TIME Person of the Year 2017

TIME magazine named “The Silence Breakers” as its “Person of the Year” for 2017. A movement on social media took off this year called #MeToo. It encouraged people to come out and openly talk about sexual abuse or harassment they’ve suffered in their past. Many women have come out and spoken about abuse they’ve gone through, and who their abuser was. Some of the abusers were well-known men, and this has led to some of them being fired from their jobs.


Some of the other contenders for TIME’s Person of the Year were Kim Jong Un (the North Korean leader), Patty Jenkins (the director of the movie Wonder Woman), Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon and the current richest person in the world, image), Xi Jinping (President of China), Donald Trump (President of the United States), and Mohammed bin Salman (Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia).

The Person of the Year award by TIME magazine (called Man of the Year until 1998) has been given since 1927. It is awarded to individuals (or sometimes groups of people or even things) that significantly influence the world, for better or worse. There have been some interesting winners in the past that were not individuals. In 1982, the award went to the computer for the impact it was having on us. In 1988, planet Earth was the winner because our environment and its protection became a significant subject. In 2006, the Person of the Year was “You”, as in all of us. This was to recognize the impact that user-generated information had caused because of the Internet.

Here is a video showing the shortlist of candidates for TIME’s 2017.

Image Credits: time.com for its cover image,  Giafranco Gorgoni and time.com for the image of Time’s cover from January, 1989, https://twitter.com/JeffBezos for the image of Bezos
Sources:  time.com

Ballon d’Or 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo, a 32-year old from Portugal, won the Ballon d’Or 2017 Award (the best male soccer player). He won the Ballon d’Or award in 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2016 as well. Ronaldo plays for the Real Madrid football club and for the Portugal national team. Ronaldo is nicknamed CR7. He used to play for United Kingdom’s football club called Manchester United. He wore the number 7 shirt there, and does so now as well while playing for Real Madrid. His parents named him after Ronald Reagan, the American actor and former president.


Image Credits: http://www.cristianoronaldo.com for CR7 image
Sources: http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Lebanon’s Prime Minister withdraws resignation

On December 5, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri withdrew his resignation. He had resigned on November 4 while on a trip to Saudi Arabia. Hariri had said that there might be a plot to kill him. He blamed the nation Iran for meddling in Lebanon’s politics. This had surprised many in Lebanon. The president of Lebanon refused to accept Hariri’s resignation while he was still out of the country. Some said Hariri was forced to resign by Saudi Arabia. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia said they had nothing to do with the matter.

Hariri returned back to Lebanon about two weeks back. One of Lebanon’s policies has been to stay out of conflicts in near-by countries. After Hariri’s return, he wanted all his government members to reaffirm this commitment, which they did.

There have been conflicts going on in nations near Lebanon. A civil war has been raging in the neighboring nation Syria for almost 7 years now. There has been a war going on in Yemen that has devastated the country. Saudi Arabia and Iran don’t get along. There has been a rift going on between Qatar and some of its neighboring countries. For many years now, there has been a conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian people.

Hariri became the prime minister in 2016. His father was also the prime minister of Lebanon and was killed in an attack in 2005.

Lebanon is a country with lakes, rivers, mountains, beaches, and cedar trees – the tree also appears on its flag. Some cities in Lebanon are considered to be amongst the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world: Byblos, Sidon, and Beirut, the country’s capital. People have been living in these cities for over 5,000 years.

Here are two videos about this news story.

Image Credits: http://www.pcm.gov.lb for Hariri’s image, http://www.pcm.gov.lb for the government meeting’s image
Sources: https://www.npr.org, https://www.reuters.com, Al Jazeera, http://www.pcm.gov.lb, http://www.lebanonembassyus.org,
Newsy, CIA World Factbook, TRT World

Top Tweets of 2017

The most-retweeted Tweet of 2017 is of an American teenager named Carter Wilkerson who wanted free chicken nuggets. He put out a tweet asking the fast food restaurant Wendy’s as to how many retweets he needed to get free chicken nuggets for a year. The restaurant replied with the number 18 million. He is still far from that goal. However, his tweet was retweeted over 3.6 million times making it the most-retweeted Tweet of all time.


The second most-retweeted Tweet was of the former American President Barack Obama. It says, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…” It was retweeted over 1.7 million times. Obama was the president of the United States from 2009 to 2017.




Image Credits: twitter.com for Wilkerson’s tweet and Obama’s tweet
Sources: twitter.com, https://www.huffingtonpost.com

Russia banned from Winter Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Russia from taking part in next year’s Winter Olympic Games that are going to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea. After some investigations, the IOC concluded that the Russian government was involved in giving its athletes drugs that gave them an advantage when they played their sport in the last Winter Olympic Games. (This practice is called “doping”, where drugs or other techniques are used to illegally improve and enhance athletic performance. An athlete not using such drugs is called “clean”.) The last Winter Olympics were held in the Russian city of Sochi in 2014. Russia denies that the government was involved.


Taking performance-enhancing drugs is cheating. In fact, Olympic officials give athletes repeated blood and urine tests to make sure that they aren’t taking drugs to get an unfair advantage. Some of the Russian athletes who had won in the 2014 Winter Olympics and found guilty of taking drugs have had their medals taken away. Also, in the 2016 Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, some Russian athletes were not allowed to take part because of doping issues.


The IOC has said that individual Russian athletes who have been clean can take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics under the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia”. They will compete in a uniform showing this name and under the Olympic Flag. If they win any medals, the Olympic Anthem will be played at the ceremony. Usually, athletes compete under their nation’s flag, wearing their country’s uniform, and if they win, their nation’s national anthem is played at the awards ceremony.


Image Credits: https://www.olympic.org for the 2014 Winter Olympic image, 2018 Winter Olympic image, and the Olympic flag image
Sources: https://www.merriam-webster.com, https://www.olympic.org, BBC

Top videos of 2017 on YouTube

The top trending video of 2017 on YouTube is “Until we will become dust – Oyster Mask | THE MASK SINGER 2”. It has over 180 million views. The performance was from a singing competition called “The Mask Singer” held in Thailand where performers wear masks.


This video is followed by “ED SHEERAN – Shape Of You”, “Ping Pong Trick Shots 3 | Dude Perfect”, and “Darci Lynne: 12-Year-Old Singing Ventriloquist Gets Golden Buzzer – America’s Got Talent 2017”. The BBC video “Children interrupt BBC News interview”, where a professor being interviewed is interrupted by his toddler, is also in the top 10. The most viewed music video of 2017 is also now the most viewed music video of all time with over 4.4 billion views. It is “Luis Fonsi – Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee”. This year there were a lot of videos of “slime”, “fidget spinners”, and “face full of”. There is even a video of face full of fidget spinners. :-)

YouTube is an American video-sharing website owned by Alphabet Inc (the parent company of Google). You can watch 4 of the videos here, and the 5th video is made by YouTube for 2017.


Image Credits: YouTube for its logo, BBC News for the picture of the professor being interrupted by toddler
Sources: YouTube, https://www.cnbc.com

A bit more news

The volcano Mount Agung began to erupt on November 25. It is on the island of Bali in Indonesia. Over 60,000 people have been evacuated from the area. The volcano has calmed down, however, scientists say that it could erupt again at any time.




Emperor Akihito of Japan announced that he will give up the throne on April 30, 2019. He is 83 years old. His eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will become the next emperor.




In Mumbai, India, 578 people broke the record for the “Longest head massage chain”. Each person massaged the head of the person in front of them.



On December 6, Finland celebrated its 100 years as an independent nation. It got its independence from the Russian Empire in 1917. Finland is known for its lakes, saunas, midnight sun, and for hosting some unique world championships. It has held world championships for Mobile Phone Throwing, Air Guitar, Wife Carrying, and Karaoke.


For those who want to track Santa Claus this December, here is a link to Google’s Santa tracker.




A new social media challenge is to post videos of yourself jumping over an “invisible box”. You act as if you are stepping on a box with one foot and then jump over it. A few of the past Internet challenges have been Running Man, Mannequin, and the Floor Is Lava.


American actor Alan Powell posted a photo of the Indian actress Priyanka Chopra’s cell phone showing that she has over 250,000 unread emails. In his post, Powell asked if anybody has more unread emails than Chopra. This has gotten people to post photos of their unread emails. A new Internet challenge?

Here are two videos, one about the Invisible Box Challenge and the other about the head massage chain story.


Image Credits: Malacañang Photo Bureau for Emperor Akihito’s image, http://valtioneuvosto.fi for Finland’s image, Michael W. Ishak and www.myreefsdiary.com for the image of Mount Agung, https://www.instagram.com/alanpowell10 for Chopra’s phone image, Google.com for Santa’s image
Sources: https://www.nytimes.com, http://valtioneuvosto.fi, https://finland.fi, http://www.finnbay.com, Inside Edition, New York Times, instagram.com, BBC, Google.com

Drama in Zimbabwe

On November 14, the army in Zimbabwe took over the country and put President Robert Mugabe and his family under house arrest. Mugabe was asked to resign, and he finally did so on November 21. This whole crisis started when earlier in November, Mugabe dismissed the nation’s Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, upsetting the army commanders. Mnangagwa is now expected to be sworn in as the president of Zimbabwe.


Mugabe had been the leader of Zimbabwe for 37 years. At 93 years of age, he was the oldest leader in the world. There had been talks about who would become Zimbabwe’s leader after him. The two most likely would-be successors were Mnangagwa and Mugabe’s wife, who had been aspiring to take over. When Mugabe fired Mnangagwa, it appeared that he was making sure his wife, Grace Mugabe, would be the next leader. This angered the army leaders.

Grace is about 40 years younger than her husband. She was an office typist when they met in the 1990s. In recent times, she has developed a reputation for big political ambitions, lavish spending, and a fiery temper.

Zimbabwe used to be a British colony and got its independence in 1980. Mugabe helped in the fight for the nation to become independent. He became Zimbabwe’s first leader and has been in power ever since. Harare is the capital.

Here is a video about this news story.


Did you know?

According to the CIA World Factbook, the average life expectancy at birth of a person in Zimbabwe is about 60 years. For comparison, Chad has the lowest (50 years), and Monaco has the highest (89 years).

Image Credits: DefenseImagery.mil for Mugabe’s image, Zimbabwe HOPE TV for Mnangagwa’s image, DandjkRoberts for Grace Mugabe’s image
Sources: BBC, Vox, TRT World, Reuters, CIA World Factbook

Earthquake strikes Iran–Iraq border

On November 12, a powerful earthquake struck the Iran-Iraq border, just inside Iran near the town of Sarpol-e Zahab. It had a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale. Buildings crumbled, homes collapsed, and some villages were wiped out. Over 500 people have died, and over 800 have been injured.



Image Credits: https://earthquake.usgs.gov for the map location image of the earthquake
Sources: http://www.aljazeera.com