As 2014 draws to a close and reflect back on what made the headlines, some stories a bit more shocking then others.
The deadly hemorrhagic fever named after a river near where it was first identified, made major news in 2014. With the mortality rate usually being around 50 percent and killing the patient within a month of infection, the virus usually burns itself out within a few months, and is unable to spread very far. A person who survives Ebola infection, is highly unlikely to contract the disease again.
In 2014 the world saw a strain of Ebola with a longer incubation time. Infected people went longer before showing symptoms, during which time they were likely to transmit the virus to other people. This caused the largest outbreak since the virus was first identified, killing almost 8,000 people during 2014. The countries hardest hit by the outbreak have been: Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.
In what has been called the “Revolution of Dignity”, was caused by four years of dissatisfaction with the pro-Russia government that culminated in February. Thousands of protesters called for restoration of the constitution to its 2004 version. The changes were made by the former president, Viktor Yanukovych shortly after he took office in 2010.
After 69 protesters and 13 riot police were killed, Yanukovych tried to appease the protesters by implementing their demands, but it was too late. Viktor fled the country to Russia as angry Ukrainians looted his lavish mansion. It has been pointed out that the bloodiest conflicts between protesters and police happened hours after a $2 Billion loan from Russia to the Ukrainian government went through.
Oil Prices down by 45 Percent
In a perfect storm of booming U.S. oil production, reduced demand due to lowered reliance (i.e.fuel efficient cars and sluggish economy), and OPEC countries allegedly waging economic war against Russia and their backing of Shia rivals, like Iran, oil has dropped from the June high of $115 to under $60 per barrel.
Bill Cosby accused of Rape
One of the most famous Comedians of this generation, Bill Cosby was accused of rape by multiple women. Shocking to many Bill Cosby fans, many of whom loved his role as a family-friendly dad on the Cosby show, or remember him doing Jello commercials. The allegations by many of these women stem from incidents that allegedly occurred a decade ago, making it unlikely any charges will be filed.
Michael Brown Verdict and Protests
After Caucasian police officer, Darren Wilson, was cleared of all charges in the shooting death of unarmed Africa-American, Michael Brown, some protesters began burning over a dozen buildings to the ground on the night of November 24. The Governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, had already declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, which did very little during the chaos of the first night.
The protests were not limited to Missouri and continued for several weeks across the United States, Canada, and even a few European cities.
Daniel Pantaleo, a Caucasian NYPD officer who was videotaped using a banned choke-hold maneuver against unarmed African-American, Eric Garner, was also cleared of charges, this added fuel to an already raging fire of dissatisfied activists across the United States. With the largest demonstrations being in NYC, Oakland and L.A., more than 100,000 people took to the streets for most of the month of December, demanding reform in policing procedures and accountability.
Shooting Deaths of Officers Ramos and Wenjian
On December 20, multiple felon, Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, took a bus to Brooklyn from Baltimore after shooting his girlfriend. He wrote on his instagram account a message stating his decision to retaliate against NYPD for the death of Eric Garner. Upon his arrival in Brooklyn, he approached a police patrol car and fire multiple shots at Officers Ramos and Wenjian, striking both of them multiple times, they did not survive the attack. Brinsley then fled to a nearby subway station where he took his own life.