Monday, 26 December 2016

mmxvi: annus horribilis, annus mirabilis

december: Pioneering US astronaut John Glenn passed away, as did America’s TV Dad, Alan Thicke. Doctor Henry Heimlich also left us, as did Zsa Zsa Gabor. Over a billion user accounts are compromised by a once pioneering search engine. Carnage and destruction continue in Aleppo as Syria, all the global powers’ proxy-war, is poised to fall to the entrenched government.  A truck ploughed through a crowded Christmas Market in Berlin.  Sadly, singer George Michael passed away as well as icon Carrie Fisher with her mother, Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, joining her the next day.

november: Donald J Trump defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton as the forty-fifth presumptive to the office of President of the United States of America. We had to say farewell to America’s TV Mom, Florence Henderson. Janet Reno died, and we had to say good-bye to Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel on Fawlty Towers. Retro funk and soul performer Sharon Jones passed away as did Leon Russell though not of precisely the same genre. Poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen left us. Fidel Castro expired aged ninety, on Black Friday and cause of death was declared as America’s return to greatness.

october: It was announced that Bob Dylan will be awarded the Nobel prize for literature. Hopefully prematurely, obituaries for the Great Barrier Reef circulated, the cause of its demise being coral-bleaching.  A craze of dressing as scary clowns and frightening people has spread globally.

september: Meaningful global climate accords held in Paris are put into force, although later in the month carbon dioxide levels surpass anything experienced in the course of human events. NASA launches a probe to study and return with samples from an asteroid with a high potential to impact the Earth—in the twenty-third century, possibly either nudging it closer or pushing it further out of bounds.

august: Gene Wilder left us. Brazil hosted the Olympic Games. The actor that portrayed R2-D2 Kenny Baker sadly departed, as did host and political discussion moderator John McLaughlin. Costa Rica powered itself with renewable energy for one hundred days and hopes to wean itself off of fossil fuels completely.

july: A wholly solar-powered aircraft becomes the first to circumnavigate the globe. We had to say good-bye to Elie Wiesel. During Bastille Day celebrations, an atrocious terror attack occurred on promenade of Nice, setting off a summer of terror across Europe. An abortive coup d’état rocked Turkey and a political purge followed, exacerbating an already tense situation. The African Union’s fifty-four member nations issue a single passport that allows holders to travel visa-free within the bloc.

june: After two decades of construction, the Gotthard Base Tunnel under the Alps in opened. The UK voted to leave the European Union. The promising actor Anton Yelchin who played the new Chekov was struck down far too early. Boxer Muhammad Ali departed.

may: Presidential elections in Austria are too close to call, and the contenders a member of the Green party and a far-right candidate will hold a run-off later in the year. Nationalism is on the rise throughout the world. Super Tuesday’s delegates are awarded to Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump.

april: The pop megastar Prince passed on. Der Süddeutsche Zeitung along with a consortium of other news outlets publish millions of leaked documents implicating many heads of state and prominent figures in the Panama Papers scandal. For the first time in history, capital punishment is outlawed by more than half the countries in the world.

march: Coordinated bomb attacks take over a hundred lives in Lahore and Brussels, and ISIS claims responsibility. Sadly, comedian and show-master Garry Shandling passed away. World-renowned architect Zaha Hadid also left us. Myanmar sworn in its first democratically elected president in half a century.

february: For the first time since the Great Schism of 1054, the leaders of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches met and committed to an Ecumenical Declaration. Writers Umberto Eco and Harper Lee passed away on the same day. Heretofore theoretical gravitational waves were observed for the first time.  A huge swath of Canadian temperate rain-forest will be protected forever and called Spirit Bear. Bolivia and Peru also reached a deal to protect Lake Titicaca.

january: Davie Bowie tragically passed away, as did musicians Glenn Frey and Natalie Cole. There’s an outbreak of the Zika virus, causing panic in the sub-tropics and prompting many couples to postpone having children, due to the risk of birth-defects. Brutal and powerful Mexican drug-trafficker Joaquín Guzmán is re-captured after his escape from a high-security detention facility. The International Atomic Energy Agency declared that Iran has complied and dismantled its nuclear weapons programme and instructed the UN to lift sanctions.