Whether or not you’re caught up with current events, it’s always a good idea to get a refresher. Below are 7 current events from 2016 that you should probably know about.

Election 2016

Presidential Election

If you haven’t heard about the fiasco otherwise known as the 2016 presidential election, you must have been living under a rock. Heading the Republican Party is Donald Trump, a man who has been accused of being a white supremacist and misogynist. His debates are more about his ego than about the issues at hand. In the democratic party, we have Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. It appears that Hillary will win the nomination, despite her scandalous history (the Clinton family in general, and most recently, when she used her personal email for official state business). Sanders, on the other hand is a 75 year-old socialist who has been hanging on in the race since the beginning. He is very popular among millennials, although his promises of raising taxes and paying for college may bankrupt the nation. Lastly, we have the Libertarian Party with Gary Johnson at it’s head. With many members of the republican party rejecting Donald Trump with the Never-Trump campaign, this third party delegate may have a fighting chance for once.

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Zika Virus

The World Health Organization declared the Zika Virus a global public health emergency. The virus is spread by mosquito bites, blood transfusions, and possibly through sexual contact. If you contract the Zika virus, you have a 1/5th chance of exhibiting symptoms similar to the flu, and as of now, there is no cure. Symptoms dissipate after about a week, but the disease has led to many birth defects such as eye defects, hearing loss, and microcephaly (a condition where a baby is born with a smaller head than normal, causing brain underdevelopment and developmental problems). There is also a link between Zika and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disorder that can cause paralysis.

North Korea Launches a Satellite

In February, North Korea launched a satellite into space, a move that nations around the world quickly condemned. They fear that the satellite is an attempt for North Korea to develop their long-range missiles, as the same technology used to launch satellites can also launch missiles. In April, North Korea attempted to launch three missiles that exploded on the launch pad, mid air, or crashed. It is still too soon to see what will happen as a result of these launches.

President Obama Visits Cuba

President Obama visited Cuba earlier this year as a diplomatic mission to restore the relationship with the communist country. This was the first time in 88 years that a US president has visited Cuba. The relationship between the US and Cuba is improving.

Brussels Terrorist Attack

Back in March, the Brussels airport and the Maelbeek metro station were bombed, killing 31 people and injuring 300 more. A few days later, a suicide bomber attacked an Easter celebration at a park in Lahore, Pakistan. Oer 69 people were killed, and most of them women and children (the bomb went off near the playground). The terrorist group, ISIS claimed the Brussels attack, while Jamaat-ul-Ahrar took credit for the Pakistan bombing.

Transgender Issues

Transgender Bathrooms

Over the past few months, the call for transgender bathrooms has become more pronounced.

Those opposing transgender bathrooms worry that the safety and security of individuals will be compromised, especially that perverted men or sex offenders will prey on women and children in the new bathrooms. Those for transgender bathrooms argue that they are not only beneficial for the LGBTQ community, but for families with young children, or those with disabilities who need help from someone of the opposite gender. Both sides have valid arguments, as transgender individuals are often the victims of abuse and violence, but there have been many people who have pretended to be women to video and spy on women in bathrooms. Some states have laws requiring people to use bathrooms matching the sex on their birth certificate. Target took a stand on the issue announcing that customers can use the the bathroom of their choice, regardless of gender and state they are in.

Panama Papers

Over 11.5 million documents were leaked from the Panama-based Mossack Fonseca offshore law firm detailing the financial and attorney-client information for 214,488 corporations. The leak revealed how easy it is for the rich, the famous, or political leaders to hide their money offshore evading taxes, legal action (if they they make profits from things like drug and sex trafficking), and more. While it is possible to use offshore firms legally, the Panama Papers brought a lot of illegal activity to light. The Panama Papers are still fairly new, and more is revealed every day. For a more detailed explanation of the Panama Papers, check out this blog.