News stories that gripped the world in 2018

Every year brings worldwide headlines that electrify and keep us on the edge of our seats. We selected the top news headlines that captivated us during 2018.

Trump threatens to overthrow US budget – underlying wall funding and DACA program

US President Donald Trump announced his intention to overthrow the US budget agreement.

He said, among other things, that the financing of the wall planned for the US border with Mexico is inadequate. He said it is wrong for him that the budget does not deal with the follow-up to the DACA program. The DACA program concerns the children of immigrants who have entered the country without authorization. Politicians have been arguing about it for a long time in the United States.

In it for the long run

In March, China removed presidential term limits from its constitution, allowing Xi Jingping to stay in power indefinitely. Xi has consolidated his power, had his name and ideology enshrined in Communist Party doctrine and has become the most powerful leader in China since Mao Zedong.

Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed that more than 50 million people’s personal information was compromised for “research.”

Data firm Cambridge Analytica accessed data from 50 million Facebook users during the 2016 US presidential campaign without the users’ permission, but this didn’t come to light until March 2018.

Using a personality quiz app for Facebook, the company accessed data not only from users who downloaded it, but also the data of their friends. The data breached gathered information about Facebook users identities, networks, and “likes” in order to better identify their voting behavior.

Though Facebook said Cambridge Analytica activities were removed from its site in 2015, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before US Congress in April 2018 and said, “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry.”

Twelve boys and their soccer coach got stranded in a cave in Thailand

In summer 2018, a 12-boy soccer team (the Wild Boars) and their coach were celebrating a teammate’s birthday when they made a routine trip into the Tham Luang cave in the Chiang Rai province of Thailand. Shortly after they entered heavy rains flooded the cave and trapped them inside.

After a week without contact, British divers found the group in early July. An international crew of rescuers resolved to rescue the boys before the next monsoon just days away. During those few days, the world watched as all 13 were pulled to safety from the cave and immediately rushed to the hospital. The collective rescue effort included more than 100 divers from all over the world.

Kim Jong Un announced that North Korea will denuclearize

During a June 2018 summit in Singapore, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un announced that he wanted to end the nuclear tension between his country and the United States by signing an agreement with President Trump including the denuclearization of his country.

The two drew worldwide criticism, however, for not offering any specific plan, outline, or proof of said denuclearization. Professor at Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea, Andrei Lankov said the agreement had “zero practical value.” Others are also doubtful as to whether or not Kim Jong Un intends to keep his promise.

Bitcoin experience the fall from grace

The cryptocurrency industry hit a peak in January 2018, having since lost more than $670 billion in capital. For years, predictions about the role of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, specifically, have been made, the latter’s value changing regularly.

The industry has been on a steady decline throughout 2018, Bloomberg recently reporting Bitcoin’s worth falling below $5,000. Experts attribute some of the decline to Bitcoin having more sellers than buyers, though it could be the result of a multitude of reasons.

Brexit limbo

The U.K.’s planned divorce from the European Union experienced a rocky year, with Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan facing staunch opposition from within her own party. Calls for a second referendum have risen, and fears of a no-deal Brexit have prompted preparations for possible contingencies.

It´s getting hot in here

In October, climate scientists warned the world has just 12 years to limit climate change in order to stave off floods, drought, extreme heat and mass poverty. In December, international negotiators at the COP24 conference in Poland agreed to set stricter targets for emissions cuts under the Paris agreement.

Plastic pollution in sea set to treble in a decade

Experts say it is time to change ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach to problems in world’s oceans

The amount of plastic in the world’s oceans is set to treble in a decade unless action is taken to deal with the problem, according to a major new report.

Experts warned that plastic is one of the biggest threats facing the world’s seas, while highlighting other keys issues including rising sea levels, warming oceans and metal and chemical pollution.

Media under fire

The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that 53 journalists were killed for their work in 2018, doubling the figure from 2017. The killing of one of those journalists, Jamal Khashoggi, in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul in October sparked a diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Sources:
thisisinsider.com, the japantimes, Independent, cbsnews.com

 

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