North America Year in Review

Headlines from across North America have been falling thick and fast this year, so here’s a brief overview of everything that has happened in 2018.

High temperatures were felt across the continent this summer in the 2018 North American Heatwave, leading to 74 deaths in Quebec alone. Colorado recorded their hottest day on record at 40.6 degrees celsius, and the Mexican Government declared a state of emergency in over 300 municipalities. California’s wildfires in July were partially attributed to the heatwave. Further fires throughout November has made 2018 the most destructive year on record for Californian wildfires, with over 1.6 million acres destroyed, 85 people killed and the destruction of the towns of Malibu and Paradise.

In US politics, campaigns for the midterm elections dominated 2018. The Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, with the Republicans holding the Senate. The results saw a record number of female and ethnic minority Congressional appointments, with the first Muslim woman elected to the House.  

In June, Canada played host to the G7 summit of leading industrial nations. Widespread clashes between US President Donald Trump and other world leaders dominated the coverage of the event, due to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and support for Russian President Vladimir Putin. French media dubbed the summit the G6+1 in reference to the other nations’ united stance against Trump. Trump left the summit early to meet with Kim Jong-un, the first ever meeting of a serving US President and a North Korean leader. Following the summit, North Korea agreed to suspend nuclear weapons testing in exchange for an end to joint US-South Korea military exercises.  

Mexico’s Presidential election this year saw the socially democratic National Regeneration Movement candidate win with 53.19 percent of the vote. Andrés Manuel López Obrador campaigned to end the deployment of soldiers used to combat organised crime, a policy attributed to have caused 200,000 deaths since 2006. One alleged high-profile figure in organised crime is Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, accused of running the Sinaloa cocaine cartel.  He is currently standing trial in New York on multiple charges after previous imprisonments in Mexico led to his escape through bribery and corruption.

US corporations Apple and Amazon made history in 2018, becoming the first companies to achieve valuations of over $1 trillion, more than the entire economic output of the Netherlands or Turkey. Canada also set a record this year becoming the first major country to legalise recreational cannabis use.

The arts industry saw the continued fallout from accusations of sexual harassment and assault against prominent Hollywood figures, such as producer Harvey Weinstein, who this year pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and sexual assault. Other figures accused include Kevin Spacey and Bill Cosby, with the latter sentenced to imprisonment for sexual assault. Throughout the year the Time’s Up and #MeToo campaigns gained widespread prominence in support of women against sexual harassment. The 2018 Golden Globes saw celebrities including Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron wear black in support of these campaigns.  

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