12 months since Saudi King Salman acceded to the throne

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA- Here are key dates for the year since King Salman took the throne in Saudi Arabia.
- January 23, 2015: Salman accedes to the throne following the death of his half-brother King Abdullah. He chooses his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef as deputy crown prince, and promotes his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman to defence minister.

- March 26: Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition in an air campaign against Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies in Yemen in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi. Coalition members later deploy troops in Yemen.
- April 29: King Salman promotes Mohammed bin Nayef to crown prince after removing his half-brother Moqren. He appoints his son Mohammed bin Salman as deputy crown prince, putting him second in line to the throne.
- May 13: King Salman snubs an extraordinary meeting between US President Barack Obama and Gulf leaders in response to a rapprochement between Washington and Tehran.
- July 18: Saudi authorities announce the dismantling of an organisation linked to the Islamic State group, arresting 431 suspected members and foiling attempts to attack mosques and a diplomatic mission.
- September 24: Around 2,300 pilgrims die in a stampede near Mecca, in the deadliest incident recorded during the annual hajj. Iran, which loses about 464 of its pilgrims, accuses Saudi authorities of being incompetent. Earlier that month, at least 109 people died when a crane crashed into the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
- October 29: Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for allegedly insulting Islam, wins the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament. Saudi Arabia is also criticised for the rise in the number of its executions, which reach 153 by the end of 2015, up from 87 in 2014.
- December 12: Saudi women are allowed to vote for the first time ever in municipal elections in which they also participate as candidates for the first time. Twenty women are voted in.
- December 15: Saudi Arabia announces the launch of an anti-terrorism coalition of 34 Muslim countries. Five days earlier, Riyadh hosted a meeting of Syria's main opposition factions, whose representatives agreed to hold talks with President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
- December 28: Saudi Arabia announces a budget deficit of $98 billion in 2015 due to a sharp drop in oil prices.
- January 2: Saudi Arabia executes 47 people convicted of terrorism, mostly Sunnis linked to Al-Qaeda, but also including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution stirs a diplomatic crisis between the kingdom and Iran.

Wednesday, January 20th 2016

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