By Katlin Cilliers | Staff Writer
What a year 2018 has been. From Hawaiʻi waking up to a false alarm about an incoming missile in the first days of January, to volcanic eruptions and hurricanes bearing down on the islands during spring and summer, to losing Marvel Comics patriarch Stan Lee this fall, most of 2018 news was daunting to say the least.
Here are some of the main social, political and nature-related events that made headlines in Hawaiʻi and across the country in the past 12 months.
January 13 – Hawaiʻi Missile Scare
A few minutes after 8 a.m. on Saturday, Jan 13, Hawaiʻi residents received an emergency notification that read “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
It wasn’t for another 38 minutes that phones buzzed again with an update stating it had been a false alarm. Until then, the alarm wreaked havoc in people’s days and numerous follow-up stories about the false alarm’s consequences have been published ever since. The state is currently responding to a lawsuit from a man who suffered a heart attack that morning, after saying his goodbyes to his family.
January 31 – A Total Lunar Eclipse Takes Place
The total lunar eclipse of the super blue blood moon happened thanks to three lunar occurrences at once: the satellite was brighter and closer to Earth than its usual orbiting space. Plus, there were two full moon cycles in the same month (a.k.a “blue moon”.) The event was photographed across the world.
February 14 – School Shooting in Florida Kills 17, Injures 17
A school shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The perpetrator, Nicolas Cruz, killed 17 people and injured another 17.
February 15 – First #metoo discussion panel held in Hawai‘i
In light of the #MeToo movement sparked after the Harvey Weinstein scandal in Hollywood, women’s organizations in Hawaiʻi — such as the YWCA and AF3IRM Hawai‘i — put together a discussion panel to create space for women to come forward and share their stories.
In response to gun violence in the United States, thousands of students across the country participated in an organized protest they called the National School Walkout.
Hundreds of children as young as four years old have been separated from their parents at the Mexico – USA border, in a series of occurrences that’d been taking place since October 2017, according to the New York Times.
May 4 – Kīlauea begins erupting
Kīlauea Volcano – one of the five active volcanoes in Hawaiʻi – began erupting on May 4, setting in motion the largest seismic activity in the area in over forty years. About 700 houses were destroyed as a result of the lava spews, and thousands of people were evacuated from their homes. Kīlauea kept on in activity through spring and summer. Volcanic activity slowly started declining in August, and the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park re-opened in September.
June 8 – Anthony Bourdain Dies at 61
Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain died on June 8, 2018. Bourdain was the host of the travel and culinary show “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.”
President Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the first summit between the nations, held in Singapore. Negotiations about a “complete denuclearization” of North Korea began to take shape, although the details were deemed “vague” by the media and public opinion.
July 26 – Facebook’s Value Drops By 19% In One Day
Facebook’s shares plunged 19% on July 26, thanks to its admitting that user growth fell after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The plummeting amounted to a loss of over $199 billion in the company’s market value.
August 20 – Hurricane Lane Bears Down On Hawaiʻi
Visitors and residents of the Hawaiian islands were advised to brace themselves and prepare for Hurricane Lane, which reached a category 5 status on August 22. Thanks to wind shears, Lane weakened as it approached Oʻahu, not before causing heavy rains and leaving a trace of destruction and flooding on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. The hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm on August 25.
September 12 – Olivia Downgrades To Tropical Storm Before Landfall
Olivia made landfall on Maui and Lāna‘i as a tropical storm, after having reached category 4 hurricane status a few days prior, as it headed toward the Hawaiian islands.
October 8 – UN Releases Climate Change Report
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report about the impact of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, rather than 2.0°C, within the next 12 years. Consequences of global warming could be seen in sea-level rising by as high as 10 cm and the complete eradicating of coral reef, should Earth’s temperature becomes 2.0°C higher than current levels.
October 20 – The Migrant Caravan From Central America Moves North
Thousands of Central American migrants from Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador fled their countries, which are torn by violence and economic hardship. Families with children and young adults set out on foot towards the southern border of Mexico–United States, hoping to seek asylum once they get there.
October 31 – TMT Telescope Building On Mauna Kea Approved
The building of a thirty-meter-telescope on top of Mauna Kea was approved by the state’s Supreme Court on October 31. The decision was met with protests by activists and opponents of the initiative, while celebrated by the astronomy community and supporters alike.
In this 2018’s midterm elections, Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, while Republicans remained with the majority of Senate seats. In Hawaiʻi, David Ige was re-elected.
November 12 – Stanley Lee Passes Away
The Marvel Comics writer, editor and director passed away at age 95. He helped co-create superheroes such as Spider-Man, The X-Men, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and many others.
November 13 – Biki Project Keeps On Growing
The bike share project that started in June 2017 keeps on growing thanks to its huge success. With ridership on the increase, the company plans to expand with more bicycles and stations around Honolulu. Biki has recently inaugurated a docking station by KCC, close to Diamond Head Theater.
November 30 – George H.W. Bush Dies At 94
The 41st President of the United States passed away at his home in Houston at age 94 in late November.
December 5 – Facebook Scandals Continue To Emerge
Earlier in December, The New York Times reported that Facebook offered privileged access to its users’ data to some companies in detriment of others. The social network has faced a series of accusations of data breaches and leaks throughout 2018.
In April, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was summoned to testify before the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees, to account for charges involving privacy management, the widespread of disinformation on the social network, and the Russian interference in the shaping public opinion about social issues and politics.
December 5 – Protest Against TMT At UH Mānoa
Students, staff and faculty at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa gathered in front of the Hawai‘i Hall on campus to protest the building of a thirty meter telescope.
December 20 – US To Withrawal 7,000 Troops From Afghanistan
Thursday afternoon, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration is going to withdraw around 7,000 troops that are currently deployed in Afghanistan. He also decided to pull the forces out of Syria. The decision was seen as “abrupt” by Afghan officials. Jim Mattis, the current secretary of defense, resigned a few hours prior to the president’s announcement, as he disagrees with the measure.