10. Spain wins first World Cup, first WC in Africa
When Spain sent Christopher Columbus off to India, they probably didn’t envision him re-discovering America and all that fun stuff. At the same time, they couldn’t have envisioned (along with FIFA, tournaments and soccer itself) two future nations in America owning seven World Cup titles, while owning none themselves. Well, 2010 would turn out to be the motherland’s year.
What the Spaniards accomplished was well overdue (only one other final four appearance in 1950), but so was Africa hosting its first World Cup. In return “La Furia Roja” got to celebrate its first-place finish, and Africa gave us the Vuvuzela, that is after we thought it was African killer bees that had invaded the stadiums: “Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”
9. NBC boots Conan
Conan hosts his final Tonight Show on January 22
One of the nastiest divorces of the year – I’m not talking about the McCourts – was the one between comedian Conan O’Brien and NBC Universal.
If you don’t know the ordeal, it went something like this:
Conan takes over Tonight at 11:35 p.m. Jay gets new, lame show at 10 p.m. Jay’s show bombs and wants back at 11:35 p.m., pushing Tonight to midnight. Conan hates it, so he and Jay fight an MMA style match on the Universal Studios backlot for the time-slot. Jay wins the fight, though the opposing team claims Jay’s sunglasses provided unfair advantage against Conan’s fair skin. Conan leaves NBC forever. Jay gets back Tonight. Coco takes pay cut and fans get new, better show on TBS called Conan at 11 p.m. What is solved here?
8. LeBron’s “Decision”
NBA free agent LeBron James joins Miami Heat after seven years in Cleveland
ESPN – along with James – made a highly questionable move by promoting and airing his big career change on television in the form of an hour-long special. Journalistically speaking, ESPN’s flirtation between news and promotion could’ve cost them dearly in media street-cred. The move sparked anger in the streets of Cleveland and ultimately turned LeBron into America’s newest sports villain.
But maybe the most important aspect of it all continues today: if I, Jon Gonzalez, have to hear another reporter refer to Miami as “South Beach,” I might throw my TV against a wall. Where do the Miami Hurricanes play? Miami. What about the Dolphins? Miami. Where does LeBron play? South Beach? C’mon!
7. Wikileaks exposes dark truths
Julian Assange becomes public enemy no. 1
Nobody likes a tattletale, and the U.S. military hates Julian Assange. Assange is the founder of Wikileaks.org: a whistleblower website which claims to have obtained various classified documents from the military. Back in April, Wikileaks released footage of a 2007 incident in which US forces killed Iraqi civilians and journalists, and that’s when it all hit the fan.
The website, and the debate of whether or not they should’ve released such information, has caused such a stir, Wikipedia.org has its own page dedicated to how the two sites have nothing to do with each other.
This is an ongoing story, which is why it only reached no. 7 on the list. And after numerous hacks and attacks, along with the many mirrors that have popped up after being kicked off several hosts, Assange believes his site will continue on.
6. Obama signs healthcare into law, Tea Party is victorious
President gets widely debated healthcare bill passed by Congress and nation responds
He ran on it in 2008, and got it passed two years later, but not without a fight. Healthcare reform was mocked left and right for being stuffed with “pork.” And it seemed no one had a clear answer when it came to discussing all that was written into the bill. I mean who has time to sort through more than 1000 pages of words and no pictures?
But the repercussions of the signing were quickly seen in November’s midterm elections. A blend of conservatism and libertarianism came together through the likes of Sarah Palin and Rand Paul. Only 7% of Tea Party supporters approve of the job President Obama has done, which is down from 50% in 2008. Between reelection and the world ending, 2012 will be interesting.
Apple unveils their original version of the tablet computer
It wasn’t the first tablet ever. It wasn’t even the first to run Apple software, but gosh was it pretty. Apple unleashed the iPad to the world in January and began sales in April. It sold three million copies in 80 days and is on track to begin yet another Apple-based phenomena.
Companies like Samsung and Blackberry have unleashed similar products to try and compete. And just like the iPhone has changed the cell phone market forever, the iPad is just an oversized version that will likely change our entire perception of what the personal computer should look like.
4. Arizona immigration law passes
Ariz. Governor Jan Brewer signs SB 1070 into law
Claiming that the federal government has taken too long to enact immigration reform, Brewer took it upon herself to do something about it, and she meant business. But like Obama’s health reform, SB 1070 didn’t come without criticism, some from the President himself.
The bill stated that law enforcement could legally detain any persons they suspected were illegal and made it a misdemeanor for immigrants if they were caught without the proper papers. Phrases like “racial profiling” and “racism” were thrown around. The City of Los Angeles, along with San Francisco and Seattle among others, boycotted business with Arizona to prove their disapproval. The law, which is being challenged in numerous courts, will likely see the Supreme Court in the next few years.
3. BP tarnishes the Gulf
British Petroleum oil rig leaks over 200 million gallons of oil into Gulf of Mexico
The damage was already done when 11 workers perished on April 20 when their oil rig exploded in the ocean waters of Louisiana. The rig was the Deepwater Horizon, and there was more damage to come.
The explosion unleashed 55,000 gallons of oil per day and wasn’t capped for three months. Federal scientists claim the incident is the worst accidental marine oil spill in history. The rig didn’t meet federal standards. More than 400 species of animals are at risk. 11 families lost their loved ones that day. Inspection crews failed to evacuate the rig hours before the explosion although major warning signs were present. 11 families lost their loved ones that day.
2. Haiti suffers massive earthquake
More than 230,000 people die after catastrophic quake hits the small island
On January 12, a little after 4:45 p.m. local time, Haiti was hit with a 7.0 earthquake. In the first nine hours following the event, 39 aftershocks of magnitude 4.2 were recorded. Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti lost 230,000-plus that day.
The infrastructure of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, was severely destroyed. Many countries pledged their help and sent everything from rescue crews to floating hospitals. The earthquake’s impact on Haiti will be felt for many years to come, both physically and emotionally.
1. Chilean miners survive 69 days underground
33 went in and 33 came out
In what I consider the biggest news story of 2010, Los 33 (as they’ve been dubbed) stuck together to endure a record-69 days half a mile underneath the Earth’s surface. Their shaft caved in on August 5, and the final miner reached the surface on October 12. But as miraculous as the entire event was, no story was more intriguing to see than the one of miner Yonni Barrios and his secret mistress.
In the days leading up to their arrival to the surface, both Yonni’s wife, Marta and his mistress, Susana showed up to the drilling site waiting for their loved one. Marta was the only one remained when he was pulled up. Strangest part of it all: it was his mistress who informed his wife of an accident at the mine.