We were talking about them all year: the 12 newsmakers of 2012
1) MALALA YOUSAFZAI
A school student and education activist from Swat district in Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai made the headlines when she was brutally attacked by the Taliban. Known for her education and women’s rights activism in Swat valley, she lives in a place where the Taliban had banned girls from attending school. In 2009, she wrote a blog for the BBC explaining her life under Taliban rule.
The next year, a documentary was filmed by The New York Times about her life. After that she rose to prominence.
In a bid to assassinate her, Taliban gunmen shot her in the head and neck when she was returning home on a school bus. The attack on her evoked worldwide criticism.
2) SUU KYI
Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader and Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won a historic election to enter the country’s parliament. It was a momentous victory following a decades-long fight for democracy. The polls saw Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy win 40 out of the 45 seats.
3) BARACK OBAMA
Barack Obama won a historic election to get a second term as U.S. President. He overcame a stiff challenge from Republican Mitt Romney. 51-year-old Obama is the first African American to occupy the White House.
4) AJMAL KASAB
Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the Pakistan-based militant squad responsible for a rampage through Mumbai that killed 166 people, was hanged to death at a jail in Pune. His hanging sparked celebrations in Mumbai and other cities.
5) BO XILAI
Tipped to be one of China’s promising leaders, Bo Xilai’s fall from grace was very controversial. He may eventually spend many years behind bars. Bo’s wife Gu Kailai was held for the murder of Neil Heywood, a British businessman and a family friend. Police Chief Wang Lijun, one of Bo’s loyalists helped cover up the crime but later turned against him by revealing the truth. Gu Kailai was given a suspended death sentence for murdering Neil Heywood.
6) FACEBOOK ROW
The police arrested two young women Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan over a Facebook post that spoke about the disruption in Mumbai after the death of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray. The arrest evoked widespread condemnation. The Press Council of India said the arrests are absurd and unconstitutional. The Supreme Court, entertaining a writ petition that challenged the provision Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, decided to examine the section’s constitutional validity.
7) ARUN KUMAR YADAV
Fourteen-year-old Arun Kumar Yadav, a student of class IX at Kendriya Vidayalaya, Chandigarh, won the Doodle for Google competition this year. His artwork was displayed as Google Doodle on November 14, Children’s day.
8) ARVIND KEJRIWAL
Arvind Kejriwal (44), a social activist, who joined hands with Gandhian Anna Hazare to fight corruption in the government under the banner of India Against Corruption, took the political plunge by launching a party. He joined hands with advocate Prashanth Bhushan and like-minded people to formally announce the Aam Aadmi Party.
9) JULIAN ASSANGE
Julian Assange is an Australian editor, activist, publisher and journalist. He is best known as the editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks, which publishes submissions of secret information, and classified media from anonymous news sources and whistleblowers.
WikiLeaks rose to international attention in 2010 when it began to publish U.S. military and diplomatic documents. To evade arrest, he has been inside the Ecuador embassy in London since June 2012, where he has been granted diplomatic asylum.
10) IROM SHARMILA
Irom Sharmila completed 12 years of hunger strike in November against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Manipur’s famous civil activist has not been taking food or water since 2000. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), passed in 1958, grants special powers to the armed forces in North Eastern States.
11) PALESTINE STATE
The United Nations voted overwhelmingly to recognise a Palestinian state. The vote was a victory for the Palestinians after years of occupation and war.
Foreign experts took samples from the grave of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as part of an attempt to determine whether he was poisoned with polonium-210 as claimed by his relatives and political successors.
12) JACINTHA SALDANHA
Jacintha Saldanha (46) is believed to have taken her own life after she was duped by two Australian radio presenters seeking news on Prince William’s wife Kate Middleton’s pregnancy.
Saldanha was found dead, days after answering a call to the hospital from hosts at Sydney’s 2Day FM radio posing as Queen Elizabeth II and William’s father Prince Charles.
The nurse’s death has triggered a global wave of anger.