1. The stock market rose by 30%! Overall the stock market made gains despite slowing profit growth. What does this mean for you? If you had a well balanced portfolio, heavy in equity mutual funds or a reasonably balanced stock portfolio —– YOU WON! Small Cap funds — those invested in smaller companies did remarkably well. The recession in the Europe appeared to be coming to an end, raising hopes for U.S. firms with substantial operations there. Emerging markets economies seemed to be turning around as well. All in all it was a good year for the financial markets — everywhere.
2. February 21, 2013 – American scientists use a 3D printer to create a living lab-grown ear from collagen and animal ear cell cultures. In the future, it is hoped, similar ears could be grown to order as transplants for human patients suffering from ear trauma or amputation. This might spell further developments in the future for other limbs or organs.
3. March 13, 2013 – Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is elected the 266th pope, whereupon he takes the name Francis and becomes the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere. He ushers in a new era for Catholics while garnering the title of Time “Person of the Year.
4. December 14, 2013 – Chinese spacecraft Chang’e 3, carrying the Yutu rover, becomes the first spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon since 1976 and the third ever robotic rover to do so.
THE BAD:1. February 15, 2013 – A meteor explodes over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,491 people and damaging over 4,300 buildings. It is the most powerful meteor to strike Earth’s atmosphere in over a century. The incident, along with a coincidental flyby of a larger asteroid, prompts international concern regarding the vulnerability of the planet to meteor strikes.
2. Details revealed by Edward Snowden of spying by America’s National Security Agency – aided by Britain’s GCHQ – had global implications that continue to reverberate. Mr. Snowden currently resides in Russia. His revelations led to President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil cancelling a trip to Washington and revelations that Chancellor Angel Merkel’s cell phone was tapped. This whole affair has ushered in a discussion among American citizens regarding their “right to privacy.”3. Bashar al-Assad continues to reign. An ophthalmologist by trade, this “accidental” dictator might just survive America’s revulsion towards the brutality of his methods and war to remain as president of Syria.
4. After the military coup in Egypt, unseating the Muslim Brotherhood, the likelihood of Egypt becoming a democracy is dimming as violence rises. Egyptian authorities detained a team of journalists working for the Al Jazeera English news channel on this past weekend accusing them of broadcasting illegally and meeting with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group now classified a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government. Just this past Sunday, a car bomb explosion outside a military intelligence building north of Cairo wounded at least five people, the third such bombing in less than a week.
5. The IRS revealed it been targeting certain political groups applying for tax-exempt status based on their group name or mission. Groups with Tea Party in their names were especially scrutinized. Certain liberal-leaning groups were also investigated, but at a much lower rate.
1. April 15, 2013 – Two Chechen Islamist brothers explode two bombs at the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States, killing 3 and injuring 264 other. It was the biggest terrorist atrocity to hit sport in the West since the 1972 Munich Olympics, when 11 Israeli athletes and a German policeman were murdered by Palestinian militants.
2. September 21, 2013 – al-Shabaab Islamic militants attack the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, killing at least 62 civilians and wounding over 170 others. Al-Shabab – meaning “The Youth” in Arabic – are the largest group among several armed Somali groups and clans that aim to topple Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and impose Islamic law.
3. October 1, 2013. The beginning of the Obamacare debacle. Beginning with exemptions, changes, delays and a botched website designed by friends of the administration, the plan called “Affordable Care Act” appears to be anything but. Millions of people are now either uninsured or in limbo regarding their doctors, plans and continued care. Many will have to wait for the bill in order to know whether or not they actually have insurance. In addition to being more expensive, even the modest plan will carry high deductibles, making this plan “affordable” to only those with unlimited assets. The promise of “Affordable Care” also came with the Lie of 2013: “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” Stay tuned for more problems, glitches and costs in this upcoming year when the insurance industry will be bailed out and the employer mandate hits AFTER the 2014 elections.
Stay healthy my friends, if you can!