Chronology of news events in 2012

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Associated Press

Posted on January 1, 2013 at 4:30 AM

Sept. 1

— The U.N.'s new envoy to Syria tells President Bashar Assad's regime that change is both "urgent" and "necessary" and that it must meet the "legitimate" demands of the Syrian people, words that will not win the seasoned Algerian diplomat and international trouble shooter any friends in Damascus.

Sept. 2

— A Muslim cleric is accused of stashing pages of a Quran in a Christian girl's bag to make it seem like she burned the Islamic holy book, a surprising twist in a case that caused an international outcry over the country's strict blasphemy laws.

Sept. 3

— The leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah says the group has no chemical weapons but can still cause great damage to Israel if there is a war, linking his remarks to tension over Iran's nuclear program.

Sept. 4

The U.N. says more than 100,000 people fled Syria in August, the highest monthly total since the crisis began in 2011,and with 5,00 killed August was the deadliest month of the civil war.

Sept. 5

— Police interrogate a man accused of opening fire at a midnight victory rally for Quebec's new separatist premier,Pauline Marois, but they say the suspect's rambling statements in French and English offer no immediate motive for the shooting that killed one man and wounded another.

Sept. 6

— French authorities struggle to explain why no one found a 4-year-old girl for eight hours at a blood-strewn crime scene in the Alps as she huddled in a car under the skirt of a corpse — apparently her dead mother or grandmother. The slain family had links to Britain, Iraq and Sweden.

Sept. 7

— Twin earthquakes and a spate of aftershocks strike southwestern China, toppling thousands of houses. At least 64 people were killed and hundreds injured in the remote mountainous area, and more than 100,000 residents are evacuated.

Sept 8

— A suicide bomber strikes at the heart of NATO's operation in Kabul, killing at least six Afghan civilians in an attack that officials blamed on the Haqqani network — a militant group the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization.

Sept. 9

— Iraq's fugitive Sunni vice president is sentenced to death by hanging on charges he masterminded death squads against rivals in a terror trial that has fueled sectarian tensions in the country. Underscoring the instability, insurgents unleash an onslaught of bombings and shootings across Iraq, killing at least 92 people in one of the deadliest days this year.

Sept. 10

— An airstrike kills al-Qaida's No. 2 leader in Yemen along with six others traveling with him in one car, U.S. and Yemeni officials say, a major breakthrough for U.S.-backed efforts to cripple the group in the impoverished Arab nation.

Sept. 11

— Mainly ultraconservative protesters climb the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Egypt's capital Tuesday and bring down the American flag, replacing it with a black Islamist flag to protest a U.S.-produced film attacking the Prophet Muhammad.

Sept. 12

— A mob armed with guns and grenades launches a fiery attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, killing the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. President Barack Obama strongly condemns the violence, vows to bring the killers to justice and tightens security at diplomatic posts around the world.

Sept. 13

— U.S. authorities have identified a Coptic Christian in southern California who is on probation after his conviction for financial crimes as the key figure behind the anti-Muslim film that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Mideast.

Sept. 14

— Paparazzi, French media and a British royal: The publication of topless photos of Prince William's wife Kate reunites the same players whose clash ended with the untimely death of his mother, Princess Diana, in a Parisian car crash.

Sept. 15

— An Afghan local policeman kills two soldiers with the NATO military coalition in southern Afghanistan, the latest in a surge of insider attacks that are fracturing trust between Afghan forces and their international partners.

Sept. 16

— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes his case on Iran directly to U.S. voters, telling the American public in televised interviews that the White House must be willing to draw a "red line" on Tehran's nuclear program and reminding Americans of the devastating repercussions of failed intelligence.

Sept. 17

— In a rare public appearance, the leader of the militant Hezbollah group exhorts hundreds of thousands of supporters to keep up the campaign against an anti-Islam video that has unleashed deadly violence and anger at the United States across the Muslim world.

Sept. 18

— NATO's decision to restrict operations with small Afghan forces to mitigate the threat of insider attacks means fewer boots on patrols and a shift in how the U.S.-led coalition will fight the war in Afghanistan.

Sept. 19

— Italy's highest criminal court upholds the convictions of 23 Americans in the abduction of an Egyptian terror suspect from a Milan street as part of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, paving the way to possible extradition requests by Italian authorities.

Sept. 20

— Pakistan's foreign minister reveals that her country will soon hold confidential talks with the United States and Afghanistan to improve a three-way counterterrorism relationship beset by misunderstandings, including one over the Pakistan-based Haqqani network that Washington considers the greatest threat to Afghan stability.

Sept. 21

— The U.N. Security Council says it will consider a request from West African countries for military intervention in Mali to root out Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists who have seized control of the country's northern region.

Sept. 22

— The leaders of the rebel Free Syrian Army say they moved their command center from Turkey to Syria with the aim of uniting rebels and speeding up the fall of President Bashar Assad's regime.

Sept. 23

— Israeli officials say they will resist any Egyptian attempts to reopen the military arrangements under the countries' historic peace deal, despite the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Egypt's Sinai peninsula.

Sept. 24

— Syria's civil war is worsening and there is no prospect of a quick end to the violence, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says in a gloomy assessment to the U.N. Security Council.

Sept. 25

— Confronting global tumult and Muslim anger, President Barack Obama exhorts world leaders to stand fast against violence and extremism, arguing at the United Nations that protecting religious rights and free speech must be a universal responsibility and not just an American obligation.

Sept. 26

— Egypt's new President Mohammed Morsi, making his debut on the global stage at the United Nations, says that he will not rest until the civil war in Syria is brought to an end.

Sept. 27

— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns that Iran will have enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb by next summer and urges the world to draw a clear "red line" to stop it in its tracks.

Sept. 28

— President Barack Obama blocks a Chinese company from owning four wind farm projects in the Pacific northwest near a Navy base where the U.S. military flies unmanned drones and electronic-warfare planes on training missions, the first time in 22 years that a U.S. president has blocked such a foreign business deal.

Sept. 29

— A fire sparked by battles between Syrian President Bashar Assad's troops and rebel fighters tears through Aleppo's centuries-old covered market, burning wooden doors and scorching stone stalls and vaulted passageways. The souk is one of a half-dozen renowned cultural sites in the country that have become collateral damage in the civil war.

Sept. 30

— A firefight breaks out between U.S. forces and their Afghan army allies in eastern Afghanistan, killing two Americans and three Afghan soldiers and pushing the number of U.S. troops killed in the long-running war to 2,000.

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