2013 was yet another turbulent and eventful year for the media. Headlines varied from the royal baby to demonstrations and protests in many countries symbolising the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. Here is a compilation of some of the most prominent international news stories of the year:
- Pop culture and its over analysis
It was close to impossible to eliminate momentous pop culture moments from the list. Entertainment news is annually one of the most reported (and normally overhyped) international headlines. As futile as they might seem for some, such moments can’t really be done away with. On the other hand, what can be avoided is the unnecessary hype and sensation that the whole world gives to this type of news. We live in a world where people seem to care about what a Kardashian wears or how Robin Thicke portrayed women in his hit video ‘Blurred Lines’ rather than focusing on the more worthwhile items in the news.
- Edward Snowden- the US National Security Agency (NSA) whistle-blower
The computer analyst took the world by storm by leaking top-secret NSA documents and revealed secrets about US surveillance. Some called him a hero and others think of him as an enemy to the US. The 29-year old felt compelled to talk about the issue because he felt that such abuse was unacceptable to the community. This shed light on the notion of privacy of politicians all around the world particularly Angela Merkel who was deemed to be one of the victims of such surveillance by the American authorities.
- New era for the Catholic Church
Pope Benedict XVI surprised the world by terminating his pontificate due to his deteriorating health and advanced age. Pope Francis was chosen as his successor and has since been considered as a revolutionary pope. He has been named TIME’s person of the year owing to his humble character and caring nature. In my opinion, the Church was in need of such a person to partially restore its tainted image owing to the many controversies this institute has been a part of. Pope Francis, after Pope John Paul II, can be considered as the people’s pope. He has only occupied the post for a short period of time, so we have plenty of time to judge his actions.
- The royal baby (and yet another year of appalling baby names)
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal bundle of joy was one of the most searched news items of the year. Everyone all around the world exasperatedly waited for the announcement of the royal birth and the child’s name, George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. Fortunately the little prince got a fairly decent name but one cannot really say the same for other celebrity babies. Some of the most appalling (and extremely amusing) names included Bear Winslet, Winnie Fallon and the mother of all names, North West. For goodness sake, people all around the world look up these names for inspiration, have a little bit of mercy!
- Malala Yousafzai
One of the most inspirational people of 2013, a fighter for equal education rights regardless of gender in her country, a girl who despite all the turmoil she has gone through has stood her ground and emerged stronger than ever before. On July 12th 2013, Malala spoke for the first time after the horrible Taliban shooting back in 2012 and the UN dubbed that day ‘Malala Day’. The young Pakistani also published a book called ‘I Am Malala’ which was a worldwide success.
- Natural disasters
2013 was a year of natural disasters with countries such as Philippines, USA and India being hit quite hard by Mother Nature. The Philippines suffered both a typhoon as well as an earthquake affecting the lives of more than 3.7 million people. South and West Africa are also going through severe droughts and India suffered both a typhoon and floods.
- Worldwide demonstrations
TIME magazine named 2013 as the ‘Year of Global Protest’ and such a phrase couldn’t be more apt in describing the turbulent political situations in various countries including Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Thailand. It was a year of fighting for democracy, a year of revolt and a year where people finally decided to unite and fight, at the expense of other people’s lives, to attempt to stabilise the political situation of their country.
- Iconic deaths
This year was also a year of mourning with international icons namely Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher passing away. They will always be remembered for their great feats throughout their life. Mandela for his stance against racism and Thatcher, love her or hate her, for being the Iron Lady of the UK. Other deaths included Paul Walker, leaving Fast and the Furious fans in shock and Peter O’ Toole.
- Illegal immigrants’ tragedy
This news story is probably one of the most reported headlines ever. Unfortunately, despite the tragedy which has cost the lives of various immigrants, there is still a lot to be done for the problem to ever be completely solved. The European Parliament transforms in a big tug of war with leaders looking out for the benefits of their own countries rather than the immigrants’ well-being.
- LGBT marriage and rights
Speaking of rights, 2013 was a landmark year for the LGBT community with many countries, including Malta, participating in parliamentary debates about giving such couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. It was a year of triumph for these communities with the general public becoming increasingly aware and educated about the LGBT concept and even slowly becoming less judgemental of these people.