Open Letter To Earthlings From 2016

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Hi,
I am 2016. Oh, Yeah! I know, I know. You’re SO over me. You lost favorite celebrities. Your Samsung Galaxy exploded. You got really tired of Pokemon Go really fast. The planet
continued warming at an alarming rate. The civil war in Syria, which has now claimed about a half million lives , raged on. The gun violence epidemic persisted unabated causing 14,748 have been killed in the U.S.  Several extra-judicial shootings of black people occurred. And the constitutional mechanism intended stop Trump from seizing presidential power ensured his victory instead (no hard feelings intended). But look a little closer. I was also all kinds of awesome – in ways that left you a better place.

THE WORLD
• There’s finally peace in Colombia
• Non-violent protests helped impeach a president in South Korea
• Gambia voted out a dictator
• The military no longer rules Myanmar
• Lebanon picked a leader – after 45 tries
• A Pope and a Russian Orthodox patriarch met for the first time in 1,000 years

THE ENVIRONMENT
• That big ozone hole over the Antarctic is starting to heal
• India planted 50 million trees — in one day!
• Norway banned deforestation
• The Paris Agreement to limit global warming is now international law

THE US
• The high school graduation rate is at its highest
• The teen birth rate kept on falling
• The unemployment rate is the lowest in 10 years
• Americans gave to charity more than ever before

HEALTH
• Researchers found new genes that may help cure ALS (thanks ice bucket challenge)
• There’s hope for a new HIV vaccine
• The measles is no more in the Americas
• Sri Lanka proved you can finish off malaria
• China bred good mosquitoes to fight the bad ones
• West Africa is ebola-free (And an experimental vaccine is 100 percent effective)

HUMAN RIGHTS
• Gambia and Tanzania banned child marriage
• The death penalty is illegal in more than half the world
• 300 African communities pledged to end female genital mutilation
• A law against ‘honor’ killings finally passed in Pakistan

CONSERVATION
• The tiger population rose for the first time in 100 years
• Pandas are endangered no more
• There were only 126 kakapo parrots left in the world; now there are 154!
• Hawaii boasted the largest protected place on the planet

SPORTS
• The Cubs finally won the World Series
• Leicester City defied the odds to win the Premier League
• The title-starved Cleveland won the NBA crown
• The Olympic refugee team won our hearts

SPACE
• There may be a ninth planet lurking in our solar system
• Juno made it to Jupiter – after five years
• Scientists found an Earth-like planet just 4.2 light years away
• We got serious about putting humans on Mars

Your departing frenemy,
2016.

Article by Doug Criss (CNN); Additional editing by Agwah Michael Sledge (247NewsUpdate Blog)

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