THE 2000’s
The 2000s is the current decade, spanning from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2009. The decade has been dominated by several wide-ranging topics, including international trade and a growing concern over energy supplies, the explosion in telecommunications, concerns with international terrorism and war, an escalation of the social issues of the 1990s, and the debate over global warming.
Economic developments in the 2000s have focused on the explosion of Asia's economic and political potential, and its impact on the world market. India’s economy has become technologically integrated with those of the world’s more developed nations. China has experienced immense economic growth, and has obtained the status of a world power. The growing Chinese economy has been a major factor in the rapidly increasing demand for fossil fuels, which—along with fewer new petroleum finds, greater extraction costs, and political turmoil—forced two other trends: a soar in the price of petroleum products and a subsequent push by governments and businesses to promote the development of "green" technology. A side-effect to the push by some industrial nations to "go green" and utilize biofuels has been a decrease in the supply of food, and thus an increase in the price of food, which in turn is threatening the world's poorer nations with a shortage of food.[1]
Technological advancements have been as revolutionary and diversified as previous decades. In the field of digital electronics, advancements have been considerable. Computers continue to advance rapidly, in western countries the spread of broadband Internet approaches ubiquity, and email has become for many a necessity rather than a luxury. Mobile phones, digital cameras, digital data storage, and digital audio players [2] became widespread during the 2000s. The development of social networking websites have also given people the opportunity to easily keep in touch with others from anywhere around the globe. Use of internet commerce has also become widely popular, with travel reservations, stock trading, and retail shopping not only taking place online, but also taking place without an intermediary agent; online commerce has become the era of self-service.
Many major political developments in the 2000s have revolved around the War on Terrorism, which was triggered by the September 11, 2001 attacks and led directly to the war in Afghanistan. The Iraq War, ostensibly part of the United States' War on Terror, has generated extreme controversy around the world. Questions regarding the justification for this war have led to a loss of sympathy for the United States that was generated by the original 9/11 attacks. Tensions in the Middle East have also escalated because of the 2006 Lebanon War, as well as the most recent conflict involving Russia and Georgia. Conflict has also arisen over the nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran.
Social issues which became more pronounced included issues pertaining to gay rights, in particular the issue of homosexual unions. Same-sex marriage was legalized by some major developed nations, and in others, varying degrees of civil recognition were granted to gay relationships. However, such unions continued to meet resistance in many countries and in most U.S. states. Other social issues of concern during the 2000s have been gender equality, human rights, and—in the United Stateshealth care.

Global warming, while originally seen as an environmental matter, has evolved into a major economic and political issue. While scientists evaluate the origins and severity and climate change, politicians and economists debate the cost and efficacy of public policies to address it.

In contrast to the decades from 1920 to 1999, which are called "the Twenties", "the Sixties", and the like, the 2000s have no universally-accepted name. Some refer to the decade as the "twenty hundreds" while others may refer to it as the "two thousands". In written form this could appear as "the '00s" or "the 2000s". But writing "the 2000s" or simply saying "the two-thousands" can cause confusion, since this could refer to the entire 21st century or even the entire millennium.


TERRORISM


Many major political developments in the 2000s have revolved around the War on Terrorism, which was triggered by the September 11, 2001 attacks and led directly to the war in Afghanistan. The Iraq War, launched in 2003, has generated extreme controversy around the world, with many questioning its justification or the United States' motives. Tensions have escalated in the Middle East because of the War in Iraq and the 2006 Lebanon War. North Korea generated a nuclear crisis by withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and conducting a successful nuclear test.

The War on Terrorism (also known as the War on Terror) is the common term for the various military, political and legal actions initiated by the United States government, stated to be a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The official objectives are to counter terrorist threats, prevent terrorist acts and curb the influence of terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda.
The 2002 Bali bombings occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. The attack had 202 victims, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

The 2004 Australian embassy bombing took place on September 9, 2004 in Jakarta, Indonesia. A car bomb, which was packed into a small delivery van, exploded outside the Australian embassy at Kuningan District, South Jakarta. It killed 9 people including the bomber, and wounding over 150 others. Numerous office buildings surrounding the embassy were also damaged by the blast, which shattered windows in buildings 500 metres away, injuring many workers inside, mostly by broken glass.


OIL CRISIS

From the mid-1980s to September 2003, the inflation adjusted price of a barrel of crude oil on NYMEX was generally under $25/barrel. Then during 2004, the price rose above $40, and then $50. A series of events led the price to exceed $60 by August 11, 2005, and then briefly exceed $75 in the middle of 2006. Prices then dropped back to $60/barrel by the early part of 2007 before rising steeply again to $92/barrel by October 2007, and $99.29/barrel for December futures in New York on November 21, 2007.[1] Throughout the first half of 2008, oil regularly reached record high prices. On February 29, 2008, oil prices peaked at $103.05 per barrel,[2] and reached $110.20 on March 12, 2008,[3] the sixth record in seven trading days.[4][5] Prices on June 27, 2008, touched $141.71/barrel, for August delivery in the New York Mercantile Exchange (after the recent $140.56/barrel), amid Libya's threat to cut output, and OPEC's president predicted prices may reach $170 by the Northern summer.[6][7] The most recent price per barrel maximum of $147.02 was reached on July 11, 2008.[8]
Prices near $95–105 per barrel (2007 U.S. dollars) are equal to the previous all time inflation adjusted record of 1980.[9] This had been clearly exceeded by the first quarter of 2008. In terms of the crude price, U.S. records suggest that equivalent prices were last seen in the 1860s.[10] In terms of refined petroleum products, one has to go back to the early 1920s to find similar prices in real terms.[11] Outside the U.S., the history of both inflation and oil prices will be different, but the fact remains that after being inflation adjusted, prices over $120/barrel are unprecedented since the very earliest days of commercial oil production. Sustained high prices contribute to fears of an economic recession similar to that of the early 1980s.[12] In the United States, gasoline consumption dropped by 0.5% in the first two months of 2008 in response to higher prices,[13] compared to a drop of 0.4% total in 2007.[14]

Commentators have attributed the price increases of this period to a confluence of factors, including reports from the United States Department of Energy and others showing a decline in petroleum reserves,[15] worries over peak oil,[16] Middle East tension, and oil price speculation.[17] Some events have had short term effects on oil prices, such as North Korean missile launches,[18] the crisis between Israel and Lebanon,[19] tension between Iran and U.S.,[20] and "a hundred factors.”


IMPORTANCE OF CELEBRITY

A celebrity is a widely-recognized or famous person who commands a high degree of public and media attention. The word stems from the Latin verb "celebrere" but they may not become a celebrity unless public and mass media interest is piqued. For example Virgin Director Richard Branson was famous as a CEO, but he did not become a global celebrity until he attempted to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon.

A small number of celebrities can be considered 'global', in that their fame has spread across the world, even across linguistic and cultural boundaries. These celebrities are often prominent political figures, actors, globally successful artists, musicians and sports stars.
The rise of international celebrities in acting and popular music is due in large part to the massive scope and scale of the media industries, enabling celebrities to be viewed more often and in more places. The reach of entertainment products is further extended by large-scale illegal copying of movies and music, which makes inexpensive pirated versions of DVDs and CDs available throughout even less economically developed countries.
Some professional activities, by the nature of being high-paid, highly exposed, and difficult to get into, are likely to confer celebrity status. For example, movie stars and television actors with lead roles on prominently scheduled shows are likely to become celebrities. High-ranking politicians, national television reporters, daytime television show hosts, supermodels[2], successful athletes and chart-topping musicians are also likely to become celebrities. A few humanitarian leaders such as Mother Teresa have even achieved fame because of their charitable work. Some people have achieved fame online and thus are Internet celebrities.
Individuals with their own television show (or sections of television shows) often become a celebrity, even when their profession would not normally lead to celebrity status: this can include doctors, chefs, gardeners, and conservationists on shows like //Trading Spaces// and //The Crocodile Hunter//. However, fame based on one program may often prove short-lived after a programmme is discontinued. In areas of the world where the relevant programme is not being broadcast, a such person is very likely not to be known. In order to reserve themselves the possibility to have a private life, some local celebrities prefer to live in a part of the world where they are rather unknown

Celebrities often have fame comparable to that of royalty. As a result, there is a strong public curiosity about their private affairs. Celebrities may be resented for their accolades, and the public may have a love/hate relationship with celebrities. Due to the high visibility of celebrities' private lives, their successes and shortcomings are often made very public. Celebrities are alternately portrayed as glowing examples of perfection, when they garner awards, or as decadent or immoral if they become associated with a scandal.
Tabloid magazines and talk TV shows bestow a great deal of attention on celebrities. To stay in the public eye and to make money, more celebrities are participating in business ventures such as celebrity-branded items including books, clothing lines, perfume, and household items.

The whole concept of 'celebrity' and the obsessive interest caused by certain media publications such as 'chat mags' and daily paper gossip columnists, has reduced the notion of celebrity to being anyone who has been on the television, or involved in a third rate reality TV program.


REALITY TELEVISION
Reality television is a genre of television programming which presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and features ordinary people instead of professional actors.[//citation needed//] Although the genre has existed in some form or another since the early years of television, the term reality television is most commonly used to describe programs of this genre produced since 2000. Documentaries and nonfictional programming such as news and sports shows are usually not classified as reality shows.
Reality television covers a wide range of programming formats, from game or quiz shows which resemble the frantic, often demeaning shows produced in Japan in the 1980s and 1990s (such as //Gaki no tsukai//), to surveillance- or voyeurism-focused productions such as //Big Brother//.

Such shows frequently portray a modified and highly influenced form of reality, with participants put in exotic locations or abnormal situations, sometimes coached to act in certain ways by off-screen handlers, and with events on screen sometimes manipulated through editing and other post-production techniques.
Reality television saw an explosion of global popularity starting in the early 2000s. Two reality series - //Survivor// and //American Idol// - have been the top-rated series on American television for an entire season. Survivor led the ratings in 2001-02, and Idol has topped the ratings three consecutive years (2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07). The shows Survivor, the Idol series, the Top Model series, the Dancing With The Stars series, The Apprentice, "Fear Factor" and Big Brother have all had a global impact, having each been successfully syndicated in dozens of countries.
Currently there are at least two television channels devoted exclusively to reality television: Fox Reality in the United States, launched in 2005, and Zone Reality in the UK, launched in 2002. In addition, several other cable channels, such as Viacom's MTV and NBC's Bravo, feature original reality programming as a mainstay.[8] Mike Darnell, head of reality TV for the US Fox network, says that the broadcast networks (NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox) "might as well plan three or four [reality shows] each season because we're going to have them, anyway."[9]
During the early part of the 2000s, U.S. and foreign network executives expressed concern that reality-television programming was limited in its appeal for DVD reissue and syndication, but in fact DVDs for reality shows have sold briskly; //Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County//, //The Amazing Race//, //Project Runway//, and //America's Next Top Model// have all ranked in the top DVDs sold on Amazon.com. DVDs of //The Simple Life// have outranked scripted shows like //The O.C.// and //Desperate Housewives//; additionally, many reality shows have been successfully syndicated, including //Fear Factor//, //The Amazing Race//, //Survivor//, //Wife Swap// and //America's Next Top Model//. COPS has had huge success in syndication, direct response sales and DVD. A FOX staple since 1989, COPS is, as of 2008, in its 21st season, having outlasted all competing scripted police shows.
In 2007, according to the Learning and Skills Council, one in seven UK teenagers hopes to gain fame by appearing on reality television.[10]

In April 2008, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced it will give its very first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality Show or Reality Competition on September 21. "Reality television has become such an integral part of television and our culture, so it only made sense for us to create this new highly competitive category," TV academy Chairmen and CEO John Shaffner said in the announcement.
Reality television has the potential to turn its participants into national celebrities, at least for a short period. This is most notable in talent-search programs such as the Idol series, which has spawned music stars in many of the countries in which it has aired. Many other shows, however, such as Survivor and Big Brother, have made at least temporary celebrities out of their participants; some participants have then been able to parlay this fame into media careers. For example, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, a contestant on //Survivor: The Australian Outback//, later became a host on morning talk show //The View//; and Kristin Cavallari, who appeared on //Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County//, has gone on to become a television host and actress. Tiffany Pollard, originally a contestant on //Flavor of Love//, soon afterwards got her own series, the successful //I Love New York// and //I Love New York 2//. In Britain, Jade Goody became famous after appearing on //Big Brother 3// in 2002. She has since appeared on many other reality programs, and has launched bestselling books and a top-selling perfume line, among others.
Reality TV contestants are sometimes derided as "Z-list celebrities", who have done nothing to warrant their newfound fame.

NATURAL DISASTERS

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on December 26, 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake was caused by subduction and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing more than 225,000 people in eleven countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (100 feet) high. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand were hardest hit.
With a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3, it is the second largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. This earthquake had the longest duration of faulting ever observed, between 8.3 and 10 minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 cm (0.5 inches)[3] and triggered other earthquakes as far away as Alaska.[4] The disaster is known by the scientific community as the Great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake,[5] and is also known as the Asian Tsunami and the **Boxing Day** Tsunami.

The plight of the many affected people and countries prompted a widespread humanitarian response. In all, the worldwide community donated more than $7 billion (2004 U.S. dollars) in humanitarian aid.

Hurricane Katrina was the costliest and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States.[3] It was the sixth-strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the third-strongest hurricane on record that made landfall in the United States. Katrina formed on August 23 during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season and caused devastation along much of the north-central Gulf Coast. The most severe loss of life and property damage occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed, in many cases hours after the storm had moved inland.[4] The hurricane caused severe destruction across the entire Mississippi coast and into Alabama, as far as 100 miles (160 km) from the storm's center. In the 2005 Atlantic season, Katrina was the eleventh tropical storm, fifth hurricane, third major hurricane, and second Category 5 hurricane.
It formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005, and crossed southern Florida as a moderate Category 1 hurricane, causing some deaths and flooding there, before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico and becoming one of the strongest hurricanes on record while at sea. The storm weakened before making its second and third landfalls as a Category 3 storm on the morning of August 29 in southeast Louisiana and at the Louisiana/Mississippi state line, respectively.
The storm surge caused severe damage along the Gulf Coast, devastating the Mississippi cities of Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi, D'Iberville, Ocean Springs, Gautier, Moss Point, and Pascagoula. In Louisiana, the federal flood protection system in New Orleans failed in more than fifty places. Nearly every levee in metro New Orleans breached as Hurricane Katrina passed east of the city, subsequently flooding 80% of the city and many areas of neighboring parishes for weeks.[4]

At least 1,836 people lost their lives in Hurricane Katrina and in the subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane. The storm is estimated to have been responsible for $81.2 billion (2005 U.S. dollars) in damage, making it the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. The catastrophic failure of the flood protection in New Orleans prompted immediate review of the Army Corps of Engineers, which has, by congressional mandate, sole responsibility for design and construction of the flood protection and levee systems. There was also widespread criticism of the federal, state and local governments' reaction to the storm, which resulted in an investigation by the U.S. Congress, and the resignation of Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown. Conversely, the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service were widely commended for accurate forecasts and abundant lead time.[5]

The 2008 Sichuan earthquake, or "Great Sichuan Earthquake", which measured at 8.0 Ms[1][7][8] and 8.3 Mw[9] according to Chinese Earthquake Administration (CEA), and 7.9 Mw according to USGS, occurred at 14:28:01.42 CST (06:28:01.42 UTC)[10] on May 12, 2008 in Sichuan province of China. It was also known as the Wenchuan earthquake, after the earthquake's epicenter in Wenchuan County, Sichuan province. The epicenter was 80 kilometres (50 mi) west-northwest of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, with a depth of 19 kilometres (12 mi).[2] The earthquake was felt as far away as Beijing (1,500 kilometres (932 mi) away) and Shanghai (1,700 kilometres (1,056 mi) away), where office buildings swayed with the tremor.[11] The earthquake was also felt in nearby countries.
Official figures (as of July 6, 2008 12:00 CST) state that 69,197 are confirmed dead, including 68,636 in Sichuan province, and 374,176 injured, with 18,340 listed as missing.[6] The earthquake left about 4.8 million people homeless,[12] though the number could be as high as 11 million.[13] It is the deadliest and strongest earthquake to hit China since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, which killed at least 240,000 people. Approximately 15 million people lived in the affected area.



CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is any long-term significant change in the “average weather” that a given region experiences. Average weather may include average temperature, precipitation and wind patterns. It involves changes in the variability or average state of the atmosphere over durations ranging from decades to millions of years. These changes can be caused by dynamic processes on Earth, external forces including variations in sunlight intensity, and more recently by human activities.

Glaciers are recognized as being among the most sensitive indicators of climate change, advancing substantially during climate cooling (e.g., the Little Ice Age) and retreating during climate warming on moderate time scales. Glaciers grow and collapse, both contributing to natural variability and greatly amplifying externally forced changes. For the last century, however, glaciers have been unable to regenerate enough ice during the winters to make up for the ice lost during the summer months
Current studies indicate that radiative forcing by greenhouse gases is the primary cause of global warming. Greenhouse gases are also important in understanding Earth's climate history. According to these studies, the greenhouse effect, which is the warming produced as greenhouse gases trap heat, plays a key role in regulating Earth's temperature.
During the modern era, the naturally rising carbon dioxide levels are implicated as the primary cause of global warming since 1950
Anthropogenic factors are human activities that change the environment and influence climate. In some cases the chain of causality is direct and unambiguous (e.g., by the effects of irrigation on temperature and humidity), while in others it is less clear. Various hypotheses for human-induced climate change have been debated for many years, though it is important to note that the scientific debate has moved on from scepticism, as there is scientific consensus on climate change that human activity is beyond reasonable doubt as the main explanation for the current rapid changes in the world's climate.[4] Consequently in politics, the debate has largely shifted onto ways to reduce human impact and adapt to change that is already 'in the system.' [5]
The biggest factor of present concern is the increase in CO2 levels due to emissions from fossil fuel combustion, followed by aerosols (particulate matter in the atmosphere), which exert a cooling effect, and cement manufacture. Other factors, including land use, ozone depletion, animal agriculture[6] and deforestation, also affect climate.