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World
2017

World 2017 is a summary of the most important events that took place during the last 12 months. It presents news from various parts of the world that awoke feelings and emotions, but above all, that shaped our reality.

We present an overview of political, economic and social events prepared by the Outriders team as well as the most important scientific discoveries and sports performances of the year 2017.

January 16
Iran

The USA and the European Union lift sanctions imposed against Iran

Yukiya Amano, the Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, claimed that Iran had met the provisions of the nuclear agreement that had been concluded in 2016.

On that basis, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, announced the lifting of sanctions.

During the last ten years Iran was criticised by the Western countries because of the development of the nuclear programme. The West wanted to cease these activities using sanctions, claiming that they led to the construction of Iran’s atomic bomb.

January 20
Mexico

The extradition of one of the most powerful drug dealer from Mexico to the USA

Joaquin Guzman’s long-awaited extradition from Mexico to the United States came to an end. “El Chapo”, the boss of the Sinaloa drug cartel, was considered the richest and the most influential drug dealer in the world over the years.

In the 1990s, he began to send drugs on a large scale, using submarines and build tunnels along the border with the United States. “El Chapo” currently awaits a trial in the prison in New York.

January 20
USA

Donald Trump becomes the President of the USA

Donald J. Trump was sworn in for the 45th President of the United States. He won the elections against the Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in November 2016. His first decisions included the initiation of the process of withdrawing from the TTIP agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and limiting the possibility of coming to the US for citizens of seven Muslim countries.
The first year of Trump’s term was marked by an ongoing investigation into his Russian connections and into the interference of Russia in the US electoral process. No less important was the fight against a part of the American media. Donald Trump accused them of spreading “false news ” about himself.

February 14
USA

Michael Flynn’s resignation

Michael Flynn, Acting US National Security Advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump (National Security Advisor – a very important position in the US administration), tendered his resignation.
Michael Flynn, a retired general, was Donald Trump advisor from February 2016. In December 2016, he spoke with Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, the Russian ambassador in the USA. However, he denied that the meeting took place. On February 9, 2017, the evidence confirming the meeting appeared. No one has spent shorter period as US National Security Advisor to U.S. President than Michael Flynn (24 days term).
In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty and that he lied to the FBI testifying about his connections with the Russian administration during the change of government in the United States (from the end of the election in November 2016 to the inauguration in January 2017).

February 15
the UE

CETA agreement ratified by the European Parliament

CETA is a comprehensive economic and trade agreement that will eventually eliminate 99% of fees between Canada and the European Union countries.

Liberalisation will cover the industrial and agri-food sectors. The agreement also assumes the free movement of services and the possibility of transferring employees within the companies.

A part of the contract was negotiated since 2009 an it came into force on September 21. All member states must ratify CETA to implement the agreement fully.

March 2
Sudan

The Sudanese President restores the Prime Minister's position after 28 years

Bakri Hassan Saleh has become the first Prime Minister since the coup d’état in 1989.

He has been the special forces general, a Minister for Defence and a Vice-President before. According to the Sudanese opposition, President Omar al-Bashir appointed him as a first Prime Minister after 28 years to introduce an atmosphere conducive to the economic development of the country.

March 29
London, Great Britain

Brexit process begins

British Prime Minister Theresa May informed the House of Commons about the start of the process of leaving the European Union.

The letter notifying the intention of Brexit was signed by the British Prime Minister on March 28, and a day later it was handed over to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council.

The initiation of the two-year procedure was decided by a result of the referendum held in the United Kingdom on June 23, 2016. 51.89% of UK citizens were in favour of leaving the European Union.

April 4
Chan Szajchun, Syria

Chemical weapons used in Syria

86 people, including 30 children, were killed in Khan Shaykhun in Syria in a chemical attack.

The President of Syria Bashar al-Assad was accused of the massacre. Therefore, United States carried out a military action on April 7 authorised by the President Donald Trump. Syrian air base was attacked using 59 Tomahawk missiles.

April 13
Nangarhar, Afghanistan

"Mother of all bombs" dropped in Afghanistan

US Air Force used for the first time in its history the largest, 11-tonnes conventional bomb GBU-43, named after the abbreviation MOAB – “mother of all bombs”.

It was dropped on tunnels, bunkers and minefields used by ISIS in the Achin District in the province of Nangarhār. According to the local authorities, the explosion of 450,000$ worth bomb killed 92 ISIS members, including seven mid-level commanders. MOAB destroyed the fortifications opening the way for the Afghan army in the ongoing offensive against ISIS in the province of Nangarhār.

May 7
France

Emmanuel Macron becomes the President of France

39-year-old Emmanuel Macron won both rounds of the presidential elections (on April 23 and on May 7). The independent candidate eventually gained almost twice as many votes (66.1%) as a nationalist Marine Le Pen, who represented the National Front (33.9%).

The turnout in the second round of elections has been the lowest since 1969 (74.56%). A record number of invalid and empty votes was given – a total of 4 million.
Emmanuel Macron has become the youngest President of France in the history of the Republic.

May 19
Iran

Hassan Rouhani re-elected the President of Iran

23.5 million people voted for the President Hassan Rouhani (57% of votes) who applied for the re-election, and 15.8 million people voted for Ebrahim Raisi (38.3% of votes).

Rouhani is considered a pragmatic leader. After four years of the first presidential term he took the office again winning against Raisi – an ultra-conservative cleric.

June 1
Venezuela

The economic crisis in Venezuela

Venezuela was trying to cope with the biggest economic crisis in its history. Inflation has increased by several hundred percent compared to the previous year.

Venezuela was one of the richest Latin American countries until the rule of the late socialist President Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolás Maduro. Dozens of people were killed in the demonstrations that lasted from the beginning of April 2017. It was difficult to buy basic food products and thousands of Venezuelans emigrated to the nearby Brazil.

June 1
USA

The United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement was signed in December 2015 by the representatives of 195 countries. It aims, among other things, at limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial level of temperature.

Donald Trump announced that he wanted to fulfil his election promises to place American interests above the interests of other countries. He stated that the Paris Agreement was good for other countries, but it was not positive for the USA. President Trump also declared his will to negotiate a new agreement more favourable for the Americans.

June 3
Spain

The dominance of Real Madrid

“Los Blancos” were the first team in history to win the Champions League title two times in a row. Since widening the formula of these major club tournament in Europe, no club has managed to defend the title of the best one in the Old Continent.

In 2017 Real Madrid also won the Spanish Championship, the Spanish Super Cup, the European Super Cup and the Club World Championship. The lead architects of the team’s success were French coach Zinedine Zidane and Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. (man)

June 5
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia breaks off diplomatic relations with Qatar

After accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism and close relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations with the State of Qatar.

Egypt, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates also made the same decision. As a consequence, land, air and sea connections with Qatar were blocked. On June 23, Qatar received a list of 13 demands, which included the closing of the Turkish military base in Iran as well as Al-Jazeera television and giving away certain terrorists. However, the demands were not fulfilled.

June 16
Strasbourg, Germany

The death of Helmut Kohl

Helmut Kohl died at the age of 87. He was a Prime Minister of the Rhineland-Palatinate government, a chairman of the CDU party and a Chancellor.

16 years of his governance include key events related to the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the German reunification. On November 28, 1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall (on the night of November 9) Helmut Kohl announced the “Ten Point Program for Overcoming the Division of Germany and Europe”.

July 9
Mosul, Iraq

Mosul liberated at the hands of ISIS

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced a victory over ISIS forces and the liberation of Mosul.

After almost 10 months of fighting between the coalition of government forces, voluntary Iraqi forces, Kurdish Peshmerga forces and ISIS, the city of Mosul was finally freed from the governance of the radicals.

The jihadists considered Mosul as their capital of Iraq and proclaimed there a self-declared caliphate in 2014.

July 12
Antarctica

The iceberg separates from the Larsen Glacier

A giant iceberg with a surface area of 6,000 square kilometres got off the largest Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

The Larsen Ice Shelf consisted of Larsen A (the smallest), Larsen B and Larsen C (the largest) glaciers. Cracks and enlarging rifts within Larsen C have been observed for several years. Larsen A and Larsen B disintegrated earlier – the first one in January 1995 and the second one in February 2002.

August 1
Pakistan

Shahid Abbasi becomes the Prime Minister of Pakistan

Shahid Abbasi, a former Minister for Commerce and the former Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, became the new Prime Minister of Pakistan.

He replaced his ally, Nawaz Sharif, who was forced to resign after being deprived of the right to exercise public functions. The decision was made by the Supreme Court after it turned out that Sharif’s three children were associated with the so-called Panama Papers.

Abbasi’s reputation is not spotless either. He is accused of corruption.

August 3
France

Neymar - the most expensive player in the world

The French club Paris Saint-Germain bought FC Barcelona forward Neymar for 222 million euros, the highest amount of money that has ever been paid for a football player.

In 2013, Real Madrid bought the Welsh wingman Gareth Bale for 100 million euros. Three years later, the French midfield player Paul Pogba was bought by Manchester United from Juventus for 105 million euros. Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior has become the most expensive player in the history of football.(man)

August 12
London, Great Britain

Usain Bolt’s last run

Usain Bolt finished his career during the 4×100 meter relay at the Athletic World Championships in London. He suffered an injury that prevented him from reaching the finish line by himself.

Jamaican sprinter won the World Champion titles on the distance of 100 meters (WR holder – 9.58 seconds) and 200 meters (WR holder – 19.19 seconds) for the first time during the World Championships in Berlin in 2009.
Throughout his career he won eight Olympic gold medals, eleven world champion titles and many individual athletic awards of the year. (man)

August 14
Hanford, California, USA

Einstein's Theory of General Relativity confirmed

The first detection of gravitational waves was made in Hanford using several L-shaped antennas, called LIGO. They monitor the compression and the stretching of the space between the pair of mirrors when the gravitational wave passes between them.

The experiment confirmed the existence of waves, which were noticed for the first time by Albert Einstein one hundred years ago, and it verified the nature of the black holes.

20 August
Pacific Ocean

The wreck of the USS Indianapolis found after 72 years of searching

Nearly 900 sailors were killed on the USS Indianapolis during World War II.

The cruiser was torpedoed by the Japanese forces on July 30, 1945, when it was on its way back from the mission of delivering the elements of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb to the Tinian base. Its sinking was the biggest tragedy in the history of the US Navy.

The wreck of the ship was found at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean at a depth of about 5 486 metres.

31 August
USA

Cancer treatment using gene therapy

The US Food and Drug Administration has officially approved the use of the drug called Kymriah, which uses the patient’s cells to fight cancer.

Treatment involves gene modification of the patient’s T lymphocytes. A new gene with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) is added to destroy the leukaemia cells in the patient’s body.

The drug can be used in the treatment of people under 25 years of age. The therapy costs about 475,000. dollars.

September 3
North Korea

North Korea tests hydrogen bomb

North Korea has tested a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded onto a long-range missile.

North Korean television reported that the attempt of a “two-stage thermonuclear weapon with unprecedented firepower” was a success and it was an important step on the way to finish the atomic program by Pyongyang.
Services in the USA and China measured 6.3 and 4.6 magnitude quakes in the Richter scale.

September 19
Mexico

370 victims of the earthquake in Mexico

On September 19, Mexico was hit by an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale.

The epicentre of the quakes was in the State of Puebla, at a depth of 51 kilometres, about 120 kilometres from the city of Mexico. The earthquake was felt by the inhabitants of the States: Mexico, Puebla, Morelos and Guerrero. 370 people died and over 7,000 were injured in the earthquake. Earlier, on September 7, the 8.2 magnitude earthquake hit the State of Chiapas. It resulted in the death of 98 people.

September 25
Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum

A referendum on independence was held in the Kurdistan region despite opposition of the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

The voting was organized in Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish and Assyrian languages. The voters answered the question: “Do you want the Kurdistan region and the Kurdish area outside the administration to become an independent state?” The turnout was 72%. Almost 93% of voters supported the independence option.

September 30
Rakhine, Birma

The exodus of the Rohingya people

The returning persecution of Rohingya people, a Muslim minority in Burma, causes another exodus to the neighbouring Bangladesh.

From August 25 till the end of last year, 647,000 Rohingya people escaped from the state of Rakhine (Arakan) in the west of Myanmar. They left the country because they feared for their life and health. The Burmese military called the actions against the Rohingya “purification operations”. However, the United Nations described them as “a textbook example of an ethnic cleansing.” Over a million Rohingya people have already escaped during decades of persecutions.

October 1
Catalonia

Crisis over Catalonia

The Catalan authorities organized a referendum on independence which was not recognized by Madrid.

The turnout was 42.57% and 80% of voters opted for independence of Catalonia. There were clashes between the police and the supporters of secession in Barcelona. Few hundred people were injured. It was the the biggest political crisis in Spain since the fall of Franco’s regime.

October 2
Sweden

The Nobel Prizes in 2017

The Nobel Prize in Medicine went to Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for “discovering the molecular mechanisms that control circadian rhythm”. Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne received the Nobel Prize in Physics for “a decisive contribution to the LIGO detector and wave observation”.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was given to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richards Henderson for “developing high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy to determine the structure of biomolecules in solution”.
Kazuo Ichiguro, a British writer, the author of the science fiction novel “Never let me go”, received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

October 6
Sweden

The Nobel Peace Prize and the Alfred Nobel Bank of Sweden Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons for “a work towards drawing attention the disastrous humanitarian consequences of using any nuclear weapons and for efforts to enact a treaty to ban such weapons.”
On October 9, the Alfred Nobel Bank of Sweden Prize went to an economist Richard Thaler. He is another specialist awarded for developing the trend of behavioural economics.

October 8
USA

The Weinstein case begins a series of sexual scandals

New York Times and the NBC television informed about women accusing an American film producer Harvey Weinstein of harassment.

Some accusations had already appeared before. A total of 13 women accused Weinstein of rape and 82 women accused him of sexual harassment. Hollywood stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek are among them.

Since then, the accusations against Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, and other show business representatives have appeared. The latter lost his role in the series “House of Cards” and his character was removed from the latest film by Ridley Scott.
Weinstein’s scandal became a stimulus for creating the global #metoo action.

October 10
Nigeria

Początek masowych procesów w Nigerii ws. członkostwa w Boko Haram

Massive, secret trials of over 2,300 people suspected of membership in the Boko Haram group began in Nigeria.

The terrorist militia – besides many suicidal bomb attacks on civilians and forcing them, including women and children, to stage such attacks – is responsible for the kidnapping of nearly 280 girls from the Chibok school in 2014.

Boko Haram is also responsible for the death of 20,000 people during eight years of its activity.

October 11
Stany Zjednoczone

Kaspersky Lab accused of spying

US President Donald Trump signed a law prohibiting the use of Kaspersky Lab’s software in federal institutions.

The Russian company, known for its antivirus software, was accused of cooperating with the Russian Secret Service. In October, media reported that Russian hackers stole secret American National Security Agency (NSA) materials using Kaspersky’s software.

October 12
Philippines

President Duterte orders to finish the anti-drug campaign

In his memorandum, the President Filip Rodrigo Duterte ordered the police to stop the anti-drug campaign and handed over the command of the operation to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Extremely brutal police action led to the deaths of thousands of people within last 15 months. It was mainly a result of extrajudicial killings and many Western states started protesting such methods.

October 12
Cairo, Egypt

Hamas and Fatah sign an agreement in Cairo

A peace agreement, negotiated with the help of the host in the capital of Egypt, was signed between Hamas and Fatah.

The agreement ends the decade-long political and geographical rift between the two Palestinian fractions, which began after the elections won by Hamas in 2006. Hamas, using force, took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, and the aforementioned rift started to block the emergence of Palestinian statehood.

The basic condition of the agreement was to transfer the governance in the Gaza Strip to the authorities of the Palestinian Authority.

October 17
Al-Raqqa, Syria

Raqqa regained and the fall of a self-proclaimed caliphate

After four months of fierce fighting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) regained Raqqa at the hands of ISIS.

The city was considered the capital of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The takeover of the city, as well as the earlier loss of Mosul, led to the collapse of the so-called caliphate. Despite these victories, military operations were still carried out near Deir ez-Zor. They were organized both by the army of the Assad regime with the support of Russia and independently by the SDF, as well as the Iraqi army on the other side of the border.

October 18
Beijing, China

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The vision of Xi Jinping

Between October 18 to 24, the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China took place.

The President Xi Jinping described the direction of the country’s development. The new era announced by the Head of State is about to transform China into a global superpower, a significant player on the international stage, which will lead the world in the fields of politics, economy, military and ecology. The President also announced the end of the “one state, two systems” model and strengthening the Communist Party governance in China.

October 26
Bangkok, Thailand

The funeral of King Rama IX of Thailand

The great funeral ceremonies of the King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October 2016, took place in Bangkok.

Approximately a quarter of a million-people participated in the procession and the cremation ceremony, including King Rama X, the son of the deceased monarch, and the generals, who de facto hold the power in Thailand.

Despite announcements, there has been no official coronation of Rama X, who inherited the crown in 2016 after the death of his father. It questions the future of the monarchy and its position in the country.

October 27
Catalonia

The Catalan Parliament declares independence

In response to the declaration of independence by the parliament of Catalonia, the Spanish Senate approved the introduction of the article 155 of Spanish constitution that allows to suspend the rights of autonomous regions.

According to that article, the Catalan authorities were cancelled and new elections were scheduled for December 21, 2017. The Spanish authorities also arrested several leaders of the separatist movement. In the December elections the turnout was almost 82%. The elections were won by the Civic Party which supports the territorial integrity of Spain. However, the supporters of separatism won 70 seats out of 135 in Catalan Parliament, thus winning the majority.

October 27
Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan changes its alphabet system from Cyrillic to Latin

The President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a decree on a gradual conversion from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet.

He justified the change with the need to modernize the country. In his opinion, the Latin alphabet is a language of technology and science. The commentators believe that this is meant to be a ” nice gesture towards the West”. The new alphabet will contain 32 letters. The changes will be introduced gradually and will end in 2025.

October 30

A record level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

Carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is currently 145% higher than before the Industrial Revolution.

It concentrates at the level of 400 ppm (from 2015 to 2016 it increased from 400 to 403.3 ppm). The scientists explain that the world has never experienced such an increase of CO2 level. The increase of the carbon dioxide level is the result of human activity. The “El Nino” phenomenon also contributed to this situation in 2016. This can lead to “serious ecological and economic distortions”, says the report.

October 30
Kenya

Uhuru Kenyatta wins the presidential election in Kenya

The President Uhuru Kenyatta gained 98.2% of votes and was elected for a second term.

The first round of elections, in which 80% Kenyan citizens took part, was cancelled by the Supreme Court as it was unconstitutional.

This decision was the first of its kind in African political history.

The next voting was boycotted by Kenyatta’s opponent, Raila Odinga. That voting also raised doubts, but it was made legal. The turnout was only 38.8%.

November 5

Paradise Papers

13.4 million documents emerged from the tax optimization companies.

Data revealed cash transfers to 19 “tax havens” (including Bermuda, Barbados and the Cook Islands) made by 120 politicians, businessmen, sportsmen and celebrities since the 1970s. Queen Elizabeth II, the members of Donald Trump’s Office and his adviser Justin Trudeau were found on the list of people making financial transfers.

The scandal was revealed by a team of The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

November 12
Halabja, Iraq

An earthquake on the border between Iraq and Iran

7.3 magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale resulted in the death of at least 530 people and more than 7,000 people were injured.

The epicentre was located 31 km southwest of the city of Halabja in Sulaymaniyah province, in the northeast of Iraq, on the border with Iran.
The effects of the earthquake were recorded in 14 provinces.

In terms of the number of fatalities, it has been the most tragic earthquake in this region for over 10 years.

November 13

Scientists warn against the threat of Earth destabilisation

The situation is alarming in terms of accessibility to drinking water per capita (it decreased by 26% in the world), deforestation, declining numbers of mammals and greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists believe that the majority of the threats identified earlier has not ceased and a large part of them has increased. A statement of 15,000 scientists from 184 countries was published in the journal “BioScience” and it is another project of the same kind next to the ” 1992 World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”.

November 15
Zimbabwe

Coup d'état in Zimbabwe

On the night of 14 to 15 of November, the President Robert Mugabe, who ruled the country for 37 years, was overthrown.

Fearing the loss of power, Mugabe was getting rid of political opponents, including the ones from Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF). The immediate cause of the coup d’état was the dismissal of a Deputy Prime Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was supported by the army. 93-year-old Mugabe resigned as the Head of State under the pressure of the army and the party.

Mnangagwa will be the President till the next year’s election.

November 28
North Korea

North Korean successful attempt to launch a ballistic intercontinental missile

North Korea has managed to make a third, out of a total of 20, attempts to launch a ballistic missile that has flown 960 kilometres and landed off the coast of Japan.

Despite the announcement by the North Korean television of the implementation of the nuclear weapons program and the construction of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching any point in the USA, analysts are sceptical that such a program have been completed and that North Korea has achieved the possibility of transferring nuclear devices using ballistic missiles.

November 29
Hague, the Netherlands

The last trial of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

On November 29, the last hearing of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia took place.

During the appeal process of the group of six Croatian leaders, former General Slobodan Praljak, disagreeing with the 20-year prison sentence, drank the poison in the courtroom. A week earlier, former Serbian commander Ratko Mladić, known as “the butcher of Bosnia”, was sentenced to life imprisonment. After more than 20 years of work and charging 161 people, the Court ceased its activity at the end of 2017.

December 2
Honduras

Bloody riots in Honduras after the presidential election

There were bloody riots in Honduras after the presidential election, when Salvador Nasralla accused the authorities of the country of manipulating the results in favour of Juan Orlando Hernandez, the incumbent President.

25% of votes were cast when the IT system failed. It was the moment when Nasralla lost the lead over its opponent. The voting, thanks to which the current President won with the advantage of about 30,000 votes, has been criticized by the United Nations and the European Union. As a result of the riots in Honduras, 14 people were killed, and many people were injured.

December 3
USA

The US withdraws from the New York Declaration

Donald Trump decided to withdraw the USA from the New York Declaration. In his opinion the Declaration is incompatible with the immigration and refugee policy of the USA and it is against the American sovereignty.

The New York Declaration, adopted unanimously by 193 states belonging to the General Assembly of the United Nations, aims to strengthen and coordinate international efforts to improve the fate of refugees and immigrants.

December 6
Jerusalem, Israel

The US President recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

Donald Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced the transfer of the US embassy there.

The Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was strongly against Trump’s decision. Abbas declared that Jerusalem is the exclusive capital of Palestine. Turkey, Iraq, Morocco and many other countries also expressed their disapproval. On the other hand, the Israeli authorities described the capital’s recognition as a historic breakthrough and an important step on the way to peace.

December 14
Russia

The European Union prolongs Russian sanctions

During the EU summit in Brussels a decision was taken to extend the sanctions imposed on Russia by July 31, 2018. The sanctions were introduced on July 31, 2014, as a response to the Russian actions destabilizing the situation in Ukraine.

The sanctions concern financial, energy and defence sectors. Since March 2015, the withdrawal of sanctions was made conditional upon the implementation of the Minsk agreements, which should end the war in Donbass. If this does not happen, the sanctions will be regularly extended every six months.

December 15
Great Britain

A consent for the Brexit second phase talks

After 9 months of negotiations, the leaders of the European Union member states considered the progress of the first phase as satisfactory and agreed on a joint proposal of the British and EU negotiators to move to the second phase of talks on Brexit.

The main issues negotiated in the first phase are: rights of citizens living on both sides of the future border, the amount of money the UK is to pay the EU and how to avoid closing of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. These issues have not been fully established, but the negotiations have gone to the second phase.

December 18
Poland

A pioneer method of treating a brain tumour

For the first time in the world a method of intravascular drug delivery directly into the tumour arteries was used to treat the brain tumour.

Such precision was possible because of using the MRI. Three days after the surgery, a tumour reduction of 5 millimetres was noticed. The surgery of the 39-year-old patient was performed by doctor Michal Zawadzki and professor Miroslaw Janowski at the Teaching Hospital of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration in Warsaw.

December 28
Meszhed, Iran

The beginning of anti-government protests in Iran

The first demonstrations began in Mashhad, where several hundred young Iranians went out on the streets to protest high unemployment, corruption and price increases for basic food products.

Within a few days, the protests widened to other cities and changed its character into political. Demonstrators called for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic and the resignation of an Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme spiritual leader of Iran. 21 people were killed during few days of demonstration and over one thousand Iranians were arrested by the authorities. These were the most serious riots since 2009.

December 29
Teheran, Iran

The lack of hijab no longer a reason to be arrested in Tehran

The police in Tehran, the capital of Iran, announced the end of an arrest punishment for women for uncovering head – a legally binding practice since 1979 – when a hijab order was imposed.

The Muslim dress code is defined both for women and men and is still valid. Now in Tehran women who do not apply Sharia law will be directed to police-led Islamic education training instead of being punished. However, women notoriously breaking the order may be sent to court.
Restrictive law is still applied in other parts of the country.

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