2011 International News in Review

2011 became the year of revolutions as citizens around the world revolted for their rights.

With the year coming to a quick end, there’s no doubt that 2011 was filled with cutting-edge headlines. In the international spectrum especially, newspapers were kept quite busy following the groundbreaking stories of 2011.

The prized gem of the journalistic world, and the groundbreaking fuel to an international firestorm, gained momentum in early 2011 and came to be known as the infamous Arab Spring. The world watched in awe as one by one, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen began statewide revolutions to recreate their governments in order to best match the ideals of their people.

Not to be forgotten, Libya, after weeks of protests and a relentless ruler, found itself in a civil war between a majority of its youth and democratic reforming citizens, known as the “rebels,” and those loyal to Libya’s presiding dictator, Muamar Gaddafi. With the quivering commitment of NATO and U.S. forces aiding the protesters, many watched as, one by one, Libyan sects were turned into rebel land holds, and Muamar Gaddafi went in to hiding. Before long the Libyan soap opera was over, as footage was shown of rebels finding the ruler and fatally wounding him.

Meanwhile, Mother Nature seemed to neglect Eastern Africa, as the Horn of Africa faced dramatic shortages due to drought. In mid-July, the U.N. officially declared a famine in the African region. The worst of its kind in 60 years, the drought spread to Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, causing a tragic food shortage affecting more than 13.3 million people.

While eastern African countries struggled with a lack of water, Pacific Asia took on too much water. On March 11, the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku was hit by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, which came to be known as the “Great East Japan Earthquake.” One of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world, and the strongest to ever to have hit Japan, the Tohoku earthquake triggered numerous tsunamis that shifted the Earth’s axis by 4-10 inches. According to CNN, thousands of buildings and infrastructure were destroyed, dams collapsed and around 4.4 million households were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water.

But, what caught the world in shock was when it was reported that the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant was hit by the catastrophe, causing a level seven meltdown by the three reactors at the plant. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan stated, “In the 65 years after the end of World War II, this is the toughest and the most difficult crisis for Japan,” and the World Bank estimated the economic cost of the disaster around 235 billion U.S. dollars.

Europe was hit with a quake of its own, in this case an economic one. According to the Huffington Post, Europe was struck by the economic crisis when the consequences of an “over-leveraged” government took effect. With the value of the Euro decreasing, and countries struggling to uphold debt, the European Union is quickly running out of options. The economy of the European Nations compromised of a single market, according to the International Monetary Fund the European economy is the largest in the world. With the “Big 3” Germany, Italy and France displaying slowing economic numbers, the OECD estimates that the productivity growth has averaged a measly 1.5% far less than the comparative rates in the U.S. European citizens aren’t afraid to show their unpleasant feelings towards the government either. The most headline grabbing, would probably be the incessant protests from the small nation of Greece which was the first and most hit by the economic fall. Mirroring that of the U.S.’ “Occupy Wall Street.” According to The Wall Street Journal, clashes in the country have intensified and become violent. As the country goes into mass strike, their intention is to call out the Greek parliament to vote for deeper spending cuts.

But 2011 wasn’t all violent and heavyhearted. The most awaited and long anticipated event was the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, which signified the end of the eight year long war. Another relieving war story was when, to many surprised citizens, was when Osama Bin Laden was reported to have been found and killed in a small village in Pakistan.

Another death which caught many nations off guard, was the death of the very private North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il who died December 17th, and will be preceded by his son Kim Jong Un.

While leaders and dictators had their lives come to an end, many Southern Sudanese celebrated the life of a new country. To those in South Sudan, 2011 was a great year of independence. In which the largest country in Africa split into two, and the Republic of South Sudan was officially created on July 9th, 2011.

And of course, who could forget the royal wedding of the century when Prince William married Catherine Middleton on April 29th. With a guest list of almost 2,000 people and a national holiday in the United Kingdom, many from around the world became a part of the 36.7 million watching live and the 72 million watching on the Youtube Royal Channel.

With just a couple of days left to mark the end of the year, 2011 captivated the strength of people around the world. Weather fighting for their rights, coming together to aid disasters, keeping strong during economic hardships or commemorating the end of a struggle, the year was filled with historic and momentous events that truly set the world in action. And now as we look back on this year, we truly seem ready to face whatever’s to come the next.