What we've seen in 2017
With 2017 nearly at an end and being yet another year of big news, we had a look back at the last twelve months as a recap of what we've seen this year.
New year, new President as Trump took to the Capitol Building in Washington to be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States on 20th January. As well as being the oldest and richest person to hold this position, he also marks the first without previous governmental or military service experience.
Whist many things were notable from the event including the noticeably overcast weather and protestors clashing with police a few blocks away, Trump’s speech was also ‘uniquely American’. His commencement address lasted 16 minutes, extolling a new era of US success and claiming "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now".
In a year when ‘Fake news’ is named the official Collins Dictionary word of the year, the crowd size of the event was also no less noticeable. Despite the new President’s party claiming the biggest ever turn out, pictures widely circulated showing the disparity between the 2009 Obama and 2017 Trump inaugurations. But amongst the noise and media stories, this big event set the stage for news and the world waits to see the knock on effect of the 45th President’s policies.
New President Trump badgered, bragged and abruptly ended phone call with Australian leader 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour long call. According to senior officials, he blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refugee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his Electoral College win.
At one point, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day — including Russian President Vladimir Putin — and that “this was the worst call by far.” This is the worst deal ever,” Trump fumed as Turnbull attempted to confirm that the United States would honor its pledge to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center.
On Wednesday 29th March, Britain officially began the process of leaving the European Union by triggering Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. Over six pages, Britain said goodbye to the European Union, spelling out its hopes, wishes, threats and demands for divorce talks that will strain alliances, roil economies and consume attention across the continent over the next two years.
Coming a little over nine months after British voters stunned the world by choosing to withdraw from the E.U., the hand-delivery of the letter in Brussels erased any lingering doubts that Britain is ending a partnership that has bound the country to the continent for nearly half a century. The move instantly plunged Britain and the 27 other E.U. nations into negotiations and the pound slipped into a fresh eight-week low against the dollar.
In a scene captured on video, Dr. David Dao was violently removed from a United Airline flight for refusing to give up his seat on April 11th. According to the report, another United flight which was scheduled to leave at the same time as Dao’s was delayed, meaning that airline needed to get four crew members to the destination to prevent flight cancellations.
After offering compensation and no volunteers to give up their seats, the United agents then followed procedure for involuntarily bumping passengers. Two people were forced to leave as was Dao and his partner. However, after receiving multiple refusals from Dao to do so, the United officials told Dao they would call authorities. It was at that point that he was physically removed from the aircraft by the aviation security officers and the moment was captured on video by other passengers aboard the flight.
On April 18th Theresa May also announced a snap election for June to “make a success of Brexit”. With a fragile working majority of just 17 in the Commons, May claimed a desire for "unity" as negotiations begin with the EU.
Following on from a year of shock politics, Emmanuel Macron is voted as the French President on the 7th May. At the age of 39, he became the youngest President in the history of France and won with a party of just over a year old. Formed in April 2016, En Marche! (now La Repulique En Marche!) aimed to Modernize and moralize French politics and managed to win with comfortable 43% majority in a climate of fatigue and political disillusionment amongst the populations.
A shock explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, on May 22nd also left 22 people dead and around 59 others injured. PM Theresa May raised the nation’s threat level and deployed the military to guard to public events, saying another attack “may be imminent”.
The worst terrorist attack on British soil in over a decade was carried out by a 22-year-old British citizen who lived a short drive from the concert hall and was claimed by the Islamic State, as one of its “soldiers”.
On the 1st June, President Trump makes another bold policy change by pulling out of the 2015 Paris Agreement for climate change, claiming it was a “pernicious threat to the economy and American sovereignty”. After being signed by 195 nations as a way to unite the world against rising temperatures, losing the second-largest polluter was a huge blow. Elon Musk quits as official advisor in protest and many key players outward contest the decision.
Months after and amongst continued debate about if it would go ahead, in September, The White House reaffirmed their position that they would still withdraw unless there could be a renegotiation for terms “more favorable to the US”.
On the 7th – 9th July the 20th G20 summit was held in Hamburg, Germany. Heralded by many as ‘the most awkward ever’, the event included mass protesters, bad handshakes and the first time President Trump met with Vladimir Putin.
The talks which aimed to focus on issues of global significance with the 20 members were immediately overshadowed by anti-capitalist protests which shut down the city and created a no-fly zone, culminating in 186 arrests and violent riots. Angela Merkel and Trump also were captured posing for awkward photos having refused to shake hands the previous day. This was amid particular tension on the issue of the Paris agreement which Germany made a public point of putting as a focus for the event.
On August 21st Big Ben chimes for the last time before a four-year restoration process to repair the tower. The tower is undergoing a £29m programme of renovation and House of Commons authorities said workers would not be able to operate safely next to the ringing of the 13-tonne bell.
The Commons commission will review the timescale after complaints were raised, but it will still sound for events such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday.
A terrorist bomb partially explodes in attack at London’s Parsons Green tube station on September 15th, injuring 29. Nobody suffered life-threatening injuries in the fifth terrorist attack Britain has suffered in less than six months, but the terror threat level was raised from severe to critical.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast, the militant group’s Amaq news agency said on Friday evening.
On the 5th October The New York Times publishes a story outlining decades of historic sexual harassment behavior by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The investigation found previously undisclosed allegations stretching over nearly three decades and he was subsequently forced to step down from his company leadership positions.
After the exposé, personal stories began pouring in from women in all industries across the world, and the hashtag #MeToo became a rallying cry against sexual assault and harassment. The movement began on social media after a call to action by the actor Alyssa Milano and, within days, millions of women – and some men – used social platforms to disclose the harassment and abuse they have faced in their own lives. They included celebrities and public figures such as Björk and Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, as well as ordinary people who felt empowered to finally speak out.
The story has moved beyond any one man and become a larger conversation about behavior towards women and the imbalance of power at the top. The #MeToo hashtag has been used more than 1m times in the US, Europe, the Middle East and beyond.
Prince Harry announces engagement to American TV actress, Meghan Markle. The suits TV star and UK Prince had been together since July 2016 after meeting through a mutual friend.
The moment marks a turning point in the traditions of the British monarchy as Meghan is not only an American divorcee, but also of mixed race decent and a catholic (whilst the Queen is the head of the Protestant church). In 1936 heir to the throne Edward VIII started a constitutional crisis after he wanted to marry American divorcee and socialite, Wallis Simpson and was forced to abdicate.
Although Harry is only fifth in line for the throne, the fact that he has been given permission to marry still reflects the wider changing society; from the royal family all the way through to hiring and business priorities.
Increased inclusivity and access to opportunities is important and something that we’re increasingly seeing more as a priority in recruitment. It’s been proven that more diverse teams perform better, and is something that many companies are having an increased focus on. Diversity and inclusion in hiring has been a particular focus for us this year and will continue into 2018 as we launch our own aptitude testing product for recruitment processes which aims to address this issue from the outset. (Contact us to find out more).