By Mario Ritter
30 December, 2017
The year 2017 has been a good year for bad news. Media personality Marian Salzman called it a year of "disruption, despair and dumpster fires." In other words, it has been a difficult year, marked by violence, natural disasters and political disagreement. Gun violence, attacks claim lives around the world The year started off with bad news; a gunman attacked a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey, during a New Year's celebration. Thirty-nine people were killed and many more were injured. A police officer looks at the photographs of the victims as two others stand guard a day after an attack at a popular nightclub in Istanbul, Jan. 2, 2017.
A police officer looks at the photographs of the victims as two others stand guard a day after an attack at a popular nightclub in Istanbul, Jan. 2, 2017.
Vehicles were used as weapons in several major attacks this year. A truck bombing in the Somali capital, Mogadishu claimed hundreds of lives. In June, a truck was also used in an attack in Westminster and London Bridge in London, killing eight people. Similar attacks took place in Stockholm, Sweden, Barcelona, Spain and New York City. In each case, extremists were blamed. Terrorists targeted Egyptian Coptic Christians in two attacks in April. Then, in November over 300 people were killed in an attack on a Muslim place of worship in continuing religious violence in Egypt. In Britain, a suicide attack killed 22 people in a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Shooting violence again left a mark of tragedy in the United States. In November, a man opened fire in a church in rural Texas, killing 25 people. In Las Vegas, Nevada, a gunman aimed at a nearby music concert from a tall hotel building, killing 58 people. The attack was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Storms, fires, quakes leave costly damage Natural disasters were also notable. Three powerful storms struck the Caribbean Sea and the southern United States in a short period of time. Hurricane Harvey struck the city of Houston, Texas, in August, causing widespread flooding and damage. Two other hurricanes, Irma and Maria, struck Caribbean islands, the state of Florida and the southern U.S. More than three months later, tens of thousands remain without power on the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Powerful storms also struck the Philippines and Vietnam, bringing with them damage and heavy loss of life. Wildfires proved to be costly and dangerous events. Fires burned large areas in Portugal as well as in the central and southern parts of the state of California. Paths of danger for civilians, refugees Migration and refugees fleeing violence remained a major problem in 2017. Amnesty International estimates that 73,000 refugees from Africa and the Middle East tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. Two thousand refugees are believed to have died along the way. News stories brought attention to the situation of ethnic Rohingya people in Myanmar. It is believed that 626,000 people have fled to Bangladesh to escape ethnic violence involving the military in Myanmar. Civil war in Yemen has brought hunger, disease and poor conditions to millions in the country. Saudi Arabia put in place -- and then promised to ease -- a blockade on the country's seaports and airports. The blockade prevents humanitarian aid from getting to Yemen. Political crisis and change The political crisis in Venezuela continues, as those opposed to President Nicolas Maduro have taken to the streets in protest. Large numbers have fled South America's most troubled economy in search of jobs in other countries, including neighboring Brazil. In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe was ousted in November after leading one of Africa's most economically troubled nations for 37 years. In Spain