Conservative Party leader David Cameron took charge of Britain's first coalition government in 65 years on May 11 after winning an electoral victory too narrow to govern without linking up with Liberal Democrats. At 43, Cameron became Britain's youngest prime minister in nearly 200 years. He wasted no time in moving the country away from 13 years of Labour Party rule and mounting deficits: On Oct. 20 Conservatives unveiled the most drastic government spending cuts in a lifetime-an average of nearly 20 percent per department. Cameron and the Conservatives also pushed through cuts in welfare spending and a rise in the retirement age to 66 by 2020.
The Episcopal Church's second openly gay bishop received ordination the same year the Church's first openly gay bishop announced his retirement. On May 15, the Church ordained Mary Glasspool as Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, the first lesbian bishop. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, considered the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, called Glasspool's election "regrettable" and warned it would have "important implications" for the unity of the Communion.
Bishop Gene Robinson-whose 2003 ordination as the church's first openly gay and noncelibate clergyman launched a division that forced thousands of U.S. Episcopalians to leave the church for more conservative Anglican communions-announced his early retirement in 2013. Robinson said the years of controversy have been a "constant strain."
Europeans were forced into bailouts and austerity measures to deal with soaring deficits, high unemployment, and an accompanying debt crisis. Austerity measures enacted in March did not prevent Greece from needing the European Union to engineer a $150 billion bailout for Greece in May. As market confidence fell and stocks along with the value of the euro tumbled, European leaders gathered in Brussels May 10 not only to shore up Greece but to fret over which country was next.
In May, 43-year-old William Lynch allegedly lured a Roman Catholic priest from his California retirement home and then severely beat the priest, who Lynch says sexually abused him 35 years ago. The Roman Catholic sex-abuse scandal continued to fester with revelations of abuse and cover-ups in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Ireland. Five hundred victims came forward for the first time in Belgium, including the nephew of the Bishop of Bruges, who resigned in disgrace along with five Irish bishops who covered up the scandals.
Pope Benedict XVI drew criticism for the way he handled sex-abuse cases years ago when he was archbishop of Munich and Prefect for the office that dealt with clerical sexual misconduct. In one instance, Benedict approved the transfer of a priest who then resumed parish duties although he already had been convicted of sexual abuse.
Benedict dealt with the growing European scandal by issuing a letter that sternly rebuked Irish church leaders and announced an investigation of churches and seminaries. The Vatican also revised its internal code to deal with offending priests more quickly.
Rain and response
When nearly 14 inches of rain fell on Middle and West Tennessee in May, the damage was vast-24 dead, 1,500 homes destroyed, and billions of dollars in damage. The rains left downtown Nashville underwater and flooded many of its iconic attractions, including the Grand Ole Opry. But if the damage was vast, so was the local response: The nonprofit Hands On Nashville coordinated most of the volunteer efforts, including 21,300 volunteers who logged 88,287 hours delivering meals, helping with cleanup, and rebuilding the region.
Times Square bomber
The neon-filled streets of Times Square pulsed with tourists, shoppers, and theater fans on a warm May evening when Faisal Shahzad lit the fuse of a crude bomb in a parked SUV and walked away. The propane-and-gasoline explosives that could have killed scores of bystanders didn't detonate. The FBI captured Shahzad-a Pakistani immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen-as he boarded a plane. He pleaded guilty to 10 terrorism and weapons counts, and smirked while accepting a life sentence in a federal court. Before jailers escorted him from the courtroom, he said, "Brace yourselves, because the war with Muslims has just begun."
Lost, the groundbreaking drama that launched a thousand (or what felt like a thousand) imitators, wrapped up after six often frustrating but always riveting seasons. Some fans were disappointed by a finale that failed to resolve all the mysteries the island presented. Others found the emotion-heavy reunions of Oceanic Flight 815 enough, never mind what the deal was with the four-toed giant statue. Either way, ABC proved that a deeply philosophical series that required more of its audience than mere passive viewing could score with the American public.