Elections were held in Taiwan, and the current President, Ma Ying-jeou, won another term. His main opponent was a woman. It was the first time that a woman stood for the presidential elections in Taiwan.
The status of Taiwan is a controversy. Taiwan is an island at a distance of about 100 miles (160 km) from mainland China. In the 1940s, there were two main political parties in China – the Nationalists and the Communists. Most of the country was controlled by the Nationalist Party, but the Communists were growing stronger. Soon after World War II, there was a civil war in China and the Nationalists were pushed out. They fled to Taiwan and created a government there, calling themselves the Republic of China (ROC). The Communists, in the meantime, took control of mainland China and called it the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Thus, two different parties claimed to be the official government of China! Continue reading
On January 13, Costa Concordia, a cruise ship, was sailing very close to the western coast of Italy and hit some rocks. The rocks made a big hole in the ship, and the ship started leaning towards one side, eventually capsizing. There were over 4,000 people on board and they had to evacuate the ship. A few people died and some are still missing. The ship’s captain is being blamed for sailing the ship too close to the coast. One of the worst passenger ship accidents was in 1912 when the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg.
Image credit: Roberto Vongher
It was recently announced that the world’s largest automaker in 2011 was General Motors (GM). GM sold the most number of vehicles (over 9 million) in the world. The company had held this title for 77 years, and lost it to Toyota, a Japanese car company, in 2008. It has finally gotten the title back. GM is an American car company and the company has had quite a turn around in the last two years. In 2009, GM had serious money problems and had to get financial help from the United States government.
Some of the fastest rising search terms on Google in 2011 were “Rebecca Black” (a person who posted her song “Friday” on YouTube), “Google Plus” (Google’s social networking site), “Battlefield 3″ (a video game), “iPhone 5″ (Apple’s next phone expected to come out in 2012), “iPad 2″ (Apple’s tablet computer), and “Steve Jobs” (Apple’s ex-CEO who died last year). Time magazine said that the top buzzword for 2011 was “occupy” (the word that was used in the name given to protests that started in New York, USA called “Occupy Wall Street”). A poll result determined “whatever” to be the most annoying English language word or phrase followed by “like” and “you know” for 2011. Now how many times have you said, “Like, you know, whatever”?
The world celebrated New Year’s Eve as the year changed from 2011 to 2012. New Year’s Eve is on December 31, the final day of the Gregorian calendar year.
The New Year was celebrated all over the world, but let us take a look at some of the more famous New Year Eve parties. One of the first big parties took place in Auckland, New Zealand where people enjoyed a display of fireworks over the Sky Tower on a foggy night. Confetti was showered on people at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China. About 1.5 million people gathered and watched the spectacular fireworks show over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney, Australia. They even had fireworks that looked like a rainbow. Continue reading
Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s leader for over 17 years, died on December 17 due to medical reasons. He was 69 years old, and one of his titles was “Dear Leader”. His youngest son, Kim Jong-un, is the new leader of the country, and has been given the title “Great Successor”.
North and South Korea were part of a single country called Korea for over four thousand years. In 1910, the Japanese occupied Korea and ruled it until the Second World War. When the war ended in 1945, the Japanese had to give up control of Korea. Korea was then occupied by the Soviet Union in the north and the United States in the south. A line in the middle (called the 38th Parallel) was drawn and two countries were created in 1948 – North Korea and South Korea.