The year 2008 was one of the most interesting years in recent years. Everything from world weather, to world politics, to the global economy contributed to big stories.
The year begins with world stock markets diving down with fears of the plunging U.S. economy and mortgage crisis. As the year progresses governments start declaring that their economy has begun a recession, even the United Nations eventually declared world recession.
Price of petroleum reaching sky high, fueling up high prices of almost everything that we know, making this commodity the one to watch day in day out, and then at the end of the year gas prices plunge to an all new low, something that we thought we would probably never see again.
Weather was another big story maker all over the world, with cyclones, tornadoes and snow storms. Right here in Toronto we experienced record breaking snow fall in the beginning of the year 2008 and record breaking rainfall in spring and summer. We even witnessed 4 snow storms at the end of the year to start of the new winter season with a bang.
But when it comes to politics what bigger story to talk about than the U.S. elections; the world witnessed the first African American U.S. president. This two year long campaign ended with such a bang that it was felt all over the globe. Canadians had their elections too, but they all seemed to be more interested in what was going on in the U.S. ‚Äì that‚Äôs how big this was. Actually, Canadian politics itself was a big story maker, however, it just got cast away due the U.S. elections taking over the spot light. (Take a look ‚ÄúCanadian Politics ‚Äì Part 1 to 4‚Äù).
In the world of sports, the biggest buzz was the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. The Olympics were held in a country that had a long history of human rights issues, however, this did not stop the Chinese from giving the world a spectacular show. The opening and closing ceremony was something definitely to marvel at. But behind all the glitter there was some darkness hidden, only to be discovered later. It was later revealed that the little Chinese girl who gave an amazing singing performance in the opening ceremony was in fact only lip singing and the real face behind the voice was another girl ‚Äòsilently‚Äô singing away from the camera, as she was asked to do so by Chinese top officials only because she was not ‚Äòcamera material‚Äô and would not fit into the ‚ÄòChinese perfection‚Äô. As if this was not enough, it was later discovered that synchronized display of fireworks through the streets of Beijing during the closing ceremony was also not all ‚Äòseeing is believing‚Äô. Some of the footage was enhanced by computer graphic software. These were only 2 of such controversies.
But despite all the controversies surrounding the Chinese, they showed their true patriotic spirit and their dedication to perfection. The Chinese, from day one had the lead in medal tally and eventually ended up at number one spot in Gold medal count. The world was witness to some amazing sportsmanship and super human power as records were written, broken and rewritten. One very memorable story was of Michael Phelps, a U.S.A swimmer and his quest for record breaking 8 gold medals. After being challenged by his rival and former swimming super star Ian Thorpe, saying that he would not be able to do it, Michael‚Äôs only dream was to prove Ian and all his opponents that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Another big story that was told again and again was of the Jamaican sprinting sensation Usain Bolt who burned up the tracks with his lightening speed, breaking 3 world records, one of which, the 100m sprint even after slowing down in the last 20 meters and thumping his chest in celebration of his victory which was only few milliseconds away.
In other stories the U.N. declared 2008, International year of Planet Earth, International year of Sanitation and International Year of Languages amongst other designations. The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched theChandrayaan-1 spacecraft on a lunar exploration mission. Delta Air Lines merged with Northwest Airlines, forming the world’s largest commercial carrier.
On December 12 the Moon moved into its nearest point to Earth at the same time as its fullest phase of the Lunar Cycle. The Moon appeared to be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than the year’s other full moons. The next time these 2 events coincide will be in 2016.
The proton beam circulated for the first time in the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, located at CERN, near Geneva, under the Franco-Swiss border. It has detectors as big as apartment buildings to find out what happens when these protons cross paths and collide at 99.999999 percent of the speed of light ‚Äì an amazing experiment or a complete waste of time and money (more than $8 billion) – you decide.
These are just some of the top stories. There are some which have not included here, because it honestly is not possible to include everything. Overall 2008 was an amazing year. I personally had some amazing times in this year, some of which I can say were ‚Äòlife changing‚Äô. I‚Äôll be talking about my personal experiences in 2008 in my next blog entry.