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2009 NEWS summary - the top 2009 global headlines & stories

  1. Barack Obama, a 47-year-old first-term senator from Illinois, shattered more than 200 years of history by winning election as the first African-American president of the United States. He is the 44th US Head of State and defeated Republican Senator John McCain. One of his first decisions was to set a year's deadline to close the Guantanamo Bay prison where captured Al Qaeda suspects were kept.
  2. Velupillai Prabhakaran - father of LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) KILLED & End of Sri Lanka's Cataclysmic Civil War - Velupillai Prabhakaran (November 26, 1954 – May 18, 2009) was the founder and leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE or the Tamil Tigers), a militant organization that sought to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. For over 25 years, the LTTE waged a violent secessionist campaign in **Sri Lanka that led to it being designated a terrorist organization by 32 countries. Prabhakaran was wanted by Interpol for terrorism, murder, organized crime and terrorism conspiracy. He also had arrest warrants against him in Sri Lanka and India.
  3. Methane was found by NASA on Mars planet proving that the Mars planet is either biologically or geologically alive.
  4. Water in form of Hydroxyl molecules (one oxygen atom with one hydrogen atom) was found by NASA's "Moon Minerology Mapper" instaled atop India's "Chandryaan"
  5. The Indian student community witnessed a spate of attacks in Australia in 2009. One of the first attacks to be reported was that of Shravan Kumar, who received serious head injuries. He was attacked on May 23 by a group of Australian teenagers armed with screwdrivers. Soon after about 4,000 Indian university students staged demonstration in central Melbourne to get the attention of both Indian and Australian govts against the violent and racist attacks on Indians in Australia.
  6. US President Barack Obama has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee said he won it for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples". In his speech at Oslo, Obama defended the US role in Afghanistan and said that the use of force could bring lasting peace.
  7. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected as head of state in June 2009. Observers and Ahmedinejad's rivals, mainly key opponent Mir Hossein Mousavi, alleged that the polls were managed to ensure the incumbent's victory. Popular protests broke out in several parts of the country leading to many countries expressing their concern over the repressive measures taken by Iranian security agencies to quell the demonstrations.
  8. Pop star Michael Jackson died in Los Angeles at the age of 50. He is survived by his three children, Prince Michael, Paris Michael Katharine Jackson and Prince Michael (II), popularly known as Blanket. As confirmed by the Los Angeles coroner, his death was a homicide, primarily caused by the powerful anaesthetic Propofol. It is being suspected that his personal physician Conrad Murray administered the drug to him. His funeral was televised across the globe. MJ's film This Is It that maps the last days of the star received a massive opening.
  9. North Korea says it has staged a successful underground nuclear test, prompting international condemnation. It is being said that it was more powerful than the previous one in October 2006.
  10. Hamid Karzai got another term as Afghanistan's president when his only opponent, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew from a run-off in November. The run-off was scheduled since Karzai had won just over 50 per cent of the popular vote in an election that was marred by charges of irregularities.
  11. On Feb 11, 2009, the Zimbabwean Opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was sworn in as the Prime Minister and he agreed to share power with his arch rival, Robert Mugabe. Less than a month after his appointment as PM, Tsvangirai's wife was killed in a car crash in which he was also slightly hurt.
  12. Just when the world thought that the worst of the recession was almost over, Dubai crisis came as a shocker and it put the global markets in a spin. In the last week of Nov, the Dubai govt announced it was planning to ask creditors to freeze repayment of debt worth billions of dollars to two of its flagship firms - Dubai World and real estate developer Nakheel. Dubai World, which runs 49 ports around the world, is the conglomerate that spearheaded the Emirate's breakneck growth. It has USD 60 billion in liabilities and will seek a six-month standstill on its debts with all lenders. Nakheel was the builder of the famous three palm-shaped islands off the coast of Dubai.
  13. A country torn apart by terror, Pakistan found a reason to smile by winning the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009. Under Younus Khan's refreshing hands-on leadership, the mercurial team recovered from a poor start and found form just at the right time. In the semis, they choked favourites South Africa. In the June 21 final at Lord's, they decimated Sri Lanka, thanks to the seasoned Shahid Afridi's all-round exploits. It was a poignant moment in the country's history. Last ICC World Twenty20 cup was won by INDIA.
  14. In late 2008, Facebook approached the trendy microblogging site about a potential merger. Zuckerberg offered Twitter company stock — about $500 million worth — but in March 2009, Facebook confirmed the rumors that Twitter had turned down the offer of the merger.
  15. Heath Ledger's was awarded the Academy Award for Best supporting Actor's role of the "Joker" in the film "Batman : The Dark Night". It was decided that the Joker's chrachter will now never be enacted by any other actor on-screen.
  16. One of the biggest trends in online video was the emergence of demand — and supply — for live video. Live online video particularly suited daytime news events (when people are at work in front of computers). Millions online watched the inauguration of President Barack Obama and the funeral of Michael Jackson.
  17. Windows 7 's activation code was cracked by OEM master key
  18. A huge sandstorm engulfed the Saudi capital of Riyadh on March 10. Authorities announced that visibility in the city had dropped to zero. The blinding storm also enveloped neighboring Kuwait.
  19. The largest egg in the world in London on March 2 was showcased. The now extinct Great Elephant Bird of Madagascarto laid the egg in the early 17th century. It was on sale for $7,340 at the Chelsea Antiques Fair beginning March 26.
  20. In April, police in Sydney, Australia, released this X-ray of the skull of Chen Liu, 27, who died after being shot in the head with a nail gun 34 times. Liu's bound body was found in a river in November 2008. The photo was released as part of a public plea for more information in the case.
  21. A montage pictures former President George W. Bush morphing into President Barack Obama was put up by a student during an April 9 event in Tehran, Iran, marking the anniversary of the U.S. freezing diplomatic ties with the nation. The U.S. broke off diplomatic ties with Tehran during the 1979-81 hostage crisis in which a group of militant Iranian students held 52 U.S. diplomats hostage at the American Embassy for 444 days.
  22. Australian performance artist Stelarc showed his third "ear" at a science festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, on April 13. Stelarc, whose real name is Stelios Arcadiou, had the piece of human cartilage surgically implanted on his arm in 2006. He said he hopes to install transmitters in his new ear, so people can listen to what it is hearing online.
  23. Sultan Kosen, 27, from Mardin, Turkey, was named the world's tallest man on Sept. 17. He is 8 feet, 1 inch tall. Guinness World Records gave him the title after a rival candidate, Ukrainian Leonid Stadnyk, refused to be measured.
  24. Joel Waul, 28, climbed atop his rubber band ball outside his home in Lauderhill, Fla., Oct. 23. Waul had spent the past six years building the 6-foot, 7-inch-tall, 9,032-pound behemoth, but now his work is done. A team from Ripley's Believe It or Not hauled the ball away in a large, flatbed truck. It will be featured in one of the company's museums.
  25. Guinness World Records named Titan, a 4-year-old Great Dane, the world's tallest dog. The pooch stands 42.25 inches from floor to shoulder and weighs 190 pounds. Owner Diana Taylor says Titan is blind, deaf and epileptic, and undergoes acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments every three weeks.
  26. In one of the stranger save-the-Earth campaigns, a Brazilian environmental group asked people to save water by peeing in the shower -- a move that could save 1,000 gallons of water annually, or so the group claimed in public service announcements.
  27. the broken down Pakistan: The country that poses the greatest threat to U.S. security may be neither of those in which the U.S. is embroiled. Beset by feckless leadership, riven by class divisions, preoccupied with its rivalry with India and dotted with militant groups that claim sprawling hinterlands as theirs, Pakistan devolved into a miasma of terrorism and political malaise. The death of firebrand Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in an August drone strike ratcheted up the stakes. After months of planning, Pakistan launched Operation Path to Deliverance in October, sending 28,000 troops into insurgent-infested South Waziristan to confront a confederation of militant groups. As threatened, extremists responded by unleashing a torrent of attacks throughout the country.
  28. H1N1 Flu was detected in USA. This story is far from finished as the year ends. Scientists warn that the virus could mutate into a far deadlier form. With the world already grappling with a pandemic of 2009 H1N1 influenza, no treatment was more hotly anticipated or more in demand in the U.S. (and the rest of the northern hemisphere) than the new H1N1 vaccine when flu season officially kicked off in the fall. Despite the fact that the vaccine had proved effective in trials with one dose — rather than two, as researchers had originally expected — the vaccine supply from U.S. manufacturers still couldn't keep pace with demand in the first weeks of October, when the first million or so shots rolled off production lines. In many places around the country, there was not enough vaccine even to cover members of priority groups targeted by the government, including young children, pregnant women, health care workers, parents of infants younger than 6 months and those with underlying conditions such as asthma or diabetes. And yet according to the latest polls, 55% of Americans said they would not get the new vaccine — which was created and tested in record time after H1N1 first appeared last spring — because of worries about its safety.
  29. Northwest Flight 253 terror attack was foiled. Suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab is in detention.
  30. Tiger Woods infidelity became public forcing the golf icon to apologize and quit golf indefinitely. He remains aloof from the media.
  31. In a field that has seen more failure than success, experts received the news of an effective new AIDS vaccine with a fair share of skepticism. In September, a $105 million trial of a novel combination of two older vaccines was the first to show protection against HIV infection. The results of the trial, which involved more than 16,000 volunteers, suggested that the vaccine was 31% effective at preventing infection among those who were inoculated. It was a modest outcome, given that behavior-based prevention methods, like condom use, can be equally if not more effective. The volunteers were also largely heterosexual and monogamous, putting them at low-to-moderate risk for HIV infection — rather than high-risk, like intravenous drug users — and prompting questions about how impressive the results of the study really were. But given that no other inoculation has shown any effect against the AIDS virus, it was reason to celebrate — cautiously.
  32. New Species were discovered: Ratzilla, Teeny T. Rex, Glow-in-the-Dark 'Shrooms, Land of the Pink Iguana, New Spiders from New Guinea, Frog Bonanza in Madagascar, Dinosaur Named Zac, The World's Weirdest Fish "Histiophryne psychedelica " & Himalayan Hoard.
  33. In the deadliest assault on a military base in the U.S. in history, Major Nidal Malik Hasan rampaged through Fort Hood in Texas on Nov. 5, killing 13 people — including 12 troops — and wounding more than 30. An Army psychiatrist charged with caring for soldiers scarred by a war he was scared to join, Hasan was cast by some as a shattered loner driven to madness by the prospect of fighting against fellow Muslims in Afghanistan. Others feared that he was a harbinger of the future of terrorism: single-person cells activated by little else than virtual adherence to an extremist creed headquartered in a cave. But as critics noted, before Hasan snapped, he hoisted a series of warning signs, including a PowerPoint deck castigating U.S. foreign policy, Internet posts glorifying suicide bombers and e-mail exchanges with a radical Yemeni cleric. Critics have suggested that Army officials failed to respond to the barrage of red flags because they feared accusations of racial profiling.
  34. After six years of chasing elusive dark matter in the depths of northern Minnesota’s old Soudan mine, researchers reported in December that they have detected two signals from what could be the mysterious particles believed to function as invisible glue that binds the universe.
  35. A pregnant Muslim woman from Egypt, Marwa al-Sherbini, 32, was stabbed to death in a German courtroom before her husband and young son. Marwa al-Sherbini, 32, was killed by a man whom she had testified against for verbal abuse due to her wearing an Islamic headscarf. The circumstances of the death of El-Sherbini, who was pregnant at the time, resulted in widespread international reactions. The assailant was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment.
  36. Controversial husband of assassinated former Pakistani Prime minister Benazir Bhutto who is the President of Pakistan lost his indemnity under NRO – a controversial amnesty package declared illegal by the country’s Supreme Court.
  37. U.N. Climate-Change Summit: Climate insiders call it the COP, or Conference of the Parties, but the climate-change summit in Copenhagen isn't likely to be anyone's idea of a fiesta. It was meant to be the culmination of two years of hard negotiations toward a new, effective global-climate treaty that would supplant the expiring Kyoto Protocol. But expectations for Copenhagen have been tamped down, as developed nations and developing countries continue to disagree over who should bear the bulk of the responsibility for cutting carbon. That doesn't mean Copenhagen will be a total failure, though. Sleep-deprived negotiators were still planning to address issues like deforestation, and they might even construct the basic architecture of a legally binding deal. But fleshing out the deal will require.
  38. The term "Unfriend" used to describe the act of removing someone from a Facebook friend list was officially listed in the New Oxford American Dictionary on Nov. 17. Added to the dictionary, along with a number of technologically inspired terms such as hashtag (a Twitter term) and "sexting" (the sending of suggestive text messages), unfriend was also named Oxford's Word of the Year. Grammarians complain that the term should be defriend, not unfriend. Facebook's stance? "The folks at Oxford are the experts on language," they said in a statement to New York magazine. "We'll leave it up to them to decide.
  39. A survey revealed that Twenty-seven million slaves exist in the world today, more than at any time in human history. Globalization, poverty, violence, and greed facilitate the growth of slavery, not only in the Third World, but in the most developed countries as well. Behind the fa├žade in any major town or city in the world today, one is likely to find a thriving commerce in human beings.
  40. If you post a photo to Facebook, the company is allowed to use it for promotional purposes (within the realm of your personal privacy settings). But once you delete your account, the content belongs to you again. At least, that's how it used to be. In February, Facebook changed its Terms of Service (TOS) agreement to claim ownership of any content posted to a profile — even after the user deletes it or closes the account. Naturally, people were outraged. Nearly 45,000 Facebook members joined site groups to protest the new TOS rules, and for once, angry Web rants actually made a difference. Facebook apologized and reverted to its old rules. Your embarrassing party photos are still yours to keep.
  41. A news revealed that begining in April 2003, one month after the invasion of Iraq, and continuing for little more than a year, the United States Federal Reserve shipped $12 billion in US currency to Iraq. The US military delivered the bank notes to the Coalition Provisional Authority, to be dispensed for Iraqi reconstruction. At least $9 billion is unaccounted for due to a complete lack of oversight.
  42. Facebook has a quirky sense of humor. After the technology website TechCrunch poked fun at the social-networking giant once too often, it responded by changing the responsible reporters' personal Facebook pages to include a "Fax this Photo" option. When befuddled scribe Jason Kincaid e-mailed the company to inquire about the ridiculous new feature, a member of Facebook's p.r. team responded, "We already faxed you a statement on this. Didn't you get it?" Facebook claimed they'd been working on the feature since 1992. Kincaid immediately wrote about the photo-faxing feature. "Maybe I'm missing something here," he wrote on TechCrunch, "but I'm not sure why Facebook would do this." He pointed out that faxed photos are of notoriously bad quality and that e-mail works much better, concluding that the new feature was "a stupid idea." Facebook finally admitted that it was having a laugh at Kincaid's expense, and TechCrunch issued a correction. It seems there was even an office bet going to see how long it would take someone to write about it.
  43. Chief of Pakistan's terror organization Tehreek-i-Taliban Baitullah Mehsud is killed by a drone strike.
  44. It's just as well that Titanoboa cerrejonensis went extinct nearly 60 million years ago. A forebear of modern anacondas and boa constrictors, this long-gone snake weighed in at a ton and stretched 45 ft. or more in length — far bigger than the biggest snake alive today. It was so big, in fact, that when paleontologists first dug the bones out of an open-pit coal mine in Colombia, they thought they had found a crocodile. the extinct "Titanoboa" snake - far bigger than the biggest snake alive today - made its formal debut in the journal Nature in February. The prehistoric snake is important not just for what it says about snakes but for what it says about climate: to survive at that size, the average equatorial temperature had to have been between 86°F and 93°F, compared with today's 82°F. That could be where our climate is heading in the future. And if it is, the last thing we'll need to worry about is the return of Titanoboa.
  45. Top 10 Gadgets launched in market
    1. Motorola Droid
    2. The Nook
    3. Dyson Air Multiplier
    4. iPhone 3GS
    5. Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
    6. Dell Adamo XPS
    7. FinePix Real 3D W1
    8. Casio G-Shock GW7900B-1
    9. Beats Solo by Dr. Dre
    10. Panasonic G10 Series Plasma HDTVs
  46. Facebook just keeps getting bigger. The social network that started 2009 with 150 million members signed up No. 200 million in April, and by September it had amassed 300 million — an average growth rate this year of about 550,000 new members a day. And with that growth came new demographics: 71% of Facebook users now live outside the U.S., and many of them are older than the site's original college-age demographic. But even more surprising than Facebook's exponential popularity was the announcement that, for the first time ever, the company was making money. Not too shabby for a start-up run by a 25-year-old Harvard dropout.
  47. It was eight years in coming — which felt like eons to some researchers — but on March 9, President Obama rescinded his predecessor's Executive Order prohibiting the use of federal money to fund research on stem cells. A congressional law still prevents scientists from using government funds to create new lines of embryonic stem cells, which can develop into any of the body's tissues, but at least scientists are now free to use that money to study the hundreds of stem-cell lines already in existence. Before embarking on such research, however, scientists had to wait for a working group at the National Institutes of Health to vet the stem-cell lines and ensure that they were generated responsibly, according to stringent ethical and scientific principles. In December, the first lines to pass this test became available. The birth of yet another laboratory mouse is hardly worth noting — unless the furry creature is the first to be developed from stem cells that do not involve embryonic cells. That deserves to be called a breakthrough. The new pups, whose creation in two separate labs in China was announced in July, were the first to be bred from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. These are adult cells (usually skin cells) that scientists reprogram back to their embryonic state by introducing four genes. The reprogrammed stem cells are then programmed again to develop into mice, a feat that has been accomplished before only using embryonic stem cells. Breeding an entire mouse that is itself capable of reproducing — as the mice did in one of the Chinese labs — is a strong sign that iPS cells may be as useful as embryonic stem cells for a potential source of treatments for disease, scientists said.
  48. New Drug for Osteoporosis: Halting osteoporosis, the inevitable weakening of bone, is the best way to avoid the hip and spine fractures that are the leading cause of health problems in the elderly. Current drugs for osteoporosis work by blocking the effect of bone-destroying cells, which increase in number as people age. But a new compound under review by the FDA tackles the problem in a different way — by curbing the formation of the bone-gnawing cells. That tilts the balance in favor of bone-building. In two studies published in August, the experimental compound denosumab was shown to reduce the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women as well as men being treated for prostate cancer, the two largest patient populations at risk for bone loss. What's not clear, however, is how the new drug, if approved, would compare with existing osteoporosis drugs like Fosamax, Boniva and Reclast.
  49. Top 10 Best Business Deals
    1. Berkshire Hathaway–Goldman Sachs
    2. JPMorgan Chase and the Deals It Didn't Do
    3. BB&T-Colonial
    4. Berkshire Hathaway–Burlington Northern
    5. Ford's $23.6 Billion Loan Grab
    6. BlackRock–Barclays Global Investors
    7. HP-EDS
    8. Google-AdMob

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