Sunday, December 30, 2018

Year in Review: 2018

The cryptocurrency industry hit a peak in January 2018, having since lost more than $670 billion in capital. For years, predictions about the role of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, specifically, have been made, the latter's value changing regularly.
 
The US government saw not one but two shutdowns in 2018, separated by just two and a half weeks in January and February. Causing the twin shutdowns were disagreements between Republicans and Democrats on several issues, including immigration, healthcare, and President Donald Trump's proposed border wall. The first lasted three days, while the second lasted less than two hours.
 
Seventeen people were killed when a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, entered the school on February 14 and opened fire on teachers and students. The shooting was one of the deadliest in US history. In the aftermath of the shooting, several student survivors helped ignite a national debate over gun violence in the US, with many of them demanding stricter gun-control laws.
 
The 2018 Winter Olympics took place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, from February 9 to February 25. Norway won the overall medal count with 39, while it tied Germany with 14 gold medals apiece.
 
Data firm Cambridge Analytica accessed data from 50 million Facebook users during the 2016 US presidential campaign without the users' permission, but this didn't come to light until March 2018. Though Facebook said Cambridge Analytica activities were removed from its site in 2015, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in April 2018 and said, "It was my mistake, and I'm sorry."
 
England's Prince Harry wed American actress Meghan Markle (now known as the Duchess of Sussex) on May 19. Television viewership of the wedding was higher than that of Prince William and Kate Middleton's, with more than 29 million people in the United States tuning in to watch Harry and Meghan get hitched, compared to William and Kate's 23 million. The combined number of British and US viewers surpassed 50 million.
 
During a June 2018 summit in Singapore, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un announced that he wanted to end the nuclear tension between his country and the United States by signing an agreement with President Trump including the denuclearization of his country.
 
The two drew worldwide criticism, however, for not offering any specific plan, outline, or proof of said denuclearization. Professor at Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea, Andrei Lankov said the agreement had "zero practical value."  Others are also doubtful as to whether or not Kim Jong Un intends to keep his promise.
 
In June, NASA spotted a continent-size dust storm on Mars that blocked enough sun to effectively turn day into night on the red planet. It eventually grew to cover the entire planet. NASA called it one of the most intense Martian dust storms ever observed. While the storm crippled one Mars rover, another managed to snap a selfie.
 
In summer 2018, a 12-boy soccer team (the Wild Boars) and their coach were celebrating a teammate's birthday when they made a routine trip into the Tham Luang cave in the Chiang Rai province of Thailand. Shortly after they entered, however,  heavy rains that showered the region for the past few days flooded the cave and trapped them all inside.
 
After a week without contact, British divers found the group in early July. An international crew of rescuers resolved to rescue the boys before the next monsoon just days away. During those few days, the world watched as all 13 were pulled to safety from the cave and immediately rushed to the hospital.
 
It's no surprise the FIFA World Cup generated a bigger Google search spike than any other news event in 2018. Nearly half the world's population — 3.4 billion people— tuned in to the world's premier soccer tournament in June and July. The month long, 32-team tournament culminated with France's 4-2 victory over Croatia.
 
In August Apple Inc. becomes the world's first public company to achieve a market capitalization of $1 trillion.
 
In October the IPCC released its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ยบC, warning that "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" are needed to ensure that global warming is kept below 1.5 °C
 
In November Chinese scientist He Jiankui, at a public conference in Hong Kong, announces that he has altered the DNA of twin human girls born earlier in the month to try to make them resistant to infection with the HIV virus; he also reveals the possible second pregnancy of another gene-modified baby.
 
In December the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union reports that, by the end of 2018, more than half - a full 51.2 percent - of the world's population are now using the Internet.
 
2018 was a year for the hearts — at least on Instagram. In the year in review shared on Thursday, December 13, Instagram shared that the heart emoji was used more than 14 million times on the platform, while the Heart Eyes filter appeared in the most Stories.
 
 
 
And sadly let’s remember some of those who left us during 2018;
 
Connie Sawyer died on January 21 aged 105. One of the oldest working actresses of Hollywood, Sawyer died at her home in California. Having over 140 film and TV credits, she was best known for her roles in "The Pineapple Express" and "When Harry Met Sally…." She was also seen in a number of TV shows including "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Murder, She Wrote," "Will & Grace," "ER" and "How I Met Your Mother."
 
Hugh Masekela died on January 23 aged 78. Known as "the father of South African jazz," the legendary trumpeter died after a long struggle with prostate cancer. He was well known for his anti-apartheid compositions such as "Soweto Blues" and "Bring Him Back Home."
 
Ingvar Kamprad died on January 27 aged 91. The Swedish business magnate, one of the country's biggest entrepreneurs, founded IKEA in 1943 when he was just 17.
 
Vic Damone died on February 11 aged 89. Known for hit singles such as "You're Breaking My Heart," "On the Street Where You Live" and "My Heart Cries For You," the traditional pop and big band singer died from complications of a respiratory illness. Aside from his singing career, Damone also acted in a number of films including "Rich, Young and Pretty" and "Deep in My Heart."
 
Billy Graham died on February 21 aged 99. Dubbed "America's Pastor" by former President George W. Bush, Reverend Billy Graham passed away of natural causes at his home in North Carolina. One of the most influential preachers of the 20th century, he hosted the annual "Billy Graham Crusades" on TV, from 1947 to 2005. He also provided spiritual counsel to every president, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.
 
Sridevi died on February 24 aged 54. The Bollywood superstar known for her pan-Indian appeal died due to accidental drowning. A popular leading lady of the 80s and 90s of films such as "Mr. India" (1987), "Chandni" (1989) and "Judaai" (1997), she became known for playing strong female leads in the latter part of her career. She was awarded a Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2013 – the fourth highest civilian honour.
 
Roger Bannister died on March 4 aged 88. The British athlete who became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. In May 1954, Bannister made history by completing the distance within three minutes and 59.4 seconds. He retired in 1954 to pursue medicine and became a neurologist. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011.
 
John Sulston died on March 6 aged 75. The Nobel Prize-winning British biologist who helped decode the human genome. His work on the development and division of cells of a nematode worm is considered one of his most important contributions. He was made a Companion of Honour by the Queen in the 2017 Birthday Honours.
 
Stephen Hawking died on March 14 aged 76. The English physicist and mathematician, who made significant contributions to cosmology. Despite suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a rare and life-threatening condition, he made major contributions to his field of work. He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever.
 
Linda Brown died on March 26. Brown, who was a schoolgirl at the center of the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case which rejected racial segregation in the country's schools, died at 75, as confirmed by sister Cheryl Brown Henderson. The case aimed at eradicating federal education laws which condoned segregated schools for black and white students. When Brown's father Oliver, an assistant pastor, tried to enrol her at the Sumner School in Topeka, Kansas, U.S., the all-white elementary school rejected her application, leading to the lawsuit.
 
Barbara Bush died on April 17 aged 93. The former U.S. first lady was the matriarch of a Republican political dynasty -- just the second woman in American history to have had a husband and a son elected president (Abigail Adams was the first). Literacy was her major issue as first lady. After leaving the White House in 1993, she campaigned on behalf of her two sons who ran for office, George W. (elected president in 2000) and Jeb.
 
Film director Michael Anderson died on April 25 aged 98. The British star was best known for his work on the World War Two epic the Dam Busters and classic sci-fi movie Logans Run. Before his death, Anderson was the oldest living person to have received a best actor nomination at the Oscars for Around the World in 80 days.
 
The Wizard of Oz's 'oldest Munchkin' Jerry Maren died on May 24 at the age of 98. The American actor, who starred opposite Judy Garland in the 1939 classic, died after years of suffering from dementia.
 
Eunice Gayson, the first ever Bond girl, died on June 8 aged 90. She was originally offered the part of Miss Moneypenny in Dr No, but the role eventually went to Lois Maxwell while Eunice became the super spy's love interest for the first two James Bond films.
 
Five-time Open champion Peter Thomson died on June 20 at the age of 88. The legendary Australian had been suffering from Parkinson's disease and died at his home in Melbourne, Golf Australia said. Thomson won his first Open Championship title in 1954 - becoming the only player in the 20th or 21st century to win the tournament three years in succession.
 
 
Team GB snowboarder Ellie Soutter took her own life on July 25, her 18th birthday, the British Olympic Association confirmed. Soutter killed herself in a remote wooded area near her home in Les Gets, France. Soutter claimed Team GB’s only medal at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Erzurum, Turkeyin 2017. Her father, Tony Soutter, said this cruel world took my Soul mate and ‘Bessie’ from me yesterday on her 18th birthday.
 
Aretha Franklin died on August 16 aged 76. The legendary soul singer passed away following a battle with pancreatic cancer. Franklin sold over 75 million records during a music career that lasted six decades.
 
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan died aged 80 on August 18th after battling a short illness. Mr Annan, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for humanitarian work, died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland this morning with his wife and three children by his side, as confirmed on Twitter. Mr Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world's top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
 
 
US Senator and former Presidential candidate John McCain died on August 25, aged 81. The Vietnam War veteran had been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in July 2017, and just days before his death had announced that he was ending medical treatment for it. His daughter Cindy confirmed his death, writing: "He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved best."
 
Burt Reynolds died on September 6 at a hospital in Jupiter, Florida, with his family by his side. The Oscar-nominated actor, who starred in Boogie Nights and Deliverance, passed away at the age of 82 after going into cardiac arrest, US Weekly confirmed. Fans had been concerned about his health in recent years, ever since he was seen on multiple occasions not looking his usual self.
 
Comic book legend, Stan Lee passed away on November 12 aged 95. Lee created such iconic characters as Spider-man, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. During Hollywood's revived love affair with superhero movies, Stan Lee not only served as an executive producer for Marvel Studio's hits like The Avengers movies, Iron Man and Guardians Of The Galaxy - but he managed cheeky cameos in every one of the Marvel films released so far.
 
The actress, best-known for her portrayal of Harriet Oleson on Little House on the Prairie, died at the age of 93 on November 13. Little House star Melissa Gilbert paid a touching tribute to her, thanking her for everything she taught her over the years.
 
Veteran activist Harry Leslie Smith died on November 28, aged 95, after a lifetime spent fighting passionately for the poor. The former RAF pilot, WWII veteran and NHS and refugees campaigner - who called himself the "world's oldest rebel" - was left critically ill after a fall while visiting Canada with his son John.
 
Former American President George H.W. Bush died on November 30 aged 94. His presidency had a massive impact on the world stage, overseeing the end of the Cold War with Russia and embarking on military action against Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War.
 
 

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