Facing Threats, U.S., U.K. Embassies Close in Yemen (Jan. 3):
The United States
and the United Kingdom have closed their embassies in the country of Yemen due to
ongoing security threats from the terrorist group alQaeda. Military and intelligence
organizations in Yemen had information about plans to attack Western groups in the
capital; military action prevented the threatened attack, however. The
on the Christmas Day flight
to Detroit has been tied to the terrorist organization in
Aide to Saddam Hussein "Chemical Ali" Executed in Iraq (Jan. 25):
Ali Hassan al-
Majid, cousin of and former aid to Saddam Hussein, is executed in Iraq for his role in
the poison-gas attack of the village of Halabja, where 5,000 Kurds were killed.
Nicknamed "Chemical Ali", al-Majid is part of the group of leaders responsible for the
deaths of approximately 180,000 Kurds in the Iraq-Iran War.
U.S. Introduces Stricter Screenings for Certain Air Passengers (Jan. 3):
Transportation Security Administration announces stricter screening requirements for
passengers traveling by air to the U.S. from 14 countries, including Pakistan, Saudi
Arabia, and Nigeria. Passengers with passports or originating flights from any of the
countries on this list will be required to undergo full-body pat downs and extra scrutiny
of carry-on luggage. More advanced screenings will also be necessary at certain
airports. The new regulations result from the
attempted bombing by a Nigerian citizen
on December 25
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man accused of
attempting to detonate a suicide bomb on an airplane bound for Detroit, Michigan on
December 25, 2009, is indicted on six counts. Charges include attempted murder and
attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
Senator Christopher Dodd Will Not Run for Reelection (Jan. 6):
Senator Christopher Dodd, who has served the state since 1980, will not run for
reelection in November when his term is finished. Though a popular public figure for
many years, Dodd has recently faced criticism from citizens of Connecticut and the
Democratic party for what appeared to be an improper loan from Countrywide
Financial (he has been cleared of all charges of wrongdoing).
Republican Scott Brown Wins Mass. Senate Seat (Jan. 19):
In a stunning upset,
, a former member of the state senate, wins a special election
in Massachusetts for
's vacated U.S. Senate seat, beating Democrat
, the state attorney general, by a wide margin. His victory marks the
end of the Democrats' "super" majority in the Senate and raises questions about the
viability of the Democratic party and the pending health-care reform bill. Kennedy
passed away in Aug. 2009, ending a 46-year run in the Senate.
Supreme Court Blocks Corporate Spending Limits for Political Campaigns (Jan.