Sunday, 20 December 2015

mmxv: annus horribilis

These end-of-year annuals have become somewhat of a tradition here (here, here, here, and here too) at PfRC but never before in these annuls of time has one period been so stand-out negative and gloomy.  We tried to accentuate the positive but that was yeoman’s task, so this year-in-review is coming out a few days early in hopes that the holidays will be a time of lasting good cheer to cleanse the palette and that some last minute joys might befall us all.  There were a few bright points which mostly involved accomplishments in space exploration, but on balance, we are happy to be saying good riddance to bad rubbish.

january: Unpegging the Swiss franc from the euro unleashes more turmoil on financial markets and oversees the gradient of reserve currencies levelled out. With the situation in Ukraine still very tense, the Eurasian Economic Union comes into being. In Nigeria, Boko Haram’s brutality goes unrestrained. Elements of the Cosplay Caliphate in Paris assassinate cartoonists and satirists.

february: Faced with its own deck of sanctions, Russia drafts and submits to the United Nations for passage Resolution 2199 that provided for asset-freezing and curtailing financial resources for the Cosplay Caliphate, strongly condemning as well the group’s destruction of ancient archaeological sites in Syria. The Egyptian armed forces retaliate for the beheading of Copts in Libya by the Caliphate—with more atrocities broadcasted. Sadly, Leonard Nimoy passes away.

march: A space probe visits the Dwarf Planet Ceres. An unholy alliance forms between terror groups as al Qaeda tries to distance itself from these extremists. A suicidal pilot deliberately crashes an airplane full of passengers in the French Alps.

april: A massive earthquake causes destruction across south-east Asia.  Writer Günter Grass and performer Percy Sledge passed.

may: Ireland, by popular-vote, legalises same-sex marriage. Truer to the original, audiences began getting hints of the continuation of the Stars Wars saga to be screened later in the year.  We had to bid farewell to musician B. B. King.

june: Fédération Internationale de Football Association chief resigns pending an on-going criminal probe into corruption allegations championed by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation. A real estate magnate and beauty pageant judge announced his candidacy for president of the US.  The Caliphate perpetrates several horrific attacks during Ramadan. Actor Christopher Lee died.

july: Greece becomes the first country to miss a payment to the International Monetary Fund and political revolt is unable to extricate them from this web of debt. New Horizons visits the dwarf planet Pluto. Cuba and the USA normalise diplomatic relations after half a century of hostilities. Video game godfather Satoru Iwata passed away.

august: The march of refugees from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to Europe via the Balkans in unending.  We had to say goodbye to philosopher Oliver Sacks.

september: Liquid water is confirmed on Mars. A major German automaker was found to have doctored the cleanliness of their fleet of vehicles. The proxy war continues in Syria, with Russia launching air-strikes and powers are at odds with which party to back. Personality Jackie Collins died.

october: The Caliphate sabotages a jetliner of holiday-goers in the Sinai Peninsula. Maureen O’Hara departed.

november: Turkey destroys Russian fighter jets for violating a tip of its airspace, possibly setting off World War III. The Caliphate again attacks Paris with horrific and terrifying efficiency. Weeks later, the UN holds its climate change conference in the same venue. Former Chancellor of West Germany Helmut Schmidt passes away.

december: Tragically, yet another mass shooting takes place in California, inspired by religious fanaticism. A wayward Japanese space probe that over-shot its mark five years ago gets a second chance to rendezvous with Venus. Stone Temple Pilot Scott Weiland passed away.  Recognising what the world needs now, Pope Francis threw open the Mercy Gate at the Vatican.