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Special Events cards can be used at any time, even if it is not your turn, and many of them begin with "The current player may", e.g. Borrowed Time, Re-Examine Research, Mobile Hospital, Special Orders, etc.

Can they be used to benefit another player, not the owner of the Special Events card, if I play the Special Event on someone else's turn?

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    I'm confused. In your first sentence you say they can be played on anyone's turn, then you go on to ask if you can do this, despite already having said so. I'm going to edit your question to ask what I think you're really asking: if you do so, does it benefit them and can you do that? Please check if you're satisfied with that edit. – doppelgreener Dec 28 '13 at 3:22
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Yes, you can play special events on other players' turns, and "current player" means the player whose turn it currently is. The rulebook says:

These cards may be played at any time (even on a fellow player's turn)...

That's why they say "current player" not "you", and explicitly say you can play them any time, not just on your turn. Being able to use them to benefit any player is really the point. They'd be pretty weak without that flexibility.

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