Season’s Greetings. In warm appreciation to our readers' during the year, we extend our very best wishes for a happy holiday season and a splendid New Year.
2016 was a year of mixed blessings – good news for some and bad news for others.
In June the country voted to leave the European Union, with 52 per cent of votes cast in favour of Brexit. This new word was one of the most used of 2016, but still no one is quite sure what it means. Theresa May said “Brexit means Brexit” in July. But will it be hard or soft?
The mechanisms for enforcing it are still being worked out. Businesswoman Gina Miller used her own money to bring a legal challenge to ensure that Mrs May cannot trigger Article 50, which will start the disengagement process, without a vote in Parliament — and won. Others tried to stop it with petitions to call for another referendum. But the confusion looks set to continue.
As we look forward to a new year, there’s always a little pang of nostalgia when saying farewell to 365 days of memories. The U.S. Presidential Election and Brexit Referendum captured global attention throughout the year and would certainly take the title of “Most Interesting Events of 2016”. Throughout the year, these two events took centre stage and evoked tremendous interest from east to west, south to north globally.
2016 – Year of the Monkey. The Monkey is the ninth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. It was a crazy year outside the political arena. From nuclear tests in North Korea to a bloodbath in Aleppo, bomb blasts in New York and New Jersey, disturbing home fires, jet plane crashes, the year had it all. As is expected, this year had its highs and lows like any other and let us try and capture the highlights of what happened in 2016.
In Canada, the federal Liberals started the year with so much hope and optimism, freshly elected and full of positive messages. Nearly a year later, the government faces allegations that donors can buy access to Justin Trudeau and some of his cabinet, the firm promise of electoral reform by 2019 seems bound to be ignored, and the economy remains stagnant. Yet Trudeau remains strong in the polls, due in part to having three temporary leaders opposing him: the Conservative, NDP and Bloc Québecois leaders are all either interim or departing in 2017.
January started off on a brutal note when Dubai skyscraper “The Address” burns as the New Year is rung in. World's best chef" French-Swiss Benoît Violier is found dead after apparent suicide weeks after being named world's best. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto announces the recapture of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, six months after he escaped prison. Winter storm conditions strand 500 motorists for 24 hours on the New Jersey turnpike in Pennsylvania. Blizzard delivers record snow to 80 U.S. states, New York 30 inches of snow. Washington 28 inches at least 15 killed. On a lighter note, three winning tickets were presented for the $1.6 billion record Powerball lottery held in the U.S. In sports – the Australian Open Tennis saw Angelique Kerber beat Serena Williams in the 104th Women’s Singles Championships. Novak Djokovic outlasted Andy Murray to win the Men’s singles. Jimmy Butler breaks Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls record for points in a half, scoring 40 of his 42 points in the second half to lead the Bulls in a 115-113 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
February saw Pope Francis begin his visit to Mexico, arriving at “Benito Juarez” International Airport in Mexico City. Pope Francis meets Patriarch Kirill in Havana – first meeting between Catholic and Russian Orthodox church heads for nearly 1,000 years. Florida Governor Jeb Bush drops from the U.S. Presidential Election. Lock of John Lennon’s hair sells for $35,000 at an auction, Dallas, Texas. At the 88th Academy Awards, Leonardo DiCaprio bags the Best Actor’s award, Brie Larson wins Best Actress Award, “Spotlight” is the Best Picture and Alejandro G. Inarritu is Best Director. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hits Taiwan and kills at least 59 people. U.S. President Barack Obama announces plans to visit Cuba next month. It is another major step in renewed relations between Cuba and the United States since the last and only president to visit Cuba was Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
March welcomed the World’s Richest Man – Bill Gates with $75 billion as per Forbes Richest List. Longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight by distance, Emirates A380 flies 14,200km (8,824 miles) Dubai to Auckland in 17 hours, 15 minutes. U.S. astronauts Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko return to earth after nearly a year (340 days), setting an ISS record. President Valdimir Putin order Russian troops out of Syria. Barak Obama becomes the first US President to visit Cuba since 1928, arriving for a 2-day tour. English footballer Adam Johnson sentenced to 6 years in prison for sexual activity with a schoolgirl.
April breaks in as Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigns after the Panama Papers leak show a conflict of interest. San Francisco becomes the first US city to mandate paid parental leave. Iranian run-off elections give moderates and reforms a majority in parliament. ICC World Twenty20 Tournament won by the West Indies, beating England by 4 wickets with 2 balls to spare at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
May welcomes the first Muslim mayor of a major Western city as Sadiq Khan (L) is elected Mayor of London, England. Rodrigo Duterte wins Philippine presidential election, promising war on drug trade and killing of criminals. Indian fertility clinic announces that a 70-year old woman has successfully gave birth to a baby boy. EgyptAir flight MS804 goes missing over the Mediterranean on route Paris to Cairo. Independent Alexander Van der Bellen defeats Freedom Party's Norbert Hofer by just 31,000 votes to become President in Austrian elections.
June saw United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union in their "Brexit" referendum. British Prime Minister David Cameron resigns after the UK votes to leave the European Union. U.S. President Barack Obama officially endorsing Hillary Clinton as Democratic Presidential nominee. Rome elects its first female Mayor Virginia Raggi (Five Star Movement) and its youngest at 37. Ceasefire agreement signed between Colombian government and Farc rebels – ending more than 50 years of conflict. Portuguese Professional Cristiano Ronaldo becomes first footballer to top Forbes’ Highest-paid Athletes List, $88 million. NBA Finals: Cleveland Cavaliers win their first title defeating Golden State Warriors 4–3 – 1st team to overcome 3–1 deficit.
July ushered in Theresa May as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by Conservative Party MPs. Islamic militants storm a cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing 20 hostages and 2 police, country's worse terror attack. Large lorry bomb in Baghdad kills at least 125 people and wounds 150, Islamic State claims responsibility. Attempted military coup in Turkey fails, nearly 300 killed, 6,000 then arrested. South African athlete Oscar Pistorius is sentenced to 6 years in jail for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. 123rd Wimbledon Open Tennis tournament, Serena Williams beat Angelique Kerber to win the championships. Williams equals Steffi Graf’s 22 grand slam singles titles. Britain’s Andy Murray beats Canadian Milos Raonic to win the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Championships.
August was the hottest month measured since contemporary records began in 1880, according to a NASA analysis. It was not only the hottest August ever, but also it ties July 2016 as the hottest month ever—an extraordinary occurrence. In other words, we just lived through the hottest month in meteorological history and likely in human history. And then you did it again. A 6.2-magnitude earthquake strikes central Italy, killing at least 290 people. The 6.2 magnitude quake, which sent residents fleeing their homes and running into the streets, is Italy's deadliest since a 2009 quake in the same area. It is now feared that Wednesday's quake could claim even more lives than the 2009 one.
September saw Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who devoted her life to helping India's poor, is declared a saint in a canonization Mass held by Pope Francis in the Vatican. North Korea claims to have detonated a nuclear warhead. A Brazilian judge rules that there is enough evidence for former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, his wife and six others to stand trial on corruption charges, relating to the state-run oil company Petrobus.
October turned out to be unpredictable. There were a few natural disasters that shook the world. Hurricane Matthew makes landfall in Haiti, tearing through the small Caribbean nation with 125 mph winds and heavy rains that flood villages, raze crops, sweep away cattle and cut off parts of the island. The official death toll is more than 500. At least 61 people are killed and 117 injured when militants attack a police training academy in Quetta, Pakistan. More than 70 people are killed and 600 others injured when an overloaded train derails in central Cameroon.
November was an important month from a political viewpoint. Two historical events occurred. First was the unprecedented victory of Republican candidate DONALD TRUMP at the U.S. General Election. The first half of month belonged entirely to president-elect of the United States of America – DONALD TRUMP. He did the impossible to win the election defeating Democratic rival Hillary Clinton on November 8. A plane crashes near Medellin, Colombia, killing more than 70 people, including members of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense. The Chicago Cubs won their first Baseball World Series since 1908, by defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in a 10 inning Game 7 at Progressive in Cleveland. The second half of the month belonged to Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro who passed away on November 25. Castro governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976, and then as President from 1976 to 2008.
December – Lawmakers in South Korea's National Assembly vote, 234-56, to impeach President Park Geun-hye over a corruption scandal. Forty-four people, mostly police officers, are killed and 155 wounded in twin bombings in Istanbul. The explosions, one large blast followed by a smaller one, occurred after a heavily attended soccer game at Besiktas Vodafone Arena.
Celebrity deaths in 2016: The famous faces gone too soon – from Leonard Cohen to Prince and David Bowie to Muhammad Ali and Gordie Howe.
We remember the famous people who have sadly passed on this year and reflect on the lasting memories they have left behind. Natalie Cole, R&B singer and daughter of music legend Nat "King" Cole, died New Year's Eve at age 65 from heart failure caused by lung disease. David Bowie died Jan. 10, two days after his 69th birthday, after an 18-month secret battle with cancer. Rene Angelil, husband and manager of Celine Dion, died Jan. 14 of cancer at age 73. The "My Heart Will Go On" singer's brother Daniel Dion died two days later. Alan Rickman, "Harry Potter" actor and "Die Hard" villain, died of cancer at 69 on Jan. 14. Glenn Frey, The Eagles guitarist and co-founder, died at 67 on Jan. 18. Frey co-wrote hits like "Hotel California" with Don Henley. George Martin, the "Fifth Beatle" best known as a producer for The Beatles, died March 8 at 90. Frank Sinatra Jr., singer and son of Ol' Blue Eyes, died March 16 of cardiac arrest at 72. Patty Duke, Oscar and Emmy-winning actress, former child star and mother of "Lord of the Rings" actor Sean Astin, died March 29 of sepsis from a ruptured intestine at 69. Merle Haggard, country music legend who had more than 30 No. 1 hits, died April 6 on his 79th birthday. Prince, music legend behind hits "Purple Rain," "When Doves Cry," "Batdance," "1999," "Kiss" and others, died April 21 at 57. Muhammad Ali, the boxing legend born Cassius Clay, died June 3 at 74 after a long battle with Parksinson's disease. Gordie Howe, the four-time Stanley Cup champion and NHL legend known as "Mr. Hockey," died June 10 at 88. Ricci Martin, singer and youngest son of Dean Martin, died Aug. 3 at 62. Gene Wilder, comedy legend who starred in classic movies like "Young Frankenstein" and "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," died Aug. 28 at age 83. Arnold Palmer, golf legend known as "The King," died Sept. 25 at 87. Bobby Vee, '60s teen idol who replaced Buddy Holly and helped Bob Dylan get his start, died Oct. 24 after a battle with Alzheimer's disease at 73. Alan Thicke, TV dad on "Growing Pains," died Dec. 13 at 69 after a heart attack. John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth and a former U.S. senator, died Dec. 8 at 95.