A Review Of The Big Events That Made 2016 So Controversial: Part I

by : David Fleming on : 23 Dec 2016 14:23

As the year comes to a close we take a look at some of the main stories that dominated the headlines, making 2016 the controversial roller coaster of emotions that it was.


It was a year filled with a multitude of negative stories, from numerous musical and screen icons dying to the continuing war in Syria, and the refugee crises.

Here’s our review of 2016, enjoy or cry or whatever this year made you feel.


The year began with the capture of Mexican drug lord El Chapo Guzman. The vicious cartel leader was re-arrested after escaping from prison for the third time. A few days later the sad news emerged of David Bowie’s death at the age of 69 – some say he didn’t die, rather Ziggy Stardust returned to his home planet.


January, like the rest of 2016, was not kind to legends, and before the month was out Alan Rickman – famed for his roles as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Snape in Harry Potter – had died at the same age as Bowie; he was soon followed by Terry Wogan. On a positive note for the people of Iran, sanctions were finally lifted after a deal on nuclear power was reached, however this was quickly followed by the outbreak of the Zika virus.



The month started with North Korea launching a rocket into space – it was not the only time this year that the rogue state would test the patience of the international community. Tragedy then struck the UK indie community as all four members of Cheshire band Viola Beach and their manager were killed in a crash in Sweden.

Towards the end of the month David Cameron announced the Brexit referendum and Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his Oscar at the sixth time of asking. Unfortunately it was the same day that Irish actor Frank Kelly, best known for his role as Father Jack in the classic nineties sitcom Father Ted, sadly passed away.


Good news for English rugby fans as their team won the 6 Nations Grand Slam, beating arch enemies France to claim it for the first time in 13 years. The first of three high profile terrorist attacks hit a beach resort in the Ivory Coast, killing 18 and wounding dozens more. This is followed by three coordinated attacks in the EU heart of Brussels, for which Islamic State claimed responsibility, and less than a week later Lahore, Pakistan was also hit.

March was another bad month for the world’s celebrities, as magician Paul Daniels, comedian Ronnie Corbett and Dutch football wizard Johann Cruyff joined the growing list of those passed on. Meanwhile Barack Obama once again made history by being the first U.S. President to visit Cuba in decades.



It kicked off with 200 Native Americans riding on horseback to protest the construction of a pipeline on their sacred land of Standing Rock. It was a tense stand-off lasting months, in which many people, including journalists, were arrested. Across the sea, the Republic of Ireland celebrated 100 years since the 1916 rising, the battle that kick-started the war for independence.

The Panama Papers leaks exposed massive tax evasion through the law firm Mossack Fonseca, with many current and former world leaders implicated. As the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday, pop icon Prince died aged just 57 – a sad day for music lovers the world over. After 27 years the victims of the Hillsborough disaster were found to have been unlawfully killed, the ensuing scenes in Liverpool made the hairs stand on end as seemingly the whole city sang You’ll Never Walk Alone.


Leicester City stunned the sports world by winning the Premier League for the first time in their history, having narrowly avoided relegation the previous season. Sadiq Kahn beat Tory Zac Goldsmith to become London’s first Muslim mayor. In other football news, Man Utd’s last home game of the season was called off after a suspect device is found at Old Trafford – it later transpired it was a prop left over from a training exercise. Meanwhile Real Madrid won the Champions League for the 11th time.

Later in the month, the world was outraged by the shooting of Harambe. The gorilla from Cincinnati Zoo was shot after a toddler became trapped in his enclosure. Rodrigo Duterte also became president of the Philippines; he declared ‘war on drug dealers and addicts’, urging civilians to take the law into their own hands resulting in thousands of deaths.

Cincinnati Zoo


The Greatest – Muhammad Ali passed away aged 74 following a long battle with Parkinson’s. Euro 2016 kicked off in France and was almost immediately marred by crowd trouble as English and Russian hooligans beat the shit out of each other – it didn’t end well for England fans. In Florida, a shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando left 49 partygoers dead and a further 53 injured, and closer to home tragedy struck as MP Jo Cox was murdered.

A week later Britain voted to leave the EU in what is seen as a shock victory for the Leave campaign. David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister, succeeded by Teresa May. Back in France, England are knocked out of Euro 2016 by Iceland, leading to Roy Hodgson’s resignation. ISIS then claimed responsibility for another terrorist attack, this time on Istanbul’s Attaturk airport.


Stay tuned for part 2, which will be out on Facebook tomorrow morning.

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