2017: The Year in Review
Going into 2017, the world was braced for change, for better or worse. News of landmark political upsets on all sides of the globe had filled the previous year, and in January, we waited to see and feel the impact.
In Britain, the road ahead was twice as unclear as it is today. The power in Westminster had been blindsided by the majority of the country who wanted Something New and Different. The vote was in for burning bridges with Europe, and the still relatively fresh Prime Minister – with her warring cabinet – were gearing up to lead a country into the unknown.
In the States, it was Hold on to Your Hats. The joke was over, and a resounding shout from middle America had put a television personality in the most powerful seat on the planet. Fear, speculation and more often complete disbelief filled the conversations of many social circles, and much of US journalism, too. That same journalism was on its way to face what may still turn out to be one of its biggest threats this century.
Things only got stranger as this year went on. Overseas conflicts came back to the fore in the form of deplorable attacks from twisted ideologies, in London, Stockholm, elsewhere in Europe and the United States. None have been affected more than those in Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
Political surprises continued on into the second half of the year. In the UK, the Conservative party lost its Parliamentary majority after a snap election gamble, but not before Ireland welcomed its youngest and first openly LGBT leader. Coming towards the end of the year, Alabama – a conservative stronghold – saw its first Democratic Party statewide seat win in a decade. Though nobody knows the origin of the phrase, “May you live in interesting times” has never been so relevant.
You’ll find the biggest stories from the past year below with related links. We hope to see you next year.
Dan Cody, Editor.
A year in stories
Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.
The former businessman and television personality is the first person to assume the presidency without any previous government experience.
Over 500 marches take place around the world in a ‘Women’s March’ in protest of the election of President Donald Trump, alongside civil rights protests organised by other groups such as ‘Black Lives Matter’.
North Korea conducts successful test of a medium-range ballistic missile
According to South Korean officials, the new ballistic missile flew east towards the Sea of Japan for about 500km (300 miles). The test of the nuclear-capable weapon is seen as a provocation of Donald Trump’s administration.
Britain Triggers Article 50
The British government triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, officially beginning the process of withdrawal from the European Union.
Theresa May announces a snap election.
Prime Minister Theresa May calls a snap general election for 8 June, taking the country by surprise. The PM had previously stated she had no intention of calling an early general election.
A terrorist bombing attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester kills 22 people and injures over 100.
The suicide bomber responsible for the attack was linked with ISIS in Libya but is believed to have acted alone.
Surprise general election result sees Theresa May lose parliamentary majority.
The Conservative party suffers a net loss of 22 seats, whilst the Labour Party receives their biggest increase in vote share since 1945.
Donald Trump commits to expanding the US military presence in Afghanistan.
The president announced he is willing to commit to up to 4,000 more troops being sent to Afghanistan. 6 US troops have died in Afghanistan in 2017, all fighting ISIS soldiers.
Hurrican Harvey strikes the United States
A Category 4 hurricane devastates much of Louisiana and Texas, USA, and causes severe flooding in areas of the Caribbean. At least 90 deaths were recorded, and total damage reaches $198.6 billion, making Hurricane Harvey the costliest in history.
Hurricane Irma strikes the Caribbean and United States.
The Caribbean and United States are struck by Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 hurricane that is the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic basin outside the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The storm causes at least 134 deaths and at least $63 billion in damage. In some Caribbean islands such as Barbuda, the vast majority of properties are severely damaged, and many remain uninhabited.
North Korea conducts its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
The United States Geological Survey reported an earthquake of 6.3-magnitude near the country, and the North Korean government later claimed it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.
Las Vegas mass shooting kills 58 people.
Fifty-eight people are killed and 546 injured in a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, when Stephen Paddock opens fire on a crowd at the Route 91 Harvest music festival. The incident surpassed the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting as the deadliest mass shooting perpetrated by a lone gunman in U.S. history.
Catalonia declares independence from Spain
Catalonia declares independence from Spain after a disputed referendum which defies the Madrid government. Later, Spain dismissed Catalonia’s president and Cabinet, and dissolved its Parliament, before firing the region’s police chief, as part of measures to regain control. The Catalan republic is yet to be recognised by Spain or any other sovereign nation.
The ‘Paradise Papers’
13.4 million documents are published detailing cases of tax avoidance by way of offshore investments, naming over 120,000 people including Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II.
US president Donald Trump retweets two incendiary, racially charged videos originally posted by the deputy leader of the British far-right group Britain First. The president’s action have been met with widespread criticism, from US senior politicians and UK prime minister Theresa May, among others.
TIME Magazine collectively names a group of women it calls the ‘silence breakers’ as its person of the year.
The group of women are credited with driving the #MeToo movement over the past year, a year which has seen a number of public sexual harassment revelations come forward. Perhaps the most notable case of sexual harassment exposed this year was the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which saw more than 50 women come forward accusing the film producer of sexual harassment and violence.
In the UK, this wave of previously unheard harassment stories provoked a similar situation in Parliament, where staff came forward to accuse MPs and senior staff members of serious abuses of power.
The Iraqi military states it has “fully liberated” all of Iraq’s territory of “ISIS terrorist gangs” and retaken full control of the Iraqi-Syrian border. Conflict in Iraq between the military and ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) has taken place over the last three years.
Democrat candidate Doug Jones wins in Republican stronghold of Alabama.
Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore to earn the first Democrat state-wide seat in a decade.