Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Biggest Newsmakers in 2013

Happy New Year everyone! It's early dawn of 2014 in the Far East now, blasting of firecrackers are everywhere kinda scary!

As the dawn of another year breaks, a new wave of excitement and hope for a better life in the world surfaces. Despite the tragedies, calamities, chaos, scandals and political and economic tension that the global community had experienced in 2013, still there are plenty of reasons to be thankful for. Life itself is a gift and it should be cherished. Let's be thankful that we are alive and able to witness the grand entrance of 2014. God is so good and never abandoned His people. We only need to strengthen our faith in Him to see goodness and beauty in the environment.

The year 2013 was by far one of the challenging periods the world gone through as far as peace and order is concerned, but not all events in the last year were marked with tension and conflicts, there were few news also that gave us inspiration and hope. News that came out last year ranged from wars, natural disasters, global crisis, political tension, technological innovations, scandals, controversies and of course election of the new head of the Catholic church.

Here are the top newsmakers of 2013 that caught global attention:

POPE FRANCIS

The first non-European to become the Vicar of Christ and successor to the throne of St. Peter in over 1,000 years, Pope Francis brought a new light of inspiration to the dark side of the universal church which had been marred with controversies from all aspects. The Pope easily won admiration from many people, believers and non believers alike, with his deep humility, humble life and simplicity. His commitment to maintain a poor church and his renouncement to luxury and grandeur lifestyle traditionally associated with the Roman Pontiffs earned him respect and across the globe. His unique compassion to the poor, effort to reform the Roman Curia and pledge to address the scandals and issues within the Roman Catholic church won him the accolade Person of the Year for 2013 of TIME magazine.

BENEDICT XVI, Pope Emeritus

A scholarly, conservative pope who had been the Catholic church's top Theologian for the past three decades, shocked the world in the beginning of the year when he announced his impending resignation, a surprise papal decision which had not been heard since the Middle Ages. The Pope cited his frail health as the mean reason of his resignation. The Pope's renouncement to the throne of St. Peter highlighted the legendary secrecy of Vatican City which never divulge sensitive information about the Catholic church to the media. The Pope Emeritus, who still officially wearing a white cassock traditionally worn by Popes, is presently living in the former convent of Mater Ecclesiae within the Vatican wall. 
The two popes greeting each other on Christmas day

Just before the year ends, the world saw an event which never happened before and thought to be impossible until recently, the meeting of the two popes. After his election in March, Pope Francis visited Benedict in his former home, in Castel Gandolfo. They met again last Christmas when the reigning Pope made another visit to Benedict and recently (December 27) when Pope Francis invited the Pope Emeritus to share lunch with him at the papal apartment in Domus Sanctae Marthae.

EDWARD SNOWDEN

The most celebrated whistleblower in 2013. Snowden is a 30-year-old American computer specialist who made headlines through out the world when he divulged sensitive information of the National Security Agency to the media. He worked for the Central Intelligence Agency therefore had access to the classified information of the agency. His disclosure threatened both the national security and information privacy and many people doubted how far can we protect our privacy in the world of advanced technology especially around the web. Snowden was charged of espionage and theft of government properties by the American authorities and considered a fugitive. He went to Russia to seek for an asylum. Many people considered him a hero but for the American government he is a traitor and a spy. It's up to the public how they would look Snowden. He is a runner-up to Pope Francis as Person of the Year of Time magazine.

NELSON MANDELA

The death of this great South African leader last December 5, 2013 revisited his long walk to freedom after leading the anti-apartheid movement in 1950s. Mandela earned a global status when he fought courageously against apartheid in his homeland. He served 27 years in prison. In 1994, four years after his release, he run and won for South African presidency and became the first black president in South Africa. He was globally admired for ending the apartheid regime in his country. His funeral in Johannesburg, South Africa, drew several world leaders including three American presidents. He won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

CHEMICAL ATTACK IN SYRIA

Who was not horrified with the news of a chemical attack in Syria last August that left thousands of Syrian dead? The graphic videos that made its way to the internet showed people gasping for air and bodies lined up in the ground were intensely gruesome that people from all walks of life condemned the Syrian government for its supposed involvement. The U.S made an ultimate warning of a military strike if the government won't dismantle its chemical weapons production facilities. Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, however agreed to destroy the production by 2014.

HAIYAN DEVASTATIONS

In what would have been the worst natural disaster to hit the Philippines in recent memory, Haiyan typhoon (Yolanda) left nearly 8,000 dead and several residents homeless. Millions of properties were destroyed in the Visayas region especially Eastern Samar and Leyte. Considered the strongest typhoon in the world, Haiyan spurred a storm surge in Leyte and Samar making the sea water rose to an alarming level and slammed at the coastal areas of these provinces. The devastating incident caught the attention of the public and the whole world and pulled together to help the victims recovered by sending donations and all forms of assistance.




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