Review 2014 Part 2

The themes from part one ( continue to develop.


Much Teutonic joy as Germany beat Argentina in the World Cup Final; England in contrast came home early having been eliminated at the group stage leaving a nation in a slough of despond. Nothing to do with the Berkshire town of Slough, though John Betjeman may disagree. Typhoons in the kill hundreds in the Pacific and China, as winds of 130 miles per hour and a foot of rain wreak havoc. Israel and Palestine are still at each other’s throats and Bashar Assad is sworn in for the third time as President of Syria. The Ebola death toll tops 500.

A relatively quiet month, apart from that is Palestine and Israel. Ceasefires agreed and broken with monotonous regularity and more people killed. Ebola continues to spread in West Africa and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) calls the international response to Ebola “irresponsible” and “slow and derisory”. An understatement if there ever was one.

This was a pivotal month in the UK; on the 18th Scotland voted no to independence and the Westminster parties breathed a sigh of relief and promptly back peddle on the “vow”. WHO estimated that over 3000 had died from Ebola. Monsoon rains kill 400 in India and Pakistan. We have a close encounter of the asteroid kind when a big rock, 2014C, passed within 25,000 miles of the earth. Dozens of world leaders got together in New York under the banner of the UN to prepare for 2015’s attempt to reach agreement on actions to reduce carbon emissions and strengthen resilience. In the real world China’s per capita carbon emissions were greater than the EUs for the first time. China is now producing 7.2 tonnes of carbon per person, to the EU’s 6.8 tonnes. The US is still far ahead on 16.5 tonnes per person and India seems desperate to catch up.

October saw more of the same. On the 1st 41 children were killed in a suicide bomb attack on a school in Homs (Syria), the Ebola killing spree continuedwith numbers of the dead topping 4,500 by the end of the month. On a happier note, Malala Yousafzai & Kailash Satyarthi win the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Perhaps there is yet hope.

That brief flicker of hope was quickly doused early in the month. Suicide bombers kill 60 in Lahore, 40 in East Afghanistan, and al-Shabab murder 28 on a bus in Kenya. In the US Republicans do very well in the mid-term elections, whether that is a good thing or not depends on your point of view. The US drop bombs on Mosul and sends troops to train Iraqi and Kurdish troops fighting IS militants. Riots break out in the US after a grand jury refuses to bring charges against a white policeman who shot dead a black teenager. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom in America. In New York the One World Trade Centre officially opens 13 years after the 9/11 attacks. Germany celebrated 25 years since the fall of the Berlin wall. But, and there always is a “but” Mikhail Gorbachev warns that tensions between America and Russia over Ukraine have put the world on the brink of a new Cold War.

Christmas is coming, a time of peace and goodwill to all, overindulgence, overspending, hangovers and of course nauseating adverts from Coke. Bah Humbug! 2014 becomes the warmest year on record and climate change talks in Peru stall. Another typhoon hits the Philippines killing 18 and putting many out of their homes. But last word on 2014 goes to Stephen Hawking who claimed that Artificial Intelligence could be a “threat to mankind” and spell the end of the human race.

So what’s to do? Any ideas gratefully received!

I have a list of sources for all this.

My work background is in operational meteorology and in my career I have been involved in forecasting for everything from bananas to jumbo jets.I joined the Met Office 1974 as an observer at Glasgow Airport. After training as a forecaster, I worked as an Operational aviation forecaster at various defence sites and airports. In 1982, I moved to Glasgow Weather Centre as a forecaster and STV broadcaster till 1988. He then took up a post as Senior Forecaster London Weather Centre, then Senior Forecaster ITV where I qualified as a trainer in presentation techniques for the ITV Association. After being diagnosed with MS, he moved into management and became Head of London Weather Centre in 1997 followed by a period of front-line management for Southern England and Europe covering London and Cardiff Weather Centres and the Met Offices on defence stations from Akrotiri in Cyprus to St Mawgan in Cornwall. He took up the post of Met Office Chief Advisor for Scotland & Northern Ireland in March 2008 and moved to Edinburgh. I retired in September 2014. My one claim to fame is once performed a comedy sketch on TV with Manuel (Andrew Sachs) from Fawlty Towers in support of Comic Relief.

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