UK – Brexit
The Vote Leave Campaign won the referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU on June 23 with 52% of the vote. Following the vote, David Cameron resigned as prime minister, and was succeeded by Theresa May. The UK is formally set to start the process of leaving the EU by the end of March 2017, and is expected to complete the process by summer 2019.
USA – US Elections
Donald Trump was declared the president-elect of the United States on November 8, in a surprise win over frontrunner Hillary Clinton (who won the popular vote by upwards of 2 million votes). In the FiveThirtyEight poll, Hillary Clinton was leading trump with a 71.4% chance of winning the election. On the Republican side, Trump beat 16 mainstream Republicans to win his party’s nomination, while Hillary Clinton became the first woman to become the nominee of a major party. The rest of the campaign was marked by scandals, divisive political rhetoric, and overall unpredictability.
CANADA – Fort McMurray Fire
The escalation of the fire, that first broke out on March 3, in Fort McMurray saw the evacuation of nearly 88,000 people, making it one of the largest in Canadian history. Upwards of 2,400 homes were burnt to ashes, and many homes remain unfit for habitation.
FRANCE – Paris Climate Agreement
The Paris agreement went into effect from November 4. As of December 2016, the agreement has garnered 194 signatories, after it was opened for signing on Earth Day, 2016. The agreement aims to prevent the rise of global temperatures by 2 degrees (aiming to limit it to about 1.5 degrees Celsius).
SYRIA – Takeover of Aleppo
The Syrian Army took full control of Aleppo on December 13, following weeks of intense fighting against rebel forces, in what can be considered the biggest blow to the rebellion in the five years of civil-war.
VATICAN – Mother Teresa declared a saint
The Catholic nun from Kolkata was declared a saint in a canonization mass held by Pope Francis in the Vatican. She was canonized in St. Peter’s Basilica, 19 years after her death, amidst Catholics from all around the world.
MUSIC – Death of David Bowie and Prince
The music world suffered with the loss of these legendary musicians. Bowie died of liver cancer at age 69 on January 10, just days after the release of his latest album, Blackstar. Prince died from a fentanyl overdose at his home in Minnesota on April 21 at age 57.
SCIENCE – Discovery of Gravitational Waves
Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), an international collaboration of physicists researching gravitational waves, made history when it announced the first detection of gravitational waves — thus supporting a concept predicted by Einstein in his theory of relativity.