Blog Posts by Year In Review Staff

  • Superstorms and Scorchers: #1 Hurricane Sandy

    Hurricane Sandy ranked at the top of weather searches on Yahoo!. Billions of dollars in destruction, more than 100 lives lost, and storm surges that swallowed roller coasters trumped the focus on national elections.

    Jeff Masters, a head honcho in the weather blog world, warns that global warming is giving storm surges more wallop. "Expect to see many more shocking storm surge damage photos in the coming decades, unless we wise up, retreat from areas highly vulnerable to storm surge, and invest in increased shoreline protection measures," the meteorologist wrote on WunderBlog.

  • Wonders in Space: #7 Neil Armstrong

    Neil Armstrong, who took a "giant leap for mankind," died at age 82, 19 days after the Mars rover landed. The Ohio native in his later years was appointed to the panels that investigated the Apollo 13 accident and the Challenger disaster. The publicity-shy Armstrong often declined requests for interviews, and he stopped giving autographs when people sold them for thousands of dollars.

    Armstrong won't be the last of his kind. NASA is developing spacecraft and mission plans to send astronauts to visit an asteroid near Earth by 2025, a goal set by President Obama. In 2015, astronaut and former International Space Station commander Scott Kelly will try to set a record by spending the most consecutive days in space of any American in a single mission. (A Russian cosmonaut named Valery Polyakov holds the record at nearly 15 months.)

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  • Scandals: #10 London Whale

    JPMorgan Chase trader Bruno Iksil (nicknamed the London Whale) gambled big on an obscure corner of the credit market—and lost in spectacular fashion.

    The London Whale not only incurred $6.2 billion in trading losses but allegedly also mismarked some of the losses to cover up their magnitude. His supervisor, Javier Martin-Artajo, was sued by the bank for assisting in the cover-up, and JPMorgan has been the subject of an investigation by the U.S. government. Still, CEO Jamie Dimon has found his name mentioned for positions in the second Obama administration, and JPMorgan Chase stock had rebounded to its prescandal levels by October.

  • Scandals: #9 Air Force sexual assault investigation

    The ninth-most-searched scandal was the endemic sexual harassment and assault at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Lackland is the primary training base for the Air Force, graduating 35,000 airmen each year. An investigation into at least 25 instructors and 11 commanders resulted in multiple convictions for the rape, sexual assault and harassment of dozens of female trainees. The Air Force installed Col. Deborah Liddick as commander of the base in September.

  • Scandals: #8 Jimmy Savile/BBC controversy

    The late BBC personality Jimmy Savile—host of the show "Jim'll Fix It," where he made the wishes of children come true—was a hugely popular figure in Britain. So popular, in fact, that he was knighted in 1990.

    After Savile's death in October, BBC rival ITV aired a documentary exposing the host as a pedophile. The BBC's own news division—highly respected in England and worldwide—had compiled a similar program, but was told not to run it because the report would disrupt the holiday schedule, which included multiple tributes to Savile.

  • Scandals: #7 Secret Service in Colombia

    The Secret Service found itself in the spotlight after a confrontation between an agent and a prostitute in Colombia. A member of an advance team for President Barack Obama during his April trip to South America became involved in a heated argument with an escort over compensation. The police became involved, and the incident was reported by a local news outlet.

    The resulting scandal forced an international investigation by the White House and Pentagon: At least nine Secret Service agents have either resigned or been forced out.

  • Scandals: #6 Bobby Petrino affair

    Former Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino crashed his motorcycle while transporting a female athletic department employee who was not his wife. Petrino had used his influence to get his mistress a job and then failed to disclose details of the accident to school officials until days later, resulting in his termination.

    "I have played it over and over in my head a million times," Petrino told ESPN in his first postfiring interview. "How could I do this? How could this happen? And not just the hiring. Or that day. But my actions, my behavior—for months it was just wrong."

  • Scandals: #5 New Orleans Saints bounty suspensions

    The New Orleans Saints' yearlong battle with the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell made our list, after the league office leveled suspensions against the team's players and coaches for allegedly putting bounties on opposing players. In short: Players were rewarded for injuring members of opposing teams. Many of the suspensions were reduced after an appeals court ruled that Goodell had overstepped his authority.

  • International Affairs: #9 Syria

    The prime minister of Qatar has stood alone so far on the world stage in formally accusing Syria of genocide, telling Al-Jazeera that President Bashar Assad's regime is waging a "war of extermination" against its own people.

    More than 35,000 Syrians have been killed since the crisis began in 2011, according to estimates, about 1,000 more than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War. The violence unfolded in March 2011 after a group of schoolchildren were arrested and tortured for taking up the refrain of the Arab Spring, calling for an end to Syria's repressive regime. Yet Assad remains in power and largely unchallenged, though the White House has called for him to be removed.

    "We're disgusted by what we see happening," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in June. "The regime-sponsored violence ... is simply unconscionable. Assad has doubled down on his brutality and duplicity, and Syria will not, cannot be peaceful, stable, or certainly democratic

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  • International Affairs: #8 Julian Assange

    On Aug. 16, Ecuador's foreign minister announced that his country would grant asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Ecuador defied the British government, which threatened to storm the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where Assange had sought asylum, in order to extradite him to Sweden for questioning about cases of alleged rape and sexual molestation. Three days later, Assange emerged from a window onto a small balcony of the embassy to denounce what he called an American-led "witch hunt."

    "I ask President Obama to do the right thing," said Assange, who has been staying in what accounts describe as poor, dark quarters in the embassy since June. "The United States must renounce its witch hunt against WikiLeaks."

    The White House declined to comment.

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