CTV National News: Top 10 news stories of 2016
Published Tuesday, December 20, 2016 9:00AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 20, 2016 12:50PM EST
A CTV News panel led by Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme has selected the U.S. election as the top news story of 2016, with the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis at number two, and the Fort McMurray wildfire disaster in third spot.
Over the final 10 days of 2016, beginning on Dec. 23, CTV National News will feature in-depth reports on each of the top stories, listed below.
THE AMERICAN ELECTION
On Nov. 8, Donald Trump claimed his place as America's 45th president with 306 electoral college votes, despite only winning 46 per cent of the popular vote (compared to 48 per cent for Clinton). It was an astonishing victory for the celebrity businessman and political novice who capitalized on voters' economic anxieties, took advantage of racial tensions and overcame a string of sexual assault allegations on his way to the White House. After the election, both the CIA and FBI said that Russia interfered with the election campaign.
THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR
This year saw escalations of the Syrian civil war, which has killed more than 400,000 Syrians since 2011, as President Bashar-al Assad clung to power. Several ceasefires were attempted and then broken. On Dec. 13, government forces reclaimed the city of Allepo from rebels and Islamist fighters.
THE FORT MCMURRAY FIRES
In early May, a wildfire swept through Fort McMurray, Alta., forcing nearly 100,000 people to flee their homes before it destroyed 2,400 buildings and covered a total area of approximately 590,000 hectares. It was declared under control on July 5, but some residents have yet to return home. At $3.58 billion, the disaster was the largest insured claims event in Canadian history.
A YEAR OF TERROR
This year saw numerous terror attacks around the world. Some of the deadliest attacks took place in Europe including bombings in transport hubs in Brussels, Belgium and vehicular attacks during festivities in France and Germany. In September, homemade bombs exploded in New York City and New Jersey. And, throughout the year, Pakistan also endured numerous bombings, especially in the city of Quetta.
ASSISTED DEATH LEGISLATION
In June, lawmakers passed legislation allowing physician-assisted death for those with an incurable condition and for those facing a “reasonably foreseeable” natural death. In October, the Canadian Press reported that more than 200 people in Canada had a physician-assisted death under the new law.
On June 23, the United Kingdom voted 52 per cent in favour of leaving the European Union after a bitterly divisive referendum campaign, toppling Prime Minister David Cameron, sending global markets plunging and shattering the stability of a political project aimed at preventing World War III. A November poll by BMG Research found that 51 per cent of voters in the U.K. would vote to stay in the EU if given another chance.
FIRST NATIONS AFFAIRS
As 2016 comes to a close, indigenous leaders are re-examining key promises made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The prospect of a nation-to-nation relationship, for example, has been strained by divisions over oil pipeline projects; the wait for promised infrastructure and new housing projects; and a suicide crisis in Canada's northern communities. The government also officially launched an inquiry into murdered and missing Aboriginal women. Across the border on Dec. 5, North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux tribe scored a major victory when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it wouldn’t be granting an easement for the Dakota Access pipeline. For months, the tribe and its supporters were blocking the construction of the $3.8 billion project, citing fears that it would threaten local water sources and cultural sites.
THE WARMEST YEAR EVER
2016 was the warmest year ever recorded by the World Meteorological Organization. In parts of Arctic Russia, temperatures were 6°C to 7°C above average, and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada were at least 3°C above average. The first 10 months of of the year averaged 59.15 degrees (15.07 Celsius).
THE ZIKA THREAT
The Zika virus spread from Africa across South America and was detected in people in both Canada and the U.S. The virus, which was present in Brazil, resulted in many high-profile athletes refusing to attend the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. On Feb. 1, the World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency of international concern that lasted till Nov. 18.
THE YEAR THE MUSIC DIED
It was a hard year for the music industry. Several renowned musicians including David Bowie (Jan. 8), Glenn Frey (Jan. 18), Maurice White (Feb. 3), George Martin (March 8), Frank Sinatra Jr. (March 16), Prince (April 21), and Leonard Cohen (Nov. 7) passed away.