2014 Year in Review: World Events

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As the world became a smaller place in 2014, stories with international importance resonated in New England, with the scourge of the Ebola virus hitting the closest.

The year began with an Ebola epidemic centered in three West African countries and overwhelmed the region with fear. The ripple effect extended around the globe as countries raced to help and the virus made it's way home to New England.

In February, the Winter Olympics brought the world together for a celebration of sport and fellowship. Russia spent $12 billion to prepare for a games filled with accomplishment and some controversy, just a tease of the spotlight that Moscow would revisit later in the year.

On Saturday, March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared from radar with 227 people on board. For nine months an exhaustive search has brought little comfort to families struggling with one of the great mysteries of all time.

Later in March, as Ukraine moved closer to the European Union, the president resigned, but Vladimir Putin wasted no time responding with force to the possible loss of his countries best access to the sea. Crimea was formally annexed on March 21.

The kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria by the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram did not gain world attention at first, but when women around the world began to demonstrate their horror at the violent abduction, leadership in the African country promised renewed efforts to find the missing girls.

Also in April, there was another tragic story of loss involving school children, with this one in the South China Sea where a ferry carrying South Korean school children sank, leading to the deaths of 290.

At the beginning of the year most people had not heard of ISIS, but by June 5, the extremist group had begun an offensive in northern Iraq that would dominate
headlines for the rest of the year.

The World Cup provided a welcome distraction in the middle of the year and the month long futbol party took place in Brazil. The country did not earn the top prize; nevertheless, it brought home enormous pride for an entire continent.

Shortly after the World Cup, there was another tragedy for Malaysia Airlines, although this time it was no accident. On July 17, we know that Flight 17 with 298 people on board was shot down over Ukraine. Whether it was done intentionally or by accident remains a mystery.

As ISIS fighters continued their land grab across Iraq and Syria, a desperate fight arose on the border of Turkey, where Kurdish fighters offered a last gasp of resistance against ISIS. At that crossroads, a coalition of support led by the United States began air strikes on August 8.

As the year approached the holiday season all eyes went to the heavens as a consortium of countries came together for a dramatic step forward in a long time effort to reach for the stars. It was simply a spacecraft about the size of a small appliance, but the landing this time was on a moving meteor, and the dream of landing a man on Mars was one giant step closer.  

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