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Year In Review: The Best And Worst Moments of 2017

As we usher in 2018, we remember what 2017 was like — a year that was full of cultural reformations, political upheaval, and social tension, but also one blessed with many surprises that made us smile along the way. During the last few days of 2017, let's take a look back at this year's most unforgettable moments, while working towards a better year ahead.

 

The worst of 2017

 

Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and other sexual misconduct news stories

Photo credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Ronan Farrow's explosive expose on Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein shook the world as they learned about the powerful man's sexual abuse and harassment towards women in Hollywood. Similarly, Kevin Spacey was also outed by fellow actor Anthony Rapp, citing his sexual misconduct around male colleagues. These reports revealed that close to a hundred individuals were victimized, and have prompted investigations in other industries including broadcasting, publishing, fashion, and even politics. It's the first time in the world's history that such large-scale examinations of sexual misdemeanor in the workplace have been executed. NBC's Matt Lauer, comedian Louis C.K., and many US lawmakers have been accused in the process. 

 

North Korea's nuclear missiles

Photo credit: KCNA via KNS/AFP

 

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un sanctioned nuclear missile tests this year. For years, he has informed the press and world leaders about his country's ability to produce weapons of mass destruction and launch them should they feel threatened. Finally, in November, North Korea successfully fired a ballistic missile that crashed into the Sea of Japan, prompting Japan to call for an emergency meeting with the UN security council. The North Korean leader has released statements that this launch will not be the first, and the next missiles could have the potential to reach the United States and other neighboring countries. 

 

Natural calamities that devastated cities around the world 

Photo credit: Stephen Yang via Reuters

 

With increased frequencies and intensities of natural disasters around the world, several countries and cities this year called for help in the wake of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and wildfires. We recall how Florida and many Caribbean islands were battered by Hurricane Irma, Mexico was hit by the strongest series of earthquakes the city has seen in a hundred years, Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, the worst wildfires ripped through California and Portugal, while at least three high magnitude earthquakes shook different parts of China. 

 

The Las Vegas shooting, and other terrorist attacks and displays of violence 

Photo credit: David Becker/Getty Images 

 

The United States lived through the worst mass shooting in its history: the Las Vegas shooting during the Route 91 Harvest music festival that injured over 500 people and left at least 50 dead. Around the world, other acts of terror were carried out like the Barcelona attack that saw a van ram pedestrians in a crowded tourist area, the London Bridge and Manchester Ariana Grande terror attacks, the Champ-Elysees shooting in Paris, and the Port Authority bombing in New York. In Africa and the Middle East, Syrian, Afghan, Libyan, and Egyptian civilians continue to fight for their lives in the wake of unending threats by ISIS and other terrorist groups. 

 

President Trump's travel ban campaigns and other controversial statements  

Photo credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

 

While met with opposition by other members of government and lawmakers, President Trump continues to push for a travel ban law. The legislation will essentially bar entry of individuals from predominantly Muslim countries as a solution to help curb the country's terror threats. In a similar vein, the US leader has made countless statements via social media that have sparked controversy, including claims of fake news released by news agencies about him, US unemployment reaching an all time low, public criticism of the previous administration, and an announcement of banning transgender citizens to enter the military. 

 

Myanmar's Rohingya Crisis 

Photo credit: AP/Bernat Armangue

 

Myanmar currently struggles to find peace amidst its Rohingya crisis and what has been termed an "ethnic cleansing" and "genocide." The Rohingya are an ethnic group with mostly Muslim members, but is not considered one of the country's official ethnic groups and have been denied citizenship since 1982. Violence towards them escalated this year with thousands of killings carried out by extremist Buddhist groups, turning many survivors into homeless refugees. 

 

The Philippines' Dengvaxia controversy 

 

The Philippines was one of the first countries to introduce Dengvaxia to its populace, a vaccine that was meant to protect children who had already gotten dengue fever from getting it again. The controversy erupted when it was revealed that the drug's side effects had not been fully documented and that its clinical trials had not been completed before administering it to more than 800,000 school children. It was reported that Dengvaxia's effects on children who have not yet gotten dengue have not been thoroughly examined. The government now faces legal cases from many of these children's families. 

 

The Charlottesville, Virginia protest

Photo credit: News2Share via Reuters

 

The issues of race remains to be a hot topic in the United States. Last August, a large gathering of white supremacists in a "Unite the Right" rally clashed with African American residents and police which resulted in numerous injuries and even death. The rally was meant to evoke the ultraright nationalist organizations during the time of Adolf Hitler and was organized with the purpose of fueling Neo-Nazi attitudes in the US. 

 

 

The best of 2017

The #MeToo movement 

Photo credit: Noam Galai/WireImage

 

As a response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal, hundreds of women from all walks of life have come forth under the #MeToo movement. The movement encouraged them to publicly out their abusers, find solace in one another, and give other victims a voice to ensure that sexual misconduct in the workplace is finally addressed with the utmost seriousness and gravity. High-profile women like Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Taylor Swift, Uma Therman, Emma Thompson, Salma Hayek, and more leading ladies of Hollywood have all been part of the movement. 

 

Same-sex marriage in Australia

Photo Photo credit: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images


Australia becomes the 24th country in the world to legalize gay marriage. The law was finally passed after over a decade of fierce debates over it in Parliament. Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull has been known to be supportive of LGBT rights, and was a key player in this historic event in the country. Gay marriages can now happen beginning in January 2018. 

 

Viola Davis' "Triple Crown of Acting"

Photo credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

 

African American actress made history when she became the first black woman to receive the title. The Triple Crown of Acting is given to actors and actresses who have received a competitive Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award. Only 22 other actors in Hollywood have been able to bag the impressive accolade. Viola Davis earned the title when she was named Best Supporting Actress at the 2017 Oscars for her role in Fences. 

 

Saudi Arabia lets women drive 

Photo credit: ndtv.com file photo

 

Daughters, wives, sisters, and the general female population of Saudi Arabia erupted in cheers and tears of joy when their King issued a decree that effectively lifted the ban on female drivers. Likewise, it was a change approved of Council of Senior Religious Scholars – the country's highest religious authority that advises the King on religious matters. Saudi Arabia was the only country left in the world that didn't let women drive, but will now have to adjust traffic rules and regulations to consider this groundbreaking change. 

 

Animals removed from the extinct species list 

Photo credit: Sebastian Kennerknecht/Minden Pictures/FLPA

 

For years, we have been informed by scientists and environmental conservationists alike about the animal species we lose for good each year due to climate change and loss of habitat. Good news has come from them in 2017 as they officially announced that five animals thought to be extinct are still around. The Australian night parrot, Huila stubfoot toad,  Cuban solenodon, Javan elephant, and Terror skink are very much still alive. 

 

Zimbabwe's dictatorship ends 

Photo credit: EPA-EFE/Aaron Ufumeli

 

Robert Magube held Zimbabwe's seat of power for 37 years. During his term, the dictator failed to deliver his promises of redistributing land to his people and instead gave them to his political cronies, did not address issues of unemployment and poverty, and manipulated elections to stay in power. A coup held in November to overthrow him was successfully staged with Emmerson Mnangagwa emerging as the African country's new leader. 

 

Science makes breakthrough paralysis research 

 

Scientists have made big progress in finding a solution to paralysis. Their research has revealed that brain implants may be able to restore mobility that spinal cord injuries can take away, or significantly hinder. The treatment is targeted to have 10-15 year availability timeline. 

 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's engagement 

 

As the year comes to a close, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are thrust in the public eye and being touted as the first pair of modern royals. The Prince has set his gaze on Meghan, an unconventional choice of spouse given her biracial American background, lack of royal ancestry, and the fact that she has been married before. The Queen has reportedly given her approval of the marriage that's set to take place in May of next year. For many, their engagement is considered to usher in a new era for an otherwise institution whose attitudes towards marriage needed a modern upgrade. 

 

Cover image from scmp.com

Content image from nydailynews.com