People across the globe have finally embraced the New Year 2012 hoping for peace and prosperity in the year to come. The year 2011 has gone by leaving behind both soothing and painful memories. History as it stands can never be undermined and all the happenings all important. It would thus be wise on the part of all humans to cherish the fruitful achievements of the past year and at the same time rectify the lapses that brought immeasurable sufferings to teeming millions.
Extravagant firework displays lit up the skies from Kathmandu to Delhi to London to New York in a global new year’s party that saw millions set aside their world of worries to welcome 2012 Saturday night.
Turning the page on a year of financial turmoil in Europe and the United States, uprising across the Arab world, devastating tsunami in Japan, and the dramatic killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in his Pakistan hideout, revelers danced to pop stars, drank champagne and cheered out the final moments of 2011. There was no avoiding the looming euro-zone crisis in some European capitals. The Olympics will be this year, less than seven months away - exactly 209 days from January 1 until the opening ceremony on July 27. London has been preparing seven years for the games, ever since it defeated Paris in the final round of the International Olympic committee vote in Singapore on July 6, 2005.
2011 or MMXI was a common year that started on a Saturday. In the Gregorian calendar, it was the 2011th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations; the 11th year of the 3rd millennium and of the 21st century; and the 2nd of the 2010s decade.
Likewise, the United Nations designated 2011 as the International Year of Forests and the International Year of Chemistry. The United States formally declared an end to the Iraq War at the end of this year. The global population reached seven billion in the year 2011 while UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member, following a vote in which 107 member states supported and 14 opposed.
Some major events of the 2011 are:
In January: January 1 – Estonia officially adopts the Euro currency and becomes the seventeenth Eurozone country. January 9–15 – Southern Sudan holds a referendum on independence. The Sudanese electorate votes in favour of independence, paving the way for the creation of the new state in July. January 11 – Flooding and mudslides in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro kills 903.
January 14 – Arab Spring: The Tunisian government falls after a month of increasingly violent protests; President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia after 23 years in power. January 24 – 37 people are killed and more than 180 others wounded in a bombing at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia.
In February: February 11 – Arab Spring: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns after widespread protests calling for his departure, leaving control of Egypt in the hands of the military until a general election can be held. February 22 - March 14 – Uncertainty over Libyan oil output causes crude oil prices to rise 20 per cent over a two-week period following the Arab Spring, causing the 2011 energy crisis.
In March: March 11 – A 9.1-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the east of Japan, killing 15,840 and leaving another 3,926 missing. Tsunami warnings are issued in 50 countries and territories. Emergencies are declared at four nuclear power plants affected by the quake.
March 15 – Arab Spring: Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain declares a three-month state of emergency as troops from the Gulf Co-operation Council are sent to quell the civil unrest.
March 17 – Arab Spring and the Libyan civil war: The United Nations Security Council votes 10-0 to create a no-fly zone over Libya in response to allegations of government aggression against civilians. March 19 – Arab Spring and the Libyan civil war: In light of continuing attacks on Libyan rebels by forces in support of leader Muammar Gaddafi, military intervention authorized under UNSCR 1973 begins as French fighter jets make reconnaissance flights over Libya.
In April: April 11 – Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is arrested in his home in Abidjan by supporters of elected President Alassane Ouattara with support from French forces thereby ending the 2010–2011 Ivorian crisis and civil war.
April 29 – An estimated two billion people watch the wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London.
In May: May 1 – U.S. President Barack Obama announces that Osama bin Laden, the founder and leader of the militant group Al-Qaeda, has been killed during an American military operation in Pakistan.
May 16 – The European Union agree to €78 billion rescue deal for Portugal. The bailout loan will be equally split between the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, the European Financial Stability Facility, and the International Monetary Fund.
In June: June 4 – Chile’s Puyehue volcano erupts, causing air traffic cancellations across South America, New Zealand, Australia and forcing over 3,000 people to evacuate.
June 5 – Arab Spring: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh travels to Saudi Arabia for treatment of an injury sustained during an attack on the presidential palace. Protesters celebrate his transfer of power to his Vice-President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi.
June 12 – Arab Spring: Thousands of Syrians flee to Turkey as Syrian troops lay siege to Jisr ash-Shugur.
In July: July 7 – The world’s first artificial organ transplant is achieved, using an artificial windpipe coated with stem cells.
July 9 – South Sudan secedes from Sudan, per the result of the independence referendum held in January. July 20 - The United Nations declares a famine in southern Somalia, the first in over thirty years. July 21 – Space Shuttle Atlantis lands successfully at Kennedy Space Center after completing STS-135, concluding NASA’s space shuttle program.
July 22 – 76 people are killed in twin terrorist attacks in Norway after a bombing in the Regjeringskvartalet government center in Oslo and a shooting at a political youth camp on the island of Utøya.
July 31- In Thailand over 12.8 million people are affected by severe flooding. The World Bank estimates damages at 1,440 billion baht (US$45 billion). Some areas are still six - feet underwater, and many factory areas remained closed, at the end of the year. 790 people are killed, with 58 of the country’s 77 provinces affected.
Arab Spring: Because of the uncertaintities associated with a clamp-down of the free press, there is believed to be at least 121 people killed in a Syrian Army tank raid on the town of Hama and over 150 people are reportedly killed across the country. The total dead throughout Syria may never be known, but an estimate as of September 24 is 3,000.
In August: August 5 - NASA announces that its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured photographic evidence of possible liquid water on Mars during warm seasons. Juno, the first solar-powered spacecraft on a mission to Jupiter, is launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
August 20–28 – Arab Spring and the Libyan civil war: In the Battle of Tripoli, Libyan rebels took control of the nation’s capital effectively overthrowing the government of Muammar Gaddafi.
In September: September 5 – India and Bangladesh sign a pact to end their 40-year border demarcation dispute. September 10 – Zanzibar ferry sinking: The MV Spice Islander I, carrying at least 800 people, sinks off the coast of Zanzibar, killing 240 people. September 12 – Approximately 100 Kenyans die after a petrol pipeline explodes in Nairobi. September 19 – With 434 dead, the United Nations launches a $357 million appeal for victims of the 2011 Sindh floods in Pakistan.
In October: October 4 - 2011 Mogadishu bombing: 100 people are killed in a car bombing in the Somali capital Mogadishu. The death toll from the flooding of Cambodia’s Mekong River and attendant flash floods reaches 207. October 18 – Israel and the Palestinian militant organization Hamas begin a major prisoner swap, in which the captured Israeli Army soldier Gilad Shalit is released by Hamas in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian and Israeli-Arab prisoners held in Israel, including 280 prisoners serving life sentences for planning and perpetrating terror attacks.
October 20-Arab Spring and the Libyan civil war: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is killed in Sirte, with National Transitional Council forces taking control of the city, and ending the war. Basque separatist militant organisation ETA declares an end to its 43-year campaign of political violence, which has killed over 800 people since 1968. October 23 – A magnitude 7.2 Richter scale earthquake jolted eastern Turkey near the city of Van, killing 604 people, and damaging about 2,200 buildings.
October 27 – After an emergency meeting in Brussels, the European Union announced an agreement to tackle the European sovereign debt crisis which includes a writedown of 50 per cent of Greek bonds, a recapitalisation of European banks and an increase of the bailout fund of the European Financial Stability Facility totaling to €1 trillion.
October31-Date selected by the UN as the symbolic date when global population reaches seven billion.
UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member, following a vote in which 107 member states supported and 14 opposed.
In November: November 26 – The Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity, the most elaborate Martian exploration vehicle to date, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center. It is slated to land on Mars on August 5, 2012.
In December: December 15 – The United States formally declares an end to the Iraq War. December 16 – Tropical storm Washi causes 1,257 flash flood fatalities in the Philippines with 85 people officially listed as missing.
December 29 – Samoa and Tokelau moves from east to west of the International Date Line in order to align its time zone better with its main trading partners, marking the end of this year.
The major deaths of 2011 are: Anne Francis, American actress, Pete Postlethwaite, British actor, Richard Winters, American paratrooper died on January 2. Similarly, Prince Ali-Reza Pahlavi of Iran and Gerry Rafferty, Scottish musician died on January 4.
Josefa Iloilo, 3rd President of Fiji died on February 6, Necmettin Erbakan, 25th Prime Minister of Turkey on February 27. Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, 30th Prime Minister of Nepal and Simon van der Meer, Dutch Nobel physicist on March 4, Ange-Félix Patassé, 5th President of the Central African Republic on April 5. Sathya Sai Baba, Indian spiritual leader died on April 24.
Osama bin Laden, Saudi-born leader of Al-Qaeda killed on May 2, May 3 – Jackie Cooper, American actor on May 3, Willard Boyle, Canadian Nobel physicist on May 7, Lidia Gueiler Tejada, 67th President of Bolivia on May 9. Sergei Bagapsh, Georgian-born politician and Ferenc Mádl, 2nd President of Hungary on May 29, Frederick Chiluba, 2nd President of Zambia on Jude 18.
Similarly, Itamar Franco, 37th President of Brazil died on July 2, Juan Maria Bordaberry, 36th President of Uruguay on July 17, Nguyen Cao Ky, 8th Prime Minister of the Republic of Vietnam on July 23, Mario Echandi Jiménez, 47th President of Costa Rica on July 30, Harri Holkeri, 57th Prime Minister of Finland on August 7, Andrej Bajuk, 3rd Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia on August 16, Rudolf Mössbauer, German Nobel physicist on September 14, September 19 – George Cadle Price, 1st Prime Minister of Belize on September 19, Burhanuddin Rabbani, President of Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996 died on September 20.
Likewise, Steve Jobs, American computer engineer died on October 5, Ramiz Alia, 1st President of Albania on October 7, Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan leader and ruler was killed on October 20, Sultan, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia on October 22, Ante Marković, 9th Prime Minister of SFR Yugoslavia on November 28, Sir Zelman Cowan, 19th Governor-General of Australia on December 8, Kim Jong-il, Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on December 17, Václav Havel, Czech playwright, 10th President of Czechoslovakia and 1st President of the Czech Republic on December 18. North Korean leader Kim Jong-il died on December 19.