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The Biggest Stories Of 2017

A review of every year usually begins with the words “a year like no other,” yet I’ve not seen many people say that about this year. Quick as they were to dub 2016 as “the worst year,” I don’t think 2016 holds a candle to 2017. Whilst many shocking celebrity deaths occurred last year, 2017 has brought us a renewed threat of nuclear war, bombshell sexual assault allegations, and terrorism in popular destinations.

So, let’s take a look at some of the biggest news stories of 2017 (so far). I guarantee you that you don’t know them all.

  • Istanbul nightclub attack

On 1st January, a gunman killed 39 people, wounding 70 at a nightclub in Istanbul. Later confessing to the crime, Uzbek national Abdulkadir Masharipov was found to be the culprit, described by Turkish media as a member of the Islamic State group. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

  • Jan 20 – Trump sworn in as US President.

Russia’s influence in the 2016 US Election – In a January report, the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency jointly stated that Russia had conducted a campaign to influence the 2016 US election in favour for Donald Trump. This sparked a series of investigations, which have led to serious developments involving members of the Trump campaign, including the resignation of Michael T. Flynn.

  • Trials for failed Turkey coup

Almost 500 people accused of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government in a coup last year were put on trial in August. The trial focused on events around the Akinci Air Base outside Ankara, where around 250 where killed and over 2,000 injured during the attempted coup, most of them Turkish civilians. The court has handed down over 40 life sentences to those accused of attempting to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the coup.

  • Brexit Article 50 triggered

On March 29th, Theresa May triggered Article 50 – this marked the start of two years of negotiations with the EU in order for Britain to leave. Intensive discussions followed and are still ongoing; Britain is expected to leave the EU by March 29th 2019.

  • Chechnya opens first homosexual concentration camp

Chechnya, Russia has opened the first homosexual concentration camp since Hitler’s in the 1930s. Campaigners said that gay men were being tortured with electric shocks and beaten to death in the concentration camp. This comes after 100 gay men admitting in early April that they had been detained – three of them killed.

  • CIA documents released by Wikileaks

8,761 top secret documents focused mainly on techniques for hacking and surveillance were leaked by Wikileaks in March. The website claims that the 31-page manual is for a device allegedly used by the CIA to spy on people from their televisions and smartphones. The device is code named “Weeping Angel.”

  • Persecution of the Rohingya Muslims

More than half a million Rohingya Muslims fled their homes in Myanmar to escape persecution in the northern Rakhinr province of Myanmar (Burma). The government refuses to grant the Rohingya citizenship and have discriminated against the ethnic minority through restrictions on marriage, family planning, employment, education, religious choice, and freedom of movement. August 2017 brought renewed violence, reported rape, murder, and arson. This triggered a massive exodus of Rohingya, as well as charges of ethnic cleansing against Myanmar’s security forces.

  • Paraguay riots

Protestors set fire to Paraguay’s Congress in March after the Senate voted secretly for a constitutional amendment that would allow President Horacio Cartes to run for re-election. Re-election in Paraguay had been prohibited since 1992 after a brutal dictatorship fell upon them in 1989. The decision has prompted warnings that the country is sliding towards dictatorship again; Alfredo Stroessner ruled Paraguay for more than 30 years as a dictatorship.

  • Taiwan’s Supreme Court rules in favour of same-sex marriage

In May, the Supreme Course of Taiwan rules in favour of same-sex marriage, meaning that Taiwan will become the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage. The ruling came after Chi Chia-wei, a campaigner for LGBT rights for decades, sued due to being barred from marrying his partner, whom have been together for 30 years.

  • Qatar rift

In July, the countries of the Middle East froze out Qatar, severing all ties with the country. Gulf allies have constantly criticised Qatar for allegedly supporting the Muslim Bortherhood, a 100-year-old Islamist group that is considered a terrorist organisation by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. A total of nine nations severed ties, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Yemen and the Maldives.

  • Mass Extinction warning

Researchers have claimed that the Earth is undergoing the sixth mass extinction of wildlife, which threatens global food supplies also. In recent decades, a study reveals billions of populations of animals have been lost. This has been blamed on human overpopulation and overconsumption.

  • Quantum Teleportation China

In early July, a new Chinese experiment showed that quantum teleportation works between the ground and space. Scientists managed to teleport photons 300 miles into space, shattering the teleportation record. The photons were teleported from a ground station in Ngari, Tibet, to a China’s Micius satellite.

  • Catalonian Independence referendum

A referendum was held on October 1st to decide whether the Spanish region of Catalonia will become independent of Spain. Whilst the majority voted in favour, the country’s highest court banned the vote, declaring the referendum was illegal and overruled it. In December Catalan took to the polls again to elect a new regional government, with Catalonia’s three pro-independence parties declaring victory with a majority of 70 seats in the 135-seat government – a massive blow to the Spanish government.

  • End of Cassini

September 15th saw NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission, Cassini, end. The mission was to explore Saturn and its rings. As it made its final approach to Saturn, Cassini dived into the planet’s atmosphere, sending science data for as long as possible back to Earth, before burning up and disintegrating. Its enormous collection of data will continue to yield new discoveries for years.

  • Mandalay Bay attack

On October 1st, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoer’s at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas. At least 59 people died, with 527 people injured in the deadly US mass shooting. The gunman fired from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. Upon storming hotel room, police find the culprit, Stephen Paddock, dead.

  • Quebec bans face covering

Amid criticism over a new law that bans face covering, Quebec toned down its interpretation of the legislation. Criticism claimed that the new law that came into effect in October was targeting Muslims. In December, Canadian Judge Babak Barin suspended part of the law – a victory for civil liberties groups who have argued that the law discriminates against Muslim women. Whilst the law doesn’t single out any religion by name, debates have focused on the niqab – a full-face veil worn by Muslim women.

  • Robert Mugabe resigns

Zimbabwe faces a new era ahead of them as Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, resigned in November. After 37 years in power, military generals moved against Mugabe because of factional struggles within the ruling Zanu-PF party. The vice-president being fired sparked the takeover, with Emmerson Mnangagwa presumably his successor.

  • Net neutrality

On December 14th, The FCC’s republican majority approved Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to get rid of net neutrality in the US – the right to communicate freely online without companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon deciding which websites, content and applications you have access to. Without net neutrality, these companies can slow down competitors’ content, charge extra fees to the few companies that can afford to pay for preferential treatment – with everyone else receiving a slower tier of service.

After sexual allegations bombshells hit Hollyword hard, kicking off with the Weinstein case, a trend of the hashtag “MeToo” has taken the internet by storm since October, with millions of women sharing their stories in order to spread awareness and understanding about sexual assault. Actress Alyssa Milano started this on Twitter, asking: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” It wasn’t just women who spoke up; men also spoke up about their experiences with assault.

American football player Colin Kaepernick started a protest movement against police brutality by moving to take a knee during the national anthem before a game, or stand with arms locked in silent protest. Several players joined his protest, despite receiving a lot of criticism from fans who said that it was disrespectful. Though starting in 2016, the traction didn’t kick off until this year in October after Trump made comments that those should be ‘fired’ if they bent a knee during the national anthem.

  • Hurricane season

From June to November, 2017’s hurricane season was relentless upon the North Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

First, Hurricane Harvey dropped 60 inches of rain on Houston, leading to catastrophic flooding. After in September, Hurricane Irma – the world’s longest-lasting hurricane, hit Florida and Puerto Rico. Irma’s winds reached 185mph and they were sustained for 37 hours. Irma was a hurricane for nearly 12 days – three out of those it was classes as a category 5 hurricane. Whilst still recovering from the damage of Irma, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria.

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