The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

December 30, 2012

2012: A year of turbulence and altered landscapes

(Continued)

Internationally, there was no shortage of storms in 2012, though less in the way of resolution. Old enmities and grievances resurfaced in the Middle East, clouding the legacy of the 2011 Arab spring. The number of dead in the Syrian civil war passed 40,000. Israeli and Palestinian civilians suffered through another escalation of the conflict in Gaza.

In Libya, four Americans, including much-loved ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in an attack on the Benghazi consulate that became yet another point of bitter political dispute in Washington.

The European Union accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, but its grand experiment with a single currency teetered. Greeks rioted against austerity, and anti-immigrant groups harking back to the continent's fascist past drew energy from the despair. Spain, Portugal and Italy struggled to right themselves and offer a way forward to an emerging generation that has never tasted opportunity.

Beneath the biggest headlines there were stories where one might spot distant clouds on the horizon — clouds with the potential, at least, to gather into storms.

In February, Congress set in motion planning to open U.S. civilian airspace to unmanned aircraft by 2015. Will domestic drones make possible heretofore unimaginable conveniences, transform our economy and make us safer? Or, as some fear, will they usher in a "surveillance society" where prying eyes above compromise the privacy of every home and back yard?

In September, China unveiled its first aircraft carrier. Will it herald an arms race and future conflict? Or does it merely highlight the wide military gap between the United States and any rival? And will China's slowing economy prove a manageable correction, or the first rumblings of an economic and political earthquake?

In November, in the magnificent but seemingly cursed Great Lakes region of East Africa, refugees again streamed past bodies of the dead, fleeing into the mountains. The city of Goma, Congo, fell to a few hundred rebels, allegedly supported by next-door Rwanda, as United Nations peacekeepers stood by. Would this prove merely another flare-up in a beautiful but crowded and long-suffering corner of the world? Or was it the re-ignition of a conflict that — unbeknownst to much of the world — was the deadliest on earth since World War II, claiming more than 5 million lives during the late 1990s and early 2000s?

Yes, some clouds did part in 2012. But there remained no dearth of the grieving and the suffering, on whom "the sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch" — in the words of Shakespeare's famous take on tempests — and who anxiously awaited what the dawning light of 2013 would reveal.

 

Text Only
National and world
  • Ebola Americans web.jpg Americans infected with Ebola returning to U.S. for treatment

    Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids from an infected person, not through the air.

    August 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast Israel web.jpg Israel pushes deeper in Gaza after soldier seized

    President Barack Obama and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon called for the immediate release of the soldier but also appealed for restraint. In Israel, senior Cabinet ministers convened late Friday in a rare emergency meeting after the start of the Jewish Sabbath.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Immigration Overload web.jpg House OKs bill to address border crisis

    The spending bill passed 223-189 late Friday, with only four Republicans voting “no” and one Democrat voting “yes.” The measure ending Obama’s deportation relief program passed 216-192, with 11 Republican “no” votes and four Democrats crossing party lines to vote in favor.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marijuana County Fair web.jpg Denver fair’s bong, edible contests celebrate pot

    A speed joint-rolling contest uses oregano, not pot. The only real stuff allowed at the event? Doritos, to be used in the munchie eating contest.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • CDC Ebola web.jpg U.S. warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

    “The bottom line is Ebola is worsening in West Africa,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who announced the travel warning.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast web.jpg Gaza truce comes after days of pushing for a deal

    Finally, less than an hour after all sides signed off on the precise and technical wording for a 72-hour truce, Kerry issued a statement and called a 3:30 a.m. Friday press conference to seal the deal before any party could back out.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taiwan web.jpg Gas explosions kill 24, injure 271 in Taiwan

    The fires were believed caused by a leak of propene, a petrochemical material not intended for public use, but the source of the gas was not immediately clear, officials said.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Congress web.jpg Congress races to finish VA, highway bills

    House Speaker John Boehner accused Democrats of pursuing a “nutso scheme” of trying to seize on the border crisis to try and grant a path to citizenship to millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Illinois Unemployment_Hass.jpg As U.S. job market strengthens, many don't feel it

    "If the economy is getting better, I'm not sure for whom. It certainly hasn't trickled down to me." — Douglas Hunter, who earned $14 an hour before the Great Recession and now works three days a week for $9.25 an hour, mopping floors and fixing fryers at McDonald's.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • House Obama Lawsuit.jpg Republican-led House approves lawsuit against President Obama

    Just a day before lawmakers were to begin a five-week summer recess, debate over the proposed lawsuit underscored the harshly partisan tone that has dominated the current Congress almost from its start in January 2013.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads