Wednesday, December 17, 2008

TIME's 2008 Year in Review: some of the more meaningful

From TIME.com:

SIGNIFICANT PEOPLE:

Robert Mugabe: "It's hard to remember now, but Robert Mugabe was once a heroic figure in Africa. Because of his work to end colonial rule, he spent more than a decade in prison in the 1960s and '70s. But now he presides over a vicious kleptocracy in which the wives of political opponents are gang-raped, eight in 10 citizens can't find work, and much of the country is on the brink of starvation or cholera infection — even as Mugabe's wife declares that her narrow feet can fit into nothing but Ferragamos. Because of Mugabe's policies, this once-fertile land produces almost no food, and even in the capital, Harare, the water system doesn't function. Still, Africa and the West dither, Mugabe stays in power, and Zimbabwe spirals into chaos." —John Cloud

Somaly Mam: "Underneath the hubbub of election and market fever in 2008, another change was taking place: Americans were becoming increasingly aware of the global problem of sexual slavery. Mam is the most compelling face of that issue. As a girl, she was sold into prostitution in Cambodia. She doesn't know her age, her given name or any family members. But she knows how to fight human-trafficking, which in the past 12 months has claimed as many as 4 million girls and women." —Lev Grossman

Craig Venter: What do you do when you're done sequencing the human genome? If you're Craig Venter, you write a new genome from scratch. This year the maverick geneticist pried even further into the secrets of life by painstakingly assembling 582,970 base pairs into the genome of an entirely new organism, a fully synthetic bacterium named Mycoplasma genitalium. The future could bring micro-organisms custom-designed to produce biofuels. —Lev Grossman


VIDEO: Rape as a weapon of war in Congo.





PHOTOS:

Victim: "A Georgian man cries as he holds the body of his relative after a bombardment in Gori, near South Ossetia, Georgia. Five people were killed in the attack."

Front Lines: "Congolese government forces stand guard along a road in the eastern Congo during renewed fighting in November."

On Fire: "A tire burns atop a truck used as a makeshift roadblock in Kisumu, Kenya, after the town had been cleared of ethnic Kikuyus by armed mobs in January."

Pancaked: "Emergency workers carry a wounded man out of a collapsed building in Mianyang, China, after it was destroyed by an earthquake in May."

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