A glimpse of some important events that marked this year.
February-March: The Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa caught the world’s attention. On March 18, Guinean health officials announced the outbreak of a mysterious haemorrhagic fever. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, as of December 10, there have been 17,942 reported cases of Ebola virus disease, with 6,388 reported deaths.
March 08: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 flying from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to China’s capital city of Beijing, with 239 people on board, lost contact and disappeared. Its baffling disappearance launched the world’s most expensive search effort. The debris has not been spotted and the crash site has not been zeroed in on.
April 07: The Indian general election 2014 (16th Lok Sabha elections) was held from April 7 to May 12, making it the longest election in the country’s history. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won the elections.
May 26: BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The swearing-in gained much attention because it was the first time that the leaders of SAARC were invited for such an event. Heads of or representatives from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lankan, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal and Bangladesh were invited.
July 23: The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland concluded on August 3, with England finishing at the top with a total of 174 medals. India too put up a memorable performance, finishing fifth with 64 medals.
September: Unrelenting heavy rainfall caused the Jhelum in Srinagar and the Chenab in Pakistan to overflow and flood the plains causing massive destruction and loss of live in the adjoining villages and cities. About 300 people in India and 280 people in Pakistan died due to the floods.
September: Sheryl Kara Sandberg, an American technology executive, activist, and author, was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. In June 2012, she had been elected to the board of directors by thus becoming the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board.
September 18: In the referendum on Scottish independence, 55.3 per cent voted for Scotland to continue being a part of the United Kingdom.
September 24: ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission, also known as Mangalyaan, successfully entered into Mars orbit making India the first country to achieve it in the first attempt.
November 12: European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission landed its Philae space probe on a comet, making it the first controlled touchdown on a comet.
December 15: A gunman took several people hostage at a cafe in the Australian city of Sydney.
After a 17-hour-long hostage drama, armed Australian police stormed the café and ended the siege killing the gunman, a self-styled Muslim cleric. Two hostages also died in the encounter that had stunned a nation, and people around the world tracking it live on television.
December 16: The world was horrified at a terrorist attack on a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. Seven Taliban terrorists entered the Army Public School and fired indiscriminately killing at least 132 children and nine staff. Pakistan’s Special Service Groups ended the seige after an eight-hour rescue operation killing all the seven militants and rescuing over 960 people.
December 26: This date marks 10 years since the devastating tsunami that occurred on the shores of countries along the Indian Ocean, including several coastal towns in southern India.
Triggered by a massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean, the tsunami claimed over 230,000 lives in 14 countries making it one of the deadliest natural disasters.