Updates on top stories from the last four years of high school
By Jenny Jiao, ’16
THEN: On Oct. 9, 2012, twelve-year-old Malala Yousafzai boarded a school bus in Pakistan and was shot three times by a Taliban gunman. The Taliban had declared their intent to kill both her and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who advocated for girls’ education in the region. Malala’s assassination attempt sparked worldwide support and placed a magnifying glass on the state of education, especially for women in Pakistan and other Middle Eastern countries.
NOW: Since her recovery, Malala has been a leading voice for women’s education around the world. She was featured in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” from 2013-2015, and has won a myriad of awards for her both her bravery and her impact, including Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize, the Sakharov Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize. She has spoken at the United Nations calling for universal access to education and she’s set up a school for Syrian refugee girls. Now, she goes to school at Edgbaston High School in Birmingham, England.
THEN: The world’s worst ebola virus outbreak began in 2013 with a one-year-old child in Guinea. The virus spread from Guinea to neighboring countries and in 2014, the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency. Panic proliferated across the globe and increased dramatically in the United States when a nurse was the first to contract the virus here. Overall, the outbreak was estimated by the WHO to have killed over 11,000, with about 10 percent of those being healthcare workers.
NOW: While the panic has dissipated dramatically since the initial contraction, the epidemic was only declared the end of the outbreak on Jan. 14, 2016. That date signified the first time in two entire years that there wasn’t a single reported case for 42 days. The WHO reported that all known chains of transmission have been stopped in West Africa. In addition, the nurse who had contracted the virus in the U.S. recovered. Even though the disease has left, the impact is still heavily felt by the families of the infected and dead, as well as the governments still attempting to restore their state capacity to help their citizens.
THEN: The worldwide media broke with a single story on June 5, 2013: Classified NSA documents showed that the U.S. was spying on its own people. National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden had stolen thousands of documents earlier in the year and released them to journalists. The documents showed that the NSA was looking through millions of emails and instant messages, tracking cell phones and even accessing Yahoo! and Google data centers of American citizens. The eruption of articles sparked a worldwide debate on state surveillance and the law that gave the NSA these powers, the Patriot Act. Snowden was charged with espionage and theft of government property and fled to Russia.
NOW: Since then, there has been vigorous public debate about the pros and cons of widespread state surveillance. On Oct. 29, 2015, the European Parliament voted for the countries in the EU to drop charges against Snowden and to recognize him as an “international human rights defender.” On June 2, 2015, the Senate passed the USA Freedom Act, which was a restoration of many provisions of the Patriot Act; however, the new act modified and added additional restrictions on the surveillance capabilities of the government, which was largely attributed to the intense public debate. Snowden still resides somewhere in Russia, with asylum from U.S. extradition.
THEN: A plane carrying 239 people mysteriously disappeared on March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Malaysia. Experts believed that the Boeing 777 ran out of fuel and dropped into the Indian Ocean, but search teams from all different nations with high-level technology found no traces of the aircraft or its passengers.
NOW: For an entire year, teams searched the ocean but came up with nothing concerning the missing plane. Conspiracy theories floated with no evidence to the contrary until July 2015, when an airplane wing was found off the coast of Madagascar. Subsequently, other pieces of debris matching MH370 were found nearby, confirming that the plane indeed crashed into the ocean. Furthermore, just in Feb. of 2016, more pieces of the plane were found in Mozambique. These pieces could indicate that there was a violent breakdown, which would dispel theories that the pilot crashed into the ocean on purpose. However, even two years after, the mystery has still not been completely solved.