Tuesday, February 25, 2020

WORLD | 31-12-2017 01:00

The key events that shaped the year

From the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, to record hurricanes, here are some of the 12 key events which marked 2017.


On January 20, Republican billionaire Donald Trump, 70, is inaugurated as the 45th US president, vowing to follow a policy based on “America first.” Suspicions of collusion between his election campaign and Russia, however, dog the start of his term. Through early morning tweets, Trump unpicks the achievements of his Democrat predecessor, Barack Obama.He pulls out of several international agreements: on climate change, free trade, immigration and UNESCO. On December 6, in another break with his predecessors, Trump creates shockwaves around the world when he recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.


On March 29, London launches the process to leave the European Union, nine months after British voters opted to leave in a referendum. On June 8, Britain votes in a snap general election called by Prime Minister Theresa May in a bid to increase her slender parliamentary majority. But her Conservatives instead suffer a major setback and lose their majority. After months of negotiations, on December 8, Brussels and London reach a deal on Brexit divorce terms, opening the way to talks on their future relationship. The government loses a vote on whether Parliament should have a final say on any exit agreement.


On May 7, pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron, 39, wins a resounding victory over farright rival Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election. His new En Marche movement drives the two biggest parties – the Socialists and Republicans – out of the Élysée Palace for the first time.


On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies sever diplomatic ties with Qatar. In the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the region in years, they accuse Doha of supporting “terrorists” and of being too close to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional rival. Then, on November 4, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announces from Saudi Arabia that he is resigning – before later doing a Uturn – citing Iran’s “grip” on Lebanon. In Yemen, Huthi rebels are also accused by Riyadh of receiving support from Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.


On July 30, Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly – whose legitimacy is disputed by the opposition and abroad – is elected after four months of protests against socialist President Nicolás Maduro. Enjoying wide-ranging powers, in early August it dismisses Attorney General Luisa Ortega, who has become one of Maduro’s top critics. Then it takes over the opposition-dominated National Assembly. The country, devastated by plummeting oil prices, is considered as being in “selective default” by ratings agencies.


On September 3, North Korea, which has upped its missile strikes, conducts its sixth and largest nuclear test. On November 29 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says that his reclusive country has completed its “state nuclear force” with the test of a long-range missile able to deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in the United States. Washington threatens to “utterly destroy” the regime “if war comes.”


On August 25, the military in Buddhist-majority Myanmar launches a crackdown on Rohingyas in the westernmost state Rakhine after militants from the stateless Muslim minority ambush security forces there. Nearly 650,000 Rohingyas find refuge in Bangladesh. The UN and US denounce “ethnic cleansing,” while the UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein speaks of “elements of genocide.”


On October 1, an independence referendum is held in Spain’s wealthy northeastern Catalonia region. The poll is deemed illegal by the central government. Madrid moves to assert control but Catalan lawmakers vote on October 27 to declare independence from Spain. Madrid reacts by calling new regional elections, while dismissing Catalonia’s government and suspending the region’s autonomy.

Deposed regional president Carles Puigdemont, who has been charged with sedition and rebellion, takes refuge in Belgium.


On October 5, The New York Times publishes a bombshell investigative report accusing Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, 65, of sexual harassment over several decades. Allegations of sexual misconduct have since been levelled at a long list of personalities in film, television, journalism and politics around the world.


November 21. Zimbabwe’s veteran president Robert Mugabe, 93, resigns following a 37-year rule, after being abandoned by the military and his own party. He is driven out following a military takeover, over his sacking of Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice-president, who goes on to succeed him.


Iraq on December 9 declares victory in its war to expel the Islamic State, but experts warn that Jihadists remain a threat. In Syria the group has also lost most of the territory it had conquered.

Around the world numerous deadly attacks, from Britain to Egypt, have been claimed or blamed on the group this year.


The year, marked by Trump’s decision on June 1 to leave the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord, sees a series of natural disasters, including record-breaking hurricanes, earthquakes and devastating fires. The year is set to be one of the three warmest years ever recorded. Experts say global warming can make certain events, like floods, drought and hurricanes, more frequent and worse.

Those we lost in 2017

From German political colossus Helmut Kohl to rock pioneer Chuck Berry, here are some of the biggest global personalities who passed away this year.


January 7: Former president Mario Soares, seen as the father of Portugal’s modern-day democracy, aged 92 in hospital.

January 8: Iran’s former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani,aged 82 following a heart attack.

March 21: Martin McGuinness, a one-time Irish Republican Army (IRA) commander who helped negotiate an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland, aged 66 in hospital from a heart condition.

May 29: Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, 83, in a Panama City hospital.

June 16: Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, celebrated as the father of German reunification and an architect of European integration, aged 87, at home.


January 25: US TV icon Mary Tyler Moore, aged 80 in hospital.

January 25: British veteran actor John Hurt, aged 77 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

March 18: American Chuck Berry, a father of rock ‘n’ roll, aged 90 at his home.

May 18: US musician Chris Cornell, best known for fronting Soundgarden, aged 52 from suicide.

May 23: British actor Roger Moore, 007 in seven James Bond films, aged 89 of cancer.

June 27: British author Michael Bond, who created Paddington bear, aged 91 at his home.

August 20: American comedian and actor Jerry Lewis aged 91, at his home.

October 24: Rock pioneer and boogie-woogie pianist Fats Domino, at home aged 89.

December 6: French rock star Johnny Hallyday, aged 74 after a battle with lung cancer.


March 20: David Rockefeller, banker, philanthropist and heir of the powerful US dynasty, aged 101 in his sleep at home.

September 21: The world’s richest woman and l’Oreal heiress, Liliane Bettencourt, aged 94, at her home in Paris.

September 27: Hugh Hefner, US businessman, magazine publisher and founder of Playboy magazine, aged 91 at his home, the Playboy Mansion.


June 16: Christian Cabrol, a French cardiac surgeon known for performing Europe’s first heart transplant, aged 91 in a Paris hospital.


May 15: Britain’s “Moors Murderer” Ian Brady, imprisoned for life in 1966 for torturing and murdering five children, aged 79, at a high-security hospital.

November 20: Charles Manson, the cult leader behind a savage killing spree in the United States in the 1960s, aged 83 in a California hospital.

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