As the 21st century settles into its teens, we’ve laughed, cried, and been awed by some of the biggest events of 2015. We Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights.
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Terror Attacks in Paris
November 13 was a truly Black Friday on the streets of Paris as a number of coordinated attacks killed 130 people and wounded many more. Beginning at 9.20pm, the first incident involved three suicide bombers who detonated their explosives outside the Stade de France where a game between France and Germany was being played.
A number of suicide bombers and terrorists wielding machine guns went on a rampage through the city streets, while the largest loss of life occurred at the Bataclan theatre, where 89 people died.
ISIL quickly claimed responsibility for the attacks and the French president launched air strikes on ISIL strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
Children proudly showcasing their 'Pray for Paris' drawings (Photo: Facebook/BBC World Service)
Donald Trump runs for President of the United States
Real estate tycoon, reality star and owner of the worst comb-over in history, Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president of the United States on 16 June.
“So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again.”
Since then, he’s boasted more gaffs than a gaffer tape factory – and insulted more people than Mickey Rooney in Breakfast At Tiffany’s – yet has remained popular in the polls.
Donald Trump being cheeky with a beagle (Photo: Facebook/Donald Trump)
Water on Mars
In late September, scientists confirmed speculation that there is water flowing on the fourth planet from the sun. Using data collected by NASA, scientists cautioned there was still ‘a long way to go’ before the Red Planet could support human settlement.
There is still a long way to go before we are living on Mars (Photo: Facebook/NASA)
Bye-Bye Bruce, Hello Caitlyn
Former Olympian and Kardashian clan member, Bruce Jenner, confirmed what we all expected on April 24 when he sat down with Diane Sawyer and said, ‘Yes, for all intents and purposes, I am a woman.” The news came just two months after he was involved in a fatal car crash that claimed the life of 69-year-old Kim Howe.
Bruce no more, it's the elegant and beautiful Caitlyn (Photo: Facebook/Caitlyn Jenner)
Syrian Refugee Crisis
The Syrian refugee crisis reached alarming new heights in 2015, with as many as 10,000 asylum seekers travelling to Europe every day in search of a stable home.
Photos surfaced in September that shocked the Western world; the tiny body of young Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, washed up on a beach in Turkey. It highlighted the desperate need for countries around the world to open the doors – and their borders – to increased numbers of refugees.
A Syrian mother and her child (Photo: Facebook/International Rescue Committee)
Charlie Hebdo Attacks
On 7 January, a pair of gunmen (Said and Cherif Kouachi) stormed the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. They shot and killed 11 people including the magazine’s editor and chief cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier, who was cited as the terrorists’ intended target.
A further 12 victims were injured in the attack that came after the magazine published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.
Cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed – Je Suis Charlie (Photo: Facebook/Charlie Hedbo)
A massive and devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on 25 April, resulting in the deaths of 8,000 people.
A further 20,000 were injured and countless more became displaced. Almost 20 of the deaths occurred after avalanches on Mt. Everest.
A second 7.3-magnitude quake struck two-and-a-half weeks later and pushed the death toll upwards of 9,000.
Survivors of the Nepal Earthquake (Photo: Facebook/Sophie Kenne)
Princess Charlotte is Born
The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to her second child, Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, at 8.34am on 2 May.
Born at St May’s Hospital in London, the royal bundle of joy weighed 8lbs 3oz. and is now fourth in line to the throne, after her grandfather, father and brother.
Kensington Palace’s official statement read, in part, “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a daughter at 8.34am. . . The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth. . . Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”
Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte with her older brother, Prince George (Photo: Facebook/Closer Weekly)
New Prime Minister
Another year, another leadership challenge. Australia’s unstable political landscape was again confirmed on 15 September when we welcomed Malcolm Turnbull as our fifth prime minister in as many years.
After dismal polling numbers, Prime Minister Tony Abbott was challenged by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 14 September. Turnbull won by 10 votes and was sworn in to office the following day.
Australia's new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull (Photo: Facebook/Malcolm Turnbull)
Whitney Houston’s only child dies
In January, Bobbi Kristina Brown was found face down and unresponsive in a bathtub. The circumstances eerily mirrored the scene of her mother’s tragic death almost three years earlier on 12 February 2012. She passed away on 26 July 2015 at the age of 22.
A sad tragedy for Bobbi Kristina Brown – rest in peace (Photo: Facebook/Dancehallarena)
Ex-planet Pluto received some long-overdue attention on July 14, when NASA’s New Horizon probe completed the inaugural flyby of the dwarf planet.
Coming within 7,800 miles (or 12,500kms) of Pluto’s surface, the mission gave researchers and space-enthusiasts their first close-up glimpse of the mysterious celestial body first discovered in 1930.
Close up of ex-planet, Pluto (Photo: Facebook/NASA)
ISIL bomb brings down Russian plane
On October 31, a crudely homemade ISIS bomb brought down a Russian passenger plane (Metrojet Airlines) and killed all 224 passengers and crew. The bomb detonated while the plane was flying over the Sinai desert in Egypt. Vladimir Putin was quick to promise ‘inevitable retribution’.
Wreckage of Metrojet Airlines (Photo: Facebook/NewYorkLife)
Russian Warplane Shot Down
On 24 November, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that was flying over the Turkish-Syrian border. According to Turkish officials, the decision to bring the plane down was made after the aircraft violated Turkish airspace.
Turkey claims to have issued ten warnings asking the warplane to divert its course, but Russia denies these warnings were ever received.
Russian warplane (Photo: Facebook/NewYorkDailyNews)
Sepp Blatter Saga
The 2015 FIFA presidential election was fraught with controversy. Sepp Blatter was running for his fifth consecutive term in the top job when he won by default after his opposition pulled out of the race. Not long after, though, he suddenly resigned amid persistent corruption allegations.
On 25 September, Swiss investigators declared they would commence enquiries into Blatter’s involvement in paying bribes to UEFA president Michel Platini. He was subsequently suspended from FIFA on 8 October. Investigations are ongoing.
Investigations are still being conducted (Photo: Facebook/NDTV)
Stampede during the Hajj Pilgrimage
A dramatic stampede claimed over 700 lives during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. A further 900 were reported injured, and the incident occurred during the traditional ‘stoning the devil’ ceremony in Saudi Arabia, around 2km from Mecca.
Over 700 lives were lost (Photo: Facebook/FrankMacek)
What do you think were the highlights or lowlights of 2015?