As it happened: Top 10 events of 2014

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 24, 2014 07:58 IST

2014 has been a year of anxiety, anticipation, terror, happiness and exuberation, amongst several other emotions, ranging from the rise of Islamic State (IS) to the Scottish independence referendum announcement; from MH370's disappearance to the Hong Kong protests.

Here's a look at the top 10 global events of 2014:

1. The mysterious disappearance of MH370

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a scheduled international passenger flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, went missing over the South China Sea on March 8, presumed crashed, as ships from countries closest to its flight path scoured a large search area for any wreckage.

AFP Photo

Flight MH370 last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) was a scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that crashed on 17 July 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.

According to American and German intelligence sources, the plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatists using a Buk surface-to-air missile fired from the territory which they controlled. The Russian government blamed the Ukrainian government. A final accident report is expected in August 2015.

The MH17 crash was the fifth Boeing 777 hull loss, the third in just over a year.

2. Peshawar school attack

Pakistan woke up to a day of horror on December 16, after seven Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants killed 132 students, mostly between eight and 18 years of age, at Army Public School in Peshawar, which shocked the nation.

Surpassing the 2007 Karachi bombing, this was the deadliest terrorist attack, which claimed 148 lives, Pakistan has had to face.

TTP is the same terror group that shot at Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai on October 9, 2012.

TTP spokesperson Muhammad Khorasani said, "We selected the army school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females. We want them to feel the pain."

3. The rise of ISIS

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a Sunni-extremist, jihadist rebel group based in Iraq and Syria, grew significantly under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The group's original aim was to establish an Islamic state in Sunni-majority regions of Iraq, and after it joined the Syrian Civil War, this extended to include Sunni-majority areas of Syria. In June 2014, the group proclaimed a worldwide caliphate and the group was renamed the Islamic State (IS).

IS wreaked havoc in the world with its violent propaganda, including videos of beheadings. An unknown number of Syrians, several Lebanese soldiers, at least 10 Kurds, two American journalists, one American and two British aid workers, have been beheaded by the IS.

The beheading videos were posted on social media.

HT Special | Year in review 2014

4. Ebola outbreak

Ebola, the deadly virus with a fatality rate as high as 71% emerged in Guinea in 2013. Since then, it has claimed over 6,300 lives worldwide.

In December, 2014, TIME magazine named its ‘Person of the Year 2014’ as the healthcare workers treating the Ebola epidemic, thus honouring doctors, nurses and others fighting the spread of the deadly virus through ‘tireless acts of courage and mercy’.

5. Ferguson riots

Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American, was shot to death by Darren Wilson, a white male Ferguson officer. Brown was a suspect in a strong-arm robbery committed minutes prior to the shooting.

AFP Photo

A series of protests and civil disorder began a day after the shooting. After months of deliberation, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson for any criminal charges related to the shooting.

6. Gaza under attack

In July 2014, Israel launched a military operation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip, triggering seven weeks of Israeli bombardment, Palestinian rocket attacks and ground fighting that killed more than 2,200 people, majority of them Gazans.

The Israelis claimed the reason behind the attacks was to stop rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, which increased after an Israeli crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank that was launched following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by two Hamas members.

7. Hong Kong protests

The 2014 Hong Kong protests, also called the Umbrella Revolution, began in September when members of this movement occupied several major parts of the city after China's NPCSC (Standing Committee of the National People's Congress) announced its decision on proposed electoral reform.

AP Photo

The 2014 Hong Kong electoral reform is an ongoing public debate on the supposed electoral reform on the 2017 Hong Kong Chief Executive election and 2016 Legislative Council election.

8. G20 Brisbane Summit

The 2014 G20 Summit was the ninth meeting of the G20 heads of governments. It was held in Brisbane, Australia in November 2014. The leaders of Mauritania, Myanmar, New Zealand, Senegal, Singapore and Spain were also invited to the event. PM Modi also attended the summit and held bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott.

Modi brought to the world stage his promise to bring back black money stashed abroad, pitching for global cooperation to tackle the menace.

He told G20 leaders as well as heads of the five-nation BRICS bloc that "repatriation" of black money is his government's priority and sent a message that economic reforms for tangible growth should be "people-centric and people-driven" and insulated from politics.

9. Scotland independence referendum

The Scottish independence referendum was on Scotland's independence, which took place in September 2014. The referendum question 'Should Scotland be an independent country?' was answered with 'Yes' or 'No'. The 'No' side won, with 55.3% voting against independence.

AP Photo

10. Ukraine unrest

Ukraine was gripped by unrest when President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union in November 2013, leading to an organised political movement called 'Euromaidan' which demanded clsoer ties with European Union and ousting of Yanukovych.

The movement culminated in the February 2014 revolution, which removed Yanukovych and his government.

From February 2014, pro-Russian and anti-government groups demonstrated in major cities across east and south Ukraine. The first stage of the unrest led to Crimea being annexed by the Russian Federation.

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