Planet Earth 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The year 2010 brought many major news events in Israel and the Middle
East, and across the globe. This year, we're asking Jpost readers to
vote for the biggest news events of 2010, for our special
end-of-year summary. Vote now for the international category:
Haiti's devastating earthquake
On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, with an
epicenter approximately 25 km west of Port-au-Prince. Approximately
three million people were affected by the quake; an estimated 230,000
died, 300,000 were injured and 1,000,000 were displaced. The Haitian
government also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial
buildings collapsed or were severely damaged by the quake.
Many countries responded to calls for humanitarian assistance; from
Israel, the IDF, ZAKA and IsraAid
, among other organizations, sent
personnel and supplies to help with rescue and aid efforts. Delays in
aid distribution led to angry appeals from aid workers and survivors,
and looting and sporadic violence were also reported.
Europe's volcanic ash cloud
Seismic activity in Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano started at the
end of 2009, and increased gradually until the end of March 2010. On
April 14, 2010, the eruption started a second phase, which resulted in a
volcanic ash cloud
which covered Europe, with most airports and
airspace closing until April 20.
Thousands of passengers were stranded in airports around the world as a
result of the ash cloud. In Israel, the ash passed over at 20,000 feet
(6,100 meters), spreading south and east.
Chilean miners' rescue
The last of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69
was rescued on October 14, 2010. No one has ever been trapped so
long and survived. Luis Urzua ascended smoothly through 2,000 feet of
rock, completing a 22½-hour rescue operation that unfolded with
remarkable speed and flawless execution, before a jubilant crowd of
about 2,000 people.
The rescue operation, which riveted the world, exceeded expectations
every step of the way. Officials first said it might be four months
before they could get the men out; it turned out to be 69 days and about
Once the escape tunnel was finished, they estimated it would take 36 to
48 hours to get all the miners to the surface. That got faster as the
operation went along, and all the men were safely above ground in 22
hours, 37 minutes.
The miners have accepted an Israeli invitation to visit the Holy Land for Christmas
US Republican House victory
Republicans rode a wave of voter discontent and conservative outrage to
capture a House of Representatives majority
from US President Barack
Obama's Democrats on November 2, 2010, rolling up historic gains and ending the Democrats' reign after just four years.
The Republican victory eclipsed their 54-seat pickup when they retook
the House in 1994 for the first time in 40 years and the 56-seat
Republican gain in 1946. Democrats had captured only 2 Republican seats.
The Republican party — energized by the ultraconservative tea party
movement and voter disillusionment with Obama, incumbents and high
unemployment — captured 58 seats by early Wednesday from Democrats,
easily exceeding the 40 needed to gain a majority.
Republicans piled up their biggest House gains since they added 80 seats in 1938, during the Depression.
The latest WikiLeaks releases
The staggered release of more than 250,000 classified US State
, starting on November 28, 2010, continues to
unearth new revelations about long-simmering nuclear trouble spots,
detailing US, Israeli and Arab world fears of Iran's growing nuclear
The cables also unveil bluntly candid impressions from both diplomats
and other world leaders about America's allies and foes. While the full
impact of the leaks is perhaps yet to be felt, almost every country the
world over has felt the impact of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's
project.Do you have a different nomination for biggest international news story of 2010? Post a talkback below