October 2010–March 2011

Tahrir Square, 9 February 2011
Over 1 million protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on 9 February 2011.

The Middle East revolts

The world has looked on with a mix of admiration, bewilderment, and concern as the people of the Middle East rise up against decades of oppression by their governments. Admiration for the protesters’ courage. Bewilderment, especially among Western governments over what their role, if any, should be. Concern, both for protesters’ and bystanders’ safety as well as the uprisings’ effects on regional stability and the global economy.

The status of the uprising in the countries where protests have taken place as of press time:

  • Tunis: president Ben Ali ousted; government overthrown.
  • Egypt: president Hosni Mubarak ousted; government overthrown.
  • Yemen: president Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to resign in favor of an interim government.
  • Libya: divided by civil war; United States and Europe, led by NATO and approved by the United Nations, have formed a no-fly zone.
  • Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, and Syria: implementing government changes.
  • Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, and other countries: ongoing protests.

Assassination attempt against a member of Congress

Tuscon, Arizona | 8 January 2011

Gabrielle Giffords shooting scene
The scene of the attempted assassination in Tucson, Arizona.

A gunman attempted to assassinate Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat who represents Arizona’s 8th district in the United States House of Representatives. Giffords was critically injured by a gunshot wound to the head. Six people were killed and thirteen people injured in the shooting, which took place outside a Safeway grocery store where Giffords was meeting publicly with constituents.

Giffords has since been relocated to a rehabilitation facility in Houston, Texas. Though her recovery is not complete, she has recovered some ability to walk, speak, read, and write. She has been given clearance by doctors to attend the final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, scheduled for 29 April 2011. Her husband, Mark E. Kelly, will serve as the mission’s commander.


Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg Mayor, New York City

Guns kill people. I’m not opposed to the Second Amendment. I’m not opposed to hunters. I don’t understand why we have to sell magazines with 33 bullets. If it takes you 33 bullets to kill a deer, you’re not a sportsman. And armor-piercing bullets—the last time I saw a deer with a bullet-proof vest was a long time ago. Guns are one of the biggest killers in the country, and it’s an easy problem to solve if we had the courage to [do so].

Time, 28 February 2011, page 76

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire remembered

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

On 25 March 2011, New York City paused to mark the 100th anniversary of the deadliest industrial disaster in its history.

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