The 28-bloc, which has an estimated population of over 500 million by 2016, has a recorded unemployment rate of 8.3% in October. Its GDP growth remained constant at 0.3% for the entire final quarter of 2016. The GDP amounted to a total of 1.6 Trillion USD by December, a drop from its previous GDP of 1.9 Trillion USD.
The UK’s unemployment rate is steadily dropping since the start of the year, now at 4.8% in October. But despite the decline, employment growth slowed mid-year, analysts suspect due to the uncertainty brought by the Brexit vote.
The EU diplomats’ stance in the Brexit negotiations seems to have put the UK in a hard place, with possible sanctions if the United Kingdom does not participate in the freedom of movement within the Eurozone even after it leaves. These hardline negotiations, according to some of the diplomats, are necessary so as to avoid appearing like they are giving into a country leaving the bloc.
A government proposal dubbed the “Turing Law” is going to allow thousands of gays convicted of sexual offenses that were already abolished to be posthumously pardoned. The law, coined after Alan Turing, who committed suicide after being subjected to severe punishment due to homosexual activity. This proposal will also allow still-living Britons to clear their names.
Flooding this year in the UK is because of climate change, according to Lord John Krebs of CCC. But the effect is more devastating because of the House of Lords’ rejection of proposals that cut the risk of flooding and the non-compliance to the delivery of the needed carbon emission cuts.
Protests are now seen all over the country over the austerity measures imposed. These austerity measures include budget cuts and policies that hurt the labor sector. While unemployment is still the second highest in the Eurozone, at a rate of 18.91%, it’s a significant drop from the record high of 26.94% in 2014, which has now lead to public clamor to ease up on the austerity policies.
Even with renewable energy only covering 17.4% of the energy usage in the country—close to the European Union’s 2020 target for Spain of 20% -a director of one of the power companies in Spain is confident of being able to use renewable energy to completely meet the energy needs. Thoughts are based on the potential seen when the wind energy was able to provide a record high 70% of the country’s energy this quarter.
This quarter, current Chancellor Angela Merkel expresses her desire to run for another term as the German chancellor in the 2017 elections. Her popularity dived after her open-door policy towards refugees—many blame this policy for the attacks done in the last half of the year, including the lorry attack in the Christmas market in Berlin just this December, which killed 12.
The chancellor bans the wearing of the full veil—commonly known as the niqab or burqa—because of security reasons brought about by the influx of refugees in the country. Germany followed the example of France which introduced this ban in their borders back in 2010. Any facial coverings—like ski masks—are already banned, especially during public demonstrations.
Last October 26, two earthquakes — 5.5 and 6.1 magnitude quakes respectively—occurred within hours of each other, hitting Central Italy, 50 miles away from the site where the devastating August earthquake took around 300 lives and caused 4bn Euros worth of damage. And within the same month, yet another earthquake rocks Central Italy, the 6.6 magnitude quake reached Rome, displacing hundreds of thousands, and destroying buildings not brought down by the previous two earthquakes.
Italian’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns from office after his defeat in the constitutional reform referendum, his first resignation rejected by President Sergio Mattarella, who wants him to stay in office until the senate passed the budget for next year.
Renzi’s successor, Paolo Gentiloni, convenes with his cabinet in order to discuss requesting funds from the parliament, at around 20bn Euros, to save their banks. One of those banks, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which is the weakest performing of 51 banks in Europe, is offering their bondholders to swap their investments for shares in an attempt to secure private funding.
The UN Security Council unanimously agrees to send monitors to Syria to ensure the safe evacuation of the civilians still in the city. The resolution, which included unhindered humanitarian access, was initially proposed by France. It is heavily contested by Russia — who believes that placing monitors in the besieged country without proper preparation would only spell disaster. The Syrian UN Ambassador criticises this move, saying that this was a propaganda against the country.
Twenty-four of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria back in 2014 are released after negotiations. These are between government and the militants, with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Swiss government serving as mediators. The kidnapping of over 270 girls in Chibok, Nigeria sparked an outcry worldwide. Before this, they released only one Chibok captive.
Last October, Thailand’s reigning monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, passed away at the age of 88. He served as Thailand’s head of state for 70 years, a respected figure and is one of the longest-reigning monarchs in the world. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn succeeded him in December.
Fidel Castro, one of the world’s most iconic leaders, died last November. He led Cuba as its president for 49 years after establishing a Communist revolution and surviving assassination attempts. He stepped down from the presidency due to health issues, handing the reins over to his brother Raul Castro, who officially became Cuba’s president in 2008.
South Korea’s Parliament voted to impeach their first female president Park Geun-hye, the motion passing by 234 votes to 56. The president was allegedly involved in a corruption scandal. This vote meant that President Park is now suspended and is now awaiting the Constitutional Court’s final ruling after 180 days. Corruption allegations included taking bribes from businesses and neglect of duties, the latter linked to her unexplained disappearance from office during the sinking of the Sewol ferry in 2014 that took more than 300 lives, including students on a field trip.
With 304 votes from the Electoral College, Donald Trump wins the seat as President against rival Hillary Clinton, who garnered only 232 votes. This is despite Clinton winning in the popular vote—65 million votes versus Trump’s 62 million. The Republican Party also secured the majority in Senate and House of Representatives.
This month, storm Europa brought with it harsh storms and exacerbated the winters in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Colorado. This storm also brought with it weather-related travel complications, such as a plane sliding off the runway in Wisconsin due to snowy conditions, and families stranded in the snow.