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Bombings, Shutdowns And A New Pope: Top News Stories Of 2013

December 13, 2013 9:00 AM

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From the rise of a rock-star pope, to the unfathomable bombing that rocked a marathon, we lived and breathed events that would forever alter the course of history. Here at CBS Local, here’s a list of the top news events that affected us on a national and global scale.

16. ASIANA PLANE CRASH

A Boeing 777 airplane lies burned on the runway after it crash landed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013 in San Francisco, Calif. (credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

A Boeing 777 airplane lies burned on the runway after it crash landed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013 in San Francisco, Calif. (credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Three people were killed after Asiana Flight 214 crashed on July 6 during the jet’s approach at San Francisco International Airport when the plane’s tail clipped a seawall. Luckily, 304 survived the crash. Video and pictures of the crash were instantly posted to social media, showing the plane going up on its side while skidding along the runway. New documents and testimony released from the National Transportation Safety Board found there was confusion and poor communication in the cockpit prior to the crash.

15. LOS ANGELES AIRPORT SHOOTING

Firetrucks and police are positioned outside Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 1, 2013 after a gunman opened fire at a security checkpoint. (credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Firetrucks and police are positioned outside Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 1, 2013 after a gunman opened fire at a security checkpoint. (credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

A mass shooting claimed the life of Transportation Security Administration officer Gerardo I. Hernandez and halted all activity at Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 1. The alleged gunman, Paul Ciancia, was wounded by police and taken into custody after opening fire on the security check area near Terminal 3 of the airport with a semiautomatic rifle. Five other TSA agents were also injured during the attack, whose implications once again brought concerns regarding airport security and gun control to the foreground.

14. I JUST CAN’T WAIT TO BE KING

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive with their son Prince George of Cambridge at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace in central London on Oct. 23, 2013, ahead of the christening of the three month-old prince. (credit: JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive with their son Prince George of Cambridge at Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace in central London on Oct. 23, 2013, ahead of the christening of the three month-old prince. (credit: JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images)

The world watched on in awe and anticipation for the birth of the future king of England — and finally, on July 22, Prince William and Princess Kate’s royal baby, George Alexander Louis, was born. Paparazzi met Kate and William outside the day they left St. Mary’s Hospital to show the world their son. William didn’t even hire a driver to leave the hospital, but drove his wife and their newest addition home. The little prince is now third in line to the throne.

13. NAVY YARD SHOOTING

In this handout frame grab from the Washington Navy Yard provided by the FBI on Sept. 25, 2013, Aaron Alexis moves through the hallways of Building #197 carrying the Remington 870 shotgun on Sept. 16, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (credit: FBI via Getty Images)

In this handout frame grab from the Washington Navy Yard provided by the FBI on Sept. 25, 2013, Aaron Alexis moves through the hallways of Building #197 carrying the Remington 870 shotgun on Sept. 16, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (credit: FBI via Getty Images)

Aaron Alexis, a military contractor, shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in September, before police killed him during a shootout. Following the shooting, police found letters and found that he might have been driven by delusions. It was the deadliest shooting on a military installation since the Fort Hood tragedy in 2009.

12. THE CLEVELAND MIRACLE

Ariel Castro pleads to Judge Michael Russo during his sentencing on Aug. 1, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. (credit: Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)

Ariel Castro pleads to Judge Michael Russo during his sentencing on Aug. 1, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. (credit: Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)

“Help me. I’m Amanda Berry.” It was the first time Berry’s voice was heard in a decade after she called 911 in May when she, along with Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus, escaped from the house of Ariel Castro. The three girls were held captive for a decade after being kidnapped by Castro, a former school bus driver. To say their lives were a living hell is an understatement, after authorities found chains where Castro kept them. Shortly after being sentenced to life in prison, Castro took his own life in his cell.

11. GEORGE ZIMMERMAN TRIAL

George Zimmerman stands as the jury arrives to deliver the verdict, on the 25th day of his trial at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center on July 13, 2013 in Sanford, Fla. (credit: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images)

George Zimmerman stands as the jury arrives to deliver the verdict, on the 25th day of his trial at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center on July 13, 2013 in Sanford, Fla. (credit: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images)

On July 13, neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter – charges that had been brought against him following an altercation that resulted in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Though many experts were not surprised by the verdict, all the same it sparked protests and vigils throughout the country, and opened up national discourse on issues ranging from racial profiling to Florida’s Stand Your Ground statute. Since the verdict, Zimmerman has not been able to stay out of the spotlight. In September, he was accused by his estranged wife Shellie Zimmerman of smashing an iPad at their home. And just last month, George Zimmerman’s current girlfriend accused him of pointing a shotgun at her face and throwing her out of her house. Zimmerman was not charged in either case due to a lack of evidence.

10. FAILURE OF GUN CONTROL BILL

President Barack Obama is accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden and family members of Newtown school shooting victims as he speaks on gun control at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., on April 17, 2013. (credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama is accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden and family members of Newtown school shooting victims as he speaks on gun control at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., on April 17, 2013. (credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

The massacre of 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December brought the issue of gun control to the forefront of the United States as Americans took sides between gun control and gun advocacy. This attack and other incidents led President Barack Obama to call for gun control legislation that would, if enacted, lead to more rigorous and stringent background checks for purchasing guns and firearms, particularly online and at gun shows. In April, the Senate defeated a bipartisan background check measure in a 54-46 vote. Obama referred to the decision as “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”

9. THE DEATH OF NELSON MANDELA

(credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

(credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

“We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth,” President Barack Obama said following the Dec. 5 death of former South African prisoner-turned-president Nelson Mandela. Born in Mveso, South Africa, on July 18, 1918, Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years after trying to challenge the country’s apartheid government. Mandela was finally released from prison on Feb. 11, 1990, vowing to help change South Africa. Nearly four years later, he became South Africa’s first black president, serving from 1994 to 1999. The 95-year-old leader was known to many as a freedom fighter and compassionate man that fought for the rights for all races.

8. HOW CLOSE THE U.S. CAME TO WAR WITH SYRIA

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by the Local Committee of Arbeen on Aug. 21, 2013, allegedly shows Syrians covering a mass grave containing bodies of victims that Syrian rebels claim were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces in eastern Ghouta and Zamalka, on the outskirts of Damascus. (credit: DSK/AFP/Getty Images)

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by the Local Committee of Arbeen on Aug. 21, 2013 allegedly shows Syrians covering a mass grave containing bodies of victims that Syrian rebels claim were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces in eastern Ghouta and Zamalka, on the outskirts of Damascus. (credit: DSK/AFP/Getty Images)

The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing conflict that began with 2011 protests demanding the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Reports from the United Nations and Syrian rebels placed the country’s civil war death toll at 120,000 by September, with a chemical weapon attack in the town of Ghouta in August drawing military intervention threats from Western countries, including the United States. The Syrian government and rebels blamed each other for the attack that killed hundreds as the U.S. and other Western powers debated a strike against the Iranian and Russian-backed Bashar regime. On Sept. 10, the Syrian government declared its intention to join the international Chemical Weapons Convention, ending calls for Western military strikes.

7. IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with Secretary of State John Kerry after a statement on Nov. 24, 2013 in Geneva. (credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with Secretary of State John Kerry after a statement on Nov. 24, 2013 in Geneva. (credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

A landmark decision was reached among several world powers that would allow for the easing of some sanctions presently placed on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for a curbing of nuclear activity in the Middle Eastern nation, in particular, halting the enrichment of uranium. Officials from the United States and Iran, as well as Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia collaborated on the deal, which continues to be refined. The controversial decision drew criticism from the international community, especially from Israeli officials. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged those involved to take a hard line with Iran and called the deal an “historic mistake.”

6. THE 16-DAY GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

The U.S. Capitol is shown at sunset on Oct. 15, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The U.S. Capitol is shown at sunset on Oct. 15, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The 2013 shutdown of the United States federal government lasted from Oct. 1 through Oct. 16, furloughed 800,000 employees and halted most routine operations of the government. Led by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the shutdown was the result of a “funding gap” when the two chambers of Congress failed to authorize funds for the 2014 fiscal year. House resolutions to “defund” President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act, were rejected by the Democratic-held Senate and forced the impasse despite the insurance exchange concurrently launching on the same day as the shutdown. Amid fears of a worldwide economic collapse that the nation would default and a lack of support from moderate Republicans, Congress passed and President Obama signed the amended Continuing Appropriations Act for 2014 shortly after midnight on Oct. 17 and temporarily raising the nation’s debt limit – opening the government, but only delaying debt ceiling negotiations until the following year.

5. THE SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH GAY RIGHTS

Gay rights activists gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. on June 26, 2013. (credit: MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Gay rights activists gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. on June 26, 2013. (credit: MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

In June, the United States Supreme Court handed down two rulings that advanced gay rights throughout the nation. The first decision struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, a piece of legislation signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in 1996 that defined marriage solely as a union between man and woman. The decision regarding DOMA allowed same-sex couples throughout the nation who are married to take advantage of benefits that had, for years, only been available to heterosexuals. The second ruling dismissed California’s decision on Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that allowed for a change to the state Constitution which prohibited same-sex marriage. It did not, however, have direct national implications.

4. THE RISE OF A ROCK-STAR POPE

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives for his general audience at St. Peter's square on Dec. 11, 2013 at the Vatican. (credit: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives for his general audience at St. Peter’s square on Dec. 11, 2013 at the Vatican. (credit: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

On March 14, Pope Francis became the 266th spiritual leader to more than 1.2 billion Catholics after Pope Benedict XVI stepped down. During his first speech, the new pope asked for everyone to pray for him rather than give blessings. In just a short nine months, Francis has captured the hearts of millions by demonstrating his love for people and dedicating his time to help reform a church tarnished by headlines around sex and money scandals. He was recently named Times Person of the Year for 2013 after his precipitous rise.

3. EDWARD SNOWDEN: AMERICA’S NO. 1 FUGITIVE

In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (credit: The Guardian via Getty Images)

Edward Snowden is shown giving an interview in Hong Kong in this handout photo provided by The Guardian. (credit: The Guardian via Getty Images)

Former CIA and National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed an estimated 200,000 classified documents on mass surveillance programs being conducted by the United States government. Considered one of the most significant leaks in U.S. history, Snowden fled Hawaii for Hong Kong, and later Russia, as he was labeled both a hero and a traitor by American officials. Using encrypted email, Snowden said he leaked the information to media to “inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.” The information was first published in a series of articles by the Guardian newspaper in May as Snowden was charged with espionage and theft of government property. With the support of online whistleblower Wikileaks, Snowden secured passage and temporary asylum as a U.S. fugitive in Russia.

2. OBAMACARE

This Oct. 21, 2013 photo shows the U.S. government Internet health insurance exchange HealthCare.gov. (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

This Oct. 21, 2013 photo shows the U.S. government Internet health insurance exchange HealthCare.gov. (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

It hasn’t been a smooth rollout for President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, to put it mildly. The Oct. 1 launch of HealthCare.gov, the federally-funded website, could easily be called a disaster. The site faced numerous issues with pages not loading, consumers unable to put their information in, and the website continuously crashing. CBS News previously reported that the Obama administration was warned in advance that there were serious issues with the website before its launch. And on top of that, millions of Americans have lost or were losing their current health insurance due to Obamacare, despite the president’s previous claims that no one would lose their plan under the new law. The president apologized and called on states to allow consumers to keep their canceled plans for up to a year. Some states have refused, saying it will create more chaos to the health insurance market.

1. BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING

“The terror is over. And justice has won.” That’s what was posted on the Boston Police Department’s Twitter account following the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who along with his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are accused of being behind the Boston Marathon bombings. Three people were killed, and more than 260 were injured, on the April 15 Patriots Day attack after two pressure cooker bombs went off near the finish line several hours into the race. Younger brother Dzhokhar was caught after the city of Boston was shut down for an entire day following a police shootout where Tamerlan was killed. Tsarnaev is facing the death penalty and has pleaded not guilty.

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