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Global Outlook

The 11 biggest international stories of 2013

Here’s what happened around the world in 2013.

IT WAS A year of natural disasters, a bailout and a bombing.


A year that opened with a catastrophe in Brazil and ended with a tragedy in the Philippines.

Here are the top international stories of the year.

1. Typhoon Haiyan

(Toti Navales/AP/PA)

When news came through on 8 November that a powerful typhoon had hit the Philippines, the death toll was initially small. Three people were reported killed. As we now know, that number didn’t come close to the actual dead, not to mention the displaced. The city of Tacloban has become known in Ireland and Irish people have responded generously, sending millions in aid.

2. Pope Francis

(Gregorio Borgia/AP/Press Association Images)

When Pope Benedict XVI became the first Pope to resign in 600 years, few suggested that his replacement would be a humble, bus-riding cardinal. However, Jorge Bergoglio was chosen by the conclave and has worked to put humility at the top of the church agenda.

3. Cyprus gets bailed out

(Petros Karadjias/AP/Press Association Images)

Cyprus became the latest EU country to require a bailout when the EU and IMF agreed to lend €10 billion to the country, which had flirted with bankruptcy. A last-minute deal, which included shutting banks, saw the country survive, but with political casualties and massive surges in unemployment.

4. Egypt upheaval

(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

In truth, the unrest in Egypt has been going for a number of years. It all spilled over this year when the Egyptian Army removed President Mohammed Morsi from power. That sparked protests in the capital Cairo that lasted for two weeks at the end of June and start of July. At least 40 people were killed and thousands imprisoned, including four Irish siblings.

5. A bomb at the finish line

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Boston, a city with deep Irish roots, was celebrating Patriots’ Day in its traditional manner: by holding the Boston Marathon. Shortly before 3pm, two explosions rocked the silence, with bombs placed close to the finish line, killing three. The bombers shot a police officer three days later, before one of them was killed in a shootout with police the day after that.

6. Eight storeys, gone in minutes

(AP Photo/Kevin Frayer, File)

Over 1,100 people, mostly garment factory workers, were killed when a building came down unexpectedly in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The building was reported to have had four stories built without approval, putting factories in a building meant for offices. The conditions of the workers sparked protests against Primark in the UK.

7. Prism-er of war

(Vincent Yu/AP/Press Association Images)

The name Edward Snowden meant little to most people heading into the summer, but he has been in the headlines since. Snowden was an NSA contractor who came into contact with sensitive material, which he leaked to newspapers. The subsequent man hunt and asylum bid made him a household name.

8. The Westgate Mall

(Jerome Delay/AP/Press Association Images)

An upscale mall in Kenya became the unlikely setting for one of the stories of the year in September. Members of the Islamist group al-Shabaab entered the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, killing 67 people. Five of the attackers died in the assault, which lasted three days.

9. Fires in the Outback

(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

Two people died and nearly 250 buildings destroyed as bushfires raged across the Australian state of New South Wales. Estimates suggest that nearly A$100 million worth of damage was done as the fires burned for days.

10. War in the centre of Africa

( AP Photo)

An ongoing story, war in the Central African Republic continues to rage, with France warning that the country is “on the verge of genocide“. The number of child soldiers in the country has doubled since March and charities are reporting “appalling scenes of murder”.

11. Brazil mourns

(AP Photo/Nabor Goulart)

Over 400 people gathered in a nightclub in the Brazilian city of Santa Maria in January. By the end of the night, 242 were dead and 168 were injured. Investigations pointed to an illegal firework being used in a stage performance by a local band. Most of the dead and injured were college students from the local universities.

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