2016 was an eventful year. From Trump’s shocking victory to Brexit to Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa’s death, this year made history.
Here’s a lowdown on the major happenings that happened in 2016. The A-Z of it:
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil row
Karan Johar’s seventh directorial venture was embroiled in the India-Pakistan stand-off, which came about after the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 18 September 2016. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) proclaimed that they would not allow the release of the film as it had Pakistani actor, Fawad Khan, cast in it. Director Karan Johar had to finally come out with a statement wherein he promised to never work with anyone from Pakistan but pleaded with MNS leader Raj Thackeray to let the film release. Johar was criticised by the news and social media for buckling under pressure from ‘bullies’.
Brexit is an abbreviation for ‘British exit’ referring to the June 23, 2016 referendum whereby British citizens voted to leave the European Union. The referendum disturbed global markets, including currencies, causing the British pound to fall to its lowest level in decades. After the result was declared, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he would resign by October. However, he stepped down on 13 July making way for Theresa May.
Chennai CM dies
On 22 September 2016, Tamil Nadu’s Prime Minister J Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospitals in Chennai, as she suffered from infection and acute dehydration. Her official duties were handed over to her aide O Panneerselvam on 12 October. On 4 December, she was re-admitted to the critical care unit after suffering a cardiac arrest. The hospital released a press statement saying that her condition was ‘very critical’ and that she was on life support. On 5 December, the hospital officially announced her death at 23:30 IST. Her body was kept in state at her residence in Poes Garden and Rajaji Hall. Her last rites were performed on the evening of 6 December and she was interred at the northern end of the Marina beach in Chennai in a sandalwood casket, near the grave of her mentor, MG Ramachandran.
On 8 November 2016 at 20:15, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi announced that all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes would be invalid starting midnight of that day. He also announced the issuance of new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 banknotes in exchange for the old banknotes. The government claimed that the demonetisation was an effort to stop counterfeit currency used for funding terrorism and to crack down on black money in the country. The move was also described as an effort to reduce corruption, use of drugs, and smuggling. However, in the days following the demonetisation, banks and ATMs across India ran dry with severe detrimental effects on a number of small businesses, agriculture and transportation. People seeking to exchange old notes had to stand in lengthy queues and several deaths were linked to the inconveniences caused due to the rush to exchange cash.
The 15th UEFA European Championship was held in France from 10 June to 10 July 2016. Spain was the two-time defending champions, having won the 2008 and 2012 tournaments but was eliminated in the round of 16 by Italy. Portugal won the tournament for the first time, following a 1–0 victory after extra time over the host team, France, in the final played at the Stade de France. For the first time, the European Championship final tournament was contested by 24 teams, having been expanded from the 16-team format used since 1996. France’s Antoine Griezmann won the Player of the Tournament and the Golden Boot (scoring the most goals in the tournament).
France 2016 Nice Attack
On the evening of 14 July 2016, a 19-tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, resulting in the deaths of 86 people and injuring 434. The driver was Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian resident of France. The attack ended following an exchange of gunfire, during which Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was shot and killed by police. Five hours after the attack, French President François Hollande announced an extension of the state of emergency (which had been declared following the November 2015 Paris attacks). On 16 July, two agencies linked to the Islamic State claimed that the attack was inspired by the organisation. By 1 August, six suspects had been taken into custody on charges of ‘criminal terrorist conspiracy’, three of whom were also charged with complicity in murder connected to a terrorist organisation.
The One Hundred and First Amendment of the Constitution of India introduced a national Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India to be implemented from 1 April 2017. GST is a proposed system of indirect taxation in India merging most of the existing taxes into single system of taxation. The amendment came up on the back of a broad political consensus and boosted by the ‘good wishes’ of the Congress Party. The bill, after ratification by the States, received assent from President Pranab Mukherjee on 8 September 2016 and was notified in The Gazette of India on the same date.
Haryana Quota Stir
The Jat reservation agitation was a series of protests in February 2016 by Jat people of North India, especially those in the state of Haryana. The protesters sought inclusion of their caste in the Other Backward Class (OBC) category, which would make them eligible for affirmative action benefits. Starting on 12 February, the Jats organized non-violent protests for reservation by blocking railway lines and roads, while non-Jats opposed to their demands organised counter-protests. On 18 February, a group of non-Jats protesters clashed violently with a group of lawyers protesting against 2016 JNU sedition controversy, mistaking the lawyers for Jats. By 22 February, the protests were estimated to have caused a loss of ₹340 billion (US$5.1 billion) in northern India. The government of Haryana had approved the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Bill on March 29, 2016 and notified the Act on May 13, 2016. On May 26, 2016, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled out against the Bill.
iPhone 7 launched
The new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus was launched on September 16, 2016 amid much fanfare. The new smartphone received mixed reviews. Apple removed the 3.5mm headphone jack from the bottom of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus meaning users will have to switch to wireless or Lightning port headphones. Apple introduced two new colour variants – Jet Black and Matte Black. Apple also introduced three new storage variants for the phones – 32GB, 128GB and 256GB.
Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited is a LTE mobile network operator in India. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries that provides wireless 4G LTE service network (without 2G/3G based services) and is the only 100% VoLTE (Voice over LTE) operator in the country, with coverage across all 22 telecom circles in India. The service was commercially launched on 5 September 2016. Soon after its launch, Jio complained to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Department of Telecom (DoT) about other operators, like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular, not honouring their commercial agreements to let Jio use their network resources. The incumbent operators had previously approached the country’s PMO to reiterate their stance that they ‘are in no way obliged or in any position to entertain Jio’s requests for interconnection points as they do not have either the network or the financial resources to terminate the latter’s humongous volumes of potentially asymmetric voice traffic.’
The 2016 unrest in Kashmir, also known as the Burhan Wani aftermath, refers to a series of violent protests in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley in the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir. It started with the killing of Burhan Wani, a militant commander of the Kashmir-based Hizbul Mujahideen, by Indian security forces on 8 July 2016. After his killing, anti-Indian protests started in all 10 districts of the Kashmir Valley. Protesters defied curfew with attacks on security forces and public properties. The assault resulting in the deaths of more than 85 civilians, with over 13,000 civilians injured. Two security personnel also died while over 4,000 personnel were injured in the riots.
Rahul Gandhi, Congress, Vijay Mallya, Barkha Dutt and Ravish Kumar, the official Twitter accounts of this people were hacked by a group called Legion.
Legion is not known to be associated with the loosely organised hacking collective known as Anonymous, but its name features in the tagline of Anonymous, “we are Legion.”
It seems Legion is merely pointing out the holes in the system that would allow threat actors and malicious agents to compromise the data of people.
Military coup in Turkey
On 15 July 2016, a military coup was attempted in Turkey against state institutions, including, but not limited to the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The attempt was carried out by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces that organized themselves as the Peace at Home Council. They attempted to seize control of several key places in Ankara, Istanbul, and elsewhere, but failed to do so after forces loyal to the state defeated them.
Narsingh Yadav’s Rio dream shattered
Indian wrestler Narsingh Yadav was slapped with a four-year ban by CAS following an appeal by WADA. The ban meant Narsingh will not be able to participate at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Yadav returned positive for a banned steroid following a dope test in June by the NADA.
Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government brought back the second edition of odd-even scheme. The car rationing scheme was implemented from April 15 to April 30. The 2nd edition didn’t evoke the necessary response from the general public.
During the second round, there was an increase of almost 50% in the share of private cars plying on the road compared to the first round — from January 1 to 15.
Pokémon Go, a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game was launched in July 2016. In the game, players use a mobile device’s GPS capability to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player.
The game became the talk of the town when it was launched. It drew praises for promoting physical activity, and helping local businesses grow via foot traffic. It also drew flak for contributing to various accidents.
Pokemon Go was officially launched in India on December 14.
Quake in Indonesia
Indonesia’s geographical vulnerability to natural disasters was yet again proven after a devastating earthquake struck the country on 7 December. More than 90 people died and thousands were displaced. Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. More than half of Indonesia’s population of 148 million lives in quake-prone areas.
Raghuram Rajan quits
Raghuram Rajan in June said he would not be seeking a second term, ending months of speculation about his future as Reserve Bank Governor. Dr Rajan put out a statement saying he plans to return to academia when his term ends on September 4.
Surgical Strikes by India
Nearly 10 days after the Uri attack that claimed 18 jawans, India carried out surgical strikes in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on September 29, inflicting heavy casualties on terrorists and ‘those protecting them” and indicating a change of stand on the rules of engagement on the disputed line of control.
Indian DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh announced that Pakistan had been informed about the strikes and that India has no intention of continuing the operations but is ready for any reaction from the Pak side.
The response, first of its kind across the Pakistani border during peace time, was based on specific intelligence, claim reports.
Tata sacks Cyrus Mistry
Cyrus Mistry was sacked as the Chairman of the Tata Sons on October 24, nearly four years after he took over the reins of the over USD 100 billion salt-to-software conglomerate. The decision was taken at a Board meeting held in Mumbai. Ratan Tata has been appointed as interim Chairman for four months during which a search committee will look for a replacement.
On October 26, Cyrus Mistry in a letter to Tata directors said he was shocked by the decision as he could not believe he was removed on grounds of non-performance.
On September 18, terrorists killed 17 Indian Army soldiers and injured 19 in a suicide attack on an Army camp in Kashmir. Four terrorists struck the camp close to the headquarters of the 12th Brigade at Uri in Baramulla District making it one of the deadliest terrorist strikes on security forces in recent times.
In response to the Uri attacks, India on September 29 conducted surgical strikes along the LoC to safeguard the nation. India had repeatedly warned Pakistan not to allow its territory to be used for terrorist activities.
Vardha cyclone wreaks havoc in Tamil Nadu
Cyclone ‘Vardah’ hit the Tamil Nadu capital on 12 December, 2016. It was the most severe in two decades that claimed at least 10 lives, flattened homes to the ground, disabled communication lines and brought the transport system to a halt. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam in a statement said three persons were killed and around 4,000 trees were uprooted in the city. This time around the damage was curtailed with prompter coordination between the Centre and state.
Win for Trump
In a result that took the whole world by surprise, billionaire Donald Trump’s win in the US Presidential Elections held on November 8. He beat his Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.
Trump, a reality television star, bested 15 other candidates in the Republican primary, most of who were governors and senators.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage
Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone is making her thrilling Hollywood debut with action-packed flick, xXx: Return of Xander Cage with Vin Diesel. The film’s teaser and trailer have been released this year and the actress is killing in the avatar of Serena – the character she is playing in the film.
It’s been over a decade since Diesel made his first appearance as Xander Cage – the extreme sports enthusiast who became a reluctant superspy in the 2002 film, xXx .
After years of teasing a return, Diesel confirmed the making of xXx: Return of Xander Cage last year. The film is all set to release on January 20.
Yadav clan feud
Samajwadi Party appeared to be headed for a split on October 24 as Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and his party supremo and father Mulayam Singh were engaged in an open face-off, sacking each other’s loyalists Shivpal Yadav and Ramgopal Yadav. While Akhilesh sacked Shivpal, his uncle and party’s state unit chief from his Cabinet, his father hit back by dismissing Ramgopal, pro-CM cousin and SP’s national general secretary, from the party for six years.
However, the Yadav family reached a truce as Ram Gopal Yadav was reinstated in the party and will continue to be the party’s general secretary and spokesperson.
Zoo enclosure killing
A gorilla named Harambe, who grabbed a 4-year-old boy after he fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, was shot and killed on May 28. Animal lovers were outraged that the gorilla was slaughtered slamming the child’s parents for recklessness.
(With additional inputs from Aditya Nair)