2018: A Review
As we've now passed into 2019, it seems prudent to look back at 2018 and the many important events that happened in world affairs. Some examples of these include:
The poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal
: Occurring near the start of the year on March 4th, this marked a serious decline in already strained relations between the Western world and Russia. The attempt at the Skripal's lives in quaint Salisbury resulted in a retaliatory expulsion of 100+ Russian diplomats across the globe.
The political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was found to have illicitly harvested the data of 50 million Facebook users without their consent.
The data was used to influence public opinions in the Trump and Ted Cruz campaigns amongst others, and resulted in incredible damage to public confidence in Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg was eventually questioned by the US Congress, and the affair resulted in a heightened concern for protection of ones online data.
Kim Jong-Un crossing the DMZ into South Korea
: Given how 2017 saw ever increasing escalation in tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world, few could've predicted that this historic moment would've ever happened in on April 27th. North Korea spent plenty of time in the news, with Donald Trump's thaw in relations resulting in him meeting Kim Jong-Un too
, the first sitting US President to meet a sitting North Korean leader.
May 25th saw two key stories emerge. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law came into effect in the EU
, resulting in temporary issues as websites and companies adjusted to the increased scrutiny on protecting consumers data. Alongside this, Ireland held a referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment of its Constitution
, which granted equal status to a mother and an unborn child. In a landslide, 66.4% to 33.6% result, the amendment was repealed, paving the way to an end on the restriction of abortion in the nation.
On August 2nd, Apple became the first public company to reach a market value of $1 trillion.
This came despite concern at the pricing strategy of some of their newer iPhone models, and rode on the back of Facebook's aforementioned struggles.
On October 2nd, journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul
, resulting in an unprecedented diplomatic crisis that saw a strain on relations and a halt of business/investment with the nation. Several nations have halted arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and Khashoggi was named the Times Person of the Year alongside other journalists who faced persecution.
Throughout November and December, France was gripped by the Yellow Vests Movement,
a protest at the ineffectiveness of President Macron's economic reforms to help the economy, including fuel tax rises amidst high living costs, low pensions and overall dissatisfaction with politicians ability to help poorer families. The protests occurred against the backdrop of tumbling approval ratings for Macron, who eventually committed to raising the minimum wage alongside other tax concessions.
Finally, we can't go the full year without mentioning Brexit. The decision to leave continues to blight UK politics, with Theresa May having faced all manner of problems, including opposition to her Chequer's Deal
, agreeing a new withdrawal agreement which has been condemned by most in Parliament and the public
, surviving a vote of no confidence by her own MPs
, and finally delaying the key vote on her Brexit deal till 2019
after conceding that it would've been defeated in Parliament. Turbulent though it may be, 2019 will show no signs of slowing down as March 29th edges closer.
With all these stories and many more, what do you think were the most important events of 2018 and why? Do you think any will have a lasting impact into 2019?