1. Terror unleashed
The world witnessed some of the deadliest terror attacks in 2016. From the entire Middle East to Africa, Europe, Asia and the US, 2016 will be remembered as the year when fear and violence spread much faster than fire. While the worst-hit countries were war-ravaged Syria and Iraq, attacks spearheaded by ISIS in Nice (France), Brussels (Belgium) and Orlando (US) made the biggest headlines.
India's next-door-not-so-friendly-neighbour, Pakistan, too was not spared the wrath as a Taliban suicide bomber killed more than 75 people — many of them lawyers mourning a slain colleague — at a hospital in Quetta in August. On July 1, an upscale cafe in Bangladesh's capital was attacked by homegrown terror outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), whose members have allegedly owed allegiance to ISIS.
Brexit, or Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU), turned out to be a major shocker of 2016. While PM David Cameron opposed the exit, a referendum conducted in mid-2016, asking the people from UK nations whether they seek Britain’s exit or not, went against the PM. A shocked Cameron announced his resignation and Theresa May was sworn in as the new PM of the UK. Nearly 52 per cent of the British population voted to leave the EU.
|Brexit or Britain’s exit from the EU turned out to be a major shocker of 2016. [Photo: Reuters]|
3. Celeb deaths
The world also mourned the loss of some of its most-loved celebrities. From music icons Prince, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie and George Michael to sports legend Muhammad Ali; not to mention political figures such as former US first lady Nancy Reagan, former Israeli PM and president Shimon Peres, and Cuban revolutionary and former president Fidel Castro.
Authors Harper Lee and Richard Adams too bid adieu to the world even as the mother-daughter duo of Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia of Star Wars fame) and Debbie Reynolds (Hollywood legend and the star of Singin' in the Rain), breathed their last. Reynolds incidentally suffered a stroke while making funeral arrangements for her daughter Fisher.
4. Don't forget Aleppo!
The unrelenting aerial assaults on Aleppo in 2016 by the Syrian government and its ally Russia left the city helplessly staring at a humanitarian catasthrophe worse than anywhere else in Syria so far in its five-year war. In December, Russia finally declared that the battle over Syria’s largest city was over, with the last remaining rebel fighters agreeing to turn over their territory to the Syrian government.
Russia's meddling in Syria also saw the December 19 assassination of Moscow’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, in Ankara by a policeman claiming to avenge the Russian attack on Aleppo. Gunman Mevlut Mert Altintas reportedly shouted in Turkish, “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!", before being shot dead by the police in a shootout that lasted for 15-minutes.
|People walk on the rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike in the rebel held area of Aleppo's Baedeen district, Syria, May 3. [Photo: Reuters]|
5. The Trump victory
Now the biggest of all disruptions — the 2016 US presidential polls — that left the entire world shocked with the election of Donald Trump. It was one of the most unconventional election campaigns with an equally unconventional outcome that left a stunned Hillary Clinton apologising to her supporters (who cried their eyes out) for not making it over the finish line.
As president-elect Trump and his former supermodel wife Melania get ready to walk into the White House, the US and the world reach out to congratulate Trump to "make America great again".
Other events that shook the world in 2016 include North Korea racing ahead with its nuclear plans, Colombia striking a peace deal, the outbreak of zika virus, a failed coup in Turkey. The year also had its share of air tragedies even as "exploding" phones called for some serious attention.