Greetings from chilly Pakistan! News trickles through via this blog’s current wireless situation so the below has been added at various times — apologies for outdated information here and there. To wrap up 2014, it has been a year of incredible ups and downs — police killings of African American men finally attracted global attention, militant group Daesh/ISIS has risen to be an international terrorist killing machine, Ukraine saw dramatic clashes with Russia, protesters in Mexico and Hong Kong produced student-led riots, Ebola engulfed West Africa, the longest war for many of us finally ended in Afghanistan, a massacre of school children shook an exhausted Pakistan to the core, India saw the world’s largest ever democratic exercise resulting in the election of Narendra Modi, Israel and Gaza went to war in a tragic and futile clash, a Malaysian plane went mysteriously missing and has yet to be found, and a Thai coup briefly gripped the country. South Korea was hit with tragedy when a ferry boat sunk, killing predominately children, while terrorism carried out by Boko Haram in Nigeria led to brief interest in #BringBackOurGirls and a movement to locate hundreds of kidnapped school children.
That was hardly the end — Germany took a hard-won first place in the FIFA World Cup (controversially hosted in Brazil), feminism roared its head yet again on a global scale (and saw an endorsement from Beyoncé), North Korea and the United States clashed over the internet and a comedy, Turks protested their government en masse, Malala Yousafzai become the youngest winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and much of the Middle East appeared divided on its future following a series of uprisings in 2011. LGBTQ issues are more prevalent now than ever before, and the world’s transgender community is finally beginning to see representation in the media.
As we move into 2015, this blog wishes all of its readers a safe and happy new year! Regularly scheduled updates won’t return until mid-January, but in the mean time worry not — once your blogger returns from Asia so too will the news. A look back over the year:
all images from nbcnews unless indicated otherwise
Via WaPo’s Read In morning update:
The Associated Press’s top 10 news stories of the year, as voted by U.S. editors and news directors: 1. Police killings of African American men, from Michael Brown to Eric Garner. 2. The West African Ebola outbreak. 3. The shocking rise of the Islamic State. 4. Republicans sweep the midterm elections. 5. Millions of Americans sign up for ObamaCare. 6. The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. 7. President Obama takes executive action on immigration. 8. Unrest in Ukraine, from Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster in February to Russian annexation of Crimea and rebel control of the east. 9. Nineteen state bans on gay marriage fall after a wave of federal court rulings. 10. A scandal in the Department of Veterans Affairs cost Secretary Eric Shinseki his job. (Associated Press)
— Not on the list: The first legal pot was sold in Washington and Colorado. Israel’s 50-day incursion into Gaza after a barrage of Hamas rockets. Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls in Nigeria. The South Korean ferry disaster. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot down by pro-Russian separatists over Ukraine. The survey was conducted before President Obama announced the new U.S. attitude towards Cuba.
As we draw near to the end of 2014, a note from the blog re travel plans — your blogger will be in Pakistan for two and a half weeks starting next week. Updates are not expected to cease entirely but they may come at odd times. As far as this week goes, it’s been a tragic one. Prayers, thoughts, and condolences with the cities of Peshawar and Sydney, the former of whom experienced a massacre and the latter of whom lost three lives at the beginning of the week. These are hard times. Elsewhere in the world, North Korea is being accused of hacking SONY, Cuba’s embargo is on its way out, and Americans don’t seem to mind that their country illegally tortured people. Meanwhile college is getting more and more expensive and millennials are suffering across the board. Despite less than happy tidings, a beautiful and light-filled Chanukkah to Jews across the world — Chag sameach!
Over 140 people, most of them children, were massacred on Tuesday by the Pakistani Taliban as an act of revenge for military action in the country’s north. Reports maintain that children were shot, stabbed, and beheaded, and at least one teacher was set on fire.
Congratulations to TIME’s Person of the Year, the Ebola fighters. Ebola continues to rage in Sierra Leone, even as it quiets in other parts of Western Africa. Meanwhile the CIA torture report excerpt is out and it’s a horrifying thing. Protesters in Hong Kong are leaving but departing with a message to the government — they’ll be back. Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi shared their Nobel Prize this week for their work in the areas of women’s education and the rights of children, respectively. As a Pakistani and an Indian, the Prize’s committee expressed hope that the recipients’ home countries would continue to strive for peace and dialogue.
Another week of racial injustice here in the United States, where a grand jury failed to indict a white police officer in the murder of an unarmed black man. Meanwhile a terrorist Al Qaeda offshoot is threatening the life of an American journalist, Hong Kong’s Umbrella protesters are slowly surrendering, the NFL have reinstated Ray Rice following documented domestic assault against his wife, both Japan and Israel will likely see snap elections soon, and violence has resurfaced in Chechnya. Welcome to December, all.