Top News Stories of 2011

Top News Stories of 2011
 

Top News Stories
of 2011

Quote of the Year

Witnessing the Republicans and the Democrats bicker over the U.S. debt is
like watching two drunks argue over
a bar bill on the Titanic"

- Kentucky Statesmen -

 

Earth's population hit the 7 billion mark in 2011 "Ifytouch my junk,

John Tyner

In reference to the security pat downs taking place at US Airports

 

"tdc's Froggy"
             tdc's Animated Frog   Be patient, I'm coming!

Notable Passings

March - Elizabeth Taylor
May - Osama bin Laden
June -
Dr. Jack Kevorkian
June - James Arness

October - Steve Jobs
October - Muammar Gaddafi
November - Andy Rooney
December - Kim Jong Il
December - Vaclav Havel

Our thanks to Fred Webster for this great animation


 

Froggy's  Comments 
Right  From The Pond

"
I May Be all Wet but I know what I'm taken' about..."

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USA Politics

December and the US is wrapped in the coming presidential election in 2012 and the Republican candidate race. Iran downs a US stealth unmanned spy plane intact and decides to keep it.

October, and Obama is in trouble as he tries to sell his new create jobs strategy to both the Congress and the Senate. 

After 9  years of war, US troops have decided to leave Iraq by the end of the year.

After spending bags of money on stealth fighter planes (F-22 and F- 35) with no great success  the US military has grounded all their stealth fighter fleet.  Not a good endorsement for those countries who are part of the consortium who bought into the development and purchase of new F-35 fighters.

Early August, Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's says it has downgraded the United States' credit rating for the first time in the history of the ratings. The credit rating agency says that it is cutting the country's top AAA rating by one notch to AA-plus

July, the US is deeply embroiled in a bitter political battle between the President and the Head of the Republican held house of representatives over the possibility of defaulting on US debt payment by August 2.  The problem is that the right wing TEA party Republican members refuse to alter their promise to voters not increase or create new taxes.  This political position is paramount in opposition to proposals of the President. Finally a deal is cut whereby the debt limit is raised by 2.4 trillion dollars, there are no increases in taxes and a promise to form a committee to cut spending by 3 trillion dollars over the next 10 years .... it will not solve the problem.

May, President Obama announces that Osama bin Laden was killed in Afghanistan by US Seals.

The US is so deeply in debt and whose finances are in a deficit position is trying to balance the books with great difficulty.   The right wing Tea party is very influential in trying to get that balance
influencing political budget decisions and saying expenses must be cut as well as no rise in taxes.

 

 Science
An experiment at Cern, the world largest physics laboratory, has shown neutrino particles apparently traveling faster than light and in the process smashing what has been a fundamental tenet of science for more than a century.

Canadian scientists 'bottle' antimatter for over 16 minutes.

Scientists have found complex, multi-celled creatures living a mile and more below the planet surface

In February, IBM's Super Computer Watson took on two top winners of the TV Game Show Jeopardy and tried to prove that computers are close to challenging human intelligence and logic especially to solve problems such as those presented on that TV Show.  Watson wins handily and IBM says that the next thing they will tackle with their supercomputer is  health care issues.
 

Economics The gap between earnings by the rich and the poor is the widest in 30 years, the OECD said in a report released ih December.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said the average income of the richest 10 per cent in OECD nations is now nine times the average income of the poorest 10 per cent.

November and Italy has the spotlight of fiscal demise... and they don't know how solve the problem without Italy going into a recession because there is no more bailout money. 

Is the world starting to go toward a "no investment - no borrow" economy? Or better known as "if you haven't got the money - then don't buy it "

In October, the "Occupy" movement started their global campaign to try to obtain a more fairer balance between the haves and have nots.  At first it was  Occupy  Wall Street and by the end of the month, there were "Occupy" demonstrations around the world denouncing the "Greed of Capitalism" insisting something should be done to lessen the financial distance between the top 1 %  of the population and the remainder of the populace.  Fearing the growth of the "Occupy" movement, in November governments around the world used legal means to shut down tented demonstrations stating health and safety issues against free speech arguments.

According to Feeding America's 2010 hunger study, more than 37 million Americans are now being served by food pantries and soup kitchens.

In China, food prices, which account for nearly a third of the basket of goods in the CPI calculation, rose 11.8 percent from a year earlier in the first six months, higher than the first quarter's 11 percent increase.

The war on terror has totally depleted the US treasury - to the point that the White House and Congress are now immersed in a titanic battle over a $4 trillion debt ceiling.

Early June, Greece unveils details of its fiscal plan, which involves selling off billions of euros of state assets, slashing public sector jobs and hiking property taxes to cut its debt and meet the targets tied to its international bailout- This plan was approved in late June... Wonder how much a beautiful Greek Island in the Mediterranean is worth with no government services?

Beijing cut its holdings of US Treasury securities for the fifth month in a row to $1.145 trillion in March, down $9.2 billion from February and 2.6 percent less than October's peak of $1.175 trillion

Reported in May that 25 % of houses in United States are worth less than their mortgaged value.

China and four other leading high-growth economies have taken landmark steps toward lowering the importance of the dollar in international financial transactions. A part of a seminal shift in the move towards a multicurrency reserve and trading system.

Reported at the end of March - Housing market: 13% of all U.S. homes are vacant

2011 isn't really going too well as Britain's inflation rate surged to 4 % early in the New Year

 

Energy
July - Authorities found that beef contaminated with radioactive cesium had been shipped to shops and restaurants throughout Japan.

End of May - The German government said it intends to phase-out nuclear power over the next decade, and immediately close eight of its oldest and most glitch-prone reactors.

Around 45 percent of children in Fukushima Prefecture checked by the prefectural and central governments in late March experienced thyroid exposure to radiation, although in all cases in trace amounts that didn't warrant further examination, officials of the Nuclear Safety Commission

Renewable sources such as solar and wind could supply up to 80 percent of the world's energy needs by 2050 and play a significant role in fighting global warming, a top UN climate panel concluded early in May.

A University of Missouri engineer has developed a flexible solar sheet that captures more than 90 percent of available light, and he plans to make prototypes available to consumers within the next five years.

An MIT chemist says he's created an advanced solar cell essentially an artificial leaf that can mimic photosynthesis, the process by which plants breathe and produce power.

There should be no petrol or diesel cars in city centres by 2050, the European Commission has proposed.

If the sustainable green energy industry (wind and solar)  wanted a boost over the nuclear energy generation industry it got it in Japan when two nuclear reactor buildings exploded after a massive earthquake and Tsunami crippled backup cooling systems  sending reactors close to meltdown and thousands of people being evacuated. It might be a long time before any new nuclear power reactors are built.  The unfolding disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant follows decades of falsified safety reports, fatal accidents and underestimated earthquake risk in Japan atomic power industry.  The boss of the company behind the devastated Japanese nuclear reactor broke down in tears - as his country finally acknowledged the radiation spewing from the over-heating reactors and fuel rods was enough to kill some citizens.  Further to the debate on the use of nuclear technology to generate energy it was announced at the end of March that As of January 2010, an estimated 63,000 metric tons of spent fuel was in storage at U.S. power plants or storage facilities, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Early in April, The operator of the crippled Fukushima Nucleaur complex begins releasing 11,500 tons of radioactive water into the Pacific to make room in storage tanks for even more highly contaminated water. The government says the release does not pose an immediate threat to humans. Noted here is the word 'immediate. Statement from a Japanese official - "At present, there are no operating permanent repositories for spent nuclear fuel and other high-level nuclear waste in the world."

 

Space

NASA said the Kepler space telescope has confirmed its first-ever planet in a habitable zone outside our solar system. The planet is about 600 light years away from Earth.
Astronomers have detected the first Earth-sized planets, which are orbiting a star similar to our own Sun.

NASA said the Kepler space telescope has confirmed its first-ever planet in a habitable zone outside our solar system

The planet is about 600 light years away from Earth.

The asteroid 2005 YU55 safely flew past our planet slightly closer than the moon's orbit on Nov. 8. The last time a space rock this large came as close to Earth was in 1976, although astronomers did not know about the flyby at the time.

Astronomers have spotted an exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond racing around a tiny star in our galactic backyard.

A thin band of antimatter particles called antiprotons enveloping the Earth has been spotted for the first time.

A new theory suggests the Earth once had a small second moon that perished in a slow motion collision with its "big sister".

NASA uncovers flowing water on Mars

NASA's Kepler mission has made a discovery of several hundred potential planets orbiting the Milky Way, five of which are similar to Earth and located in the habitable zone.

 
Health Scientists have used a portable device that tracks changes in brain waves to communicate with people in a vegetative state, some of whom have been locked in their bodies for more than a year.

Increasing steroids in the brains of multiple sclerosis patients may regress and possibly even cure the disease, researchers at the University of Alberta said in September

Scientists have found they can create chimeric animals that have organs belonging to another species by injecting stem cells into the embryo of another species. The researchers say the technique could allow pigs to grow human organs from patient's stem cells for use as transplants.

British researchers say regular moderate drinking can reduce all forms of cardiovascular disease by up to 25%.

British scientists have identified a protein that may act as a "master switch" for inflammation in the body, a discovery that may play a key role in the development of new treatments for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The protein, known as IRF5, is responsible for "telling" white blood cells to promote or inhibit inflammation in the body. The researchers say if they could find a way to interfere with IRF5's function, they may be able to develop new anti-inflammatory drugs to treat autoimmune diseases.
 

Environment
Arctic and Antarctic Ozone holes are of similar size for first time, say scientists, due to combination of wind patterns and intense cold

Australia will force its 500 worst polluters to pay 23 Australian dollars ($25) for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit, with the government promising to compensate households hit with higher power bills under a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists. In a new report, they warn that ocean life is "at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history.

Global carbon dioxide emissions related to energy consumption reached a record high in 2010, according to estimates released by the International Energy Agency

End of May, the worst history of tornadoes hit the American Midwest killing 500 + people.

Spring floods along the Mississippi in the US, Red and Assiniboine Rivers in Western Canada and the Richelieu River in Eastern Canada have set records for their heights - could it be that the global warming and the melting of the Arctic and Antarctic ice flows have anything to do with this?  

According to a 20-year study from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica have lost an average of 475 billion tons of ice each year.

The fragile ozone layer shielding our planet from ultraviolet rays has deteriorated to unprecedented lows over the Arctic.

Early March a 8.9 magnitude  earthquake stuck northeast Japan sending a 4 metre Tsunami across the Pacific. The earthquake has caused a huge explosion at Japan's  Fukushima nuclear power plant and the Tsunami destroyed a large part of the coastline north of Tokyo. The 8.9-magnitude quake moved Japan's main island by more than two metres, in addition to shifting Earth on its axis and briefly speeding up its rotation.

The start of the year there were disastrous rain storms that lead to floods and mud slides in Brazil and Queensland Australia leaving hundreds dead, thousands homeless and billions of dollars in damage.   Also struck by a devastating earthquake was Christchurch the capital of New Zealand

 

Peace It's taken 300 years, but the old boys club of royal primogeniture has finally been shelved.

Sixteen Commonwealth “realms" that still maintain the Queen as their head of state agreed in October to change the rules of succession that have favoured boys over girls since the 17th century. 

Worldwide military spending is now $1.5 trillion and climbing.

Saudi King Abdullah announces he was giving women the right to vote and run in municipal elections, the only public polls in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom.

In early August riots explode in London and then across England caused by social conditions.

Late August, Libya's Tripoli is invaded by their rebels as leader Moammar Gadahfi hides from being caught. In late October Moammar Gadahfi is killed by rebels and the liberation of Libya is celebrated on October 23.

Seventy-six people are killed in Norway caused by a bombing and a man who shot 66 young people.  The shock is that this country is deemed as a peaceful place and  the home of the Nobel Peace prize.

Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Libya during the first half of 2011 continue to have political unrest caused by groups of rebels who are rebelling against the dictatorships of these countries.

In January and early February - Yemen,  Egypt and Tunisia  oust their leaders President Hosni Mubarak and  President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali  using civil  protest as Middle East countries express their need for better governments.  Iran is also having its problems with civil protests and is trying to not allow the West to see what is really happening by shutting out the press and Internet services. Things must be worse than was previously reported as the young people who want to have jobs protest and get their way.  Many political pundits say that social media web sites Twitter and Facebook played a major part in these changes by providing needed instant communications.

The actions of the population of these nations would in the future be known as the Arab Spring.

 

Religion The Pope admits that the Jews were not responsible for the death of Jesus and Pope John Paul II has been given the status of a Saint.
 
Internet The Internet has finally conquered our available disposable time
and in particular e-Mail and social media.  Some companies are banning the use of e-mail at work because it now takes about 30 per cent of an employee's time.   Where we go from here is everyone's guess as available time becomes a contributing social factor in our everyday living.

Mid June  and after the Vancouver Canucks hockey team loses their final game in the Stanley Cup final there is a riot with an estimated 100,000 people.  Thousands of pictures and video clips are posted on YouTube, Facebook, and other social media as well as being sent to the police. These are images of looters, persons who turned over cars and set them on fire and people who broke windows.  It is anticipated that with the action of the persons who sent the pictures to the press, social media and the police the persons responsible can be arrested and charged.

According to a survey Canadians spend more time online than those in other countries. The live streaming of Will and Kate's nuptials had 1.6 million concurrent video views, making it the biggest event to be watched on the Web

 

Communications

November - Montreal firm launches world's cheapest tablet: $48 in India - Student Price $25.00

In early May Microsoft Corp.'announces that it has struck a deal for Skype Technologies worth $8.5-billion (U.S.) (including debt) - who knows what Microsoft will do with Skype technology.

Living

Prices of groceries and generally the cost of living rise

Agriculture

Corn princes soar driving food prices and inflation up across the globe.
 

Entertainment

Charlie Sheen is canned by the producers of 2 1/2 men for unduly conduct off the set.
 

Biggest Disappointments
of the Year

Japan not contemplating an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 on the Richer scale striking their country when they built their nuclear reactors. Also the length of time it took to get their broken reactors cooled off.

Failure of the United States to pay their debts on time.

It seems that order to survive today we need to have:
clean air, clean water, organically grown food, shelter, clothing, communications,
financial planners, entertainment, education, security, insurance
- what next?

Ask people living in 3rd world countries if they have any of these things
and why they keep smiling 

Your Comments?

Have a Happy 2012 Folks !
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