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through via this blog’s current wireless situation so the below has been added at various times — apologies for outdated information here and there.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.
Other 2014 Reviews:
Read on for older news from the past two weeks:
Assorted Stand-Outs From The Past Two Weeks:
- Two Brooklyn police officers were tragically killed two weekends ago by a man with a history of assault and clashes with authority. The motivation for the killings has been linked to recent protests surrounding police brutality, and tension between NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD have intensified.
- A list of police officers killed by gunfire in 2014.
- Fame and immortality.
- Inside ISIS: The first Western journalist ever to embed with the militant group describes what he saw.
- Gender gaps at Stanford in 1994.
- 60 journalists have been killed this year, by far the majority of them in the Middle East.
- Four Afghans were returned to Afghanistan from Guantanamo Bay.
- The Taliban are reclaiming territory as Western troops leave.
- Following tragedy in Peshawar, Pakistan has begun executing militants and making arrests.
- A small measure of progress.
- Meet Pakistan’s fearless female police commandos.
- Protesters have taken up camp at Lal Masjid in Islamabad, demanding the removal of a Taliban-aligned cleric.
- The US Congress is delaying reimbursement until further proof of anti-terror success is demonstrated.
- Tension over conversions and pro-Hindu remarks is growing in India.
- The NYT has an in-depth look at the 2008 Mumbai killings.
- Does the US need stronger ties with Bhutan?
Southeast & East Asia:
- North Korea says it did not attack Sony, but it is definitely willing to. | However, it’s entirely possible the US attacked North Korea.
- China will now regulate foreign NGOs.
- In Indonesia, a tragic plane crash appears to have no survivors.
Europe & Eurasia:
- A driver shouting “Allah akbar!” crashed his car into a street of pedestrians in Dijon, France.
- Spain’s Princess Christina will stand trial for tax fraud charges.
- A split amongst Turkey‘s journalists.
- Ukraine seeks an alliance with NATO despite Russian objections.
- Islamophobia continues to rise in Germany.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Tunisia’s first democratically-elected leader is viewed as a harbinger of economic change but also holds ties to the Ben Ali regime.
- Jordan has ended its eight-year moratorium on the death penalty.
- Bowing to pressure, Qatar has suspended a channel critical of Egypt.
- Algeria says it has killed a militant who beheaded a French tourist several months ago.
- An Israeli high court and the Knesset are battling over the rights of African migrants.
- The UN says that rebels in South Sudan have committed atrocities.
- Ebola’s death toll continues to rise.
- Cuba will not be abandoning communism any time soon.
- Nicaragua will link the Pacific and Atlantic.
- The president of Argentina has adopted a Jewish godson to stop him from turning into a werewolf.
- An orangutan may change components of international law, or at the very least the law in Argentina.
- A new top Republican apparently gave remarks at a white supremacist convention.
- A mother of seven of eight children found stabbed to death has been arrested in their killings in Cairns, Australia.
Weekly Wow: Translating monkey speak into English.