FIDGET Spinners, #MeToo, Brexit, referenda… Everyone knows what these concepts mean. They played a big role in the past year and now that 2018 officially has started, it’s time to look back at an eventful year.

A lot has happened in 2017: Australia became the 25th country were gay marriages are legal, women gained the right to drive in Saudi-Arabia, we are one step nearer to flying cars and the discovery of extra-terrestrial life may be closer than we think. However, not everything has been rosy.

2We started 2017 off with the United States of America’s new president: Donald John Trump. On the 20th of January, he made a pledge to reign over the USA and ever since, Trump has been on the news around the world. His statements about the media and ‘fake news’ have not made him popular.

A manifest in Charlottesville ended badly on the 12 August as neo-Nazis and extreme right protested because the taking down of the Robert E. Lee statue. There were 3 deaths, one because of a vehicle-ramming attack and 2 state troopers died in a helicopter crash. There were around 40 non-fatal injuries.

A terrorist attack shook Las Vegas on the 1 October – a man shot more than 500 visitors of Route 91 Harvest, a country festival, out of the window of his hotel room. ISIS claimed the attack.

Several parts of the globe have been haunted by natural disasters through 2017. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria passed by America; the South of Europe was ravaged by forest fires; and heavy floods overpowered the USA, Sierra Leona, Switzerland and Myanmar. In between these catastrophic disasters, the government of the USA withdrew the States from the Paris Climate Accord.

Not only natural catastrophes haunted the world – terrorist attack were very present in 2017. The year started with an attack in Istanbul with 22 acts following. Some think Western countries suffer the most losses, but that’s not true as the attacks in Eastern and African countries have more casualties. These were the attacks with the most deaths: Istanbul, Turkey – 1 January, 39 deaths; Mogadishu, Somalia – 14 October, 500 deaths and Sinai, Egypt – 24 October, 235 deaths.

A poison gas attack overpowered Syria in the beginning of April, 86 civilians died, but who’s to blame? The government claimed they didn’t use any chemical weapons. Meanwhile, the United States of America bombed a Syrian airbase. Not only bad things have happened in Syria, as now the country is officially no longer a part of ISIS’ territory. Raqqa has been won over by the Kurdish-North-Syrian militia YPG on 17 October.

The 16th of April will go down in history as the day on which the government of Turkey held a referendum with as main purpose to chance several aspects of the Turkish constitution. 51% voted “yes”, which allowed Erdogan to have more power than before.

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The feud between the United States of America and North-Korea seems unstoppable. These two military powerhouses have been threatening each other all the time. North-Korea even is running tests on their missiles. Will there ever come a war? According to political experts, the chances are very small, almost non-existent, that North-Korea will start this ‘potential’ war. They say that if there comes one, the United States of America are the ones to launch it.

One of the most memorable images of 2017 has to be the burning Grand Fell Tower in West London. A 24-storey block of public housing flats caught fire on 14 June. 71 inhabitants died, 70 got injured and over 200 escaped. The building was not protected against fires, the materials used were too cheap… The Grand Fell Tower was not safe enough to inhabit.

An illegal referendum was on our plate in the beginning of October – the government of Catalonia held a forbidden plebiscite and asked a single question: Should Catalonia become independent or not? 90% of the Catalans voted “yes”. The voting, however, did not exactly go as planned. The Guardia Civil started around 9 o’clock in the morning of 1 October with interventions, which went often paired with violence. After the referendum, political leaders such as Puidgemont fled Spain.

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It’s official: the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. In 2016, a referendum was held and 51.9% of those who voted, chose to resign from the EU. Theresa May has been negotiating with Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission about the borders and the border patrol. The fine the UK has to pay, lies between 40 and 45 billion euros. If everything goes as planned, the United Kingdom will no longer be part of the EU in April 2019.

 

Sexual harassment and assault is a big issue in today’s society. #MeToo, a hashtag on Twitter and other types of social media, was posted by many who’ve experienced one of these issues. It went viral in October and became even more popular after Harvey Weinstein, a famous Hollywood producer, was accused of sexual misconduct. Not only Weinstein has been accused of this, but ex-president Bush, actors Kevin Spacey and Charlie Sheen, comedian Louis C.K and British politic Michael Fallon were accused as well.

 

We don’t know what 2018 will bring nor can we predict the future, but may 2018 be full of pleasant surprises for you!

elena