Top 16 of 2016: News Stories

Uzma Rentia, Editor-in-Chief

2016 was an eventful year to say the least, from elections to referendums here are 16 news stories that caught the world’s attention this year.

1. Presidential Election

While 2016 was an eventful year to say the least, the top news story clearly goes to the outcome of the presidential election, which finally came to a close on Nov. 7. Through an unconventional campaign and active Twitter, Donald Trump beat his 16 Republican rivals and Hillary Clinton to obtain, then surpass, 270 electoral votes. It hasn’t been easy sailing for Trump since then, he has had to battle calls for recounts, select Cabinet members and acknowledge that Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes.

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore on Flickr

2. Brexit

The world was left shocked when British citizens voted in June to leave the European Union. The decision triggered economic turmoil in the country, sending the pound tumbling to a three decade low against the dollar. David Cameron soon resigned as prime minister after the results of the referendum, leaving the transition to be handled by Theresa May.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

3. Pulse Nightclub Rampage

On June 16, 29-year-old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 others during Latin Night at the Pulse, a gay nightclub located in Orlando, before being shot and killed by the Orlando Police Department after a three hour standoff. The shooting is the worst mass shooting in modern US history.

 Photo courtesy of DSC_2992_pp on Flickr

4. Nice Attack

Not even a month after the deadly shooting at Pulse, tragedy struck again, this time in Nice, France, where 86 people were killed when a 19 ton cargo truck plowed through a Bastille Day celebration. The Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack; 434 people were also injured.


Photo courtesy of H.Murdock on Wikimedia Commons

5. Zika Virus

Mosquitoes overwhelming made headlines this year, not for Malaria, but for the Zika Virus. Due to the virus, thousands of babies are being born with the microcephaly. Now it is possible that miscarriages and a neurological condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause paralysis, are also linked to Zika. Despite the World Health Organization deeming the virus no longer “global health emergency” this November, residents of Florida and Texas are reporting cases of Zika.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

6. Democratic Party Email Leaks

Hacked emails, revealed by WikiLeaks, wreaked havoc on the Democratic Party in the weeks leading up to the election. The leak seemed to imply that the committee was attempting to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign, big donors were favored in board appointments and that DNC member Donna Brazile had provided the Clinton campaign with town hall questions, among other embarrassing revelations. Although the DNC later released an apology, the harm was already done. Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other DNC officials resigned in droves. Early December, the CIA concluded that Russia was behind the hacking in a bid to increase Donald Trump’s chance of a victory.


7. James Comey/Hillary Clinton’s Emails

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private computer server has been a sticking point for the length of her campaign. FBI Director James Comey criticized Clinton for being “extremely careless” but did not that charges be filed against her in July. However, on Oct. 28, just days before the election, Comey shocked the nation by announcing the FBI would be looking into newly discovered emails. On Nov. 6, Comey notified Congress that the FBI stood by the July decision.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

8. Flint, Michigan

Two years ago, the local government of Flint, Michigan switched the city’s water source to the Flint River, a decision that would results in a public health crisis that went unrecognized for far too long. The corrosion of the water pipes meant the predominately poor and African American residents were drinking lead-contaminated water, leading to delays in mental development.

9. Supreme Court Replacement

Following Justice Anton Scalia’s death in February, the Supreme Court was split evenly between liberal and conservative. President Obama’s replacement would have the potential to tip the scales in the Democratic Party’s favor. When he nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the vacancy, the majority Republicans in the Senate refused to consider the nomination, deciding to leave the appointment to the next president. Now, President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to appoint a Justice similar to Scalia.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

10. Rio Olympics

Photo courtesy of Agencia Brasil on Wikimedia CommonsWith 121 medals, the US topped the medal table for the fifth time in the past six Summer Olympics. US Olympians also brought home the most gold medals, 46. However, the medals weren’t what dominated the news during the Olympics. Initially, rumors of frantic preparation and subpar delivery drew the ire of many. Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad sparked national conversation by becoming the first US Olympian to wear a hijab. Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky invoked envy. Michael Phelps cemented his name in history by becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time, holding all-time records for Olympic gold medals (23), Olympic gold medals in individual events (13), and Olympic medals in individual events (16) and creating the “Phelps Face.” On the other hand, Hope Solo had her contract terminated after she said her Swedish opponents played like “cowards.” Ryan Lochte outraged millions after lying about being robbed at gunpoint to cover up the fact that he and other teammates had actually been asked to pay for damage they caused while drunk at a gas station.

11. Syria/Aleppo

Cease-fire negotiations and UN meetings have failed to stem the relentless carnage that has persisted in Syria for the past five years. With aid from Russia, President Bashar Assad seized the rebel-held portions of Aleppo in mid-December. Assad’s victory came at the cost of untold lives as residents took to social media and other platforms to record “final messages.” The Turkish government eventually stepped, managing to evacuate at least 25,000 citizens, including Bana Alabed, a seven-year-old girl who documented the struggles of living in Aleppo through Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Voice of America News on Wikimedia Commons

12. Berlin Attack

On Dec. 19, in a terrorist attack similar to that in Nice, France earlier this year, Anis Amir, a 24-year-old Tunisian man, drove a truck into a Christmas market next to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, leaving 12 people dead and 56 others injured. Amir was killed four days later during a shootout with police in Milan. IS claimed responsibility for the attack, later releasing a video of Amir pledging allegiance to the group. The incident has reignited conversation about the wave of refugees entering the EU.

13. European Refugee Crisis

The refugee crisis also made this list last year. As the Syrian Civil War shows no signs of abating and the threat of the Islamic State persists, refugees continue to flee their homeland and seek asylum in the EU and North America. EU members have received more than 1.3 million asylum applications. Canada has resettles nearly 39,000 refugees as stories of migrants and their sponsor families dominated newspapers. Also dominating news stories: the presidential candidate’s opinion on the refugee crisis. Hillary Clinton’s plan to increase the number of refugees in the country by 550% percent – from 10,000 to 65,000 – was met with mixed reception, something the Trump campaign cashed in on.

Photo courtesy of Freedom House on Flickr

14. Police Violence

Like last year, violence by police made headline, though this year, violence against the police also took center stage. Ambushes style attacks took the lives of 20. One notable incident occurred in Dallas, during a protest over the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Philando Castille in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.  Micah Xavier Johnson, an Army Reserve Afghan War veteran, ambushed and fired on a group of officers, killing five and injuring two. Just ten days later, a man killed three officers in Baton Rouge in retaliation for the death of Sterling. Early November, in Iowa, two policemen were shot and killed while sitting in their patrol cars.

15. Fidel Castro

 On Nov. 25, some rejoiced and others mourned as news of Fidel Castro’s death spread. The revolutionary and dictator eluded 11 presidents for over half a century and brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere but stepped aside in 2006 due to his failing health, still managing to hold on to power longer than any other living national leader except Queen Elizabeth II.


Photo courtesy of Antonio Milena on Wikimedia Commons

16. Currency gets a Makeover

Last year the Department of the Treasury announced plans to include a woman on the $10 bill, as it was up for review. It had hoped to reveal the bill in 2020, in time to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of women’s right to vote. However, the project was announced just as the Broadway hit “Hamilton” was capturing the attention of the nation and months after Women on 20s, a campaign that sought public opinion on what female would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, wrapped up. As such, the Treasury announced in April its plans to redesign the $5, $10 and $20 bill to include women and historical events while keeping Abraham Lincoln, Hamilton and Jackson on the currency.