Top News Stories of 2011

Top News Stories of 2012
 

Top News Stories
of 2012

Quote of the Year

"It may not feel like it, but 2012 has been the greatest year in the history of the world. That sounds like an extravagant claim, but it is borne out by evidence. Never has there been less hunger, less disease or more prosperity.

The West remains in the economic doldrums, but most developing countries are charging ahead, and people are being lifted out of poverty at the fastest rate ever recorded. The death toll inflicted by war and natural disasters is also mercifully low
"

We are living in a golden age."

The Spectator   

Earth's population hit the 7,087,498,769 in 2012 "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

Whitney Houston - February
Mike Wallace - April
Dick Clark - April
Ray Bradbury - June
Andy Griffith - July
Ernest Borgnine - July
 
Gore Vidal - July
Helen Gurley Brown - August
Neil Armstrong - August
Larry Hagman - November

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

Obama wins a second term in the White House during an election that saw voters split their votes near 50/50 of the popular vote.  Both Obama and Romney said that the strenghtening of the US economy would be their key policy priority.

Two weeks to go before the USA election and after three debates  - polls say it is a tie between Obama and Romney for President... the media advertising firms are so proud they have won.

Prior to the November election - the question to the American people put by Romney is "are you better off now than you were four years ago?"

April - It's Romney vs Obama in this year's Presidential election.

The U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.5 percent in December 2011 as job creation was more robust than expected, providing continued signs that the nation's labor market is improving gradually.  Obama begins to smile.

 

 Science

China opened the world’s longest high-speed rail line that more than halves the time required to travel from the country’s capital in the north to Guangzhou

A race between a robot car and a human on a multi curve race track has ended with a win for the humans - but only just.

Physicists say they have all but proven that the "God particle" exists. They have a footprint and a shadow, and the only thing left is to see for themselves the elusive subatomic particle believed to give all matter in the universe size and shape

In March, Canadian film director James Cameron has completed his journey to the deepest known point in any of the world's oceans — the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean southwest of GuamFruit and seeds hidden in an Ice Age squirrel's burrow in Siberian permafrost have been resurrected into a flower by Russian scientists. Using a pioneering experiment, the Sylene stenophylla has become the oldest plant ever to be regrown and it is fertile, producing white flowers and viable seeds.

The seeds date back 30,000 to 32,000 years and raise hopes that iconic Ice Age mammals like the woolly mammoth could also eventually be resurrected.Scientists have taken a first early step toward escaping the limits of a technological principle called Moore's Law by creating a working transistor using a single phosphorus atom.

 

Economics

McDonalds based in Oak Brook, Ill., says global sales at restaurants open at least a year fell 1.8 percent for the month of October 2012. The last time the figure dropped was in 2003. The figure is a key metric because it strips out the impact of newly opened and closed locations.

The fast-food chain says the figure fell 2.2 percent in both the U.S. and Europe. In the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa, it dropped 2.4 percent. 

Mid September The US Fed said it would pump $40 billion into the U.S. economy each month until it saw a sustained upturn in the weak jobs market.

Early May - France and Greece votes for new leaders who reject austerity measures and sending Europe into turmoil.

Quebec post secondary students continue to strike against increases in tuition rates despite being the least expensive in Canada.

Eastman Kodak Co the photography icon that invented the hand-held camera and helped bring the world the first pictures from the moon, has filed for bankruptcy protection, capping a prolonged plunge for one of America’s best-known companies.

 

Energy

End of July, India blackouts widen as 600 million left without power. Grids fail in northeast, leaving more than half the country in dark.

German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity - equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity - through the midday hours

From Canada to Colombia to Brazil, oil and gas production in the Western Hemisphere is booming, with the United States emerging less dependent on supplies from an unstable Middle East.

Early May - Thousands of Japanese marched to celebrate the last of this nation's 50 nuclear reactors switching off.

Japan says it will soon require atomic reactors to be shut down after 40 years of use to improve safety following the nuclear crisis set off by last year's Tsunami

Energy experts believe that seaweed holds enormous potential as a biofuel alternative to coal and oil, and US-based scientists say they have unlocked the secret of turning its sugar into energy.

 

Space

Extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner made a death-defying free fall that could make him the first skydiver to break the sound barrier.

He has broken the record for the highest free fall ever, the fastest free fall and the highest manned balloon ride, according to organizers

NASA's most advanced Mars rover, Curiosity, has landed on the Red Planet. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars early in August ended a 36-week flight and begin a two-year investigation

A satellite galaxy or other massive object that passed through the Milky Way 100 million years ago sent shock waves through its many millions of stars that are still reverberating today, a team of Canadian and U.S. physicists has found

June, China's first female astronaut and two other crew members emerged smiling from a capsule that returned safely to Earth on Friday from a 13-day mission to an orbiting module that is a prototype for a future space station

China launched its most ambitious space mission yet, carrying its first female astronaut and two male colleagues in an attempt to dock with an orbiting module and work on board for more than a week.

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft nears the edge of the solar system

Since the discovery of the first extrasolar planet in 1995, astronomers have confirmed the existence of more than 760 planets beyond the solar system, with only four believed to be in a habitable zone.

Russia's Mars probe intended to go one of Mar's moons (Phobos) and extract some soil and return to earth crashes into the earth's atmophere before starting the space journey to Mars.

 
Health

Canadian scientists have made a major discovery about how cancer spreads: tumour cells appear to co-opt normal cells around them, in effect “talking” them into helping the cancer set up shop in other parts of the body. 

A Canadian man who was believed to have been in a vegetative state for more than a decade, has been able to tell scientists that he is not in any pain using a MRI brain scanning technique and seeing the responses to questions on a screen output

Canada's top court has ruled that Pfizer's patent on the company's groundbreaking erectile dysfunction drug Viagra is void.
 

Regular checkups aren't beneficial in reducing deaths overall or from cancer or heart disease, a large new review concludes.

A provocative new study suggests a connection between the BPA chemical used in food packaging and childhood obesity but the researchers say their findings don't prove it's the cause.

While most people have traces of the plastics chemical in their bodies, the study found that children with the highest levels in their urine were twice as likely to be obese than those with the lowest. 

Fifteen-year-old Jack Andraka took home top science fair honours this year for the development of a cancer-testing method found to be 168 times faster, 26,000 times cheaper and 400 times more sensitive than the current gold-medal standard.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital say they have extracted stem cells from human ovaries and made them generate egg cells.

Doctors should measure blood pressure in both arms as routine, as a difference between the left and the right arm could indicate an increased risk of vascular disease and death, a new study published in the Lancet has claimed.  

Researchers at Queen’s University believe they have discovered what causes the loss of a tumour-suppressing gene in aggressive cases of prostate cancer.

Dr. Jeremy Squire, a professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, postdoctoral fellow Maisa Yoshimoto and their research team have been searching for the mechanism that causes the destruction of the PTEN gene.

Scientists have improved the sight of two people who were almost blind by injecting their eyes with stem cells from embryos.

A newly discovered hormone produced in response to exercise may be turning people’s white fat brown, a groundbreaking new study suggests, and in the process lessening their susceptibility to obesity, diabetes and other health problems. The study, published in Nature and led by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, provides remarkable new insights into how exercise affects the body at a cellular level.
Environment

A study shows Greenland's ice sheets are melting at a rate five times faster than they were in 1990s. In contrast, Antarctica is more or less stable, although the research shows there has been a 50 per cent increase in ice loss since 1992. The melting is affecting ice sheets in the west side of Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula.

A report by the UN Environment Program, said the concentration of heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen about 20 per cent since 2000. 

Early November and Hurricane Sandy slams into New Jersey and New York killing serveral people, knocking out power to over a milliion people, flooding Manhatten subways, causing long lineups for gasoline and sending a flood of water 14 feet in height into Statten Island.  Did Sandy finallly send the message that global warming is realÉ

Nearly all of the ice sheet covering Greenland's surface melted over several days in July - something scientists have never seen before.

Subtropical plankton bloom in the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea.

Air pollution is increasingly acute in major Chinese cities and authorities are frequently accused of underestimating the severity of the problem in urban areas, especially in Beijing.

Moscow: Prehistoric hunters are not to blame for mammoths becoming extinct in Russia's far eastern region, a new joint Russian-American study has said.

The reason why mammoths went extinct around 11,500 years ago in Beringia region, comprising modern day Chukotka, Alaska and far eastern reaches of Siberia, was severe cooling of climate, according to the study published in Nature

400 ppm CO2 reported in the high Arctic - the highest ever recorded

Los Angeles became the largest city in the USA to approve a ban on plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines

January 2012 was the USA's 4th-warmest January on record, stated by a federal climate scientist

Air pollution levels reported in Hong Kong were the worst ever in 2011

 

Peace

At the end of November, Palestine is granted state observer status by the United Nations.

After 6  days of sending rockets and bombardments at each other Isreal and Palestinian guns and rockets are silent on an agreed upon cease fire.

Mid November and they are at it again.  Isreal and Palestine are in an exchange of rocket attacks.  The exchange will probably end and then they will reload again for future attacks.  Unless the politicians find another way... this will go on forever!

Reported in September - Up to 11,864 civilians were killed in Afghanistan from 2007, when the United Nations began reporting statistics, to the end of 2011. US casualties numbered 2000.

On US Memorial day, Obama pledges no more wars unless 'absolutely necessary'

 All Nato-led combat forces are due to leave Afganistan by the end of 2014.

France decides to remove their combat troops from Afganistan in 2012 but will leave behind some troops for training the Afgan army.  The US has also promised to reduce their combat presence.

Mid April Taliban insurgents attacked cities across eastern Afghanistan, including at least two prominent targets in Kabul, in a rare coordinated attack spanning some of the country’s most important urban centers. The Taliban called the effort the beginning of their spring offensive.

Mid April, there is a cease fire between the Syrian government troops and insurgents which was brokered by the UN.  The UN is sending in their observer team.

The United States says North Korea has agreed to suspend nuclear activities and a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests 

President Barack Obama laid out a new strategy early on January for a "leaner" U.S. military that calls for a high-tech force with fewer ground troops and a greater focus on countering a rising China. The new U.S. military strategy will focus on cyberwarfare and unmanned drones.

The revised strategy is supposed to shape budget priorities as the Pentagon prepares to cut $487 billion from planned spending levels over the next decade.

 

Religion Banks are foreclosing on America's churches in record numbers as lenders increasingly lose patience with religious facilities that have defaulted on their mortgages

Internet

Was reported for the first time that during Novermber Black Friday shopping, internet shopping exceeded "brinks and mortar" shopping.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled early in February that Canadian ISPs should not be subjected to broadcast regulations because they do not have control over the content they transmit. The decision means ISPs like Bell and Rogers, which owns Maclean’s, won’t have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fees and levies. It also means they’re exempt from Canadian content quotas. The case had been referred to the Supreme Court by the CRTC, which wanted to know if companies that provide access to programming via Internet should be considered broadcasters. A coalition formed by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, Canadian Media Production Association, the Directors Guild of Canada and the Writers Guild of Canada, had argued that ISPs should be treated as broadcasters.

In mid January several big web sites like Wikapedia and some parts of Google went black for about 24 hours  in protest of over proposed provisions that could cause enormous harm to the Internet and freedom of speech. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.
 

Communications

Reported in December that the internet has provided massive sales in the retail sectors of the US.
 

Living

Mid November and 20 children and 6 adults are gunned down in a school in an upper class town in Connecticut.  And the US calls for more gun control.

A Montreal Canada couple and their son were convicted in January of first-degree murder in the deaths of four female family members in a case the judge called "despicable," "heinous" and stemming from "a completely twisted concept of honour."

China´s railways will carry 235 million passengers during the 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, up 6.1 percent year-on-year says the Ministry of Railways.

Agriculture

More than unusual early warm weather has caused drought concerns for farmers in North America and rising prices for agricultural commodities

Entertainment

The Avengers superhero movie has smashed the record for the biggest US opening weekend, taking $200m

Losses at Oprah's OWN TV Network  approach a staggering $330m as industry insiders predict it will be axed within the year

Despite low movie viewer turnout movie makers are making money by raising the prices of theatre viewers and charging extra for supplying 3D glasses at 3 D showings.

Biggest Disappointments
of the Year

The failure of the US and Europe to solve their fiscal debt causing massive unemployment.

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 

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