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10 Posts in 10 Days: 10 Stories That Shaped 2014

As part of our 10th anniversary celebrations, the Undercurrent continues its 10 blog posts in 10 days. Today, Associate Editor Andrew Hay looks at 10 stories that helped shape the year 2014. Recognizing the subjectivity of these lists, our list is based on what we considered to be the year's most newsworthy stories that had the greatest impact. As always, we welcome your comments, arguments and thoughts! In no particular order, here is our list of the 10 stories that shaped 2014. Screen shot 2015-01-02 at 2.07.03 PM 1. The Ebola Outbreak As of December 20th, the BBC has estimated that there have been 19,065 cases of Ebola and 7,533 deaths attributed to the disease. The outbreak has been largely centred in West Africa, with the affected countries including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Spain and the United States.       Screen shot 2015-01-02 at 2.07.18 PM2. Ukraine Ukraine has been a source of continuous turmoil for most of the year. What began as an internal political battle between pro-Russian and pro-Western Ukrainians has spread into an international conflict. Pivotal moments of the crisis included Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March and the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight 17  -- allegedly by pro-Russian forces -- in eastern Ukraine in July.     Screen shot 2015-01-02 at 2.07.31 PM3. ISIL The militant group ISIL has grown to become one of the largest threats in the Middle East, controlling large parts of Syria and Iraq. ISIL made headlines when they publicly executed a number of hostages including journalists and aid workers. A United States led alliance, including Canadian Forces, have since begun air operations aimed at diminishing ISIL’s presence in the region.     Screen shot 2015-01-02 at 2.07.41 PM4. Ferguson Shooting The fatal shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th has sparked nationwide protests and rallies across the United States. On November 24th, a St. Louis grand jury decided not to indict Officer Wilson with any crime stemming from the incident, sparking further protests. Tensions remain high as this story continues to develop.       5. Violence Against Women Violence against women became a prominent topic in 2014, highlighted by a number of high profile cases including celebrities and several professional athletes. These high profile cases brought this important topic to the forefront perhaps as never before.   Screen shot 2015-01-02 at 2.07.50 PM6. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 One of the most bizarre stories from 2014 was the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight 370. MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur airport on March 8th destined for Beijing, however, authorities lost contact with the flight shortly after take-off. An unsuccessful international collaborative effort to find the aircraft ensued. The 227 passengers and crew are presumed dead.       Screen shot 2015-01-02 at 2.08.01 PM7. Last NATO Troops withdraw from Afghanistan December 31st looms as the deadline for the last remaining British and American forces to withdraw from Afghanistan. As the thirteen-year war draws to a close, several major challenges remain as the Afghan government struggles to take over security responsibilities from NATO forces.       Screen shot 2015-01-02 at 2.08.09 PM8. The Philae Comet Lander On November 12th, the European Space Agency successfully landed the first spacecraft on a comet. The nine-year mission culminated in the successful landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The mission will attempt to explain the physical composition of comets.       Screen shot 2015-01-02 at 2.08.19 PM9. Olympics/World Cup 2014 was also a year of international sporting competition. The winter Olympics hosted in Sochi, Russia and the FIFA World Cup in Brazil were the two most prominent events of the year. The most significant highlight was Canada’s men’s and women’s hockey teams winning gold at the Sochi Olympics. Other countries won medals too… I think. Check out here and here to relive the gold medal hockey games in Sochi for men and women, respectively.     Screen shot 2015-01-02 at 2.08.28 PM10. ALS Ice Bucket Campaign A social media oriented fundraising campaign became one of the most popular and successful charitable campaigns of the year. Initiated in support of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research, the ALS association raised $98.2M between the end of July and the end of August this year. Compared to the $2.7M the ALS association raised in the same time period in 2013, it’s easy to understand just how successful this campaign was.     -Andrew Hay