With just hours left until 2015, 2014 will soon be over. The end of December is a great time to look back at the old year and remember its most important events and moments. Undoubtedly, 2014 was one of the most turbulent, violent and intense years, but it also brought some nice and pleasing things. To see what 2014 looked like from the world´s point of view, check out these 25 pictures.
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North American cold wave
In the U.S., the beginning of 2014 was marked by an extreme weather event that affected parts of Canada and eastern U.S. countries. Temperatures fell to unprecedented levels resulting in many business, school, and road closures as well as mass flight cancellations.
Sochi Winter Olympics
2014 was a year of several major sport events and the Sochi Winter Olympics was definitely one of them. Held from 7 to 23 February, it was the first Olympics in Russia since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. It was the host country who won the games with 33 medals in total, followed by Norway and Canada.
Unfortunately, February was also the month when the protests against Ukrainian president Yanukovych escalated in the Independence Square in Kiev. Pro-Russian Yanukovych fled the Ukrainian capital but violent, long-term unrests flared up in the Russophone parts of the country.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 lost
2014 was also a year of unusually frequent airplane accidents. The first plane that disappeared was Boeing 777 carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane got lost on March 8 and, despite the largest and most expensive search in aviation history, there has been no confirmation of any flight debris, resulting in many unofficial theories about the disappearance.
Sinking of the South Korean ferry
Unfortunately, April also brought a tragedy that got the whole world´s attention. On April 16, MV Sewol, a South Korean ferry, capsized while carrying 476 people, mostly secondary school students. In all, 304 passengers died in the disaster while 172 survived, many of whom were rescued by fishing boats and other commercial vessels that arrived at the scene 30 minutes before any South Korean coast guard or navy ships.
20th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide
April 2014 was also the month of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. During the approximate 100-day period from April 7, 1994, to mid-July of the same year, Rwanda became the scene of one of the most brutal and horrifying mass murders ever committed. In the genocide, up to 1 million Rwandans (mostly Tutsi and moderate Hutu ethnic groups) were killed.
Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped
Obviously, April was a particularly sad month. On the night of 14–15 April, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Nigeria. Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by Boko Haram, an Islamic Jihadist and terrorist organization based in northeast Nigeria. The students have been forced to convert to Islam and into marriage with members of Boko Haram. 219 girls are still missing.
Soma mine disaster
May 13, 2014 became the day of the worst mine disaster in Turkish history. On that day, an explosion at a coal mine in the town of Soma caused an underground mine fire, which burned until May, 15. In total, 301 people were killed but some politicians claimed that the number of deaths were higher.
Iran´s effort to save the Asiatic cheetah from extinction
Sadly, 2014 was a year when numerous animal species died out but there were also several admirable conservationist efforts to protect some of the critically endangered species. Iran, for example, was rushing to save the Asiatic cheetah, a cousin of the more famous African cat, once ranging from the Red Sea to India. Recent studies suggest that these days, there are only a few hundreds of them remaining in the wild.
2014 FIFA World Cup
In June, billions of people from all over the world fixed their eyes on Brazil, where the 2014 FIFA World Cup was held. It was a tournament marked by interesting primacies, historical records, great performances as well as several surprising results. Germany won it after hammering the host country 7:1 in the semifinal and defeating Argentina 1:0 in the final.
Islamic State expansion
June was also the month when the Islamic State (previously known as ISIL or ISIS) proclaimed a worldwide caliphate, claiming religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide. The Islamic State became notorious for its unusually brutal and cruel behavior and violent propaganda that included videos of beheadings.
Israel – Gaza conflict
In July, another region became a military zone. The conflicts between Israel and Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic organization, escalated to such an extent that on 8 July, Israel launched a military operation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. In the conflict, over 2,000 people were killed (mostly Palestinians) but the result is doubtful – both sides claimed victory.
Hailstorm in Russia
2014 was also a year of bizarre meteorological phenomena and extraordinary weather events. On July, 12, for example, the Russian city of Novosibirsk was pelted with large hails that came suddenly out of a heat-wave with temperatures of well over 100 F (38 C). It came so fast that people at the beach could hardly escape.
Malaysian airplane shot
If there is one airline company that the last year was particularly tragic, it’s undoubtedly the Malaysian Airlines. On July 17, its Boeing 777 scheduled as international passenger flight MH 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed after being shot down. In the tragedy, all 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board died. The plane was shot in the Donetsk region in Ukraine where the Ukrainian army fought against pro-Russian separatists, blaming each other for the shooting.
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
The 2014 Ebola virus outbreak probably started as early as the beginning of the year but it wasn’t until summer when it culminated claiming thousands of casualties. There have been several Ebola outbreaks in history but this outbreak was the first one with a death case outside of Africa; a 42-year-old man from Liberia died of Ebola in the U.S.
Passengers lifting a train to free a man´s leg
Among all the sad and tragic stories of 2014, there are also a few that might restore your faith in humanity. One of them took place on August in a railway station in Perth, Australia, where a man´s leg got trapped between the train and the platform. All the passengers jointly lifted the train in order to free the man’s leg.
In the U.S., August was marked by a series of protests and civil disorders that began the day after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, on August 9, in Ferguson, Missouri. The incident sparked a vigorous debate about law enforcement’s relationship with African-Americans, and police use of force doctrine in Missouri and nationwide
Known as the Supermoon Sunday, August 10 was a day that drew attention from astronomy fans worldwide. Officially called “perigean full moon”, the supermoon is a natural phenomenon that occurs when a full moon closely coincides with perigee – the moon’s closest point to the Earth in its orbit. The supermoon from August 10 was the largest supermoon of the year (the moon was “just” 221,765 miles away from Earth).
Death of Robin Williams
2014 also brought a few sad deceases of some popular celebrities. On August 11, Robin Williams, a great American actor and comedian, died at the age of 63 after committing suicide at his home in Paradise Cay, California. His death shocked people around the world with many other celebrities paying tribute to him, including President Obama who said of Williams: “He was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.”
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin marriage
Fortunately, there were also some joyful news in the celebrity world in 2014. On September 27, popular American actor and filmmaker George Clooney (53) married British-Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin (36) in Ca’ Farsetti, a glorious palace in Venice, northern Italy.
Hong Kong protests
September was also the month of massive political protests in Hong Kong. The demonstrations broke out after the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China announced its decision on proposed reforms to the Hong Kong electoral system. The protests took place outside the Hong Kong Government headquarters but members of what became later called the Umbrella Movement occupied several major city intersections as well.
Malala Yousafzai awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Price
On October 10, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and human rights, became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate ever. Two years ago, she was shot in the head by the Taliban for her efforts to promote education for girls in Pakistan. Since then, after recovering from the surgery, she has taken her campaign to the world stage.
Spacecraft landed on a comet for the first time
2014 was also a year of some major scientific achievements. On November 12, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft and its lander module Philae made history when it successfully landed on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and returned data from the surface.
Sydney café siege
Unfortunately, the end of the year was also marked by some tragic events that received international attention. On 15–16 December, Man Haron Monis, an Iranian-born Australian citizen who pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State, held hostage ten customers and eight employees of a Lindt chocolate café in Sydney, Australia. During the event (which was treated as a terrorist attack), 3 people were killed including the gunman himself.
Russian ruble slump
Throughout the whole year, Russian ruble has been tumbling dramatically and in December, it has fallen more than 50 percent against the dollar from early 2014. The historically low rates of the currency was caused by a combination of several factors such as low oil prices, looming recession and Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.