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2009: My review of the past year

Today being New Year’s Day, I wanted to do a summary of the top news events of the past year. 

1. The Economy – I think it’s safe to say the economic recession was one of the defining events of 2009.  The year was off to a rough start with an unsettling number of layoffs, the downfall of the automobile industry, numerous home foreclosures and a debatable stimulus plan

2. 50th Anniversary of the Revolution– On January 1, Cuba celebrated its 50th year since Fidel Castro’s 1959 Revolution. 

Portrait of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara in Havana's Revolutionary Square

3. Miracle on the Hudson– Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger became a hero on January 15th after the U.S. Airways jetliner he was flying hit a flock of birds, forcing an emergency landing on New York’s Hudson River. 

4. Blagojevich– Gov. Rod Blagojevich was ejected from office after he attempted to auction off Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat. 

5. Octomom– Nadya Suleman gave birth to octuplets. When the world learned she already had six other children at home, also conceived by in-vitro fertilization, the ethical debates began. 

6. 44th Presidential Inauguration– A monumental moment as Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African American President of the U.S. 

7. Afghanistan– The responsibility of the war in Afghanistan passed from the Bush Administration to U.S. President Barack Obama, as the current president ordered 30,000 more troops.  Also, Afghanistan’s election was postponed to August and results revealed current President Hamid Karzai would remain in power.

8. Pakistan– President Obama unveiled a new war strategy to defeat Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda in Pakistan.

9. Chris Brown vs. Rihanna– Less than 24 hours before the couple were supposed to attend the Grammys, a domestic dispute between Chris Brown and Robin ‘Rihanna’ Fenty resulted in Brown’s arrest and a leaked police photo of Rihanna’s injuries after the alleged assault.

10. Susan BoyleSusan Boyle, a 47 year old single woman from Scotland, became a youtube sensation after appearing on Britain’s Got Talent singing ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from Les Miserables.

11. H1N1– Fears regarding Swine Flu surfaced after it appeared to be spreading in the spring of 2009 and continued to the end of the year as more and more cases were being reported. Edgar Hernandez, a 5 year old from Mexico, was the first case of H1N1, known as ‘patient zero.’

12. Sri Lankan Tamils– Sri Lankan Tamils forced to relocate due to the civil war protested the treatment of civilians during the Sri Lankan government’s war against Tamil Tiger rebels.

13. Gay Marriage– California’s ban on gay marriage was upheld after Prop 8 was passed last year.

14. Mark Sanford– South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s affair with a woman in Argentina was exposed, prompting his wife, Jenny Sanford, to file for divorce.

15. Jon and Kate Gosselin– Jon and Kate of TLC’s Jon and Kate Plus 8, announced their separation and subsequent divorce this year, which led to a media frenzy around the family for months. TLC later announced the show would not continue.

16. Iran’s ElectionViolent protests broke out in Iran after election results revealed the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Social sites like Twitter and youtube proved their worth, after civilians used the networking sites to convey the violence in Iran post-election and posted video of Neda Agha-Soltan’s death.

17. Michael Jackson’s death– The King of Pop’s death at age 50 devastated fans of Michael Jackson around the world. Perhaps even more devastating was his father, Joe Jackson’s behaviour afterwards.

18. Billings’ Murder– Byrd and Melanie Billings were the parents of 16 children, 12 of whom were adopted and had various disabilities including autism and Down syndrome.  The generous couple were shot to death during a home-invasion while nine of their children were in the home.

19. Jaycee Dugard– Jaycee Dugard returned home this year after being abducted 18 years earlier at the age of 11.

20. Edward Kennedy dies– U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy died after battling brain cancer for a year. He was the last living borther of the Kennedy political dynasty.

21. Balloon Boy– Six year old Falcon Heene was thought to have been in an airborne homemade helium balloon but was later found hiding in his home. The incident was revealed to be a hoax orchestrated by Falcon’s parents, who were eventually sentenced to do prison time.

22. Fort Hood Massacre– Major Nidal Hasan unleashed a massive gunfire attack on his own Fort Hood, Texas army base, killing 13 people and wounding countless others.

23. UN Climate SummitClimate talks in Copenhagen at the UN Climate conference were hardly ideal as world leaders struggled to come to an agreement.

24. Tiger Woods– After a car accident and rumours of an altercation between Tiger Woods and his wife Elin, numerous alleged mistresses came forward, and Woods released a statement apologizing for his “transgressions.” Woods’ reputation has since taken a hit, and his actions have led several sponsors to drop him.

25. Health Care Reform– President Obama’s Health Care Reform proposal was passed in the Senate.

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