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Semiformalishmaybe

Reviewing 2012: World

I'm getting ready to write 2013 on things; those monthly checks to a landlord, various bits of paperwork, and perhaps on random sheets of paper just to ensure I remember and pretend reaching this year is some kind of triumph. Here are some things that you might've missed that happened over the last year:

  • The climate has been pretty weird. Fairly worrying.
  • In NYC, I saw some of Hurrican Sandy (but was stuck in Greater Cambridge for the beginning)
  • Berlusconi's trying to return to Italian politics. I am very displeased.
  • Hugo Chavez was reelected, but thankfully has seen some nasty health problems that may prevent him from actually taking office. He's been mostly out of the country being treated in Cuba.
  • Conservatives return to power in Japan
  • The MSL-Curiosity landed on Mars and has been exploring its surface looking for markers of possible past life
  • There's been slow progress in the Syrian civil war, as outlying towns and borders leave the government but the rest of the world offers only very limited assistance to the rebels. The reactions of nearby countries (most notably Turkey, which seems to be challenging Turkey for political influence) have shifted interestingly over the months.
  • The American embassy in Libya was bombed, leading to some political witchunts in American politics
  • Obama/Biden were re-elected for another four terms, Elizabeth Warren was sent to congress and given a portfolio that has industrialists furious, but otherwise the legislative branches of our government haven't changed much and our system has gone straight into a gridlock over budget.
  • Additionally, the "they're coming for our guns" crowd have more to worry about as a string of high-profile gun attacks have thrust gun rights/control into the spotlight.
  • The Conservative-LibDem coalition has suffered some harsh blows because of naturally unpopular Tory policies and lack of communication between the two parties; by polling data the LibDems may be returning to political irrelevancy the next time the UK holds elections
  • Palestine has become a non-member state with observer status in the UN, which is more than it ever had before. Netanyahu has responded by accelerating building of new settlements in areas generally considered Palestinian. Meanwhile, Netanyahu has been trying to convince the US to join him in missle strikes on Iran, but the US has thankfully been reluctant.
  • Putin was appointed President in another "election" in Russia, returning to the role after a stint as Prime Minister for consequtive-term reasons; Russia demonstrates its prowess in being a pro-forma democracy that's actually autocratic. Also this year, Russia clamped down on expression and weakened rule-of-law in several big/interesting ways
  • Francois Hollande (Socialist Party) was elected President of France. His fiscal policies immediately put him at ends with Germany's Merkel.
  • Golden Dawn, a far-right ultranationalist movement in Greece, has become politically relevant and dangerous.
  • Another Bhutto-Zardari, heir to two highly corrupt families in Pakistan, has recently returned home to enter politics.
  • Xi Zingping becomes president-in-waiting of China, set to assume the role at the next People's Congress meeting in early 2013. He's marked corruption as one of the most difficult challenges facing the nation.
  • Sex fugitive Julian Assange slips into the Ecuadorian embassy in London and takes sanctuary there among the least open-press friendly nations in the western hemisphere. Questioned on this, he calls Ecuador "irrelevant". Seeking legal protection, Assange explores running for office in his home country of Australia.
  • A rape in India receives a lot of internet press/activist coverage and leads to broad protests in how rape is handled in that society and legal system.
  • The internet hacktivist group Anonymous continues to target high-profile causes, occasionally being surprisingly pragmatic (break with Wikileaks over some questionable moves by the latter). I find this worrisome but not entirely negantive.
  • Mohammad Morsi (Muslim Brotherhood) was elected President of Egypt and was tasked with writing a new constitution. He temporarily took control over all the branches of government to purge Mubarak-era officials and was roundly criticised for it, then during this unrest wrote and passed the new Constitution, one that has rights groups concerned.

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