oregon Community College (Oct. 1): A gunman opens fire at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Nine people are killed and seven more are wounded. The suspected shooter, 26- year-old Chris Harper Mercer, kills himself after exchanging gunfire with the police. The college is located about three hours south of Portland in the rural southwestern town of Roseburg.

02 - Mudslide Kills Dozens in Guatemala: A landslide kills 131 people and buries 125 homes in Guatemala. The death toll is expected to climb with more than 300 people still missing. The landslide occurs after two weeks of consistent rain causes a hillside to collapse. It is one of the country's worst natural disasters in years

03 - U.S. Airstrike Hits Hospital in Afghanistan: An airstrike hits a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Twenty-two people are killed, including 12 hospital staff members and seven patients. Soon after the incident, the U.S. military releases a statement confirming an airstrike aimed at Taliban militants in Kunduz, but that "there may have been collateral damage to a nearby medical facility." The United Nations and other international organizations condemn the incident and call for an investigation. (Oct. 5): With the hospital badly damaged, Doctors Without Borders announces it is leaving Kunduz, a city in much need of medical assistance.

10 - Multiple Bombings Kill Dozens in Turkey's Capital: Two separate explosions kill nearly 100 people during a peace rally in Ankara, Turkey's capital. Hundreds more are wounded in what is the deadliest attack in Turkey in years. The two explosions happen 50 meters from each other and are almost simultaneous, happening just seconds apart near Ankara's main train station. No one immediately claims responsibility for the bombings. However, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says that there are "strong signs" that suicide bombers have been behind the attack. The attacks come at what is already a tense time in Turkey, which has taken in more refugees than any other country from its war-torn neighbor Syria. Plus, the renewed fight with the Kurdish rebels in recent months has killed hundreds. After the explosions, protesters take to Ankara's streets to express their outrage over the bombings. (Oct. 12): Prime Minister Davutoglu says that one of the suicide bombers is close to being identified.

13 - 2016 Democrat Presidential Candidates Hold First Debate: The first debate among 2016 Democratic presidential candidates is held in Las Vegas and included Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, former Senator and Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee, and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. The debate is largely drama-free with the candidates agreeing on many of the issues. Clinton dominates the debate and takes on Sanders, her main challenger, when it comes to his views on capitalism and his voting record, especially a past vote on gun control. A major highlight comes during the discussion of Clinton's emails and the investigation surrounding them. About Clinton's emails, Sanders says, "Let me say something that may not be great politics, but I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails." Hearing that, Clinton smile and the two candidates shake hands. (Oct. 20): A week after the first debate, Jim Webb announces that he is dropping out of the democratic primary race, but he doesn't rule out a run as an independent. During a press conference, Webb says, "It was very difficult to fundraise inside the Democratic Party structure right now. I have no doubt that if I ran as an independent we would have significant financial help from people who want me to run as something other than a Democrat." (Oct. 21): After much speculation, Vice President Joe Biden announces that he will not challenge Clinton and Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. In a press conference, Biden says that the mourning process for his late son had delayed a presidential bid and now it was too late, "Unfortunately, I believe we're out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination." (Oct. 23): Lincoln Chafee ends his bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. His decision to quit the race comes after a poor debate performance earlier this month and a lack of fundraising and enthusiasm for his campaign.

15 - Obama Announces Reversal on U.S. Troops in Afghanistan: President Obama announces that 5,500 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan beyond 2016. The decision comes after military leaders appeal to the President to extend the deadline for removing the troops. The announcement goes against Obama's original plan to pull out all troops except for a small military presence at the U.S. embassy there. The new plan will keep the current number of troops (9,800) in Afghanistan through most of 2016, reducing that number to 5,500 throughout 2017 by a schedule to be determined by military personnel.

19 - Trudeau's Liberal Party Pulls off Upset Election in Canada: In Canada's parliamentary elections, Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party pulls off an upset, stunning Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party. The Liberal Party takes 39.5% of the vote, 184 out of 338 seats, while Harper's Conservative Party takes 31.9% of the vote, or 99 seats. Election observers view the outcome as a result of a public that grew tried of Harper's heavy-handed conservative focus during his nine year reign. Trudeau succeeds Harper as prime minister 47 years after Pierre Elliott Trudeau, his father, held the office. The 43 year-old Trudeau also becomes the country's second-youngest prime minister and the first to follow a parent into the position.

26 - .5 Magnitude Earthquake Hits South Asia and Kills Hundreds: A 7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes South Asia. At least 364 people are killed. More than 2,000 are injured. Thousands of buildings and homes are destroyed. Many of the hardest hit areas are in remote, mountainous areas, which are difficult for rescue teams to reach. The earthquake's epicenter is just north of Alaqahdari-ye Kiran wa Munjan, Afghanistan. The majority of the deaths and injuries are in Pakistan. Tremors are also felt in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

28 - Republicans Hold Third 2016 Presidential Candidate Debate: The 2016 Republican presidential candidates participate in their third debate. Held in Boulder, Colorado, this debate is two hours instead of three, a change demanded by several of the candidates. During the debate the candidates complain about the aggressive questions from the CNBC moderators. Overall, Marco Rubio has a strong night, not allowing attacks from former mentor Jeb Bush to rattle him. However, it is Donald Trump and Ben Carson who continue to dominate the polls after the debate.

29 - China Ends One-Child Policy After Decades: China announces it will now allow all married couples to have two children as a way to offset the country's aging workforce. The announcement puts an end to China's unpopular one-child policy, which has been in effect for 35 years. At the advice of scholars, China has already relaxed the one-child policy in recent years, allowing more families to have two kids when parents meet certain criteria. The announcement states that the country will "fully implement a policy of allowing each couple to have two children as an active response to an aging population." However, no details of how or when the new policy will be implemented have been shared.

30 - U.S. Sends Troops to Fight ISIS in Syria: U.S. officials announce that troops will be deployed on the ground in Syria to assist the rebel forces fighting ISIS. This is the first time the U.S. has sent troops to advise and help in the fight against ISIS. Fewer than 50 U.S. Special Operations forces will be sent to a Kurdish-controlled territory in northern Syria where they will assist Kurdish and Arab forces.


01 - Royals Win Their First World Series in 30 Years: After losing to the San Francisco Giants in game 7 of the World Series last year, the Kansas City Royals defeat the New York Mets to win their first title in 30 years. The Royals win in five thrilling games. The final game ends in the 12th inning when the team scores five runs to win 7-2.

04 - China and Taiwan Leaders Will Meet After Sixty-Six Years: A meeting is announced between the presidents of Taiwan and China. They will meet this weekend for the first time since 1949, when the Chinese revolution ended. A meeting between these two Cold War rivals would have been unthinkable ten years ago, but relations have warmed in recent years. The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou is seen as a test on the thawing relations between the two countries. The two leaders will meet in Singapore, a neutral territory on good terms with both countries. It may be the last chance for China to push for closer ties economically and politically before Taiwan heads into presidential and legislative elections in January 2016.

09 - Obama's Immigration Overhaul Halted by Appeals Court: In New Orleans, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, rules 2 to 1 in favor of a lawsuit by 26 states to block the Obama administration's immigration plan. The three-judge panel rules that the lawsuit will likely succeed in a trial. The lawsuit is an attempt to block President Obama's plan to overhaul the immigration rules, which includes work permits for up to five million people and deportation protection.

13 - Three Coordinated Attacks by ISIS Kill Dozens in Paris (Nov. 13): ISIS launches three coordinated attacks in Paris, killing 129 people and wounding hundreds. Eighty-nine people die in an assault at a concert hall, the Bataclan, where an American rock band, the ironically-titled Eagles of Death Metal, is performing at the time. Dozens of others are killed in attacks on restaurants and a soccer stadium where France is playing a match against Germany. Seven of the eight terrorists die during the attacks. French authorities are still looking for the last remaining attacker. The attacks are the worst violence in France since World War II. French president François Hollande calls the attack "an act of war," and retaliates with airstrikes on Raqqa, Syria, ISIS's self-declared capital. (Nov. 16): The United States joins France in the airstrikes, sending warplanes to Syria. (Nov. 17): Hours after Russia acknowledges that a terrorist bomb brought down the Russian passenger plane on Oct. 31, President Vladimir Putin agrees to join with France in the fight against ISIS. Putin orders a Russian missile cruiser to go to Syria and cooperate with French troops "as with allies." (Nov. 18): Police conduct a raid in a northern suburb of Paris. During the raid, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Belgian terrorist suspected of planning the Paris attacks, is killed. At least one other person dies in the raid. Investigators have found evidence that Abaaoud, an ISIS fighter, has been involved in at least four foiled terrorist plots in France this year, including the train attack in August.

17 - Russian Airliner Brought Down by Bomb: Russia's FSB security service announces that Airbus A321-200, the Russian passenger plane that crashed last month in Egypt, was taken down by a homemade explosive device. The security service tells Russian President Vladimir Putin that it is clear the bombing, which killed all 224 people on board, was an act of terrorism. Putin vows to find those responsible for the bombing. The Sinai Province of the Islamic State, an ISIS offshoot, has already claimed responsibility for the attack.

20 - At least 27 Are Killed in Mali Hotel Attack: Islamic extremists storm into the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali's capital. At least 170 people are taken hostage. The militants are armed with grenades and guns. U.S. and French special operation forces work quickly with Malian troops and take back the hotel floor by floor. At least 27 people are killed, including two of the attackers. An extremist group led by Moktar Belmoktar, a former al-Qaeda commander, claims responsibility for the attack. With Mali being a former French colony, France sees it as another attack on its interests, coming just a week after the incidents in Paris.

23 - U.S. Issues Worldwide Travel Alert: In light of the recent attacks in Paris and an increase in international terrorists threats, the U.S. State Department issues a warning that Americans should be alert when traveling, especially during the holidays. The travel alert is in effect until Feb. 24, 2016. The announcement also says that current information suggests that ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups will continue to plan attacks in multiple regions.

24 - Video Release Sparks Chicago Protests: Hundreds of protesters take to Chicago streets after dashboard-camera footage is released of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot. The video is released on the same day that Jason Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder. Dyke is the Chicago Police Officer who shot McDonald 16 times on South Pulaski Road on Oct. 20, 2014. The video shows McDonald walking down the middle of the street, armed with a three inch knife, and veering away from police cars. He then spins around and falls due to 16 shots being fired in 15 seconds, all shots fired by Van Dyke. Van Dyke has turned himself in to authorities and is being held without bail. The video is also released on the one year anniversary of the Michael Brown shooting verdict in Ferguson where a grand jury ruled not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. (Nov. 30): Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asks for Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to resign. In a press conference discussing McCarthy's dismissal, Emanuel says, "Superintendent McCarthy knows that a police officer is only as effective as when he has the trust of those he serves. The undeniable fact (is) that the public trust in the leadership of the department has been shaken and eroded."

24 - Russian Warplane Is Shot Down in Turkey: Turkey shoots down a Russian warplane for invading its airspace. At least one of the two pilots is killed. Turkish officials say that the plane ignored repeated warnings as it crossed over into its airspace from Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the act a "stab in the back." He also says that there will be "significant consequences." It is the first time in fifty years that a NATO member has shot down a Russian aircraft.

27 - Three Killed at Planned Parenthood Shooting in Colorado Springs: A police officer and two others are killed after a shooter attacks a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Nine more are wounded. Hundreds of people are asked to stay in nearby buildings while police worked to apprehend the shooter, Robert L. Dear, Jr., age 57. (Nov. 30): Dear appears in court via live video. Judge Gilbert Anthony Martinez of Colorado's Fourth Judicial District charges Dear with murder in the first degree. The shooting comes at a time when anti-abortion groups have increasingly attacked Planned Parenthood and the funding it receives from the government.

28 - Adele's 25 Shatters Sales Records: According to Nielsen, Adele's third album, 25, sells an unprecedented 3.38 million copies during the first week of its release in the U.S. alone, shattering previous sales records. Before 25, 'NSYNC's 2000 album No Strings Attached held the record, selling 2.4 million during the first week of its release. Since then, no album has even sold two million during its first week. Adele's achievement, becoming the only person in history to hit three million sales in one week, is particularly impressive because it comes at a time when album sales are declining every year. Also, it comes during the era of streaming platforms. Adele's 3.38 million figure comes purely from sales. 25 is not available on streaming platforms during the first week of its release.

30 - Several World Leaders Gather for Historic U.N. Climate Talks: The United Nations Climate Change talks begin today at a convention center just north of Paris, France. It is one of the largest gatherings of world leaders in history. For two weeks, 30,000 diplomats and delegates will work to find a new global pact that all countries can agree on, a pact that will ask every nation to take action in reducing their planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. President Barack Obama, President Xi Jinping of China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, and France's President Francois Hollande are among the leaders present to kick off the talks.


02 - 14 Killed in San Bernardino Social Services Center Shooting: Fourteen people are killed and more than 20 wounded when two people open fire at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center, a service facility for people with disabilities and special needs in San Bernardino, California. The suspects, husband and wife Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, are killed in a shootout with police after the rampage. Officials say they believe the attack is terrorism related. It is the worst mass shooting in the United States since 26 people were killed in Dec. 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

03 - All Military Combat Roles Now Open for Women: The Pentagon announces that all combat jobs will be open to women. In a press conference, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says that "there will be no exceptions" to this new rule. The historic announcement overrides the 1994 rule made by the Pentagon that restricted women from combat roles such as infantry, artillery, and armor. That 1994 rule had remained in place despite the fact that women were often in combat during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.

27 - With the largest second weekend of all-time, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has now grossed more than $544 million domestically and another $546 million internationally, totaling over $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales in just twelve days.