June 21, 2021
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Year Ender 2017: The Most Talked-About International News

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Year Ender 2017: The Most Talked-About International News

From a new US president to sexual harassment allegations against celebs, from escalating tension between North Korea and the US to the fall of ISIS, Outlook takes a look back at the long, turbulent trip 2017 has been.

Istanbul nightclub shooting

(AP File Photo)

On January 1, a gunman, identified as Uzbekistan-born Abdulkadir Masharipov, shot and killed 39 people and wounded at least 70 others at the Reina nightclub in the Ortaköy neighbourhood of Istanbul, where hundreds had been celebrating the New Year. He reportedly fired more than 180 rounds during the seven-minute attack, and used stun grenades to aid in reloading. After the assault, he went into the kitchen, changed his clothes, and escaped by blending in with the crowd. At the time of the attack, around 600 people were at the nightclub to celebrate the New Year.   

(Uzbekistan-born attacker Abdulkadir Masharipov. AP file photo)

Masharipov was arrested in Istanbul on January 17. The Islamic State claimed the responsibility for the attack. The first hearing in the trial of Masharipov and 51 accused accomplices was held on December 11 and the next hearings will be held from March 26 to 30, 2018. 

Russian interference in 2016 US elections

(AP file photo)

In January, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released a declassified version of its report on Russia’s interference in the US presidential election. The report, which draws on intelligence gathered by the FBI, CIA, and NSA, concludes with “high confidence” that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election” that included hacking the personal email accounts of Democratic Party officials and political figures. The controversy is to become a recurrent theme in President Trump's first year in office.  

(AP file photo)

On May 9, 2017, Trump dismissed FBI director James Comey, citing in part dissatisfaction with the ongoing suspicions of his presidency because of "this Russia thing". On May 17, deputy attorney general, and acting attorney general for this investigation, Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the investigation.

Assassination of Kim Jong-nam

(AP file photo)

On February 13, Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong-iland and the half-brother of current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was assassinated by two women using VX nerve agent, a lethal chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. The assassination is under investigation but is widely believed to have been ordered by the North Korean government.

(AP file photos)

Kim Myung-yeon, a spokesperson for South Korea's ruling party, described the killing as a "naked example of Kim Jong-un's reign of terror". Malaysian authorities had initially named at least 10 people in connection to the case, but, so far, have only prosecuted two of them. Doan Thi Huong, 29, Vietnamese, is one of the two women accused of wiping a toxin on Kim's face, and was seen in CCTV footage wearing a white top emblazoned with the letters "LOL". Siti Aisyah, 25, an Indonesian, is the other female suspect. Both Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong have claimed they were tricked, and thought they were taking part in a TV prank.

America gets its 45th President

(AP file photo)

Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on January 20 after his stunning upset over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. In less than a year in the office, Trump took some decisions which set the tone for tense relationships with the press, Muslim nations and his own administrative officials.

On January 27, Trump signed an executive order halting all refugee admissions and temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries, sparking numerous protests and legal challenges. 

Fewer than 100 days into his administration, the president also gave the go-ahead to a missile strike against the Assad regime in Syria, allegedly in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack.

In March, the Trump administration was rattled by the allegations of Russian interference in the US election. Then-FBI director James Comey, who was fired in May, alleged the president had told him to drop the FBI's investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, later who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia's ambassador.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un spent the year hurling insults at one another across the twittersphere and generally posturing even as North Korea tested an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable to striking the US mainland.

(AP file photo)

The Trump administration’s December 6 move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, however, was resoundingly rejected by the UN General Assembly on December 21.

Brexit process triggered

(AP file photo)

On March 28, the formal two-year process governing Britain's departure from the European Union (EU) began when Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which became law in 2009, was triggered. A letter invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and officially notifying the EU of Britain's decision to withdraw from the bloc was hand-delivered to European Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels by British Ambassador to the EU Tim Barrow on Wednesday. 


(AP file photo)

Britain voted to leave the EU June last year after a campaign that divided the country. In a close result, 52% voted for Brexit, while 48% wanted to stay in the EU.Scotland and Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, while England and Wales, with a much larger combined population, voted to leave. 

Chemical strike in Syria

(AP file photo)

More than 80 people were killed in a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria on April 4. Hundreds suffered symptoms consistent with a reaction to a nerve agent after what the opposition and Western powers said was a Syrian government airstrike on the area.

A Syrian military statement published by state media on April 4 denied the use of "any chemical or toxic substance" in Khan Sheikhoun, adding that the military "has never used them, anytime, anywhere, and will not do so in the future".

(AP file photo)

President Bashar al-Assad subsequently said the incident was a "fabrication" used to justify a US cruise missile strike on Syria's Shayrat airbase on April 7, while his ally Russia said an airstrike hit a rebel depot full of chemical munitions.

US drops 'mother of all bombs' on ISIS

On April 13, the US dropped one of its largest non-nuclear bombs on a tunnel complex used by the Islamic State militants in eastern Afghanistan.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), known as "the mother of all bombs", is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used by the US in a conflict.

(AP file photo)

The bomb landed in Momand Dara area of Achin district and killed at least 90 ISIS militants, according to the local governor Ismail Shinwary.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said the strike was designed to minimise the risk to Afghan and US forces conducting clearing operations in the area.

Emmanuel Macron becomes President of France

(AP file photo)

In May, ripping up France’s political map, French voters elected independent centrist Emmanuel Macron as the country’s youngest president, delivering a resounding victory to the unabashedly pro-European former investment banker and strengthening France’s place as a central pillar of the European Union (EU).

Marine Le Pen, his far-right opponent in the presidential runoff, quickly called the 39-year-old Macron to concede defeat after voters rejected her “French-first” nationalism by a large margin. 

(AP file photo)

Macron, in a solemn televised victory speech, vowed to heal the social divisions exposed by France’s acrimonious election campaign and bring “hope and renewed confidence” to his country.

The result wasn’t even close: With four-fifths of votes counted, Macron had 64% support to Le Pen’s 36%.

US withdraws from Paris Climate Accord

(AP file photo)

On June 1, President Donald Trump announced that the US will be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord. Trump stated: "The Paris accord will undermine (the US) economy," and "puts (the US) at a permanent disadvantage."

In the aftermath of the speech, many states and cities in the US defied the president by declaring that they will continue to follow the Paris guidelines regardless of his decision.

(AP file photo)

During the presidential campaign, Trump had pledged to withdraw from the pact, saying a withdrawal would help American businesses and workers. Trump stated that the withdrawal would be in accordance with his America First policy.

Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey accused of sexual misconduct

(AP file photo)

Multiple high-profile men in media, politics and other industries have faced allegations ranging from inappropriate behavior to forced sexual misconduct to rape since the New York Times published allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein on October 5.

Actors Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashley Judd are among the dozens who have accused Weinstein of rape and sexual harassment. Weinstein has acknowledged inappropriate behavior but has denied “any allegations of nonconsensual sex.”

Soon after the Weintein scandal, former Gossip Girl actor Ed Westwick, House of Cards star Kevin Spacey, actor Ben Affleck, former President George HW Bush, and television journalist Matt Lauer were accused of sexual misconduct.

Las Vegas mass shooting 

(AP file photo)

On October 31, Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old retired accountant and high-stakes video poker player, opened fire on an outdoor music festival crowd along the Las Vegas Strip from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 58 people and leaving hundreds more wounded. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. Authorities found Paddock dead inside his two-room suite alongside an arsenal of weapons. Paddock died by suicide — a gunshot through the mouth, according to Coroner John Fudenberg More than 22,000 people were at the Route 91 

Harvest Festival, where Paddock trained his gunfire. 

All of the deaths were ruled homicides. Since the shooting, more than $22 million has been raised for families of those who died and those who suffered debilitating injuries. The Las Vegas Victims Fund announced this week it was hoping to raise more money for victims and launched a credit card link for donors.

North Korea fires new ICBM that ‘puts US in striking range’

Tensions between the United States and North Korea were sky-high this year, with the leaders of the two countries exchanging threats and schoolyard taunts, like "dotard" and "Little Rocket Man." Tensions were exacerbated after North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb and ballistic missiles that put US in its striking range.

On November 29, North Korea said it has launched a new, nuclear-capable weapon – Hwasong 15 – that could reach an altitude of 2,800 miles and flew 950km in 53 minutes and could potentially reach the US mainland. While the US Department of Defense said the missile did not pose a threat to North America, its territories or its allies, President Donald Trump, while appearing before reporters at the White House, said: "We will take care of it. ... It is a situation that we will handle."

In response to the November 29 launch, the United Nations Security Council adopted strong new sanctions against North Korea.

(With agency inputs)

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