7 Stories You Need to Care About in 2017
January 5, 2017
The editorial staff of RELEVANT Magazine.
Last year was intense. We had an unprecedented political election, Samsung phones were blowing up in people's hands, #Brexit entered our vernacular and some larger-than-life pop culture legends passed away.
2017 is only five days in and it's already proving to be another year that may go down in history. After all, when's the last time a senator brought a printed poster-size tweet to the Senate floor?
Here are the biggest stories worth watching in 2017 so far:
North Korea is not playing with their nukes race.
Last year, North Korea tested nukes even though President Obama (and the rest of the global community) have said, "Not cool." Global leaders just don't trust North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with missiles on his hands. And with good reason.
On Sunday, he said preparations for launching an intercontinental ballistic missile "reached the final stage." Earlier in December, North Korea tested some of their missiles violating global sanctions that disallow them from any nuclear engagement. If North Korea is in fact in the final stages of their nuclear efforts, the U.S. will be under close threat. The world is watching Kim Jong-un's next move as the situation unfolds.
The impacts of Syria's crisis continue to unfold.
The end of 2016 brought Eastern Aleppo back into the control of the Syrian government and over 4.8 million Syrian refugees are still displaced. About 488,772 refugees are currently registered in refugee camps while the rest are scattered across Europe and much of the rest of the world. To date, Lebanon has taken the most refugees at 1.1 million with Jordan following behind at 629,000. The Syrian refugee crisis has been the largest displacement crisis of our generation with ramifications to come and years worth of healing yet to be seen.
President Trump's first year
Experts have called Trump's election the most unprecedented of all time. The man has tweeted some questionable things over the last few weeks as President-elect and he's organized the wealthiest cabinet of all time. However you may feel about his presidency, whether you voted for him or not, we're going to see some major changes to the country in the next year and both supporters and critics will be watching closely.
Animal extinction is happening faster than ever.
According to experts, we're witnessing the sixth mass animal extinction in the history of our planet. If you're afraid that's an over-exaggeration, consider that some 41 percent of amphibians and 26 percent of mammals are currently endangered. The issues run deep, beginning with ecological destruction, poaching and our burning through fossil fuels at an unprecedented rate.
Christian persecution in Russia
Last year, Russia put an all-out ban on evangelism and any organized religious gathering outside of church buildings. Pastors were imprisoned after hosting gatherings in their own home. The Yarovaya laws requires missionaries to have permits, limits religious activity to registered church buildings and fines those found in violation of them. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said it "strongly condemns" Russia's restriction on religious freedom, citing it would make it easier for Russian authorities to repress evangelic efforts and imprison practicing Christians.
Climate change might affect your Starbucks cost.
We've experienced the largest loss of coral reefs, worldwide increases in temperature melted a portion of sea ice equal to the size of India, coastal cities in the U.S. are experiencing rising water levels but if that's not enough to make you pay attention, maybe shrinking global coffee production is. An Australian think tank found that climate change could cut land that can grow coffee beans by half once we reach 2050. There's a lot of terrifying consequences occurring due to climate change and that just might be the scariest.
The movie Shazaam happened but any trace of it has disappeared.
Most important of all, the debate around whether Sinbad was ever in a movie that several members of the RELEVANT office distinctly have a memory of continues. Did we all make this memory up? Did God just pull a butterfly effect on us? Why does Sinbad deny that he was in a movie that some of us definitely owned on VHS? The mystery continues.
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