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7's Top 7 International Stories

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Nelson Mandela passed away in 2013. Nelson Mandela passed away in 2013.

Around the world in 2013: devastating storms, horrifying attacks, new life, and new leadership bringing new hope. 7's Craig Stevens takes a look back at the top international stories.

WSVN -- 2013 was the year we said goodbye to one of the world's most iconic leaders: Nelson Mandela.

President Jacob Zuma: "A freedom fighter, a dedicated and humble servant of the people of South Africa."

Many said Mandela was the last great liberator of the 20th Century for his lifelong fight against apartheid and racial inequality in South Africa.

President Barack Obama: "A giant of history, who moved a national toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world."

President Obama joined 91 world leaders at Mandela's memorial service. Mandela died after a long illness at the age of 95.

A history-making typhoon dealt a devastating blow to the Philippines. Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the biggest and strongest storms on record, made landfall packing winds of close to 200 miles per hour. Entire neighborhoods and cities were leveled. Six thousand people killed.

Political unrest continued in Syria. The Bashar al-Assad regime was accused of using chemical weapons on his people. Horrifying videos were posted on YouTube.

President Barack Obama: "We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale."

President Obama called for military intervention, but the British Parliament and other world leaders refused to support it. Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped in and convinced Obama that Syria would peacefully relinquish its chemical weapons.

New hope in Iran this year as well. The election of President Hassan Rouhani opened the door to end Iran's nuclear weapons development. In November, Iran agreed to curb its program for six months.

President Barack Obama: "Today that diplomacy opened up a new path to a world that is more secure, a future in which we can verify that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful."

But Israel wasn't buying it, saying it does not trust Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons.

Benjamin Netanyahu: "Israel is not bound by this agreement."

A final deal could come in 2014.

The tense relationship over nuclear weapons continued between the U.S. and North Korea.

John Kerry: "They have conducted a nuclear test, so there is some kind of device."

Secretary of State John Kerry visited South Korea and vowed to protect the U.S. and its allies from any North Korean nuclear threat.

Terrorists linked to al-Qaeda took responsibility for two brutal attacks this year. In Algeria, hundreds were taken hostage at a natural gas plant by militants demanding the U.S. release two convicted terrorists.

U.S. government official: "The United States does not negotiate with terrorists."

Thirty-eight hostages, including three Americans, were killed during the four-day siege. So were all 29 militants. In the end, hundreds of hostages were released.

A mall massacre in Kenya sent shoppers running for their lives.

Mall massacre survivor #1: "Bullets were raining over my head."

Mall massacre survivor #2: "He shot at my head, but luckily it hit the wall behind me."

Terrorists from a Somali affiliate of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility. At least 67 people were systematically executed; hundreds were wounded.

In London, a British soldier was literally hacked to death in broad daylight in what is being called an Islamic terrorist attack. One of the suspected killers, a cleaver still clutched in his bloody hands, confessed to the crime.

Michael Adebolajo: "We swear by the Almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone."

Both attackers were shot and arrested by police the next day.

In South Africa, the man known as "Blade Runner," Olympian athlete Oscar Pistorius, was arrested for killing his model girlfriend in their home.

In South America, Venezuelans packed the streets of Caracas to say goodbye to their leader. Fifty-eight-year-old Hugo Chavez died after a battle with cancer. South Floridians took to the streets over his death as well, but here they celebrated the death of a longtime friend of Fidel Castro.

Argentineans also had a reason to celebrate. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was chosen to lead the Catholic Church, choosing the name Francis. He is the first pope from Latin America. Pope Benedict stepped down in February, citing health reasons.

An amazing sight from the heavens in Russia. A meteor the size of a house slammed into the Earth's atmosphere with the force of an atomic bomb. Thousands were injured as windows blew out and buildings crumbled.

And finally, 2013 brought the birth of a future king. His proud parents, Prince William and Kate, showed him to the world.

Prince William: "He's got a good set of lungs on him, that's for sure."

He was christened His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. And with the approach of 2014, all eyes are on the Royals. Could there be a wedding for the royal uncle?

Craig Stevens, 7News.

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