Wednesday, 17 Dec, 2008 Current Events
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Some of the Most Important Events of the Outgoing 2008

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The year 2008 is almost at the finish line, but before it comes to an end it would probably be interesting to review this year's most important events. Surely the events listed below are collected from a subjective point of view, but there's no doubt that some of them had a great influence whether on one person, a whole nation or a number of nations around the globe. These events touched a variety of fields, ranging from sports and physics to religion and politics.

Russian Presidential Election

The event took place on March 2, and its result was the election of Dmitry Medvedev as the 3rd president of Russian Federation. His candidacy was highly supported by Vladimir Putin, then president in office, and five political parties. Mr. Medvedev received 71 percent of the vote (which is similar to Mr. Putin's result four year ago), outrunning candidates that represented the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of the Russian Federation.

After the elections, on May 5 Vladimir Putin became Russia's Prime Minister. There were disputes over the elections in Russia, some considered that everything was free and fair while others believed that candidates had unequal media coverage. No reports had been given from monitoring groups. The majority agreed that the result of the election reflected the will of people.

Miss Universe 2008

Some may consider this event as not an important one but let's look at the facts: Miss Universe 2008 was broadcasted in 180 countries, 7,500 people in the audience and over 1 billion people watching the contest on television.

Among 80 contestants, Miss Universe became Dayana Sabrina Mendoza Moncada, representing Venezuela. It was the 57th Miss Universe contest and it was held at the Crown Convention Center (Diamond Bay Resort) in Nha Trang, Vietnam. The event took place on July 14, 2008 and the beautiful Miss Mendoza was crowed by Riyo Mori, Miss Universe 2007, representing Japan.


War in South Ossetia

This event shook the political arena in 2008. The war started on the evening of August 7, when Georgian troops attacked the capital of the separatist and self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali. Due to the fact that there were a lot of people with Russian passports in the region, Russia decided to respond on the attacks by sending a number of troops to South Ossetia to defend its citizens.

The actions of both parties remained controversial. Russia was highly criticized by the European Union for interfering in the conflict, while Russia's authorities claiming that Georgian troops attacked its citizens and its peace troops in the region. In addition, Russia stated that Georgian troops trained together with American soldiers and used American weapons against Russian citizens.

The former ambassador of Georgia to Russia, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, said that his own country is to blame for the war that occurred in South Ossetia. He said: "It was the Georgian government that launched the military action. It doesn't matter whether it was provoked or not. As for the fact that Russia was prepared for it, Moscow was ready to perform the actions it did, because they were part of Russia's overall plan. I am not saying Georgia is to blame for everything, because Russia was not an innocent lamb either."

Summer Olympic Games 2008

Undoubtedly one of the most popular events this year was the Summer Olympic Games that took place in Beijing, China. It was the XXIX Olympiad. The international multi-sport event officially opened on August 6 and ended on August 24, featuring 10,500 athletes who struggled for the Olympic Gold medal in 302 events in 28 sports. The Summer Olympic Games 2008 was really worth remembering, showing remarkable performances of the athletes: 43 new world records and 132 new Olympic records. Besides, representative of 87 countries won at least one medal at these Olympics, an unprecedented achievement.

Athletes from the People's Republic of China won 51 gold medals, a stunning result indeed. American swimmer Michael Phelps showed an incredible result, being the fastest swimmer on these Olympics and winning 8 gold medals, becoming the sportsman who won the most gold medals in one Olympiad and the most gold medals for an Olympian. These Olympics also marked the new fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt from Jamaica. He set three world records: 100 meters (9.69 seconds), 200 meters (19.30 seconds) and the 4x100 meters relay (37.10 seconds).

Large Hadron Collider

This year the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is the largest particle accelerator in the world, was finally launched this year. Scientists built the LHC to research the smallest known particles - the basic building blocks of all things. LHC is meant to revolutionize people's understanding, from the tiny world deep within atoms to the immensity of our Universe. The particles inside the Collider move at a speed close to the speed of light. With LGC researchers hope to find the Higgs boson, which is also known as "God Particle" - the only elementary particle that science was unable to observe.

The immense construction was created by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). It is located 100 meters below the territories of France and Switzerland, being 27 kilometers (17 miles) in circumference. More than 10,000 scientists and engineers from more than 100 countries, universities and laboratories worked together on the development of the LHC, which was officially inaugurated on October 21. There were rumors regarding the fact that the LHC could produce a black hole that could destroy our planet. In fact, scientists admit the possibility that the experiment might generate black holes, but these will be really small and will last a tiny fraction of a second.

The launch took place on September 10. However, on September 19, scientists stopped the operation due to a serious breakdown in the construction. It was stated that the Large Hidron Collider will not work until 2009.

United States Presidential Election of 2008

The elections of the 44th president of the United States were held on November 4, 2008, with Democrat Barack Obama winning over Republican John McCain. Both candidates focused mainly on the domestic and international issues of the United States during the administration of George W. Bush.

It was a historical moment for the US since for the first time America selected an African-American as its president. In addition, it was the first time that a Roman Catholic became the country's Vice President. The candidacy of Barack Obama raised the number of voters to the highest level in 40 years.

The Death of the Russian Orthodox Leader

The Russian Orthodox Church suffered a lot during decades of Soviet persecution and when Patriarch Aleksy II took the chair, his goal was to restore the church shepherding it through communism. He passed away on December 5, at the age of 79 in Peredelkino, his country residence. It was mentioned that for several years Aleksy II have been treated for myocardial ischemia. It is worth mentioning that the patriarch oversaw world's biggest Orthodox church, being the spiritual leader of over 140 million people.

Aleksy II was the first church leader (since the Bolshevik Revolution) to be selected without the intervention of the Soviet state, which was known to have destroyed churches and monasteries, killing believers and clergy members. Despite the fact that the hierarchy of the Russian church remained, it was under strict control.

Global Financial Crisis

It is the worst crisis since the Great Depression. This year's global financial crisis is ongoing as of December. The first strong signals of the crisis took place when a number of large financial companies in the United States went bankrupt in September.

The collapses of large financial institutions in the U.S. had a great impact on Europe, where a lot of banks went bankrupt. Soon it all developed into a global crisis, leading to the reduction in the market value of stock and commodities around the world.

High oil prices, leading to increased prices for food, global inflation, credit crisis, increased unemployment contributed to an economic recession in the world's most important economies.

First Commercial Rocket

On September 28, the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), company founded by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, launched the first privately-owned rocket Falcon 1. Flight 4 was a successful test flight of the rocket, which was launched from Omelek Island.

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