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Our Little Earth will be on a short holiday break.The next edition will be emailed on January 20, 2017. Happy Holidays!
Time magazine named Donald Trump as its “Person of the Year” for 2016. Trump is the President-elect of the United States of America, and will take office on January 20, 2017. Trump is 70 years old, was born in New York, USA, and is a businessman.
Some of the other contenders for Time’s Person of the Year were the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the American singer and songwriter Beyoncé Knowles, the American gymnast Simone Biles (image), the CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Here is Time’s video about its Person of the Year and another showing snippets of Biles’ performances from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
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.
Image Credits: http://time.com for the Time Person of the Year cover images, http://www.teamusa.org for Biles’ image
Italy’s prime minister has resigned. He had suggested a set of changes to the Italian constitution. The Italians voted against the changes. He had said that he will quit if voters rejected the constitutional reforms. Italy’s new prime minister is Paolo Gentiloni, who used to be the nation’s foreign minister.
When you say Italy, the words that come to mind are gelato, Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, Colosseum, and more! Gelato is the Italian-style ice cream that many of us love to eat. Leonardo Da Vinci is the famous Italian painter, mathematician, sculptor, inventor, and writer. One of the world’s most famous artworks, the Mona Lisa, was his painting. The Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world built in the first century CE. It is located in Rome, Italy’s capital city.
New Zealand has a new head of the country. Bill English has taken over as the next prime minister. He was the nation’s Finance Minister before taking on this role. The last prime minister recently stepped down because of family reasons.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. The nation is known as the “adventure capital of the world”. Bungy jumping and zorbing (where you get into a gigantic ball and roll down a hill) were both invented here.
Presidential elections were held in Ghana, and Nana Akufo-Addo won beating the current President John Mahama. In the last elections held in 2012, Mahama had beaten Akufo-Addo. Akufo-Addo was a lawyer and will take over as the president in January.
Ghana is one of the world’s largest cocoa producers. Accra is the capital and Lake Volta in Ghana is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world.
Presidential elections were held in Austria. Alexander Van der Bellen won by 53.8% votes. His opponent had the remaining 46.2%.
Austria has given the world some very famous composers, such as Wolfgang Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Johann Strauss II, and Franz Schubert. The capital of Austria, Vienna, is referred to as “the City of Music” by many. The restaurant St Peter Stiftskeller, in the Austrian city of Salzburg, claims to be one of the oldest restaurants in the world that is still operating today. It opened just 1,200 years ago in 803 AD.
Presidential elections were held in The Gambia. Adama Barrow defeated the current president Yahya Jammeh and won the elections. However, there is problem. Jammeh has rejected the results. He has been the leader of The Gambia for 22 years.
The Gambia is a skinny country with a short coastline on the Atlantic Ocean and the rest surrounded by the country Senegal. Its capital is Banjul. The Stone Circles of Senegambia, which actually lie in both The Gambia and Senegal, are a famous landmark of the region. They are groups of large stone monuments (around 2 meters or 6 feet in height) arranged in circles. The sites were used as burial grounds and were built between the 3rd century BC and the 16th century AD. There are over 1,000 large standing stones in the area.
Sources: https://www.beehive.govt.nz, http://www.nzherald.co.nz, BBC, http://travel.nationalgeographic.com, http://www.euronews.com, http://www.worldcocoafoundation.org, New York Times, http://www.stpeter-stiftskeller.at, https://www.wien.info, http://www.aboutvienna.org, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1226
An organization called the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) runs a testing program every three years that evaluates children from all over the world. This program is called PISA (Program for International Student Assessment). The results for the tests done in 2015 were recently published. The tests were given to more than 500,000 15-year old students in about 70 countries. The children were tested in reading, mathematics, and science. Singapore topped all three areas.
The PISA tests have become a useful way for countries to measure how their education system is performing compared to the rest of the world, and how it’s improving over time.
You can view the results here. You can watch a video about it here.
Image Credits: http://www.oecd.org for PISA’s image
The most-retweeted Tweet of 2016 was of a gamer in Spain: @Rubiu5 “LIMONADA”. It was retweeted about 1.4 million times.
The third most-retweeted Tweet of 2016 was the American presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Tweet after she lost the elections: @HillaryClinton “To all the little girls watching…never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance & opportunity in the world.” It was retweeted over 600,000 times and got over a million likes.
Some of the top trends on Twitter in 2016 were #Rio2016 (the Olympic Games), #Euro2016 (soccer games for the European nations), #Election2016 (the American presidential elections), #Brexit (United Kingdom breaking away from the European Union), #Trump (the American President-elect), #RIP (the singer Prince who passed away this year), #PokemonGo (the mobile app with virtual characters), and #Mannequinchallenge (the online challenge where the videos posted are of people not moving).
Image Credits: twitter.com for its logo, https://www.rio2016.com for the Rio Olympics logo
Trying to memorize the periodic table? Well, your job is going to get a bit harder! Element numbers 113, 115, 117, and 118 have officially been given names. They are Nihonium (Nh), Moscovium (Mc), Tennessine (Ts), and Oganesson (Og), respectively.
Traditionally, the elements are named after the scientists who discover the elements or the place where the elements were discovered. Moscovium is named after Moscow (Russia) where some of the experiments were conducted that led to the discovery of the element. Tennessine is named after the Tennessee region (United States). Nihonium is named after a word for Japan in Japanese “Nihon”. Oganesson is named after the scientist Yuri Oganessian, whose research work helped in the element’s discovery.
The periodic table is an organized list of chemical elements according to certain characteristics the elements have. Here are two videos. The first is a song called “The Elements”. The other is Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe singing The Elements.
Image Credits: https://iupac.org for the Periodic Table’s image
Cristiano Ronaldo, a 31-year old from Portugal, won the Ballon d’Or 2016 Award (the best male soccer player). He won the Ballon d’Or award in 2008, 2013, and 2014 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. You can watch a video about Ronaldo here.
Image Credits: http://www.cristianoronaldo.com for Ronaldo’s image
Sources: http://www.espnfc.com, http://www.biography.com, http://www.dailymail.co.uk
The top trending video of 2016 on YouTube was “Adele Carpool Karaoke”. Nike’s commercial “The Switch” was amongst the top 10 videos of the year. The video “America’s Got Talent 2016 with Grace VanderWaal” and “Water Bottle Flip Edition” were also in the top 10. Each of these videos was watched over 40 million times. You can watch these 4 videos here, and the 5th video is made by YouTube for 2016. YouTube is an American video-sharing website owned by Alphabet Inc (the parent company of Google).
Image Credits: YouTube for its logo
On November 25, former Cuban President Fidel Castro passed away at the age of 90 due to health issues. Castro was one of the longest ruling leaders in modern times. He was the leader of Cuba for 49 years. Castro was born in 1926, and studied to become a lawyer. Castro believed in communism, where the government owns all property and controls jobs and education. He took over as Cuba’s leader in 1959, and gave up his presidency in 2008 because of health problems. Castro wanted to provide Cubans with the best education and health care system that was free for all. Today, Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world – out of 1,000 people, only 2 are uneducated. Castro was not kind to people who opposed him. Many who disagreed fled Cuba or were put in jail.
Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea. It is separated from the United States by just about a hundred miles (about 160 km). Cuba and the United States did not get along under the rule of Castro. The US broke off diplomatic ties with Cuba in 1961. In 1961 and 1962, the United States even tried to overthrow Castro from power, but did not succeed. The U.S. government placed trade restrictions with Cuba, which hurt the Cuban economy. Since December 2014, the two countries are making an effort to become friends again. Castro’s brother, Raul Castro, has been the president of Cuba since 2008.
Here are 2 videos – the first about Castro and the other about American Cuban relations.
Did you know?
During the time that Fidel Castro was the leader of Cuba, the United States went through 10 presidents, and the James Bond movies went through 7 actors!
Image Credits: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington for the young Castro image, Agência Brasil and Antônio Milena/ABr for the older Castro image
Sources: BBC, CIA World Factbook, Seeker Daily, biography.com
Magnus Carlsen (a 26-year-old from Norway) won the World Chess Championship 2016 on November 30 in New York, USA. He defeated Sergey Karjakin (also 26 years old, from Russia). Carlsen has been the winner of the World Chess Championship since 2013. He became the youngest person to be ranked the World Number One chess player in 2010. He was just 19 years old at the time. Carlsen started playing chess at the age of 5, and by the time he was 13, he was awarded the title of chess Grandmaster (a title given to only the most excellent chess players around the globe). Carlsen can play multiple chess games simultaneously, while not looking at the chess boards and just being told verbally what moves his competitors have made. He is often called the “Mozart of Chess”. Here is a video about him.
Image Credits: Andreas Kontokanis from Piraeus, Greece for the image of Carlsen
Sources: https://ratings.fide.com, http://magnuscarlsen.com, New York Times