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Carla Buzasi

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The Year That Was: 2012

Posted: 29/12/2012 23:00

When I wrote my end of year blog last December, in my infinite wisdom, I'm fairly sure I declared it the Year of News, impossible to surpass. From the London riots to the Oslo shootings, via Amy Winehouse's death and the News of the World closing, it felt very much (to my exhausted news team, at the very least) that there hadn't been a week gone by without a significant event.

However, if 2011 kept news editors across the world on their toes, I think it's fair to say 2012 certainly rose to the challenge.

The difference this time? There were plenty of positives to report on, talk about and debate. And - joy, of joys - lots of it was happening on our doorstep.

The weather, of course, has been diabolical, but even with the rain pouring; Great Britain had its day in the sun thanks to the awe-inspiring Olympics, and the Diamond Jubilee. Yes, we'd all had a good rant and moan in the preceding months (possibly years), but about half way through Danny Boyle's inspired opening ceremony, even the most hardened cynics had fallen hopelessly in love with our summer of sport, and that was before a single medal had been won. Amazingly most of the world 'got' the humour as well.

Away from Jessica Ennis' iconic abs and Mo's Mobot, there were more serious causes for celebration, albeit more muted in their jubilations. The conviction of Gary Dobson and David Norris, back in January for the murder of Stephen Lawrence, was a victory for justice and Stephen's indomitable mother. Then the survival of Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani blogger shot at point-blank range by a Taleban gunman for campaigning for a girl's right to education. Both of which were significant events of the year, that won't be easily forgotten.

Before we rush to judge how other countries treat their women, and with the hideous rape stories currently coming from India, it's certainly tempting to do so; closer to home we haven't been doing the best job of proving ourselves a nation of equals. From the Church of England failing to ratify women bishops, to the uncovering of child sex rings in Greater Manchester, being female in Britain in 2012 sometimes doesn't appear all that different to the 1970s when, as we now know, so many young girls were being taken advantage of by a well-known TV presenter et al, with not an eyebrow so much as raised in opposition.

The Jubilee bunting might be long gone, but the royals have been keeping themselves in the limelight, thanks to the publication of photos of Harry enjoying himself in Las Vegas, and Kate holidaying topless in Provence, although it was news of the latter's early stage pregnancy which really made headlines, and will no doubt continue to do so until an heir is born.

From duchesses to daredevils, history was made numerous times over when Felix Baumgartner skydived from a helium balloon 24 miles above the Earth in October. Not only did the Austrian become the first person to break the sound barrier in free fall and record the highest unmanned balloon flight in history, but the number of people who watched him do so - a record 8million - was the most for a live news event on YouTube (one also imagines his sponsors Red Bull happily clocked a few sales as a consequence).

True, not everything has had a silver lining. A double-dip recession at home, the tragic escalation of violence in Syria, riots across Europe in response to widening austerity measures, the devastation wrecked by Superstorm Sandy, and the numerous deaths in Gaza in November just a few stories, which have gripped and saddened in equal measure.

You also cannot write about 2012 without mentioning America's escalation of gun crimes. From the so-called Aurora shootings in Colorado, where 12 people were murdered while watching a screening of the Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, to the more recent Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, it won't just be the fiscal cliff which keeps President Obama busy during his second term in office.

For British politicians, it has been a year of U-turns and embarrassment. The LOLs of Leveson, the hastily withdrawn taxes of grannies and pasties, and those P-word policemen all causing more than their fair share of red faces. Cameron and Clegg must be wondering why, with so many stories to fill our newspapers and websites, there was still room to question their decisions.

So, in a nutshell, that's 2012 all sewn up. Here's to another event-packed year ahead, with as many highs but fewer lows, if we're allowed to wish for that, and as many answers as there are questions.

 

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