From the catastrophic Haiti earthquake to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s high-profile royal wedding and President Donald Trump’s impeachment, here’s a look at the top news stories that made headlines in the past decade (2010-2019). Do you remember all of them? If not, let us help you.
- In January, the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building measuring 829.8 metres (2,722 ft), officially opened in Dubai.
- The 2010 Haiti earthquake that occurred on January 12, was a catastrophic disaster. With a magnitude of 7.0 Mw, the earthquake killed lakhs of people. By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater were recorded.
- In April, the first generation of the iPad was launched in April and was considered a novelty tech item.
- On 8 December, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange turned himself into British police after Swedish authorities put out an arrest warrant against him in connection to two sexual assault allegations.
- On March 11, an earthquake of 9.0 magnitude struck in the Pacific Ocean off the northeast coast of Japan’s Honshu island. Named as the Great East Japan Earthquake, it triggered a massive tsunami that had an estimated 20,000 people dead or missing. Due to the 50-foot tsunami, multiple reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant lost power that caused the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Over 1,000 deaths were reported.
- On April 29, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding one of the most highly-covered events with an estimated 22.8 million viewers watching the spectacle.
- On May 2, one of the most wanted terrorists and leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces in Abbottabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.
- In October, former leader of Libya Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed during the Battle of Sirte. The revolutionist-turned dictator was dragged through the streets and executed by opposition fighters.
- The Arab Spring – a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions spread across much of the Islamic world in the early 2010s. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standard of living, starting with protests in Tunisia. Later, it spread to other countries like Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain. The protests also led to large-scale conflicts like the Syrian Civil War, Iraqi insurgency, Egyptian Crisis, Libyan Civil War and Yemeni Crisis.
- In July, South Korean musician Psy’s video ‘Gangnam Style’ became the most-watched video ever on YouTube crossing more than a billion views.
- Barack Obama, the first African-American to serve as US president returns for a second term.
- The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on December 14 in Newtown, Connecticut, US, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people, including 20 children. Before driving to the school, he also shot and killed his mother. He later committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
- Edward Snowden, former technical assistant for the CIA leaked files about the National Security Agency (NSA) on global surveillance programs. It prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy.
- In 2012, a 17-year-old African-American teen was shot and killed in Florida by his neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman while on his way to buy snacks at a convenience store. The Black Lives Matter movement officially began in 2013 with the #BlackLivesMatter when Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering the African-American teen. Since then, numerous street demonstrations have erupted over the deaths of many African-Americans in the hands of police or others.
- Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio created history by becoming the first South American to lead the Roman Catholic Church. He became pope and assumed the name Pope Francis.
- In March 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared without a trace. It had 239 passengers and crew members onboard. The mysterious missing of the plane triggered a multinational search and remained unsolved for years.
- From July to August, the Ice Bucket Challenge became a popular internet trend with videos of people dumping ice-cold water on themselves, then challenging others to do the same.
- The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in rural southeastern Guinea, marking the start of the West Africa Ebola epidemic. The disease eventually spread to Italy, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain, UK, and US. Over 11,000 people died of the virus worldwide.
- Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 in Gaza to “put an end to rocket fire and remove the threat of attacks by militants tunneling under the border.” Most commonly known as the Israel-Gaza conflict, it killed over 2,200 Palestinians, lost 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians. The conflict went on for seven weeks with both sides claiming victory.
- The ISIS or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria gained global prominence when it drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in its Western Iraq offensive, followed by its capture of Mosul and the Sinjar massacre. It became known for committing heinous acts like public executions, rapes, beheadings, and crucifixions, and posting them online through videos.
- In June, same-sex marriage became legal in the US in the landmark court case Obergefell v. Hodges. The US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in all fifty states, establishing a new civil right across the nation and giving the gay rights movement a long-sought victory.
- On January 7, 2015, two gunmen forced their way into the office of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris and killed 12 people, injuring 11 others. Shootings also occurred at a Jewish supermarket in Paris that killed 17 people and wounded 22. The gunmen identified themselves as belonging to the ISIS.
- On November 13, another series of coordinated terrorist attacks took place in the French capital including the Bataclan theatre and concert hall and a football stadium in Saint Denis, killing 130 and injuring nearly 500 people. Once again, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks stating it was retaliation for the French airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq.
- The Opioid crisis began in 2015, which is caused by over-prescription and abuse of opioids. Over 47,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose.
- The Rohingya refugee crisis began from 2015 onward, which saw forcible displacement of Myanmar nationals of Rohingya ethnicity from the Rakhine state of Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh.
- In February, actor Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar for the first time for his role in The Revenant. Previously, he was nominated four times at the Academy Awards. His win generated a lot of memes.
- On April 3, 11.5 million encrypted confidential documents belonging to a Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), dubbing them the Panama Papers. It contained personal financial information about a number of leaders, public officials, and celebrities. It basically showed ways in which the rich can avoid taxes through offshore tax havens like the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Panama, and Seychelles.
- On November 8, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the US. He defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in a landmark upset.
- Brexit – the withdrawal of Britain from Europe was officially declared after a referendum held in June 2016 saw 51.9% of the UK voting to leave the European Union. Although Brexit was originally scheduled to occur in March 2019, the process has been fraught with delays in reaching a deal with the EU.
- In 2016, WHO declared the Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The virus is known to cause microcephaly in infants and is behind thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains. Zika is transmitted primarily through a specific type of mosquito, efforts have been made to eradicate it through spraying.
- In January, on the first day of Donald Trump’s presidency, millions of women took to the streets of Washington and other cities to protest. The Women’s March became the largest single-day demonstration in US history with over 5 million people participating. The protests were to support gender equality & civil rights.
- The Grenfell Tower fire broke out in June in a West London kitchen of a fourth-floor apartment in a 23-storey high-rise tower block. Within minutes, the flames leaped up the exterior of the building and quickly spread to all sides. As many as 72 people died in the fire.
- In October 2017, the #MeToo movement took off after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein faced many public sexual abuse allegations. The movement became a rally for women as millions shared their own experiences about sexual harassment and assault. Eventually, it became a historic feminist movement.
- In August, the US experienced a total solar eclipse known as the Great American Eclipse. It was the first time a solar eclipse was visible across the entire US since June 1918.
- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was ousted after 37 years of ruling the African nation. Many anti-Mugabe demonstrators took to the streets to celebrate the overthrowing of the revolutionary-turned-dictator.
- On March 24, thousands of students took part in the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. – a demonstration organised by survivors of the Parkland shooting to call for gun control reform.
- In May 2018, the royal wedding of Prince Harry and former television actor Meghan Markle took place, which featured a total of about 600 guests and approximately 29.2 million viewers, a few million more than William and Kate’s wedding.
- From April 6 to June 20, under its zero-tolerance immigration policy, the Trump administration began to criminally prosecute all suspected illegal border-crossers for illegal entry. Many families underwent separations when parents or relatives were charged with unlawful entry.
- On June 24, Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on allowing women to drive as well as lifted a 35-year ban of movie theatres early in 2018.
- In June and July, 13 members of a junior football team were successfully rescued from a cave in Thailand known as the Tham Luang Nang Non-cave. The team had entered the cave on 23 June after football practice but got trapped due to heavy rainfall partially flooding the cave.
- On October 2, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.
- The Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal was a major political scandal that revealed the personal data of millions of Facebook users that were taken without their consent. It led to a massive fall in Facebook’s stock price and called for tighter regulation of tech companies’ use of personal data.
- In January, the most diverse class of lawmakers was sworn into Congress. Among them were 117 women, people of color, LGBTQ representatives, the first Native-American women, as well as the first Muslim-American women.
- One of the most destructive and recent forest fires, a record rate of 73,000 fires has been detected at the Amazon rainforest this year by Brazil’s space research centre, INPE. The rainforest, which contributes almost 20 percent of the earth’s oxygen, has burned for more than half a month, which created a major loss of biodiversity.
- The Christchurch mosque shootings were two consecutive terrorist shooting attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on 15 March. The attacks killed 51 people and injured many. The gunman live-streamed the first attack on Facebook.
- In April, the world got the first-ever photo of a black hole, which is the most mysterious spectacle in the universe.
- In June 2019, massive protests began in Hong Kong against the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the Hong Kong government. If enacted, the bill would have allowed the extradition of criminal fugitives who are wanted in territories with which Hong Kong does not currently have extradition agreements, including Taiwan and mainland China.
- In September, Greta Thunberg, a 16-year old environmental activist addressed the UN Climate Action Summit in New York where she confronted world leaders with her now famous “How dare you?” speech. She was also nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize and became the youngest individual to be featured on Time magazine as Person of the Year.
- On December 18, the House of Representatives impeached Trump. He was charged with abuse of power as well as his dealings with Ukraine. The trial is expected to begin in January 2020.
- Elizabeth Taylor, famous for her role as Cleopatra (1963) died at the age of 79 on March 23, 2011.
- On 23 July 2011, Grammy Award-winning singer Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27 due to alcohol poisoning.
- Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple died on October 5, 2011, due to respiratory arrest.
- Whitney Houston died on 11 February 2012, at the age of 48 due to due to coronary artery disease and cocaine intoxication.
- Actor Paul Walker of The Fast & Furious fame died on 30 November 2013, at the age of 40 in a car accident.
- On 5 December 2013, former South African president Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95.
- On 11 August 2014 actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead at his home in California. He had committed suicide.
- Singer-songwriter David Bowie died at the age of 69 on 10 January 2016.
- After a long fight with cancer, Harry Potter actor Alan Rickman died at the age of 69 on 14 January 2016.
- On September 27, 2017, Playboy editor-in-chief, Hugh Hefner died at the age of 91.
- Stephen Hawking died at his home in Cambridge, England, on March 14 2018, at the age of 76.
- American celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain committed suicide at the age of 61 on June 8, 2018.
- American comic book writer, Stan Lee, best known for his work with Marvel Comics died at the age of 95 on 12 November 2018.