2011 news headlines

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Recapping this year’s big news events

Lauren Golosky
News Writer

With the year drawing to a close, the Carillon looks back at some events that made headlines around the world.

Royal Wedding

Millions of people from all over the world gathered around their television sets on Apr. 29 to watch Prince William say “I do” to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London. Middleton, better known to the world as Kate, was a commoner when she met the Duke of Cambridge while they were both studying at the University of St. Andrews. Now Middleton is Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge. Although the world anxiously anticipated what Middleton would be wearing, the ultimate surprise was her younger sister, Pippa. The bride’s maid of honour and her slim white dress stole the show (and all subsequent Internet commentary), along with Princess Beatrice’s hat. The royal wedding event was a media circus even  compared to the wedding of the Duke of Cambridge’s parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

Japan Earthquake

On March 11, Japan suffered the most powerful and devastating earthquake in its history off the coast of Tohoku. The earthquake, which had a magnitude of nine, was the first of overwhelming events that would shock the world. It caused tsunami waves, which lead to a series of nuclear power accidents, all of which have ongoing consequences. A startling 15,839 people were confirmed dead, with 5,950 injured, and 3,642 reported missing, with over 125,000 buildings with damages. Over 300,000 were displaced, and the country faced shortages of supplies. An aftershock occurred later on in April: an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 that caused only minimal damages.

2011 Federal Election

With a Harper majority and a new official opposition party, the 2011 Canadian federal election was one of many firsts. The Conservative party was re-elected, but this time upgrading to a majority government. It won 166 seats, up from 143 from the last election. The Liberals, whose current 34 seats are a historic low for the party, lost their official opposition status and saw leader Michael Ignatieff lose in his own riding. The New Democratic Party surprised everyone by capturing 103 seats, with a large majority of them being in Quebec, and formed the official opposition for the first time ever. The Bloc Quebecois lost 43 seats, as well as its official party status. Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe, like Ignatieff, lost in his riding. The Green Party also experienced a first, with the electoral victory of leader Elizabeth May giving the party its first seat.

Oprah says goodbye

After 25 seasons, the queen of talk shows said goodbye. The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired its first episode on Sept. 8, 1986, aired its last episode on May 25. With 25 seasons and 4,561 episodes, The Oprah Winfrey Show was TV’s longest-running daytime TV talk show. The final episodes included a two-part farewell special, followed by one last regular episode in the studio, where Winfrey tearfully thanked her staff and loyal audience. Oprah had been planning to retire since 1997, but continually renewed her contracts. She retired with no successor in line. The Oprah Winfrey Show is best known for hosting an abundance of guests, ranging from political and public figures and celebrities to non-celebrities. The show is also famous for its giveaways and “Oprah’s Favourite Things.” The most infamous episode in the last decade is arguably the Tom Cruise episode, where he notoriously jumped up and down on a couch on stage, proclaiming his love for Katie Holmes.

Death of Osama Bin Laden

Ten years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Americans finally got their bad guy. On May 2, the leader of Islamic militant group Al-Qaida was killed in Pakistan. He had been in hiding within a compound when the US Special Forces military unit carried out Operation Neptune Spear: a kill or capture mission. Al-Qaida did not confirm his death until May 6. Bin Laden’s body was disposed of at sea after being properly identified. That night, President Obama addressed the world via major TV networks, although anonymous government officials had already leaked the news. Generally, the American public was happy with the news, and many public celebrations were held outside of places such as the White House, the Pentagon, and Time’s Square.

The passing of Jack Layton

Shortly after the federal election, where his party won a record number of seats, Jack Layton passed away at the age of 61. On Aug. 22, Layton succumbed to cancer, less than a month after announcing that he had been diagnosed with it. On July 25, he announced he had been diagnosed with cancer, although he did not specify which type of cancer it was. Layton had been previously diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, but beat it and recovered. After his announcement of his diagnosis, Layton suggested NDP caucus chair, Nycole Turmel, take the position of interim leader. He vowed to return in time for when the House of Commons resumed in September. Unfortunately, he passed before that. He left behind his wife, Olivia Chow, who is also an NDP MP, for the Trinity-Spadina riding.

Occupy

A new international social protest movement has taken the world by storm this year: the Occupy movement. Another initiative of Canadian-based activist group, Adbusters, it started first with Occupy Wall Street and Occupy San Francisco on Sept. 17. By Oct. 9, over 95 cities in 82 different countries had their own Occupy movement in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. Over 600 communities in the U.S. have had Occupy protests. Occupy Regina launched Oct. 15, with protesters occupying Victoria Park until early to mid-November, when city officials called for their eviction.

Norway Terrorist Attacks

On July 22, the country of Norway endured two terrorist attacks, occurring just hours  part. The first was a car bomb in Oslo, placed outside the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and other government officials. This attack killed eight people, severely injured 10, and left many others wounded. The second attack happened on the island of Utoya, where a summer camp orchestrated by the youth division of the Norwegian Labour Party was taking place. While emergency crews were dealing with the aftermath of the car bombing, a gunman dressed as a police officer landed on Utoya, approached the crowd of approximately 600 young people, and opened fire, killing 77 people and injuring 66. Charged with both attacks is 32-year-old  Norwegian man, Anders Behring Breivik. Breivik, a right-wing extremist, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Arab Spring

The world has witnessed a series of revolutions, protests, and demonstrations take over the Arab world. Beginning in December of 2010, a revolutionary wave erupted, and it has yet to stop. There were revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, which were responsible for the ousting of both of their presidents. There has also been a brutal ten-month civil war in Libya, ending with the death of Muammar Gaddafi, and civil uprisings in Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria. Major protests have been occurring in Arabic countries, such as Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman, with smaller protests occurring in Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan. Most, if not all of these events, have been met with violent responses from authorities and the government. Western countries have intervened, but have met much criticism for their actions.

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