‘The Year That Was’ is the cover story from the Qatar Today December 2017 – January 2018 issue, covering all the major events that happened globally in the past year. It will be published online in a series of four parts. ‘World News’ is part two of the ‘The Year That Was’ story.
Part one: Timeline of the Blockade on Qatar
President Donald Trump condemns illegal immigration in the USA by ordering a wall to be built on the US-Mexico border. He used subversive language to describe Mexico and its immigrants in his White House campaign announcement. He promised to build a 2,000 mile border between the USA and Mexico to keep the migrants out and also said that he would make the Mexicans pay for it.
More than 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia faced the risk of starvation due to a massive famine, the worst one since World War II. The famine lasted till June and ended because of the monetary help and food sent by UN, UNICEF and the EU.
Emmanuel Macron of the En Marche! Party won the French Presidential Election against Marine Le Pen of the National Front. The first round of polling was held on April 23, 2017 under a state of emergency that was declared after the Paris Attacks in 2015. Macron was the youngest of all the candidates, having had no previous experience of running for the presidential office. He was the former economy minister in 2014, giving life to the “Macron Law” by promoting economic growth and opportunity. He founded the En Marche! Movement in April 2016 and resigned from the cabinet shortly after. He secured 66.1% of popular votes in the second round.
Rohingya militants attack the border police of Myanmar, which leads to over 70 deaths. Myanmar’s military forces retaliate by driving out thousands of Rohingya people from the country, killing over a 1,000 and displacing close to 400,000 more from their homes, causing them to flee to Bangladesh.
North Korea tests powerful hydrogen bomb in a move to increase pressure on President Trump to stop the nuclear crisis in North Korea. The nuclear test brought along with it a 6.3 magnitude earthquake 10 km from North Korea’s nuclear test site in the north east of the country. Experts have said that the bomb tested was 10 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Under Kim, North Korea has brought in resources to build nuclear weaponry, disregarding many US sanctions against it. Months after the test, aftershocks could be felt in parts of North Korea.
Robert Mugabe was ousted from his former position as leader of the ruling party ZANU-PF. Members agreed to name sacked Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the new leader. Mugabe was also put under house arrest on November 15. After a joint session of both the House of Assembly and Senate on November 21, Mugabe announced his resignation as president. He also negotiated a deal before his resignation, in which he and his family would be free from prosecution, and his businesses would remain untouched. He also made a demand of $10 million.
Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In a press meeting held at the White House, Trump directed the state department to make arrangements to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump broke the trend his predecessors had followed by which they would sign a six-month waiver overriding a 1995 law requiring that the US Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Many officials and other heads of states have said that this will disrupt the stability of the region and have advised him to take back his statement.