Every year there is some news that grips the world, electrifying and keeping everyone on the edge, revealing different shades of human emotions as people to react to them.
Such news travels far and beyond their conventional readership and catchment areas, often catapulting people from all around the world on a similar emotional journey.
The year 2018 – which is all set to slowly vanish down memory lane – was not an exception.
The Indian Weekender editorial team has identified five news developments that according to us, not only made world headlines but also propelled human emotions to a new high in 2018.
Thai Cave Rescue
If there was one world news that was truly global, cutting across every possible boundary dividing our modern world, and reflecting every possible human emotion ranging from fear of death, pain of tragedy, drama, courage, compassion, empathy, and spirit of collaboration and cooperation, then it was indeed the compelling story of rescue of 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave in northern Thailand.
On June 23 – the eventful day – when a team of twelve boys from a junior football team known as Thai Boars, aged between 11-17 years and their assistant coach, entered the Tham Luang Nang Non Cave in Chiang Rai Province of Thailand.
Shortly afterwards, heavy rains descended on the region partially flooding the cave, forcing the unsuspecting boys to keep running inside the complex cave system in order to escape from drowning, only to be trapped on an elevated rock about four kilometres (2.5 mi) from the cave mouth.
Once the news of missing boys emerged and initial enquiry led to confirmation that the young boys had gone inside the complex cave system, which was now flooded, the world came to know the gravity of the imminent danger.
In a world full of negativity, human miseries and death, there was something incredible about this story that had generated immense public interest cutting across all boundaries of nationality and ethnicities.
There was something so powerful about the prospects of the boys and coach, and the story itself, and not to forget the immensely courageous individual efforts of some of the world’s best known professional divers, that everyone remained glued to their screens to follow the story.
Almost miraculously, all twelve boys and their coach were rescued alive, after a global rescue mission led by Thai Navy Seals. The only causality was a former Thai Navy Seal who died of asphyxiation on 6 July while returning to a staging base in the cave after delivering supplies of air.
The rescue effort involved more than 10,000 people, including over 100 divers, many rescue workers, representatives from about 100 governmental agencies, 900 police officers and 2,000 soldiers, and required ten police helicopters, seven police ambulances, more than 700 diving cylinders, and the pumping of more than a billion litres of water out of the caves.
There would be numerous ways of seeing this incredible story of international cooperation, human courage, and extraordinary bond of humanity that transcends the seemingly ordinary ties of ethnicity, nationality or political and cultural proximity.
Trump-Kim summit: US, North Korean leaders hold historic talks
The summit meeting between American President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un was an unprecedented development that surprised the entire international community.
The pair shook hands at a luxury hotel on Singapore's Sentosa Island before proceeding to talks that resulted in an announcement that could eventually lead to a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
While the experts of international relations and strategy are largely disappointed and unsure about the outcomes, or the lack of detailed outcomes, after the summit meeting the summit meeting was indeed unprecedented and worth of significant attention worldwide.
This news has the prospect to denuclearise, or at least avert, a nuclear escalation in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods of the world.
The news, despite all vagueness and lack of clarity, was able to be at the world centre stage and attract much global attention.
PM Jacinda Ardern’s baby Neve in the UN General Assembly
There would indeed be a big debate about what was the bigger news of the two – New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern becoming only second world leader to deliver a baby while being in office (June 2018) – or – she becoming the first world leader to attend the United Nations general assembly meeting with her baby in tow.
While from the perspective of New Zealanders, both these news, or even the period in-between these two news separated apart by three months, were equally significant, bringing favourable world attention on our small nation situated remotely in the South Pacific.
However, the news of Ms Ardern delivering a speech at the Nelson Mandela peace summit in New York in front of world leaders was definitely able to push the envelope of progressivism that New Zealand so proudly claims to champion.
The world media and the champions of progressivism (and feminism) went gaga over the images of Prime Minister of a country appearing and playing with her three-month-old daughter before delivering an important speech and her partner holding the baby on his lap while she delivered the speech.
For many hopefuls, that sight is a symbol of future, which now appears to them as not so distant and as a tangible goal to work toward in their respective countries, societies and the world polity.
FIFA World Cup 2018
Google has told us what we have always known for years that whenever the FIFA World Cup is played, it makes global news, with FIFA World Cup 2018 becoming the most searched keyword on Google in 2018. Google is the world's largest search engine and one of the most iconic sites on the internet. So popular search queries give us a good look into what people were thinking about over the past year, and with over 3.29 million people searching for FIFA world at one time in mid-June reminds us the power and reach of the most popular sports activity on the planet.
The fact that this trend was also reflected in a country like India – a cricketing mad nation – simply reinforces the reach and influence of the game across the globe.
The 32-team tournament played in Russia was filled with high-octane moments, right from the opening weekend wherein, a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick for Portugal against Spain sent the world into a tizzy. The frenzy continued till the final as two of the best teams in the tournament - France and Croatia battled for the coveted prize with the former winning it.
There was enough drama on the field as heavyweights Germany exited the tournament in the group stages while the likes of Brazil, Spain, Portugal, and Argentina couldn't go past the Round of 16.
The tournament will be remembered for its beautiful goals and the unpredictable subplots that unfolded in 12 resplendent, state-of-the-art stadiums.
#MeToo movement gains strength: Spreads around the world
The #MeToo movement – an American social movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault, particularly against women at workplaces – gained unprecedented strength in 2018 and spread all around the world.
Although the movement had its precedence in earlier years, it was in 2018 that the movement truly became global, encouraging numerous women to come out and share their survival stories.
#MeToo began in October 2017 as a hashtag started by American actress Alyssa Milano who shared her story of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein. The hashtag caught like wildfire when women from across the world began talking about their survivor stories.
The international #MeToo movement further precipitated and influenced a #MeToo movement in India, encouraging women in different sectors of the society, particularly government, media, and the Bollywood film industry, to come out and share their stories.
The movement gained strength in India after sensational charges laid by former Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta against popular Bollywood actor Nana Patekar publicly on live TV.
This declaration was seen as the catalyst of the #MeToo movement in India, in which more and more women in the entertainment industry eventually publicly announced high-profile individuals who had sexually exploited them.
In India, a serving Minister in the government, M. J. Akbar had to resign from his position on the charges laid against him of sexual misconduct against fellow journalists, previously when he worked in the media industry.
Indeed, the #MeToo movement has and continues to transcend across boundaries and make world headlines.
Images sourced from different local and global media outlets