On March 11th an underwater earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 hits off the coast of Japan, causing a tsunami that hit the Iwate prefecture with waves over 130 feet high. Damage from the tsunami and earthquake triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant due to several meltdowns and the inability to cool the reactors. An evacuation zone around the area was put into place as the levels of radiation exceeded all safety standards and tons of contaminated water were released into the Pacific Ocean. Japan is still reeling from the effects of the earthquake over a year later and workers and agencies are still trying to contain the effects of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant, which has become the second most dangerous nuclear disaster in history only behind Chernobyl. Estimated figures related to the earthquake include nearly 16,000 deaths, over 6,000 injuries, and almost 3,000 people missing. About 4.4 million households went without power and about 1.5 million went without water. Hundreds of thousands of buildings were damaged and destroyed.
Citizens in countries across the Middle East rise up against their governments in what was called the Arab Spring. Countries affected include Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain amongst others. Many believe that social media was responsible for how widespread the protests became and that it allowed others around the world to witness the events of these conflicts as protesters shared videos, blogged and tweeted about their experiences.
More Information and Timeline For Arab Spring
1. 2010 - On December 17th , Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire in protest of harassment by a local municipal official, the first protests against the government in Tunisia begin around the same time. This event is thought to be the catalyst for all of the Arab Spring protests to follow.
2. Tunisia - On January 15th, 2011, Tunisia's leader flees the country and Tunisia becomes the first of four countries to successfully overthrow their governments in the region. By December 12th, the country successfully elects Moncef Marzouki as the first president since their revolution.
3. Egypt - On January 25th, 2011, protests begin in Egypt. Protesters call for the resignation of Hosni Mubarak and the government responds with force against the protesters. Protests continue and increase in intensity and by February 11th Mubarak resigns. He is later put on trial and sentenced to life in prison for failing to stop the killing of protesters by security forces.
4. Yemen - As protests intensify in Yemen, the president Ali Abdullah Saleh announces his plans to resign in 2013 and asks opposition to halt further protests on February 2nd. After the protests grew larger and continued, Saleh agreed to a thirty day transitional plan to leave power, but later refused to sign the agreement on May 23. Saleh did not formally cede power of the country until February 27th of 2012.
5. Bahrain - Violence between protesters and police erupts in Bahrain in the capital of Manama in March of 2011. King Hamad eventually conceded some conditions, however, as of September 2012 protests in the country were still ongoing.
6. Syria - Protests erupt in Damascus in Syria on March 15th of 2011. Hundreds of people called for democratic reforms but the protests were broken up by the government's forces. Over several months the protests intensified as did the government's response until later in 2011 when anti-government protesters formed fighting units and staged an insurrection against the Syrian army starting off a civil war that is still active as of September 2012. President Bashar al Assad has come under much criticism for human rights offenses during the conflict.
7. Libya - Libyan protesters began demonstrating in February of 2011 and the country soon faced a full-on revolt against Col. Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan government. Gaddafi began using force against protesters and on March 19th, the United Nations enacted a no fly zone on the country and stated they would use allied troops to protect Libyan civilians in this conflict. By July 15th , the US had officially recognized the Libyan rebels as the legitimate government of the country. Gaddafi was killed in Sirte on October 20th and the official "liberation" of Libya was celebrated on October 23rd. On July 7th of 2012 the country held its first parliamentary elections since Gaddafi's fall. As of September 2012 Libya still faced sectarian violence as it tried to move forward with a new government.
Many other countries in the region experienced protests as well, some examples include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, and Algeria, amongst others. Many of those conflicts were solved by some of the governments making concessions and implementing reforms, while other conflicts and protests are still ongoing as of September 2012.
How Much things cost in 2011
Average Cost of new house $262,260.00
Average Income per year $39,423.00
Average Cost for house rent $675.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas $3.52
US Postage Stamp 44 cents
Gallon of Milk $3.39
Move Ticket $8.20
Price Of Gold Per Ounce ( August 2011 ) $1,677.95
Average Yearly Wages $40,925.00
Hip-Hop Star Nate Dogg dies on March 16th.
The Royal Wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William takes place in the United Kingdom on April 29th .
Poet Gil Scott-Heron dies on May 28th.
Singer Amy Winehouse dies on July 23rd.
The popular band R.E.M. announces they are breaking up after thirty-one years.
Comedian Russell Brand and Singer Katy Perry file for divorce at the end of the year.
US Actor Charlie Sheen is fired from one of the most popular TV comedies Two and a Half Men after getting into a dispute with the show's creator and demonstrating increasingly erratic behavior.
The Occupy Wall Street movement began on September 17th of 2011 as a protest meant to highlight income inequality in the United States and rest of the world. The movement was best known for its "We are the 99%" slogan, referring to income inequality.
More Information and Timeline For Occupy Wall Street
1. September 17th - Protesters "occupy" Zuccotti Park in the Wall Street financial district of New York City as part of a demonstration against income inequality and the greed of the financial section. It was originally organized by the Canadian activist group Adbusters. The protests quickly spread to other cities in the United States like Chicago and Oakland.
2. October 1st - Seven hundred protesters were arrested while trying to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. Controversy erupted over whether or not police tricked protesters into violating their orders not to walk in the street. With the noisiness and confusion of so many people, many protesters stated that police had been guiding them into the street to cross the bridge, while the police stated that they warned protesters to stay on sidewalks.
3. October 15th - The global protests began as a part of the Occupy movement as people gathered together in cities around the world in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Up to 3,000 people gathered outside St. Paul's cathedral in London and thousands of others joined demonstrations in other cities like Sydney, Toronto, Tokyo, Berlin, Rome, Madrid, Zurich, Hong Kong and Paris.
4. November 2nd - Occupy protesters in Oakland, California shut down the Port of Oakland with thousands of people marching through the city and congregating at the port.
5. November 15th - Police clear protesters out of Zuccotti Park in New York City due to unsanitary conditions and the need to clean the area. Protesters are told that they will be allowed to return without sleeping bags or tents. Police went through the park in riot gear to remove protesters and arrested about two hundred people including journalists.
6. December 12th - Occupy protesters along the West Coast of the United States successfully blocked three ports in California, Oregon and Washington after workers were sent home over safety concerns. Demonstrators aimed at hurting the profits of the companies that ran the harbors, but many argued that they actually hurt truck drivers who could not complete deliveries.
7. December 31st - Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York try to re-occupy Zuccotti Park but were forced out by police after a night of of conflict.
8. 2012 - The "Occupy" movement loses momentum after many cities closed encampments and forced protesters out through bans and police presence. Protesters tried to gather in demonstration on March 17th, May 1st, and September 17th of 2012 but their numbers were not as strong as when the movement first began.
Small demonstrations continue throughout the world in support of the movement.
Burma (Myanmar) made a few significant steps toward democracy with the introduction of several democratic reforms after being a tightly-controlled military government for several decades prior.
More Information and Timeline For Burma Democratization
1. 1948 - Burma becomes independent after being controlled by Great Britain since 1885.
2. 1962 - Military General Ne Win stages a coup and this begins a period of military control of the country that had lasted until 2011.
3. 1988 - Economic unrest and political oppression lead to pro-democracy demonstrations by the populace. General Saw Maung stages a coup and declares martial law in the country.
4. 1990 - The government holds free elections for the first time in thirty years and the National League for Democracy (the party of activist Aung San Suu Kyi) wins eighty percent of the seats in parliament. The military junta refuses to give up power.
5. 2007 - More anti-government protests break out over fuel prices, but are suppressed by the government. The protests then turned into a non-violent resistance campaign led by Buddhist monks called the Saffron Revolution, this was also suppressed with violence by the government.
6. 2008 - A constitutional referendum was held and the result of which promised some democratic reforms.
7. 2010 - The country held somewhat peaceful general elections but the military party claimed to have won eighty percent of the vote, a result that pro-democracy groups claim as fraudulent.
8. 2010 - Democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest after being detained for fifteen of the previous twenty-one years.
9. 2011 - On January 31st the Burmese Parliament convened for the first time in over twenty years. This event marked the end of fifty years of military rule and the creation of a new constitution.
10. 2011 - President Thein Sein signs a law that would allow peaceful protests in the country for the first time on December 3rd.
11. 2012 - Democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi wins a seat in the Burmese parliament on April 1st and on July 9th she attended her first parliament as a member of the governing body.
Burma continues to make progress towards a more democratic system, while the military still holds a strong grip on the country.
NASA launches the Juno spacecraft during August of 2011. Juno’s mission was to conduct a long, scientific study of Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet while orbiting around its poles. The space probe was set to examine the magnetic field, composition, and gravity field of the gas giant planet. It also had the core mission of studying the atmosphere to look for evidence of water. Juno arrived at Jupiter during July of 2016.
Osama Bin Laden had been found and killed by US Navy Seals in Abbottabad, Pakistan
On May 2nd, it was announced by US President Obama that Osama Bin Laden had been found and killed by US Navy Seals in Abbottabad, Pakistan. This marked the end of the search for the man who was thought to be responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th of 2001.
Bomb blast hits the city of Oslo
A bomb blast hits the city of Oslo and kills at least eight people and soon after Anders Behring Breivik attacks an island youth camp killing another sixty-eight people. The attacks shocked the normally peaceful nation and Breivik indicated that he orchestrated both of the attacks for political reasons and has extremist views.
United States Gabrielle Giffords
Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot along with twelve others while making a public appearance in Tucson. The accused gunman Jared Loughner killed six of the people who were shot, one of dead was a nine year old girl. Giffords survived the attack but was in critical condition.
United Kingdom Rioting across parts of London
Rioting across parts of London begin on August 7 as residents in Tottenham protested against the shooting of a man by the police. The riots lasted several days and spread to cities throughout the UK. Rioters set fire to shops, looted neighborhoods and attacked people, observers took it as a sign of general unrest.
United States tornado Joplin, Missouri
A tornado cuts a six mile path and damages about two-thousand buildings as it leaves a wake of devastation through Joplin, Missouri. The city was left without power and at least 115 people were found dead with many others unaccounted for. Over 1,000 people reported injuries.
United States "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
The US Military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that banned open homosexuality in the armed forces was officially repealed on September 20th. President Obama insisted on ending the policy despite ardent opposition from the Republicans in Congress. The measure had originally been put in place by the Clinton administration in the early 1990's.
US Troops to leave Iraq entered Kuwait
On December 18th the last US Troops to leave Iraq entered Kuwait in a convoy of vehicles nearly 9 years after the initial invasion. The war began in 2003 with 150,000 US troops and during the war an estimated 4,400 US soldiers were killed while over 100,000 Iraqi civilians are estimated to have been killed. Only 157 soldiers remained in the country for training purposes.
Russia World Trade Organization
Russia officially became a part of the World Trade Organization after taking part in a ceremony in Switzerland. Eighteen years were spend negotiating the country's membership and Russia was finally added to the organization after making a deal with Georgia who had been trying to block Russia's membership.
free trade between the South Korean and the United States
The South Korean parliament ratified a deal that would open up free trade between the country and the United States. The hotly debated issue had been delayed since 2007 due to the opposition of many South Korean workers and farmers who would face possible losses in business and employment. The deal could potentially increase United States imports into South Korea by about $10 billion.
The Space Shuttle Discovery makes its last docking at the International Space Station on February 26th, before its impending retirement.
Apple releases the iPhone 4S on October 14th, only nine days after the death of co-founder Steve Jobs.
Google releases Android Version 4.0, nicknamed Ice Cream Sandwich on October 19th .
India makes the Aakash tablet computer that would sell for only $35.00.
The US Defense department tests a hypersonic missile that could travel at five times the speed of sound
The world's first synthetic organ transplant was successfully completed in Sweden when surgeons transplanted a completely synthetic trachea into a patient.
Richard Branson opens the first commercial Spaceport in the United States.
Chad President Idriss Deby (re-elected)
Somalia Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (resigns)
Denmark Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt (1st woman elected)
Poland Prime Minister Donald Tusk (re-elected)
Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad (resigns)
Italy Prime Minister Berlusconi (resigns) replaced by Mario Monti
Tunisia President Moncef Marzouki (elected)
Croatia is approved to be a member of the European Union on June 10th
Poland takes over the European Union presidency on July 1st for a six month term.
Belgium forms a new government after 541 days without one.
North Korea's Kim Jong Il dies and is replaced by his song Kim Jong Un.