Year in Review 2017: Massacres, hurricanes, a sexual misconduct reckoning and North Korea
An attack at a pop concert that left scores of young people dead, followed by another attack at a concert in Las Vegas, earthquakes in Mexico and Iraq that killed hundreds, and an ongoing crisis in Myanmar that the UN has labelled a genocide.
A mass shooting at a church in Texas. A mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec. Around the world this year, vehicles were turned into weapons, with trucks and vans plowing down people in Edmonton, Britain, New York and elsewhere in Europe.
There was also hurricane, after hurricane, after hurricane.
And in between tragedy, there was a steady stream of headlines flowing from the White House as the presidency of Donald Trump limped toward the end of its first year.
“It’s almost like one of those horror rides at the amusement park where every time it heads into the next segment it gets worse,” Marian Salzman, chief executive of Havas PR, told the Associated Press. “Every time I turn off a device, I feel like I have anxiety because I’m not tracking the news.”
“Disruption, despair and dumpster fires,” was how Salzman labelled this past year.
Here is a look back at the five biggest stories from around the world in 2017.
Las Vegas shooting
On Oct. 1, a gunman fired more than 1,000 rounds from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel overlooking a crowded music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada.
The horrific mass shooting – the deadliest in modern U.S. history — killed 58 people, including Canadians, and injured more than 500 people.
Images and video captured on social media from concertgoers and first responders showed panic and terror as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire with what sounded like automatic weapons.
Authorities found at least 23 firearms, a large quantity of ammunition, and several high-capacity magazines in Paddock’s hotel room where he took his own life.
As people searched for answers in the wake of the savage attack, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said a motive might never be found.
“We’re looking for a trigger point and right now we haven’t been able to find one,” Lombardo said. “I got to be frank with you, we may never know.”
Just 35 days later, a gunman entered a church in Texas and opened fire, killing 26 people.
The #MeToo movement
First it was Harvey Weinstein, then Kevin Spacey, then Jeffrey Tambor, comedian Louis C.K., Brett Ratner, journalist Mark Halperin, Dustin Hoffman, celebrity chef Mario Batali, NBC anchor Matt Lauer, Sen. Al Franken, Senate candidate Roy Moore, Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon, Tom Sizemore, Charlie Rose, among dozens of others.
Whether it was in media, politics, business or the food industry, women came forward to share their stories of sexual harassment and abuse by men in positions of power.
The #MeToo movement saw millions of women come forward on social media and other platforms to share their stories and were even named as Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
“It doesn’t have a leader, or a single, unifying tenet,” reads Time’s cover story. “The women and men who have broken their silence span all races, all income classes, all occupations and virtually all corners of the globe. They might labor in California fields, or behind the front desk at New York City’s regal Plaza Hotel, or in the European parliament. They’re part of a movement that has no formal name. But now they have a voice.”
The allegations of sexual misconduct against U.S. President Donald Trump also resurfaced in light of the movement.
On May 22, a suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device at Manchester Arena where thousands of young people had gathered for an Ariana Grande concert.
Twenty-three people were killed, including the attacker, and more than 500 were injured.
A short tweet from the American pop singer captured the devastating tragedy. One of the victims who died was just eight years old.
“Broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words,” Grande said in a tweet that was shared 1.1 million times and received more than 2.6 million likes.
The attack was one of several to target the U.K. in 2017, including an attack in June in London that killed seven people when a white van plowed into pedestrians on London Bridge before three men exited the vehicle and began stabbing people.
Canadian Christine Archibald, 30, who recently moved to Europe from B.C. to be with her fiancée, was killed in the attack.
This year was one of the most active, deadly hurricane seasons in recorded U.S. history, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“It’s a humanitarian disaster,” Ronald Sanders, the Antigua and Barbuda ambassador to the United States, told Public Radio International. “For the first time in 300 years, there’s not a single living person on the island of Barbuda — a civilization that has existed in that island for close to, over 300 years has now been extinguished.”
Images and video showed the scenes of devastation in small Caribbean countries, Antigua and Barbuda, and major U.S. cities like Houston and the Florida Keys.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un kept the world on edge in 2017 with a string of tests of powerful nuclear bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The increasingly aggressive behaviour led to increased saber-rattling with U.S. President Donald Trump who threatened to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea – a country of more than 25-million people.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said in August.
The escalating dialogue between the countries was a source of international tension throughout the year.
Here in Canada, defectors spoke out about the human rights violations regularly occurring in the country and the atrocities committed by the regime of Kim Jong Un.
*With files from the Associated Press
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.