Recapping the Year In News

By Jack Mollin

January

  • New York City police officers turn their backs on Mayor De Blasio during his eulogy to deceased officer Wenjian Liu, revealing the deep rifts caused by De Blasio’s pro-protestor stance.
  • Terrorists affiliated with ISIS devastated the international community with multiple attacks. The offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were targeted by masked gunmen on Jan. 8, resulting in the deaths of 12 employees, and African group Boko Harem destroyed the town of Baga, Nigeria, killing hundreds of civilians.

February

  • A federal district court blocks President Obama’s efforts to prevent the deportation of over five million illegal immigrants.
  • The Federal Communications Commission votes to regulate the Internet as a utility service, yielding to the concerns of Internet users and companies that broadband providers would intentionally slow down the internet to increase profits.
  • Russian opposition leader Boris Y. Nemtsov is assassinated in Moscow. Many suspect that the government was involved, prompting fresh concerns over Putin’s authoritarian rule.

March

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and congressional Republicans voice their opposition to the nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran.
  • The Justice Department releases a report on Ferguson, Mo., suggesting that the police force discriminated against African Americans. A number of county officials are promptly removed from office.
  • New religious freedom laws that allow businesses not to serve gay couples are passed in Indiana and Arkansas, prompting national outrage and threats of divestment in the states from companies such as Walmart.

April

  • President Obama and President Raul Castro of Cuba meet during the Summit of the Americas in Panama, breaking a 50 year hiatus of face-to-face meetings and forming the basis of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
  • The death of Freddie Gray at the hands of the Baltimore Police Department sparks protests in the city that eventually turn into riots, making it necessary to bring in the National Guard.

May

  • A US Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the bulk collection of telephone records by the National Security Agency was never authorized by the Patriot Act and is excessive; the panel calls on Congress to amend the law.
  • The Boston Marathon bomber is sentenced to death by a jury in front of survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing
  • In a historic referendum Ireland votes to legalize same-sex marriage; 62 pecent of citizens are in favor of the law.

June

  • Chinese computer hackers expose the personal information of millions of government employees in a massive data breach.
  • A white male hoping to instigate racial tensions kills nine in a traditionally black church; he is quickly caught by police and charged with nine counts of murder and possession of a firearm during a violent crime.
  • In Obergefell v. Hodges the Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry under the laws of the Constitution

July

  • Greek citizens vote to reject proposed budget cuts by creditors that would allow the country to receive desperately needed loans.
  • Iran and the U.S. agree to a historic nuclear deal in exchange for the release of crippling sanctions that had been in place on Iran.
  • Japan’s lower house of Parliament passes legislation that will allow the country to participate in foreign conflicts for the first time since World War Two, sparking protests from pacifists across the country.

August

  • Three Americans and a Briton overpower a terrorist patrolling a Paris-bound train with an AK-47; they are awarded the French Legion of Honor for their heroic acts.
  • The European immigration crisis intensifies as 3,000 migrants pass through the Balkans a day and 71 are found dead in a train car in Vienna.
  • The Republicans hold their first presidential debate; it is highlighted by Donald Trump, who refuses to rule out a third party bid.

September

  • Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner resigns early amidst political turmoil caused by the looming expiration of the federal government’s budget.
  • Pope Francis visits the United States for the first time, inspiring millions of Catholics and drawing the attention of American politicians hoping to win his favor.
  • Senate Democrats use Congressional procedures to ensure the Iran nuclear deal will survive.

October

  • Tensions increase in Israel as incitement from Hamas encourages Palestinians to start attacking Israeli soldiers and civilians.
  • Following the advice of scholars, China officially repeals its one child policy due to a rapidly aging population.
  • Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan is elected as Speaker of the House; he vows to fix the stagnation of America’s lower Congressional house.

November

  • ISIS coordinates three attacks on Paris, killing 129 people and wounding hundreds more. In response, the international community increases attacks on ISIS and questions the current processes for vetting refugees.
  • Protests erupt in Chicago after video footage is released of the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
  • A shooter kills three and injures nine at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

December

  • Fourteen people are killed and 20 more are injured in a mass shooting at a mental health facility in San Bernardino, California. Federal agencies classify it as a terrorist attack.
  • In a historic announcement, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter opens all roles in the military to women.
  • The United Nations Climate Change Summit in Paris hosts over 30,000 delegates, who met to discuss ways to save the environment, including setting limits on carbon emissions.
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