/119 stories that gripped the world in the 2010s – Business Insider

119 stories that gripped the world in the 2010s – Business Insider

April 20, 2010: An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico causes the biggest marine oil spill in history.

Deepwater Horizon

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off-shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, off Louisiana.
Reuters/Handout .

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

May 2, 2010: The European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund sign off on a €110 million bailout of Greece, to save the EU country from default.

greece financial crisis

Greeks riot on May 5, 2010 in response to austerity measures agreed to in exchange for a bailout.
Giorgos Nissiotis/AP

Source: The Guardian

June 27, 2010: The FBI arrests 10 Russian spies caught living deep undercover in the United States.

russian spies 2010

Four of the accused spies listen in during a court hearing on July 1, 2010.
Elizabeth Williams/AP

Just days later, the group was taken to Vienna, Austria, where they were turned over to Russian authorities in exchange for four Russian nationals accused of being double agents, The Guardian reported at the time.

October 13, 2010: 33 miners are rescued after spending 69 days trapped in a Chilean copper mine.

chilean miners

In this screen grab taken from video, Florencio Avalos, the first miner to be rescued, left, is embraced by Chilean President Sebastian Pinera after his rescue on October 12, 2010.

Sources: CNN, Encyclopedia Britannica

December 8, 2010: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange turns himself in to British police after Swedish authorities put out a warrant for his arrest in connection to a rape accusation.

julian assange

PA Images

Assange denied the allegation and said the extradition order was just a way to get him to Sweden so that he could be extradited to the US for his role in publishing information embarrassing to the American government, according to The New York Times.

While out on bail in the UK in June 2012, Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London as a way to avoid his extradition to Sweden. He lived there for seven years before his asylum was withdrawn in April 2019, following disputes with Ecuadorian authorities, and he was rearrested by British police.

However, Swedish authorities announced they were dropping the rape investigation into Assange in November 2019.

December 17, 2010: The suicide of a Tunisian street vendor serves as a catalyst for the Arab Spring.

tunisia protest

Tear gas is fired into a crowd of protesters demonstrating in Tunis, Tunisia on January 14, 2011.
Christophe Ena/AP

Tarek el-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire outside the local governor’s office when government authorities confiscated his wares, according to The New York Times.

The incident caused revolutionary protests in Tunisia, and the toppling of the government within a month. Similar protests broke out in several other North African and Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria. 

January 28, 2011: “Two and a Half Men” star Charlie Sheen enters rehab, a day after the actor was rushed from his home to the hospital for abdominal and chest pains, according to CBS Los Angeles.

charlie sheen

Charlie Sheen appears on “Good Morning America” in February 2011.
Walt Disney Television via Getty Images NEWS via Getty Images

Sheen, who had been in an out of rehab multiple times in his life up until that point, according to USA Today, went on the “Today” show just a few weeks later and said that Alcoholic Anonymous doesn’t work on people like him, people with “tiger blood.”

He was subsequently fired from his hit TV show. Four years later it would emerge that Sheen was HIV positive.

February 11, 2011: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns under pressure from revolutionaries, giving up the seat he had held for three decades.

hosni mubarak

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is seen during a video address on January 28, 2011.
Egypt TV

Anti-government protests in Egypt broke out a month earlier, as part of the larger Arab Spring, Al Jazeera reported. When Mubarak resigned, the military took control of the government.
Amnesty International said that at least 840 people were killed in the protests that transpired over 18 days.

Mubarak was put on trial for the protester deaths, but acquitted in 2017, according to Al-Ahram.

March 2011: Civil war breaks out in Syria after military defectors create the Free Syrian Army, to combat those loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

syrian rebels

Syrian rebels participate in a weapons training session on February 14, 2012.

Protests had broken out in Syria after police tortured teenagers caught making anti-regime graffiti, according to Mother Jones.

March 11, 2011: An earthquake in Japan causes the second-worst nuclear accident in history.

fukushima daiichi

The Unit 4 reactor building of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station is seen through a bus window in Okuma, Japan on November 12, 2011.
David Guttenfelder/AP

The Great Sendai Earthquake of 2011 caused a tsunami in Japan’s northeastern Fukushima prefecture. That tsunami in turn damaged backup generates at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which went into partial meltdown, prompting the government to order the evacuation of nearly 50,000 residents, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

April 29, 2011: 3 billion people tune in to watch Britain’s Prince William marry college sweetheart Kate Middleton in a ceremony at Westminster Cathedral in London

kate middleton fashion wedding

Getty/Chris Jackson

Source: The New York Times

May 1, 2011: President Barack Obama addresses the nation to announce the death of terrorist Osama bin Laden, after a successful Navy SEAL raid on the 9/11 mastermind’s compound in Pakistan.

obama bin laden speech

Jason Reed/Reuters

Source: NPR

May 14, 2011: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, is pulled off a Paris-bound flight in New York and charged with sexually assaulting a hotel maid.

Dominique Strauss Kahn

Strauss-Kahn, center, is lead from a New York City police station on May 15, 2011.
Craig Ruttle/AP

Three months later, prosecutors decided to drop the case after they lost faith in the credibility of the accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, The New York Times reported at the time.

Strauss-Kahn has always maintained that he did not rape Diallo, but in 2012 he settled with the hotel worker for an undisclosed sum after she sued him for sexual assault, according to The Guardian.

July 7, 2011: Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid shutters after it was revealed that staffers hacked into the phones of prominent figures like Prince William to mine for stories.

News of the World

Printer James Bradley looks at a copy of the final edition of the News of the World as the presses print the newspaper at the News International print works in Waltham Cross, southern England on July 9, 2011.
REUTERS/Ian Nicholson

Sources: CNN, CSM

July 22, 2011: A right-wing Christian extremist kills 77 people — most of them children — in attacks on Oslo, Norway, and the nearby island of Utoya.


Rescue workers carry the body of a Utoya shooting victim on July 24, 2011.
Frank Augstein/AP

In August 2012, the attacker was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum possible sentence since Norway doesn’t have the death penalty, according to CNN.

July 23, 2011: Grammy Award-winning singer Amy Winehouse, 27, is found dead at her home in north London.

Amy Winehouse

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images for NARAS

Though the troubled songstress had released just two studio albums in her career, the second, “Back to Black,” was a critical and popular success. Rolling Stone ranks it #451 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

A coroner later determined the singer’s cause of death was from drinking too much alcohol, according to the BBC.

September 17, 2011: The Occupy Wall Street movement begins with about 1,000 people protesting in downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.

occupy wall street

Spencer Platt/Getty

The group’s main issue was the power and influence held by the richest Americans.

The group held the park for about three months before police kicked them out on November 15. By then, similar protest camps had been started in other cities across America, according to The Week.


October 3, 2011: American Amanda Knox, 24, is freed from an Italian prison after her conviction in the 2009 murder of her British roommate is overthrown.

amanda knox freed

Amanda Knox cries in Italian court as she learns her murder conviction has been overturned and she is soon to be released from prison.
Pier Paolo Cito/AP

Knox served nearly four years of a 26-year sentence before she was cleared, according to CNN.

October 20, 2011: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is captured and killed by revolutionaries, bringing an end to his 42-year regime.

gaddafi qaddafi muammar

Wikimedia via James Gordon

Source: Al Jazeera

November 7, 2011: Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, is found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the late singer’s overdose death.

Conrad Murray


Source: The New York Times

July 20, 2012: A shooter opens fire at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight,” in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and injuring dozens of others.

aurora shooting

Police officers are seen outside the movie theater where a gunman opened fire during a showing of “The Dark Knight” on July 20, 2012.
Ed Andrieski/AP

The shooter was later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

September 11, 2012: US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans are killed after a mob storms the US mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Benghazi US consulate burned attack

A man looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after the attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on Wednesday, September 12, 2012.

Source: CNN

October 22, 2012: After being accused of conducting an elaborate doping scheme, American cyclist Lance Armstrong is stripped of his seven Tour de France medals and banned from cycling competitions for life.

Lance Armstrong

Eric Gaillard/Reuters

He initially denied the accusations before telling Oprah Winfrey in 2013 that they were true.

October 29, 2012: Superstorm Sandy causes widespread death and damage, especially in the Northeastern US.



Source: Business Insider

November 6, 2012: Voters in Colorado and Washington vote to legalize recreational marijuana, becoming the first states in the US to do so.

colorado celebrates legalization of marijuana

Colorado residents celebrate the legalization of marijuana on election night 2012.
Brennan Linsley/AP

Nine other states have since followed suit, from Alaska to Maine.

February 28, 2013: Basketball legend Dennis Rodman travels to North Korea and meets leader Kim Jong-un, becoming the first American to meet the new leader since he assumed office two years prior.

kim jong un dennis rodman

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and former NBA star Dennis Rodman watch North Korean and U.S. players in an exhibition basketball game at an arena in Pyongyang, North Korea on Thursday, February 28, 2013.
AP Photo/VICE Media, Jason Mojica, File

Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, The New York Times

March 13, 2013: Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected pope, becoming the first South American to lead the Roman Catholic Church. He assumes the name Pope Francis.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio Pope Francis


Pope Francis was elected after his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, abdicated, becoming the first pope to voluntarily resign since Celestine V in 1294.

April 15, 2013: Two pressure cooker bombs explode at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 250 others.

Boston Bombing


Brothers Tamerlan, 26, and Dzokhar Tsarnaev, 19, initially escaped the scene, and the city of Boston was effectively shut down for days as law enforcement teams hunted for the bombers.

Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police four days later. A wounded Dzokhar was arrested later that morning, after seeking shelter in a dry-docked boat.

Two years later, Dzokhar was sentenced to death for his role in the bombings.

May 16, 2013: The now-defunct news site Gawker publishes a video showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack.

Rob Ford

REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Ford initially refuses to step down, and his increasingly bizarre behavior over the coming weeks and months make international headlines.

His term as mayor came to an end on November 30, 2014, after he dropped out of the race to deal with a cancer diagnosis. But he still won for city councilor of his old constituency with 58% of the vote. He served just two years in that role before dying at the age of 46 in March 2016.

May 6, 2013: Three women who had been missing for about a decade are rescued from the Cleveland, Ohio, home of Ariel Castro.

michelle knight amanda berry gina dejesus

Pictured from left to right in February 2014: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.
AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, had each disappeared between 2002 and 2004. They finally escaped after Berry kicked down a screen door and yelled at a neighbor to call 911, according to CBS News.

Castro, 53, later pleaded guilty to several charges to avoid the death penalty, only to die by suicide in his cell a month later.

June 6, 2013: The Guardian and the Washington Post publish stories based on information leaked to them by government contractor Edward Snowden.

edward snowden

Handout/Getty Images

Snowden flees the country and is eventually allowed asylum in Russia.

July 6, 2013: “Glee” star Cory Monteith is found dead in a Vancouver, British Columbia, hotel room after succumbing to a drug and alcohol overdose.

cory monteith


Source: USA Today

July 7, 2013: Scottish tennis player Andy Murray becomes the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.

andy murray wimbledon trophy

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Source: Tennis.com

July 13, 2013: The Black Lives Matter movement begins after George Zimmerman is acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the shooting death of black teen Trayvon Martin.

trayvon martin protests

Police confront a crowd of demonstrators on the Interstate 10 freeway as they protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin trial, in Los Angeles, California on July 14, 2013.
REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

On February 26, 2012, Zimmerman shot dead Martin because he thought he was an intruder in his Sanford, Florida, neighborhood. But Martin lived in the same neighborhood and was just returning home after a trip to the convenience store to buy an iced tea and candy. The incident caused national outrage over the treatment of black people, especially black boys.

July 22, 2013: Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, gives birth to a baby boy named Prince George, who becomes third in line to the British throne, behind his father and grandfather.

Kate Middleton and Prince William prince george birth

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

December 5, 2013: Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s trailblazing first black president, dies at the age of 95.

Nelson Mandela at the Mandela Foundation

Associated Press

Source: Business Insider

February 1, 2014: Dylan Farrow writes an essay describing how her father, director Woody Allen, molested her as a child. Allen was never charged and denies the allegation.

dylan farrow

Dylan O’Sullivan Farrow attends the TIME 100 Gala on Tuesday, April 26, 2016.
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

The accusation against Allen wasn’t new, but it was the first time that his daughter had spoken publicly to give her side of the story.

February 2, 2014: Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman dies at the age of 46 from a drug overdose.

philip seymour hoffman

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

February 18, 2014: A 39-year-old Jimmy Fallon starts his tenure as host of “The Tonight Show”.

jimmy fallon the tonight show

Lloyd Bishop/NBC

Source: The New York Times

March 2014: Russia invades Ukraine and annexes the Crimea, after Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, is toppled in anti-government protests.

russia crimea

Armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, patrol outside an Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoye on March 17, 2014.

Sources: Business Insider, Vox

March 8, 2014: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 mysteriously vanishes off radar while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board.

mh 370 debris

French police officers carry debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which washed ashore on Reunion Island on July 22, 2016.
Lucas Marie/AP

Parts of the Boeing 777 would later wash up on islands off the southeastern coast of Africa, but not the fuselage.

March 25, 2014: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow announces her separation from her Coldplay frontman husband Chris Martin on her blog Goop, saying they have decided to “consciously uncouple”.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin

Colin Young-Wolff/Invision/AP

Source: Harper’s Bazaar


April 2014: The Flint water crisis begins as the Michigan city tries to cut costs by getting their water from the Flint River instead of getting it from Detroit.

Flint Water Crisis

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Doctors would later tell residents to stop using the water after finding high lead levels in children’s blood.

March 23, 2014: The World Health Organization reports that there has been an outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, the start of the largest outbreak of the virus in history.

red cross ebola outbreak

Red Cross workers carry the body of a woman who died of the Ebola virus during a 1995 outbreak in the Congo.

The virus spread as far as the US, after a man infected with the virus flew to Dallas in October and got sick after landing. He later died, and two nurses became infected while treating him but recovered.

There was another scare when a medical aide worker became infected with the virus after returning to New York City from Guinea.

Seven other people were flown to the US to get treatment for the virus, most of whom were medical workers. Of those seven, six survived and one died.

When Guinea was finally Ebola-free in June 2016, more than 28,600 people had contracted the disease, and 11,325 died.

February 1, 2015: The New England Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX thanks to an interception with just seconds left in the game.

butler interception

Rob Carr/Getty Images

With just 25 seconds left in the game, the Seattle Seahawks looked on track to overtake the Patriots.

At New England’s one-yard line, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson decided to throw the ball instead of rush, and the Patriots’ undrafted rookie Malcolm Butler intercepted it. The Patriots won the game 28-24.

May 2015: An outbreak of the Zika virus spreads to Brazil, and eventually moves its way up into Central America and the Caribbean.

brazil zika kids

Brazilian mothers with children born with microcephaly are seen in May 2018.
Eraldo Peres/AP

Women are warned to be careful traveling to these regions since there is a connection between the virus and babies being born with microcephaly, an issue where a baby’s head is abnormally small, according to the World Health Organization.

Adding to the fears, scientists discover that the virus can be passed through sex, as well.

June 6, 2015: Joyce Mitchell, a worker at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, helps two convicted murderers escape.

A note with a caption "Have a nice day" left on an opening in the pipe, where two inmates are suspected to have cut open as part of their escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, is seen in this New York Governor's Press Office handout photo taken June 6, 2015 and released on June 7, 2015. REUTERS/New York Governor's Press Office/Handout via Reuters

Handout photo shows a note with a caption “Have a nice day” left on an opening in the pipe, where two inmates are suspected to have cut open as part of their escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York
Thomson Reuters

David Sweat and Richard Matt spent nearly three weeks on the run. Matt was later killed in a shootout with police, while Sweat was shot and survived, according to CNN.

October 8, 2016: The Washington Post publishes a video from a 2005 interview between “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush and Donald Trump, in which the latter said he can grab women “by the p—y” because he’s a star.

trump billy bush access hollywood NBC


Source: Washington Post

November 3, 2016: The Chicago Cubs break the Billy Goat curse and win their first World Series in 108 years.

Chicago Cubs win world series

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Billy Goat curse haunted the team since 1945, when William “Billy Goat” Sianis bought a ticket for himself and his goat Murphy for Game 4 of the Cubs’ World Series game against the Detroit Tigers, according to NBC News.

When the two were kicked out of the stadium for Murphy’s smell, Sianis reportedly said, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more!”

October 2017: Famous men are culled in the #MeToo movement.

harvey weinstein

Harvey Weinstein is pictured in New York City court in August.
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein was the first to fall when The New York Times and New Yorker published sexual misconduct allegations against him in early October.

The outrage encourage other people in Hollywood and other industries to speak out about sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.

Among the men who had their reputations tarnished include: Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Al Franken, and Louis C.K.

April 13, 2018: The US, Britain, and France conduct air strikes against Syria in response to President Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons on citizens in a civil war gripping the country.

syrian strikes

Surface to air missile fire lights up the sky over Damascus, Syria as the US launches an attack early on April 14, 2018.
Hassan Ammar/AP

“These are not the actions of a man,” Trump said of the suspected chemical attack, according to The New York Times. “They are crimes of a monster instead.”

The conflict in Syria began in 2011, and still rages on today.

October 2, 2018: Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is murdered inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

Jamal Khashoggi

Hasan Jamali/AP

Source: Insider

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