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Top 10 Stories of 2013: Year in Review

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Between the twerking, getting lucky or reading between the blurred lines, we’ve barely had time to keep up with the news in 2013. But there were a lot of huge stories to track this year: from the continuation of the Syrian Civil War, to the Boston Marathon bombing, to the Obamacare website fails and subsequent U.S. government shutdown, to Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA surveillance, to natural disasters around the word. In this video, recaps the year that was: 2013. We count down the top 10 news stories of the year, so we’ve definitely left some stuff out – feel free to tell us what we missed.

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Top 10 Stories of 2013: Year in Review

Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 stories of 2013.

Between the twerking, getting lucky or reading between the blurred lines, we’ve barely had time to keep up with the news. Before we get into the year’s top stories, here are some of 2013’s top pop culture moments.

And now, our list.

#10: Hell and High Water

If you google “2013 floods,” you’ll get a lot of results: nations as disparate as India, Canada, Argentina, and Australia, as well as many European countries were all devastated by massive amounts of precipitation, leading to evacuations, displacements, damage and deaths. Record rainfall in those areas was to blame, with many of the affected areas experiencing the worst flooding in their history.

#9: Boston Strong

Instead of a place for celebration, 2013’s Boston Marathon finish-line was a site of chaos when two homemade bombs exploded, leading to three deaths and hundreds of injuries. Thanks to surveillance video, authorities targeted the Tsarnaev brothers for their involvement in the crime, prompting an intense manhunt that paralyzed a city and culminated in the death of one of the suspects and the eventual capture of the other.

#8: Bangladesh Factory Collapse

Never has the cost of cheap goods been so high: just a day after cracks were noticed and ignored, over-1,100 people died and over-2,500 were injured when a garment-factory in Bangladesh collapsed. The poor working conditions and extremely low wages endured by these workers came into sharp view on the world stage after this incident, causing many companies to develop stricter safety guidelines.

#7: Typhoon Blues

The world has rarely seen a storm as intense as this: Haiyan slammed Southeast Asia in early November with record-strong winds of 190-195-mph, according to some sources. Despite desperate attempts to evacuate, a confirmed six-thousand were killed, with a total ten-thousand reported dead and millions left homeless. The international community rallied with the promise of money and aid, and the ravaged area is slowly starting to rebuild.


It wasn’t a great year for the U.S. government: while some consider the Affordable Care Act a “win,” its rollout was plagued with website fails, tech glitches and gaffes galore. The fact that it also coincided with a government shutdown was the icing on the cake: Republicans and Democrats couldn’t agree on federal spending, and a two-week shutdown was forced by some far-right GOPers who wanted funding to gut the Obamacare act. Dysfunction at its finest.

#5: The Revolution Will Be Televised

It was July 3rd when it was announced that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood had been removed from power via a coup d’état, and the country’s constitution had been suspended. Though Morsi had been democratically elected a year earlier, a large portion of the population hailed his removal. Even so, the country was thrown into chaos by huge and polarized protests yet again.

#4: Pontiff 2.0

When Benedict XVI became the first pope since 1415 to resign, that was big enough. But the headlines got bigger when he was replaced by Pope Francis: this humble Argentinian began using his office to spread the gospel of inclusiveness in a more informal way than his predecessors. And, while officially condemning things like homosexuality and abortion, he preaches compassion for his fellow man.

#3: A New Iran

Not only did Iran elect a new president in Hassan Rouhani in 2013; the newly-elected leader also promised to repair relations between Iran and the West. He and his government changed the rhetoric within their country, and opened a dialogue with the United States and other world powers about Iran’s nuclear program. In November, Rouhani and President Obama shared the first phone-call between the heads of their respective countries in thirty years, signaling a promising change on the horizon.

#2: Syria, Sarin and Civil War

The Syrian Civil War was a hot-topic again in 2013 as protesters still hoped to see President Bashar al-Assad ousted from power. After reports of a sarin gas attack in a Syrian suburb surfaced on August 21st, U.S. President Obama announced his plan to seek congressional authorization to act against Syria; but intense public outcry and an apparent lack of evidence stopped him. By year’s end, the war continued to rage, but peace talks were set for January 2014.

There were many other important stories in 2013; here are some of the other headlines:
- Ariel Castro kidnappings (Cleveland, OH)
- Detroit Bankruptcy
- Diana Nyad Swims from Cuba to Florida
- Delhi Gang Rape Trial & Sentencing (India)
- Chelyabinsk meteor (Russia)
- Manti Te’o’s Girlfriend
- Carnival Triumph “Poop Cruise”
- Lac-Mégantic train derailment (Canada)

#1: Blow that Whistle

He gave tinfoil hat-wearers everywhere something to actually worry about: Edward Snowden is the former CIA and NSA employee who blew the whistle on worldwide U.S. government surveillance programs – and was chased around the globe for his trouble. Because he revealed a widespread program used to spy on Americans, some consider Snowden a hero, while others call him a traitor. Either way, he sought asylum in Russia.

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