Saturday, December 31, 2005

my picks of the top 10 stories of 2005

These are stories which either had a great impact or have lasting repercussions to a lot of people in the near or distant future. There may be other events which some would consider more worthy of inclusion to this list, but hey, it's my blog. Anyway, here they are in ascending order:

10) Terri Schiavo: this event no doubt opened the conversation in many homes on what to do if one in the family were to suffer from a medical condition somewhat comparable to Schiavo’s, which is a good thing. It also brought to attention the fact that with regards to Catholic moral teaching on end-of-life issues, there are sometimes no hard-and-fast rules.

9) London bombings: the swiftness with which the arrests were made after the terrorist bombings in the London tube and the admirable resolve by Londoners not to cower in the face of this assault are amazing.

8) French and Dutch rejection of the EU Constitution: the French slapped the right cheek, and then the Dutch stepped up to slap the left cheek of the Eurocrats in Brussels who crafted the constitution thinking they could get away with building a united Europe without having to appeal to the European public.

7) Humanitarian response to the tsunami in South Asia: the largest humanitarian aid and help ever executed on an international level in response to a natural disaster previously unseen worldwide.

6) The nomination and the confirmation of John Roberts as the new Supreme Court Chief Justice: Ok, this is basically a domestic issue, but now that he’s in, and if Alito’s confirmation goes through, this could really steer the court to a new direction and thereby affecting a few legal landmarks such as Roe vs. Wade.

5) Israel unilaterally pulls out of the Gaza: yes, this may indeed be unilateral without any prior peace agreement with the Palestinians. But hey, if any lasting peace should happen in the area, it is through bold and courageous moves like this.

4) Elections in Iraq: regardless of whether or not one supported the U.S.’s military incursion into Iraq (I did not), one must feel some sense of satisfaction as I did that here is the only other country in the Middle East (apart from Israel) that has held in recent times a democratic election. That is indeed stupendous.

3) Hwang Woo Suk and fake stem-cell research: This has got to be (for me anyway) the top medical news story of the year. Dubious and careless scientific research such as this not only discredits and demoralizes the rest of the scientific community doing the same type of research but also disappoints the many ill and sick folks out there are who have been led to believe that a cure is forthcoming: a great disservice to many people all around.

2) The death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI: the top religion story of the year. This isn’t number 2 on this list because I happen to be Catholic and therefore am biased. No, no. The death of one pope and the election of a new one who is the moral and spiritual head of over a billion people around the world is BIG news.

1) Hurricane Katrina and the evacuation of New Orleans: yes, in my book this beats #2. Nature has again shown its awesome and majestic strength in spite of human achievements in many areas and the human will and effort to control the planet; and that from this natural event a major American city is flooded and evacuated is tremendous, revealing weaknesses in the civic response and readiness to this and perhaps to any future major natural disaster.

There they are: the top 10 news stories of 2005 for me. Undoubtedly, the stories to watch continue to be Iraq; Israel and the Palestinians; and Bush’s circumventing the court to conduct unwarranted surveillance on Americans (which didn’t make this list, but nonetheless, I acknowledge to be a major event) will continue to be big news in 2006. The latter might even result in an impeachment.

All around, the news this year has been glum. On a personal note however, 2005 for me has been grace-filled, being ordained as a deacon and then as a priest, the fruition of many years of preparation.

But anyway, let us pray that 2006 will yield for us and the world better days.

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