As the Brexit situation continues to claim headlines and whilst many others debate the survival rate of the European Union, it causes many Europeans to ask themselves - what exactly does the European Union (EU) do for them? Unfortunately, while the EU is successful at many things - publicity and marketing are not among them. Many do not recognize the incredible benefits that they receive as an EU citizen.
1. Freedom of Movement
Perhaps the most well-known trait of an EU citizen is the ability to live, to work and to retire anywhere you desire, in the European Union. That means a German can: live in France, work in Belgium and retire in Italy. It may seem commonplace to those who have grown up under this system but for those who hail from other countries - it’s an incredible opportunity to expand where you can live without the restrictions of a visa. In fact, it’s 28 opportunities.
2. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
Another underrated benefit of the European Union is the numerous jobs it sustains. The EU is a bureaucratic powered machine that requires millions of workers to run it. Simply put, by virtue of existing, the EU offers millions of jobs to Europeans that otherwise might have trouble finding work.
3. Safety while Traveling
Not only are Europeans free to travel where they wish across the vast continent, it’s also safer to do so than practically any other place in the world. Bureaucracy might seem like a pain but it’s that same system that makes sure airlines are safe, and that Europeans are secure when traveling. It is because of the cross coordination of all the countries that they can cooperate on fighting crime using Europol to ensure the safety of its citizens. This means less crime across all States. And not only are people physically safe, but their wallets are safe too. The EU offers a two year guarantee on all products and placed a ceiling on roaming charges across all member states.
4. Ease of Communication
Most recently, the EU passed a law meaning that any European phone number can text and communicate while abroad in another European state as though they were in their home country. This might seem like a small benefit but imagine traveling for a day or studying in another country. With this new rule, there’s no need to get a new number or plan.
The European Union is the incredible, yet often unnoticed collaboration of thousands of diplomats. Whilst it is challenging to coordinate amongst the 28 Member States, it’s even more difficult to manage monetary policy and have a strong communications strategy to show Europeans just how good they have it. Nevertheless, the benefits of the European Union for the world as well as for Europeans and travellers alike are multifold, and ought to be celebrated and shouted from the rooftops - for if they aren’t careful, the EU could fade onto just another page of a history textbook.
Reykjavik is the start and end point for nearly all of Iceland's tourists due to it being the biggest city in the country, by far. There are roughly 350,000 people who live in Iceland with 200,000 living in Reykjavik. This capital city really does it have it all - it’s the perfect place to gear up for the big outdoors or kick back after you have climbed Iceland’s infamous mountain tops. Here’s our recommendation for a perfect day:
Start your day early walking or running along the waterfront. Here, you will come across the sun voyager sculpture. It is an ode to the sun and dedicated to dreamers. The boat looks out to the ocean as well as the snow covered peaks across the bay.
Once you are ready for breakfast, Reykjavik has countless options to start your morning off right. They are globally known for their rich and creamy yogurt, a local speciality, and nearly every breakfast hotspot will have it on the menu. For a big breakfast, that truly has it all, specializes in “honest food,” and is just oh so yummy head to BERGSSON MATHÚS. If you are looking for a traditional Icelandic meal head to Café Loki. Another great breakfast place to check out is Cafe Baba that serves food all day. From crepes to eggs, soups to sandwiches, this cafe offers a super funky environment with thrift store decorations that have been thoughtfully placed to make the interior something you will never forget. Bonus: the baristas are hilarious.
Your next stop has to be the Hallgrímskirkja - a cathedral and an architectural marvel that can be seen from everywhere in town. The church is free to enter but in order to reach the top of the tower you have to pay a small fee - albeit nearly everything in Iceland is expensive.
For the rest of the morning, spend your time exploring Reykjavik’s colorful streets. There is a plethora of intriguing street art, interesting cafes, tourist shops, and boutiques. The vibe of this capital city is far from most large cities as it truly gives off one of leisure coupled with warm smiles from Icelandic locals.
Once you’re ready to warm or fill up again, Iceland has plenty of options. We recommend one of the famous hot dogs at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. If this was 2004, you might’ve seen Bill Clinton there! Yes, these dogs are famous amongst the famous. Not in the mood for a hot dog? Other great lunch joints include Icelandic Street Food and Messinn for some delicious seafood.
After lunch, it is time for a soak in Iceland’s famous geothermal pools. You can head to the world renown (though not locally recommended) Blue Lagoon. You will receive a full treatment and leave feeling like a queen or king, but for a more local (and much cheaper) option head to one of Reykjavik’s local spas such as Laugardalslaug thermal pool or
Vesturbaejarlaug thermal pool-- more can be found here. Also, if you are staying outside of the city in an AirBnb simply ask your host and we can guarantee that they will tell you about their local hot spot that is probably an even cheaper option!
The geothermal pools have a crazy way of making way for the best night’s sleep, but before that - head to dinner at one of these restaurants: The Fish Market, Apotek Restaurant, or Frederick’s Ale House.
End your night under the stars and if you’re lucky, the aurora borealis. The best place to catch these celestial wonders are out in the countryside - away from the city lights. Such rare opportunities are humbling and profound and ones we cannot recommend enough.
We promise a day of ease and a day of joy in Reykjavik, the heart of all of Iceland’s adventures. For a full, personal itinerary (based on your travel desires and style) for all of Iceland please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been in Moscow three times in total, since 2014 and each time, I have had a different experience. Moscow is surprising and unexpected. Sometimes scary, but amusing; interesting and mysterious. The fact that I have traveled to and lived in Russia for a couple of months has often provoked a lot of mixed reactions. Why Russia? Why Moscow? Russia has often a bad reputation abroad, Russians are seen as cold, distant, unfriendly people. And Moscow is not really a typical touristic getaway.
I actually did not go to Moscow for tourism. I first did a 2-week-long cultural exchange with a Muscovite family. Then in 2016 I went back for a couple of days after finishing my Erasmus program in the Caucasus and I have recently spent three months working there.
To be honest, my first impression of Moscow was not really that good. I felt like a tiny human lost in a flow of people I did not understand culturally or linguistically. Fifteen million people live in Moscow. That is more than the entire population of my country! And few of them speak good English of French, which means that it can be quite hard to be understood if you don’t try to speak Russian.
Moscow is such a big city, I felt overwhelmed by the hugeness of everything, from the 10-lane roads to the giant buildings, the monumental Orthodox churches to the numerous statues you find on every corner. Having lived there for three months, I still cannot say that I know Moscow very well. I can find my way in my own neighbourhood, but overall I have probably only been in five percent of the city. However, the more I discovered about it, the more I loved it.
Architecturally speaking, I find Moscow absolutely gorgeous. What I particularly like about the Red Square is that it is not only one cultural landmark in the middle of a random place or the only beautiful thing in the neighbourhood. The entire surrounding is astonishing. You will find the very luxurious commercial galleries on its left, and the historical Kremlin on its right. The National Museum of History is in front of it and the newly-opened Zaryadye Park behind it. The famous Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is only a ten-minutes walk away. Everything comprised in the first ring is worth seeing: the Bolshoi Theatre, the Arbat, the Gorky Park, the Lubyanka area, and the numerous pedestrian streets.
The heart of the city also has a vibrant and dynamic vibe. You will find countless restaurants, karaoke-bars, and cafés where people dance until dawn and enjoy life, even when it is -25 degrees outside! Even if real estate prices are unaffordable and probably as high as in London, for example, eating and drinking is still pretty cheap. You can easily have a good meal for less than 10 euros (12 dollars), drink included. Many restaurants often offer lunch deals for 5 or 6 euros.
One more thing you should definitely not miss in Moscow is its incredible subway. First, it’s stunning, and second, it is one of the deepest in the world. You will experience a long ride down to a complex underground network on such deep escalators you’ll think you’re about to fall from them.
Moscow is well-known for the Red Square and the Kremlin, but it also has some hidden gems that I find underrated. So remember to check out the Izmailovo Market, the Kolomenskoye Royal Estate, Tsaritsyno Palace and the Novodevichy Convent.
Moscow is also a capital of culture. Classical operas, ballets and countless museums that feature the finest of classical and contemporary artworks will exceed your expectations. Although Saint-Petersburg is a bigger cultural center and has more to offer culturally; Moscow is more an expression of the Soviet Union’s past.
Regarding the people with whom you will interact, keep in mind that Russians have a different culture, a different past and different habits. They might indeed seem cold, distant or rude, but try to put your cultural standards aside and try to immerse yourself in their world. Of course, you can always meet extremely nice people or jackasses everywhere, but generally speaking, Russians aren’t excessively nice, or “polite”. Overly-apologising is not part of their culture and neither is being ashamed or embarrassed. Don’t get offended too easily if they speak loudly to you or seem annoyed.
Wherever you go, I can only recommend to bear in mind that you are the stranger entering someone else’s world. Be patient and respectful towards any culture different than yours, and if you feel uncomfortable, take it with humour!
To sum up, I know some people who immediately fell in love with Moscow and with the Russian culture, and others who simply hated it. Personally, I needed some time to truly appreciate it. But Moscow was definitely a nice city to live in, to have fun, to learn and to confront yourself with a different world.
It is a capital city without the hustle and bustle. Its small streets are decorated with vibrant colored cafes and impressive street art. Perched on top of the city is the architectural masterpiece, Hallgrímskirkja - a cathedral with a tower that can be seen from anywhere in the city. Reykjavik is a small city that is emits and attracts, creativity and spunk.
Hailing from a small mountain town, Reykjavik connected with me. On a winter Tuesday morning before the sun was up, at 9 A.M, locals and tourists assembled into coffee shops and breakfast eateries to chat over coffee whilst the snow danced its way to the ground outside. Everyone was clad in huge scarves and even bigger smiles as they sipped on hot drinks and started their mornings with Iceland’s own renowned rich and creamy yogurt, topped with a mountain of honey, baked granola and a mountain of berries.
Once the winter sun finally rose, the mountains across the peninsula were illuminated and the ocean’s hue transformed from lead into cobalt. The city offers an intense contrast to this monochromatic wintry landscape. Reykjavik’s buildings pop in comparison, with their hues of red, orange, yellow, and even aquamarine.
From cute cafes like Cafe Babulu, which is so popular that it receives postcards from around the world to quirky bars featuring board games and from the simple but mouthwatering hot dog to Icelandic fine dining, Reykjavik has a bit of everyone’s funk.
Iceland’s capital may be cold, but it truly is one hot destination! It is the epitome of city located inside the snowglobe - where everything and nothing happens and all is at peace. Whether you are on a stopover going to or from Europe or you’re intending to solely visit the this trans-continental island nation, Reykjavik is your place. It is the perfect point to kickstart extreme outdoor adventures, and it is most definitely, the spot to end a week of breathtaking Icelandic tourism by soaking in one of the city’s many hot springs.
For a personal travel itinerary for Reykjavik and the rest of Iceland contact us!
With the advent of social media and the ever-increasing stride towards digital lives - a strange thing has happened: the world has become lonelier. More people are reporting feeling sad lonely or depressed and as of yet - there hasn’t been a solution put forth. A 2017 report even said loneliness was as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Where does that leave us? In the midst of a health crisis?
The answer in Great Britain was to appoint a Minister for Loneliness. Tracey Crouch was appointed to tackle the issue. She acknowledged that lonelieness wasn’t just linked to social media - it was also specifically linked with the elderly population. Around two million people all across England who are aged above 75 live alone. This might seem unproblematic, until you realize that many of these people can go for days or weeks without any social interaction at all. Particularly in the winter, many people stock up on food and avoid leaving their homes. This isn’t even necessarily a tactic of social awkwardness. For many, it’s simply being smart. As they get older, it might be painful to move around.
One of the ways that Tracey Couch will be useful is to see if a National Strategy will help. There are many different small NGOs and organizations that fight mental health stigma and loneliness across local communities - but there aren’t countries that specify it as a main strategy in their health policies. Maybe it’s time for that to change.
Loneliness can affect anyone - and it’s easy for people to hide. In our society of being on phones and choosing to text rather than meet up in person, it’s not surprising to see this issue come to the forefront. Being active can be hard and if you’re an introvert like me, it can be even harder to get out there and work to be social. It can be downright challenging. But people who aren’t lonely live longer, tend to be happier and live fuller lives more presently with the people they love. And if you happen to be an introvert, just remember that enjoying spending time alone and being lonely are two separate things.
Here are some ways you can reach out to lonely people in your community:
When the Netherlands comes up in conversation, the topics often turn to windmills, canals, and the famous Dutch city of Amsterdam. What doesn’t come up as often is suicide, and that, in of itself, is surprising. Last year 1,894 people committed suicide in the Netherlands - a rate of around 11 per 100,000 people. In 2015, the country reported its highest rate in suicide ever - leaving many to wonder, why?
The easy answer is that euthanasia is legal, or at least it has been since 2002. In other words, patients can ask their doctors for assistance committing suicide in a safe and effective matter. Patients that are terminally ill or suffering can request euthanasia, although being terminally ill is not a prerequisite. In the Netherlands, euthanasia accounts for 4.5 percent of all deaths. Euthanasia is also legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and six US states.
Some claim that the ease and normalcy of euthanasia in society means that more people will ask for it. When it becomes okay to ask to end your life, the stigma might fade. This does not however, change the high rate of suicide in the country. So, why the Netherlands? The country does not have any particular problem with its healthcare system nor is it under an autocratic regime where many people’s rights are withheld.
The answer might be depression. Researchers have calculated that in the Netherlands, depression makes up for a high share of “years lived with disability” (YLDs) - nearly 16 percent. This is somewhat surprisingly high for the country who rates as the “fourth happiest country in the world” on the Global Happiness scale.
Suicide doesn’t necessarily have a clear-cut answer. One of the hardest things left over when loved ones are faced with a friend or a family member who has committed suicide is the question: why? The only person that can answer that is no longer with you. We can’t make any clear assumptions about why the suicide rate in the Netherlands is so high. Superficial assumptions like the weather and the grey weather might have merit. But in the end - high suicide rates might mean that there is something culturally unique about the Netherlands - or that nothing is unique at all and that suicide rates vary on an uncountable number of factors.
But don’t let that stop you from appreciating Dutch history, beautiful art and incredible strides towards a greener economy. The country may be small and contain a large percentage of suicides, but it still hosts a wide section of world culture and history that cannot be matched.
As we celebrate the Olympics and competitive sports in all of its formats, let’s not forget that sports include more than the aspect of games. “To do sport” is faire du sport in French or “Fitness machen” in German encompass any kind of physical activity. In many countries, that has extended to how sports become ingrained their national consciousness. In this article, we take a look at bike sharing and how Vélib’ took over France.
It started in Paris - where Vélib’ launched in 2005 with 8,000 bikes across Paris. In its first year alone, the company made more than 16 million USD. Today, the company makes around 21 million USD on an annual basis with the funds going back to Paris. With 102 million USD in startup costs, how did Vélib’ cope?
As with most things sports, things go hand-in-hand with advertising. JCDecaux, a multinational firm, won an advertising contract to maintain Vélib’s cycles and set up the infrastructure necessary in a sort of “barter” system exchange for 50 percent of Parisian billboard space for ten years. With this deal, Vélib’ and in turn, JCDecaux, have become average symbols to associate with Paris and France. Although Vélib’ was not the first bike share (that award goes to Velo’v bike rental service in Lyon), it has become world renown and copied throughout the world’s other capital cities. Washington D.C. for example launched SmartBike DC in 2008 with 10 stations and 120 bikes. It is the first bike-sharing program in the USA.
Across the world, other cities have done the same with great results. Cities with large tourist influxes like Montreal, Barcelona and Hangzhou, China all use similar bike sharing systems with modular docking systems so that tourists can operate the bike system without interacting with other humans. Can you guess which city has the largest amount of bicycles? That would be Hangzhou, China with more than 78,000 bicycles.
Today more than a few American cities like Denver and San Francisco also utilize bike sharing programs. With a world focused on healthy living, particularly on beating the epidemic of obesity, bike sharing is the perfect way to ease pressure on public transit systems while providing a healthy alternative for both locals and tourists to get around. Another bonus? Less pollution.
Vélib’ reports that on an annual basis, they support 27.5 million trips. And due to the success, Paris has launched Autolib’ - a car sharing program similarly modeled to Vélib’. Is it thanks to Vélib’ that there are more than 900 bike sharing systems worldwide? Probably not. But the impact that Vélib’ had in making bike sharing “cool again,” shouldn’t be understated.
If you’re interested in reading more about bike sharing, check out Atlantic’s Citylab feature on the Bike Sharing Boom.
The Aral Sea is located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and has been cited several times in historical documents from the Silk Route era. The region was occupied by desert nomadic tribes and the Sea was often used as a source of fishing. How, then, did it change from local water basin to desert-like status?
The answer is simple: human intervention.
When newscasters talk about climate change, the usual suspects are rising oceans, changing weather patterns and the growing problem of smog in large industrial cities like Beijing. What is not as often focused on is the phenomenon of places like the Aral Sea. It was once the world’s fourth largest inland water body spanning around 68,000 square kilometres. Now it is nearly a tenth of its former size.
As early as the 1930’s through the 1960’s, the Soviet Union diverted water from two main regional rivers, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya, so much so that the Aral Sea divided into smaller bodies of water. This was done in order to stimulate the production of cotton in Soviet satellite countries like Uzbekistan. The Soviet Union created canals and dams throughout the desert, in most cases, poorly - and not only diverted a large portion of water, but wasted many more tons of it.
Measuring this change amongst the sea not only comes from noting the difference in the Aral Sea’s surface area - which decreased 60 percent from 1960 to 1998 - but also from commentary on the ecosystem and livelihood for those who live there. There is no fishing industry that booms as it did in the early days of the Soviet Union. Due to weapons testing in the region and fertiliser run offs, the sea became so salty that even aquatic animals have difficulty surviving. Pollution also haunts the Aral Sea and has caused high rates of respiratory illnesses in the who live around the area.
Despite all this, the Aral Sea is making a revival. In 1994, regional powers Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan adopted the Aral Sea Basin Program to better understand and mitigate the effects of humans on the Aral Sea. Rehabilitation work continues through today with countries building the Dike Kokaral as recently as 2005 - which helps to balance the water levels in the North and South Aral Sea.
Satellite imagery photos taken by NASA show that all of these efforts have making an impact. The Aral Sea might be much smaller than it was in the 1960’s; however, there is evidence of growth in the eastern part of the South Aral Sea, whereas the it was completely dry in 2014. However, Philip Micklin, an expert from Western Michigan University cautioned against early optimism, “This year’s events do not signal a restoration of the eastern lobe as a permanent feature.”
In other words, even with the best human efforts to the contrary, long-term effects of bad climate policies can impact a country and its seas can and may never leave us. Still, there are signs of life in the Aral Sea region - from a higher diversity of fish and a burgeoning fishing population. One cannot say whether or not the Aral Sea region will regain a fraction of its former glory, but let’s hope it can make some strides towards fixing what happened in the past.
2017 can be seen as a dark year in our contemporary history. It was a year filled with environmental catastrophes, political change and the growing problem of the Islamic State. But we’ve had enough of bad news. It’s time to spread light on the good things that shaped this year. These positive events are often less talked about or even completely ignored. In this article we will try to review some of this past year’s positive events and promising initiatives.
JANUARY 01, 2017: Dutch electric trains to run exclusively on green energy.
In the beginning of January, a spokesman of the Dutch national railway company NS declared that 100% of their electric trains were powered by wind energy, coming from windmills. The goal of the company was to reach that percentage by January 2018, but they actually achieved it a year earlier! The ENECO and NS companies declared that their 600,000 daily passengers were the first in the world to travel thanks to wind energy. They also declared that one windmill working for one hour could provide a train with enough energy to run for 120 miles. They hope to even decrease that amount of necessary energy by 2020.
MARCH 08, 2017: Iceland becomes the first country to eradicate the gender pay gap.
Iceland has now made it mandatory for companies of more than 25 employees to prove they pay their staff the same amount, regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity or nationality. Women should then enjoy the same salary as men for a same job. However, this move is part of a larger movement to completely eradicate the gender pay gap in Iceland over five years (so, by 2022). Although women were still being paid 14 to 18% less than men before this year, Iceland has long been engaged in giving equal rights to both genders and to fight inequality towards women. It has been ranked first country of the world in terms of performance on closing their overall gender gap for the ninth year in a row, by the World Economic Forum.
MAY 07, 2017: Emmanuel Macron wins the French presidential election.
This one is, of course, all relative. Not everybody wanted Macron to win, and many people are unhappy about his current domestic policies. But, the only alternative in this election was Marine Le Pen, who truly represents the most far-rights movements of Europe right now. We are aware and respect that many people voted for her and wanted her to win, however, many more people also saw her as a very dangerous threat for their country, and for Europe. Emmanuel Macron, regardless of his flaws, is a strong European-believer and is firmly engaged in the fight against climate change; Two things that Le Pen clearly opposed.
JUNE 30, 2017: Simone Veil dies at age 89.
Alright, this one is not good news, but we will try to use this moment to remember the battles and to salute the courage of this incredible woman. Simone Veil was a Holocaust survivor and one of France’s most influential states women. She survived Auschwitz concentration camp, and in 1974 became health minister of France. She fought for the legalisation of contraception and abortion. Her precursor work on the rights of women has marked the French political scene. Overcoming political and personal obstacles, she managed to pass abortion rights under the “Veil Law” name. In 1973, she gave a resounding speech on the right to voluntarily interrupt pregnancy before the French National Assembly, at the time, mostly constituted of men. Her speech is still often referred to and became one of those legendary speeches that marked their time. Simone Veil was a strong pioneering feminist and a firm pro-european believer. She served as health minister from 1974 to 1979 and again from 1993 to 1995. In 1979 she became the first president of the European Parliament and held that position until 1982.
JUNE 30: Germany legalises gay marriage. Finland and Australia as well.
After Angela Merkel dropped her long-standing opposition to same-sex marriage, the German Parliament passed the law, allowing everybody to unite under the same rights and to adopt children. Civil partnership has been legal in Germany since 2001, but full rights to get married were voted only this year. As the leader of the CDU (Christian Democrat Party), Angela Merkel has long been opposing gay rights, but she recently changed her mind, and allowed a snap vote.
Actually Finland passed the gay marriage legislation before Germany. On March 1st, the government of Finland legalized same sex marriage and the right to adopt. It was the last of the Nordic countries to legalize gay marriage. However, for now only civil marriage is allowed for all, as the traditional church wedding is still restricted to heterosexual couples.
On December 07, Australia also passed a historic bill legalizing same-sex marriage, prompting immediate celebrations in the parliament and throughout the country. After his speech on gay marriage, one MP proposed to his partner in the parliament.
JULY 06, 2017: France and the UK plan to ban petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.
France’s new environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, declared that France would stop using vehicles that depended on petrol and diesel by 2040, as part of an environmental plan. This announcement is part of a five-year plan focused on clean energy, decided under the Paris Agreement. This also came after Volvo declared they would only produce electric cars from 2019 on. Poorer households should receive an allowance to exchange their polluting vehicle for a green alternative one. Moreover, the entire country also plans to stop using coal as a source of electricity by 2022. The British government also announced in July that it would ban all petrol and diesel-fuelled cars and vans by 2040, in order to tackle air pollution. Similarly, the Netherlands and Norway have also said that they wanted to ban all combustion-powered vehicles by 2025, and Germany and India aim to do it by 2030.
AUGUST 29, 2017: Successful test for the Ocean Cleanup project.
Back in 2013, young Boyan Slat came up with the idea of creating a new technology to clean the oceans. At first, his idea seemed to be unrealistic, but he received funding and started his non-profit organization. After several successful tests in the North Sea, the Ocean Cleanup project should be fully implemented in May 2018 in the North Pacific gyre. The technology is based on a passive drifting system that absorbs all plastics contained in the ocean, thanks to the natural currents. The organization has the respectable ambition to clean up half of the Great Pacific plastic pollution in a 5-years time.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2017: Saudi Arabia announces the end of the ban on women driving.
It was the last country in the world to forbid women to drive, and on September 26, King Salman released a decree that will end the law. The order should be implemented on June 24, 2018. This event prompted great celebrations amid feminists and women who have been fighting for their right to drive for decades. The ambassador confirmed that women would now have the right to drive wherever they liked and that they would not need a man’s permission to take driving lessons. Moreover, on December 11, Saudi Arabia also lifted the ban on cinemas after 35 years in effect, causing immediate joy amongst film lovers, directors and movie industry workers. The theaters should start showing films in March 2018.
OCTOBER 06, 2017: ICAN is awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.
The threat of a nuclear war weighs upon us all. Many countries are still in possession of nuclear weapons and, lately, North Korea and the United States have threatened to use their respective arsenals. Complete annihilation of nuclear weapons seems a long way away but organizations like ICAN still continue to fight for it. Last year, the Nobel Prize committee decided to award the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) organization for “its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons" ("The Nobel Peace Prize 2017". Nobelprize.org. 2 Jan 2018).
DECEMBER 09, 2017: Iraq declares victory over ISIS.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi declared in August that the armed forces have regained control over the ISIS occupied areas of Tal Afar and Nineveh. Although not the entire country has been liberated, most of it has been. This marks a real progress in the war against the Islamic States that has been ravaging Iraq for three years. This past year, the Iraqi military has reclaimed several cities and provinces from the terrorist group. On July 09, Mosul, the capital of the Nineveh province, was liberated. Following that, Raqqa was liberated on October 17, although completely destroyed.And, on December 09, the Prime Minister declared that the entire country had been liberated and that they had re-taken control of the Iraqi-Syrian border. Even though some terrorists are presumably still active in a small province of Iraq and that some others could still be hiding in the country, this declaration is a significant event.
DECEMBER 18, 2017: “The Silence Breakers” are TIME magazine’s person of the year.
The MeToo hashtag launched by Alyssa Milano on Twitter followed the Harvey Weinstein scandal. This year, more women than ever before started to speak out about sexual harassment. The American show business industry was the starting point of many accusations of sexual assaults. Then, millions of women shared their experiences on social media and reported their attacker. Sexual harassment is a deep problem rooted in our societies, and even if none of this is normal, it was often explained as “socially acceptable”. The MeToo campaign changed this perception. This year, the TIME magazine decided to honour all these courageous women who decided to follow the movement and to speak out.
DECEMBER 31, 2017: Ban on ivory trade in China enters into force.
China had declared earlier this year that it would progressively ban the ivory trade market throughout the country before the end of 2017. African ivory is widely pleaded in China, as it is seen as a status symbol. However, the illegal ivory trade has dramatic consequences in the African savanna. Thousands of wild elephants and rhinos are being poached each year causing severe issues in the local biodiversity. Activists see this move as a “gamechanger”, that could prevent the species from extinction. Nevertheless, now that the Chinese market is closed, Hong Kong could well become the traffickers’ new target to import illegal ivory on the legal ivory market.
SPECIAL MENTION to these people who restored our faith in humanity.
On April 11, Saffiyah Khan stepped in to defend a muslim woman who was being surrounded by EDL protesters (far-right movement) during a demonstration in Birmingham.
On November 10, Kate McClure created a GoFundMe account to help homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt, who selflessly gave her his last 20$ when she needed gas to go back home safely. She wanted to pay him back and created a funding campaign to help him get back on tracks. She has raised over 400,000$ so far!
In December 2017, a man saved a wild rabbit from the fire ravaging California.
2017 recently came to an end and we thought it was time to remember what happened in the past 12 months. It is hard to tell if 2017 was really worse than any other year, but it does seem like a lot of unfortunate events took place and that dark times repeated themselves. Marked by environmental crisis, political turmoil and terrorist attacks, this year was full of upheavals, so here is a summary of some of the most significant events of 2017.
January 01: A terrorist attack in a nightclub in Istanbul kills 39 people and wounds 70 others.
January 02: Three terrorist attacks kill 70 people in Baghdad, Iraq.
January 07: A car bombing in Azaz, Syria kills at least 48 people.
January 10: Three terrorist attacks in Afghanistan kill at least 57 people.
January 18: A terrorist attack in Gao, Mali, leaves 77 dead.
January 20: Inauguration of Donald Trump, as the 45th President of the United States.
January 21: Millions of people worldwide walked the streets and joined the Women’s March.
January 22: Chile is devastated by fires and declares a state of emergency.
January 27: Donald Trump bans travel to the US for seven mostly Muslim countries and suspends admission of refugees.
February 11: North Korea starts its ballistic missile testings and is internationally condemned.
February 26: The movie Moonlight receives the Best Picture Award at the 2017 Oscar Ceremony.
March 08: A terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, kills 49 people.
March 10: The UN warns that the world is facing one of the biggest humanitarian crisis in history with risks of large-scale starvation in Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria and South Sudan.
March 11: A double terrorist attack in Damas, Syria kills at least 74 people.
March 22: A car drove into the crowd on a bridge in Westminster, London, killing 5 people.
March 29: The United Kingdom calls on the article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to start the leaving process from the European Union.
April 03: A suicide bomber activated his device in a subway station in Saint-Petersbourg, killing 14 people and injuring dozens.
April 04: Two terrorist attacks in Egypt kill at least 44 people.
April 13: The United States drops the MOAB (Mother of All Bombs) on an ISIL base in Afghanistan. The MOAB is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the entire American arsenal.
April 20: Two people die in terrorist attack in Paris, two days before first turn of presidential election.
May 07: Emmanuel Macron wins the French presidential election against Marine Le Pen and becomes youngest president of France.
May 12: Computers in more than 150 countries are hit by a large-scale ransomware cyberattack.
May 22: Terrorist bombing attack kills 22 people and injures 500 at a concert in Manchester.
May 28: Floods and landslides kill at least 151 people in Sri Lanka.
May 31: A bombing truck kills 350 people and wounds 460 more in Kabul, Afghanistan.
June 01: The United States withdraws from the Paris Climate Agreement.
June 03: A terrorist attack in London’s Borough Market, kills at least 7 and wounds 48.
June 07: Two terrorist attacks are carried simultaneously in Tehran, Iran, killing 17 civilians and wounding 43.
June 10: The 2017 World Expo is opened in Astana, Kazakhstan. Its theme is “Future Energy”.
June 12: American student Otto Warmbier returns from North Korea in coma and dies a couple of days later, after spending 17 months in jail.
June 14: A large fire burns down the Grenfell tower in London, killing at least 30 people.
June 17: Large fires ravage Portugal, killing at least 64 people. More fires started again in October killing about forty people.
July 07: The G20 starts in Hamburg, and is followed by wide street demonstrations.
July 10: Mosul is officially liberated from ISIL.
July 24: Two terrorist attacks in Afghanistan kill at least 59 people.
August 05: The UN Security Council votes in favor of new sanctions against North Korean trade.
August 12: White supremacists march in the streets and are met with counter protesters in Charlottesville, amid rare violence that caused international outrage.
August 14: A terrorist attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, kills 18 people.
August 14: 320 people die under a mudflow in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
August 17: Two terrorist attacks in Barcelona, Spain, kill 16 people and leave 100 wounded.
August 25: Beginning of systematic massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, qualified as “ethnic cleansing” by the UNHCHR.
August 25-30: Hurricane Harvey strikes the United States and causes record-breaking floods, killing at least 90 people.
September 03: North Korea carries its sixth and most powerful nuclear test
September 06-10: Hurricane Irma strikes the Caribbean and the United States causing the death of 134 people. Saint Martin island is almost completely destroyed.
September 07: Mexico is hit by strongest earthquake in a century (8.2 magnitude) in Chiapas.
September 15: London is again targeted by terrorists. A terrorist attack happens in the underground station Parsons Green. The device partially exploded and wounded around 30 people.
September 19: Mexico is struck by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, killing at least 350 people and leaving 6,000 injured (and many more homeless).
September 19-20: Hurricane Maria strikes same areas as Irma, and causes at least 94 deaths.
September 25: Kurdistan votes in referendum in favor of independence from Iraq.
October 01: Crowd in Las Vegas is victim of the deadliest shooting in US history (perpetrated by a single gunman). Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd, killing 58 people and injuring 546.
October 08: Following several accusations of sexual harassment, Harvey Weinstein is sacked by his company. After this event, thousands of women started to speak against sexual harassment and to report their attackers. On October 15, Alyssa Milano launched the #MeToo movement by posting it on Twitter.
October 12: The United States decides to withdraw from UNESCO, Israel as well.
October 14: A truck bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia, kills at least 512 people, and injures 316.
October 17: Raqqa is declared liberated from ISIL.
October 27: Catalonia declares its independence from Spain, but is not recognized.
October 31: A truck drives into the crowd in Manhattan, New York, causing the death of 8 people.
November 03: Deir ez-Zor in Syria and Al-Qa’im in Iraq are both declared liberated from ISIL.
November 06: The COP23 is organized in Bonn, Germany.
November 12: Iraq is struck by a 7.3 earthquake, leaving more than 400 dead and 7,000 injured. This quake was the deadliest this year.
November 15: Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is arrested and resigns after 37 years in power.
November 22: The International Court of Justice condemns Ratko Mladić to life imprisonment for committing the Srebrenica genocide during the Bosnian War.
November 24: A mosque is attacked in Sinai, Egypt, killing 305 people.
December 06: Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
December 06: California is struggling to contain the Thomas fire.
December 09: Iraq is declared fully liberated from ISIL.
December 12: The organization ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) receives the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.
December 14: The Walt Disney Company declares it will acquire 20th Century Fox film studios.
December 14: The US Federal Communications Commission votes to end net neutrality.
December 22: The UN Security Council votes in favor of additional sanctions on North Korea.
December 24: Guatemala, Honduras and Panama declare they will also move their Israeli embassies to Jerusalem.
December 27: A bomb explodes in a mall in Saint-Petersburg and injures several people.
This list is obviously a non-exhaustive one. Only a few of all terrorist attacks are mentioned here, as 2017 counts hundreds of them. More earthquakes and storms have happened around the globe and even more political issues rattled the international scene. 2017 made us the helpless witnesses of an ongoing nuclear cold war between the United States and North Korea. Environmental catastrophes kept flowing and the reign of terror kept striking everywhere. But fortunately, 2017 was not only about tragic stories. Even though negative events are often the only aspect of our life that is featured in media, some courageous souls are working towards making the world a better place. We’ll be posting an article in the next days, about all good things that happened this past year, watch out for it!
And you? What 2017 event marked you the most? Have you experienced one of them? Leave your comments and impressions and don’t hesitate to share.
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