he fight over “Obamacare,” a government shutdown, bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance in the United States, a coup in Egypt, a pope’s resignation, allegations of chemical weapon attacks in the ongoing Syrian civil war, a killer typhoon in the Philippines — 2013 was certainly a doozy of a year. However, many people probably didn’t pay much attention to the details of events of the year unless it was mentioned in their Twitter feed or Facebook wall.
Overseas, Malala Yousafzai, a 15 year-old Pakistani school girl who was almost killed by Taliban terrorists for speaking out on the education of girls and women, became a powerful symbol for the fight against repression in 2013. In fact, she at the ripe age of 16 was seriously considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. Speaking of young people in 2013, Prince George of Cambridge, the son of Prince William and Catherine, was born on July 22. He is third in line to the British throne. In a surprise move, Pope Benedict XVI resigned on February 28, and the first Jesuit pope, Francis, was elected March 13. In April, an eight-story building collapsed in Bangladesh, killing over 1,000 people and 2,500 injured. In September, Islamic militants attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi, killing 62 people and wounding many more. Mother Nature wreaked havoc across the world as well, with devastating floods in India and Australia. A meteor exploded over a town in Russia, injuring about 1,500 people.
In the United States, Congress continued to toy with sliding off fiscal cliffs and sequesters, culminating in a government shutdown while the two parties sought a budget compromise. Sixteen days later, an agreement was reached and the government reopened for business. A bipartisan budget was passed in December, minimizing the threat of further disruptions. The trial of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed teen Trayvon Martin in Florida, created a stir when Zimmerman was acquitted of charges of manslaughter and second-degree murder. Dangerous weather brewed in the states throughout the year, including a blizzard on the east coast, flooding in Colorado, and destructive tornados in November in the Midwest, including Indiana.
Indiana and Indianapolis also saw drama in 2013, especially between Governor Pence, the Indiana State Board of Education, and newly elected State Superintendent Glenda Ritz. The power play between the factions has led to meeting walkouts and a showdown over who wields power in the state over education matters. The state legislature also courted controversy by pushing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage that would have far-reaching effects on non-traditional families in the Hoosier state. Tornadoes and strong storms swept through the state in November, damaging homes and businesses, especially in the northern part of the state.
While the city celebrated strides forward in attracting new businesses and opportunities, there were steps backward in crime, with the highest number of homicides in 6 years. IMPD Officer Rod Bradway was killed in the line of duty in September, prompting an outpowering of support for his family. Indianapolis celebrated the opening of Eskenazi Health, replacing Wishard Memorial. Indianapolis also saw damage from the November storms — notably, the Old Post Office in Irvngton which was under renovation, collapsed in the high winds.
Notables we lost in 2013 include acting great Peter O’Toole, James Gandolfini, Joan Fontaine, Paul Walker, Conrad Bain, Richard Griffiths, Annette Funicello, Jean Stapleton, Cory Monteith, Lisa Robin Kelly (That ‘70s Show), Lee Thompson Young (Rizzoli & Isles, The Famous Jett Jackson), Bonnie Franklin (One Day at a Time), Dale Robertson, Dennis Farina, Deanna Durbin, Larry Hagman, Jack Klugman, Frank Thornton, Marcia Wallace, Julie Harris, Karen Black, and Eileen Brennan.
Singers Lou Reed, Mindy McCready, George Jones, Patti Page, Chris Kelly (from Kriss Kross), Alvin Lee, pianist Dave Brubeck, producer Phil Ramone, Eydie Gorme, George Duke, Richie Haven, Slim Whitman, J.J. Cale are gone from the music world.
Film critic Roger Ebert, journalist David Frost, psychic Sylvia Browne, Nobel Prize in Literature winners Doris Lessing and Seamus Heaney, celebrity chef Charlie Trotter, former Speaker of the House Tom Foley, writers Tom Clancy and Elmore Leonard, sci-fi author Frederik Pohl, and White House correspondent Helen Thomas passed this year.
World leaders Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher died this year, bringing world leaders together to celebrate their leadership.
So what will 2014 bring to the world? A couple of things we already know — the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia from Feb. 7-23 will bring the thrill of victory (and the agony of defeat). A referendum on independence for Scotland will be held in September, and another for Catalan independence will be held in November. By the end of the year, the U.S. will officially withdraw troops from Afghanistan. The U.S. will hold Senate and House of Representative elections (Indiana will only hold an election for the House), and many states will hold races for governor.
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