The Year As We Saw It

The Daily has been sent every day at 7:30am since February 2016, with a few planned exceptions for holidays and maintenance. Some of you just got here a week ago, some have been with us for over 12 months. Thank you for reading and I hope our review does a good job of showing what we've done, and keeping you abreast of anything you missed last year.

 

Enter the Second Half - July

We start early in July, with one of the worst single bombings in Iraq, a suicide bombing in Baghdad that resulted in a death toll over 175. A refrigerator truck filled with explosives blew up on Saturday night in the neighbourhood. As of Monday evening, the count stood at 175 people killed and 200 wounded. Islamic State took responsibility for the bombing.

Brazil's corruption scandal wore on as President Dilma Rousseff presented her defence to a Senate impeachment trial yesterday, denouncing the proceedings as a farce and saying her alleged crimes were no more than "routine acts of budgetary management." "Everybody knows that you are judging an honest woman, a public servant dedicated to just causes," the suspended leader said. Rousseff herself is not directly accused of corruption but Brazil's chief prosecutor has asked for her to be investigated for obstructing justice in the convictions for corruption surrounding the state-run oil company, Petrobras. 

Rousseff's successor as president, Michel Temer, has now become the country’s first sitting head of state to be formally charged with a crime. Less than a year after taking power, he was formally accused of corruption and could now face a lower house vote on whether he should be tried by the supreme court for taking bribes.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities around the United States to denounce the shootings of two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, by police early in July. The marches continued the day after a gunman killed five police officers on duty at a protest in Dallas, Texas. Major protests blocked roads in cities across the country, including New York, Baton Rouge, Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Phoenix. In the case of Alton Sterling, the Department of Justice investigated but in May of this year decided that it would not file criminal charges against the police officers. And in the shooting of Castile, an officer was charged but ultimately acquitted on all charges just last month.

Theresa May won the battle to be Britain's prime minister, as her only remaining rival quit the race, but faced a much tougher struggle once in power, overseeing Britain's divorce from the European Union. May backed the "Remain" camp during the campaign for Britain's referendum on EU membership  but has made clear since then that it must now go ahead.

turkishtank.jpg

Turkish attempted coup

Turkish troops said they seized power July 15th, but President Tayyip Erdogan vowed that the attempted coup would be put down and crowds answered his call to defy a curfew order and take to the streets to support him. Gunfire and explosions rocked both Istanbul and Ankara in a chaotic night, but by the early hours of Saturday there were indications that the coup was crumbling. "We will overcome this," Erdogan said, speaking on a video call to the Turkish sister station of CNN. He also said the coup plotters would pay a heavy price. 

At the height of the attempt to overthrow President Erdogan, the rebel pilots of two F-16 fighter jets had Erdogan's plane in their sights, and yet he was able to fly on. The Turkish leader was returning to Istanbul from a holiday after a faction in the military launched the coup attempt on Friday night. "At least two F-16s harassed Erdogan's plane while it was in the air and en route to Istanbul. They locked their radars on his plane and on two other F-16s protecting him," a former military officer told reporters at the time. "Why they didn't fire is a mystery," he said.

In the following week, Turkey then quickly blocked access to the WikiLeaks website, hours after it leaked thousands of ruling party emails just as Ankara grapples with the aftermath of a failed military coup. WikiLeaks released nearly 300,000 emails from the AK Party dating from 2010 to July 2016. Obtained before the attempted coup, the date of their publication was brought forward "in response to the government's post-coup purges", WikiLeaks said on its website.

President Erdogan continued to tighten his grip on Turkey, ordering the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions in his first decree since imposing a state of emergency after the failed military coup. Turkish authorities also detained a nephew of Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric accused by the government in Ankara of orchestrating last week's coup attempt.


Bastille Day Attack in Nice

An attacker killed 77 people and injured many more when he drove a heavy truck into a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks in the city of Nice on July 14th. The truck careered for hundreds of metres along the seafront, slamming into spectators watching the fireworks, listening to an orchestra or strolling above the beach towards the grand, century-old Hotel Negresco. "It's a scene of horror," said local member of parliament, Eric Ciotti.

French leaders paid tribute to the victims of the Bastille Day attacks in Nice as crowds jeered. Although the crowds observed the minute of silence held to pay respects to the 84 dead, thousands of people chanted "resign, resign" at the prime minister Manuel Valls before and after. Others yelled "Hollande, resign."

France's decision to extend a state of emergency for six months undermines human rights and the rule of law, Human Rights Watch said, joining the country's top magistrate union in criticising the legislation. "A rolling state of emergency risks trampling rights and eroding the rule of law and sets a dangerous precedent for abuse elsewhere," said Letta Tayler, a researcher at Human Rights Watch. In France, the emergency regime allows police to search homes and arrest people without prior consent from judges. It also allows them to tap computer and phone communications more freely.


Adventure & Space

NASA's Juno spacecraft concluded a five-year journey to Jupiter with an engine burn to sling itself into orbit, setting the stage for a 20-month journey around the biggest planet in the solar system, to learn how and where it formed. “We’re there. We’re in orbit. We conquered Jupiter,” lead mission scientist Scott Bolton, with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio said. “Now the fun begins.” As its mission continues, the Juno craft will fly over Jupiter's iconic Giant Red Spot within the next week.

The Solar Impulse 2 aeroplane, powered by energy from the sun completed its mission, on the first fuel-free flight around the globe. "Explorers have gone everywhere, even to the Moon. Now, we need to explore a better quality of life here on Earth," Piccard , one of the Solar Impulse's two pilots, said.

Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov landed safely in a field in West Australia after setting a world record for circumnavigating the world solo in a hot air balloon. The 64-year-old Konyukhov emerged from the balloon's gondola after more than 11 days aloft expressing his appreciation for the smell of the earth, and "how wonderful it is".


Most Read Long Reads

  • The world's oldest library has been opened to the public, after a large amount of renovation work was completed earlier this year. The library, in Morocco, was built to accompany the al-Qarawiyyin University in 892 AD. There's not a lot to talk about, but there are some beautiful pictures of the library (one above), and of some of the books it holds.
  • Proving that time improvements are yet to be squeezed out of the most basic sports, swimming could be on the verge of a revolution. The general wisdom is that swimming had found it's groove, and now marginal improvements were all that was left - that there wouldn't be any more giant leaps. But here we are, with Misty Hyman and the fish-kick.

  • George Shiras took some amazing photographs throughout his career, and one set has a particular beauty to them. Among the first pictures to capture wild animals in the dead of night, Nautilus has resurrected this set for our viewing pleasure.

  • Although the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are just a month away, you may have noticed a dearth of publicity about the games. The city has been reported to be severely unprepared in the weeks ahead of the thousands of athletes and tourists that will undoubtedly descend upon Rio. Stadiums remain unfinished, infrastructure is only half established, crime is abundant, and the political system is faltering. Rio's publicity has not been overwhelmingly positive, and this piece by Vanessa Barbara discusses some of the many reasons that may be.