May 2 2011 News: What Happened Today

Today’s top stories and news for May 2, 2011. Catch up on what happened today in history.

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Islamists in Egypt have called for a protest on Friday against the country’s ruling military council. The Salafi movement, which is close to the Muslim Brotherhood, has urged its followers to take to the streets after midday prayers to demand an end to military rule. The protest comes a day after Egypt’s new Prime Minister, Kamal al-Ganzouri, unveiled his cabinet, which includes several members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

President Hosni Mubarak steps down

On February 11, 2011, after eighteen days of continuous protests in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak resigned from office. He transferred power to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, a military body consisting of Egypt’s top generals. This marked the end of Mubarak’s thirty-year rule and the beginning of a new phase in Egypt’s history.

Egypt’s military takes control of the country

Egypt’s military has taken control of the country, suspending the constitution and installing a temporary government, in response to mass protests against President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the defence minister and head of the armed forces, announced on state TV that Mr Mubarak had “stepped down from office” and that a curfew would be imposed from 7pm to 6am.

The move follows days of pressure on Mr Mubarak from millions of demonstrators demanding an end to his rule. The president yesterday refused to stand down immediately, saying he wanted to serve out the remaining seven months of his term.

There was no immediate comment from Mr Mubarak or his family, who are believed to be in Cairo. But a presidential spokesman said earlier that he had “left for his residence”.


On May 2, 2011, the National Transitional Council was proclaimed to be the new governing body of Libya. This came after the death of Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi had been ruling Libya since 1969.

Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli is overrun by rebels

Rebels in Libya have taken over Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in the capital, Tripoli, meeting little resistance from loyalist troops.

The BBC’s Matthew Price, who is inside the Bab al-Aziziya complex, says fighters fired in the air in celebration and wereMethod of Roasts – (Coffee Roast Guide) going through documents left behind by fleeing soldiers.

He says rebels are now in control of “the very heart of Muammar Gaddafi’s power”.

The fall of the compound is a potent symbol of the Libyan leader’s weakening grip on power.

It comes after days of advances by rebel forces, which have seizedcontrol of most of Tripoli.

Gaddafi is killed

On October 20, 2011, Libya’s deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed by rebel forces. Gaddafi had been in hiding since the rebel takeover of Tripoli in August. His capture and death ended his 42-year rule of Libya.

During his reign, Gaddafi developed a reputation as a flamboyant and eccentric dictator. He was often seen in public dressed in outlandish uniforms and he frequently gave long, rambling speeches. In the 1970s, he proclaimed himself “King of Kings” of Africa and became a leading voice in the non-aligned movement.

Gaddafi gained a measure of infamy in the 1980s for his support of terrorist groups such as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). In 1986, US President Ronald Reagan ordered airstrikes against Libya in response to a terrorist bombing in West Germany that was linked to Gaddafi.

In recent years, Gaddafi had been working to improve relations with the West. He gave up his country’s nuclear program and he cooperated with the US-led war on terrorism. In 2009, he even hosted then-US President Barack Obama in Tripoli.

However, Gaddafi’s true nature was exposed during the 2011 Libyan Civil War. When protests against his regime turned into an armed uprising, Gaddafi responded with brutal force. He ordered his security forces to open fire on demonstrators and he used military aircraft to bomb rebellious cities. The UN later accused Gaddafi of crimes against humanity for his actions during the conflict.

After months of fighting, rebel forces took control of Tripoli in August 2011. With his regime crumbling, Gaddafi went into hiding. He was eventually found hiding in a culvert outside his hometown of Sirte on October 20th. He was shot and killed by rebel fighters shortly thereafter.

Other news

Also today, the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, was in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin about the ongoing conflict in Syria. Earlier this week, Assad had met with Pope Francis in the Vatican. The meeting came as the death toll from the Syrian conflict surpassed 400,000, according to a new estimate.

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Japan

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.2 struck northern Japan on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The temblor struck at 6:09 p.m. (5:09 a.m. ET) about 80 miles (130 kilometers) off the coast of Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture, at a depth of about 6 miles (10 kilometers), the USGS said on its Web site.

In 2003, a magnitude-9 earthquake — the strongest in Japan’s recorded history — hit the northern part of the country, killing more than 1,000 people and leaving more than 4,000 missing.

A 6.6 magnitude earthquake hits New Zealand

A 6.6 magnitude earthquake has hit New Zealand’s South Island just after midnight on Sunday, May 2, 2011, causing widespread damage and power outages. The quake was felt as far away as Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. It is the second major quake to hit the region in less than six months.

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