The United Kingdom Voted on Leaving the European Union
Amid the refugee crisis, economic instability, and the rise of global tension, voices in the UK had started saying that maybe this European Union thing isn’t working out anymore. The movement for Britain’s exit from the European Union, or Brexit as it became known, quickly gained momentum. When the issue was put to a referendum in June, the people of the UK voted to leave the EU. The effects of the vote saw the British Pound losing value against the Euro, the British Prime Minister resigning, and plenty of speculation as to which country might be next to leave the union. All of that happened, even though Britain has not officially left the EU, yet. It’s going to take some time to finalize the fine print on the divorce papers between the UK and the EU, a fact which spells more uncertainty for Europe in 2017.
Donald Trump Won the United States’ Presidential Election
When the primary race for presidency just started, hardly anyone took the colorful billionaire that competed for the republican nomination seriously. After a contentious and scandal-filled campaign, Donald Trump surprised nearly every political pundit and became the next President of the United States. Trump’s statements and choices for cabinet members signal that his policy is going to be radically different than that of the Outgoing-President, Barack Obama. This should have some interesting implications for the geopolitical landscape for the coming year.
Panama Papers Exposé Unveiled Biggest Corruption in History
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published a massive exposé detailing what was essentially a large-scale money laundering scheme. Among the people tied to the case, were current and former world leaders, who had to explain their involvement in the web of shell companies created by a Panamanian law firm. The ICIJ poured over hundreds of thousands of documents to detail this tale of corruption, which ties high-ranking politicians with blacklisted companies, drug cartels and even terrorist organizations. This is the biggest leak in the history of data, and the full extent of its impact is yet to be seen.
The Biggest Merger in the Pharmaceutical Industry Fell Apart
For the better part of 2016’s first quarter, the pharmaceutical sector’s attention was directed at the biggest take-over in the history of the industry, when Pfizer tried to buy Allergan. The two companies were on their way to a historic, $160 billion merger that would have guaranteed the new, unified company, a near-monopoly on the market. However, it all fell apart in April. A new regulation from the Obama administration made the highly-tempting deal less attractive and thus, not worthwhile anymore. Pfizer ended up having to pay over $400 million in expenses for a deal that never happened.
The 2016 Olympic Games Were Held in Rio de Janeiro
The most common Twitter hashtag of the year was #rio2016, and with good reason. The games offered excitement, emotion and new world records. The games were also a farewell to US swimmer Michael Phelps, who added several new specimens to his 28 Olympic medals collection, and announced his retirement. Phelps teammate, Ryan Lochte, managed to stir a different kind of drama, when he lied to the press about being mugged, when in fact he was vandalizing a gas station. But the games themselves were more than enough to capture audience’s attention. With the athletes working their hardest to outperform every human on the planet, it was hard not to be caught up.