Year in Review: World News

Posted by on Jan 2, 2017 in Year in Review
Back view of seated women wearing their finest and most colorful saris in wedding ceremony, Pushkar, India. Joseph Tursi/Getty Images. MHE Canada;MHE USA.

Back view of seated women wearing their finest and most colorful saris in wedding ceremony, Pushkar, India. Joseph Tursi/Getty Images. MHE Canada;MHE USA.

Syria

In 2016, as the conflict in Syria continued, btw took a look at the history of this bloody civil war. An attempted cease-fire failed in February. As Syrian refugees continued to flood the Turkish border, Turkey struck a deal with the European Union to help settle more refugees in Europe. And world outcry over the massacre of citizens of the Syrian city of Aleppo led to another tentative ceasefire in the city in December.

Terrorist Attacks

Stories of terrorism were all too common around the world in 2016. In March, an ISIS attack outside an airport in Brussels, Belgium during the early-morning rush hour killed 35 people and injured 270 (4/3). In the middle of Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France, a terrorist drove a truck full of explosives into a crowd of people, killing at least 84 and injuring more than 300. A month later, ISIS also claimed responsibility for an airport bombing in Istanbul, Turkey, that killed 45 people and left hundreds more injured.

EgyptAir Flight 804, en route from Paris to Cairo, disappeared over Greece in May, killing 66 people. Terrorism is still suspected, though no group has come forward to claim responsibility. The case remains unsolved, though in December authorities found traces of explosives on some of the victims, pointing to a likely terrorist attack.

Other World News

In June, tension in Britain over whether or not the nation should separate from the European Union reached a head when an anti-separation member of Parliament was assassinated, further dividing the British people on this issue. Shortly thereafter, by a narrow margin, the British voted to leave the European Union (EU): a shocking event known as Brexit. In the wake of the upheaval, Prime Minister David Cameron stepped down, and Conservative Theresa May took his place. The British courts have since stalled the process, however, by ruling that Brexit can’t happen without Parliament’s approval.

In Asia, North Korea claimed to have detonated a hydrogen bomb and tested a powerful new rocket engine that could have threatening consequences for the rest of the world. Adding to tensions in this region, Chinese naval forces began seizing more land in the South China Sea.

Closer to home, President Obama ventured to Cuba to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro: the first U.S. president to do so in 88 years. Later in the year, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro passed away, hopefully opening the door for continuing improved relations between the U.S. and its neighbor.

Elsewhere in the world, the Zika virus continued to spread throughout South America with devastating consequences, especially for pregnant women who contracted the virus. And in July, a failed coup d’etat in Turkey left 250 dead (7/27).

What Do You Think? 2016 was a year of worldwide “highs” and “lows” – from widespread terrorist attacks and the humanitarian crisis in Syria, to the Summer Olympics and  improving relations between the United States and Cuba. In general, are you optimistic about the state of the world as 2017 begins? Why or why not? Be sure to give reasons to support your point of view.