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21st century

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Millennium: 3rd millennium
Decades: 2000s 2010s 2020s 2030s 2040s
2050s 2060s 2070s 2080s 2090s
Categories: Births – Deaths
Establishments – Disestablishments

The 21st century is the current century of the Anno Domini era or the Common Era, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. It is the first century of the 3rd millennium, beginning on January 1, 2001, and ending on December 31, 2100. Currently, 700112000000000000012 years and 7002116000000000000116 days of the 21st century have passed.

Early 21st century (2001–present)

In contemporary history, the 21st century began with the United States as the sole superpower in the absence of the Soviet Union, while China began its rapid rise to become itself a superpower and the BRIC countries aim to create more balance in the global political and economic spectrum. As the Cold War was over and terrorism on the rise, exemplified by the September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Centre in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, the United States and its allies turned their attention to the Middle East and North Africa.

Shanghai becomes a symbol of the recent economic boom of China.

Digital technology, in its early stages of mainstream use in the 1980s and 1990s, became widely accepted by most of the world, though concerns about stress from the overuse of mobile phones, the Internet and related technologies remains controversial.

In 2011, nearly 5 billion people globally (about 67% of the world's population) used mobile phones and about 2 billion people (about 28% of the world's population) used the Internet.


Among experts and the general public, there is a debate as to how specific years of the 21st century should be pronounced in English. Regarding this, academics suggested that since former years such as 1805 and 1905 were commonly pronounced as "eighteen oh" or "nineteen oh" five, the year 2005 should naturally have been pronounced as "twenty oh-five". A less common variation would have been "twenty nought-five". Generally, the early years of the 21st century were pronounced as "two-thousand and five", with a change taking place in 2010, where pronunciations often shift between the early-year standard of "two-thousand and ten" and the common approach used in the late 20th-century of "twenty-ten".

The Vancouver Olympics, which took place in 2010, was being officially referred to by Vancouver 2010 as "the twenty-ten olympics", while 2011 and 2013 are popular as well. The latest timeframes for change are usually placed at 2020.

According to The Stanley Kubrick archives, in the press release for his film 2001: A Space Odyssey, film director Stanley Kubrick included specific instructions for journalists to refer to the movie as "two thousand and one" instead of the commonplace pronunciation of "twenty-oh-one". Kubrick said he did this in the hope that if the film became popular, it would influence the pronunciation of that year.

Transitions and changes

The Digital Revolution continues into the early 21st century. Steve Jobs is shown here holding the first generation Apple iPad.

Revolutions of the early 21st century thus far include the Environmental Revolution and the Revolutions of 2011 (also known as the Arab Spring) that began in Arab countries. The Digital Revolution which began around the 1980s also continues into the present. The world population began the century at 6.1 billion and grew to about 7 billion within a decade. The youngest Millennials having been born at the turn of the century give way to the rise of the Homeland Generation in Western countries, which remains the true current 21st Century generation.

Politics and wars

Genocide still remains a problem in the century with the concern of the war in Darfur and the growing concern in Sri Lanka. Low estimates on the deaths in Darfur stand around 200,000 deaths with 2.5 million in displacement, there has been much outcry against the perpetrators, the Sudanese government, and the very weak international response. Also controversies from past genocides remain commonplace in the minds of victims and average people alike.

  • 1998–2002 – The Second Congo War continued into the early 21st century. A 1999 ceasefire quickly broke down and a UN peacekeeping mission, MONUC, was unable to control the fighting. Troops from Rwanda and Uganda continued to support rebel groups against the Democratic Republic of the Congo and rifts also grew between Rwanda and Uganda as they accused each other of supporting rival rebel groups as well. Laurent Kabila, president of the DRC, was assassinated in January 2001 and his son, Joseph Kabila, took power. Throughout 2002 steps were made towards peace and Rwanda and Uganda both removed their troops from the country. On December 17, 2002, a massive treaty officially ended the war. However, the DRC only holds power in less than half of the country, with most of the eastern and northern portions still controlled by rebel groups, where there is still significant infighting. In addition, Rwanda still supports anti-DRC rebels and anti-Rwandan rebels continue to operate from the DRC. The war killed an estimated 3.9 million people, displaced nearly 5.5 million, and led to a widespread and ongoing famine that continues to result in deaths. Severe human rights violations continue to be reported.
  • 2001 – George W. Bush became the second president of the United States to be the son of a former president when he was inaugurated on January 20, 2001.
  • 2001 – Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners and crashed two of them into the World Trade Centre, one into the Pentagon and one into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania of the United States on September 11, killing nearly 3,000 people. The United States subsequently declared a War on Terrorism.
  • 2001–present – The U.S. and NATO invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, and overthrew the Al-Qaeda-supportive Taliban government. Troops remained to install a democratic government, fight a slowly escalating insurgency, and to hunt for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who was killed by American troops nearly 10 years later, on May 2, 2011.
  • 2002 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established on July 1.
  • 2002 – on 10 September Switzerland becomes a member of the United Nations.
  • 2002 – on 27 September Timor-Leste becomes a member of the United Nations.
  • 2002 – A series of bombings carried out by Islamic terrorists killed 202 people at the resort of Kuta, Bali, Indonesia on October 12.
  • 2003–present – In February 2003, a conflict in Darfur, Sudan, began and soon escalated into full-scale war. By 2008 it was believed that up to 400,000 people had been killed and over 2.5 million displaced. In 2005, the ICC decided that Darfur war criminals would be tried, and on July 14, 2008, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir was charged with 5 accounts of crimes against humanity and 2 accounts of war crimes, although the ICC has no power to enforce these charges.
  • 2003–2010 – The U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003, and overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein (who was executed by the Iraqi government on December 30, 2006). Coalition troops remain in the country to install a democratic government and fight an escalating insurgency. In addition to an insurgency against the American presence, Iraq also suffered from a civil war for several years. The war was soon seen as the central front of the War on Terror by many governments, despite growing international dissatisfaction with the war. The total death toll has been estimated at near 150,000 but these estimations are highly disputed, with one highly disputed study guessing even over 1 million. After the U.S.-led coalition initiated a troop surge in 2007, casualty numbers have decreased significantly. Combat ended, at least officially, in August 2010.
  • 2003–2005 – A series of nonviolent revolutions known as the colour revolutions overthrew governments in Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Lebanon.
  • 2004 – The European Union expanded by 10 countries, including 8 former communist countries, plus Malta and Cyprus.
    Various scenes from the 2005 civil unrest in France. The riots renewed debate over France's failure to integrate millions of immigrants.
  • 2004 – On March 11, bombings carried out by Islamic terrorists killed 191 people on the commuter rail system of Madrid, Spain.
  • 2005 – A series of bombings carried out by Islamic terrorists killed 56 people in London on July 7.
  • 2005 – Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip on September 11.
  • 2005 – Pope John Paul II dies and Joseph Ratzinger is elected as Pope Benedict XVI.
  • 2006–2008 – The dismantling of former Yugoslavia continued after Montenegro gained independence on June 3, 2006, and Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008. However, Kosovo's independence was disputed by Russia and many of its allies and was only partially recognized.
  • 2006 – On June 28 Montenegro becomes a member of the United Nations.
  • 2006 – On July 12, Hezbollah crossed the border of Lebanon and captured two Israeli troops. Israel responded by sending troops across the border and bombing Hezbollah strongholds, while Hezbollah fired missiles on towns in northern Israel, approximately 6 each day. At the end of the war 300–450 Lebanese civilians, 600 Hezbolla troops, 44 Israeli civilians and 121 Israeli soldiers died. A ceasefire was signed on August 14, after which Israeli troops withdrew from Lebanon. Many military sources in Israel have warned about the danger of a new Israeli-Lebanese conflict back in the year 2000, when Israel has withdrawn from Lebanon.
  • 2006 – On July 11, bombs planted on the train system in Mumbai exploded, killing 209 people.
  • 2006 – North Korea conducted its first nuclear test on October 9. This was preceded by years of political wrangling with the U.S. over the status of their nuclear program.
  • 2007 – Nepal transforms into the newest democratic state in the world after centuries old monarchy is overthrown on 15 January 2007.
  • 2007 – A civil war escalated in the Gaza Strip throughout June, which resulted in Hamas eventually driving most Fatah-loyal forces from the Strip. In reaction, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas dismissed Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and dissolved the Hamas-ruled parliament. Scattered conflict continues.
In 2009, Barack Obama became the first African-American president of the United States.
  • 2007 – Pratibha Patil becomes the first woman to be elected President of India.
  • 2008 – (February 17th), 15:39 – The Republic of Kosovo declared its independence
  • 2008 – Nepal becomes the youngest republic of the world by transforming from a constitutional monarchy to a socialist republic on May 28, 2008.
  • 2008 – Armed conflict broke out in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and the Russian Federation together with Ossetians and Abkhazians on the other. Russia officially recognized independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
  • 2008 – A Series of Coordinated Terrorist Attacks by Islamic terrorists on November 26 – November 29 in Mumbai 2008 Mumbai attacks killed 154 people and injured more than 308.
  • 2009 – North Korea tests a second nuclear device.
  • 2010 – Polish president Lech Kaczynski and 95 others died in an air disaster in western Russia while en route to a ceremony commemorating the genocide of Polish officers at Katyn in 1940. Investigations into the accident are still ongoing.
  • 2010 – The birth of the Arab Spring, on December 17, when several people begin protesting against the Tunisian government.
  • 2011 – The President of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, resigns, on January 14, after protests against his regime erupt.
  • 2011 – The President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, resigns, on February 11, after 18 days of protests, against his regime.
  • 2011 – The Leader of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, who was responsible for the development of the plans for the September 11 attacks, is killed in a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan by Seal Team 6 of U.S. military Special Forces on May 2, 2011.
  • 2011 – The shutdown of the largest UK tabloid News of the World after 168 years in print due to the 2009 phone hacking scandal.
  • 2011 – On July 14 South Sudan becomes a member of the United Nations.
  • 2011 – On October 21 deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed by the National Liberation Army of Libya.
  • 2011 – On December 15, the Iraq War was declared formally over.
  • 2011 – The death of the supreme leader of North Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong-il, on December 17 during a train journey.
  • 2012 – On February 27, the President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, resigns after protests.
  • 2012 – On March 22, the President of Mali, Amadou Toumani Toure, is ousted in a coup d'état.
  • 2012 – On April 2, the President of Hungary, Pal Schmitt, resigns after losing a doctorate in a plagiarism scandal.
  • 2012 – On April 6, the new Nation of Azawad declared its independence from Mali.
  • 2012 – There was a widespread belief about a possible doomsday predicted on December 21 based on the end of the Mayan Long-count Calendar. There were no reports of mass calamity and NASA has officially denied any possible astronomical causes of catastrophes.
  • 2013 – Pope Benedict XVI resigns on February 28.
  • 2013 – North Korea tests a third nuclear device and a space vector. All peace pacts with South Korea are broken.
  • 2013 – France conducts military operations to restore peace in Mali. The Islamist forces retreat and new elections are summoned.
  • 2013 – President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez dies aged 58 due to prostatic cancer.
  • 2013 – Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected as new pope on March, 13. He will be called Pope Francis.
  • 2013 – Park Geun-hye is elected President of South Korea, the first woman to hold the position.
  • 2013 – PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan declares ended the armed revolt of the Kurdish people against Turkey and marks the beginning of the democratic struggle to reach a new Kurdish nation.
  • 2013 – The President of the Central African Republic, Francois Bozize is ousted in a coup d'ètat by rebels, who form a new government.
  • 2013 - The Country of North Korea breaks off any peaceful relations with South Korea and threatens to declare war on the United States and bomb Guam, South Korea, and Japan.

New countries

South Sudan gained its independence on July 9, 2011.
Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008.

Some territories have gained independence during the 21st century. This is a list of sovereign states that have gained independence in the 21st century and have been recognized by a majority of foreign governments.

These countries have declared independence and secured relative autonomy but they have only been recognized by a minority of UN states:

Science and technology

The People's Republic of China completed two major milestones in space exploration during the 21st century so far with a manned space launch and EVA.

Space exploration

  • 2001 – Dennis Tito becomes the first space tourist by paying $19 million to board the International Space Station.
  • 2003 – Space Shuttle Columbia disaster February 1.
  • 2003 – The Chinese space program launches its first manned space flight, Shenzhou 5, on October 15. This made China the third country in the world to have indigenous manned space capability.
  • 2004 – Mars Exploration Rovers land on Mars; Opportunity discovers evidence that an area of Mars was once covered in water.
  • 2004 – SpaceShipOne makes the first privately funded human spaceflight, June 21
  • 2005 – The Huygens probe lands on Titan, the largest of Saturn's moons, January 14.
  • 2005 - The New Horizons probe is launched to Pluto.
  • 2006 – Pluto is reclassified from a planet to a dwarf planet, leaving the solar system with eight planets.
  • 2007 – China launches its first lunar mission with the Chang'e 1 on October 24.
  • 2008 – Chinese space program launches its third manned space flight carrying its first three-person crew and conducts its first spacewalk that makes China the third nation after Russia and USA to do that, Shenzhou 7, on September 25.
  • 2008 - Phoenix discovers water ice on Mars
  • 2009 – Iran launches its first satellite, Omid, on February 2.
  • 2009 – The Indian Space Research Organisation discovers water on the Moon.
  • 2011 – NASA launches Atlantis marking an end to its three-decade shuttle program.
  • 2012 – The 50th successful launch in a row for the European launcher Ariane 5, on August 2.
  • 2012 – SpaceX successfully delivers cargo to the International Space Station, private exploration of space begins.
  • 2012 – Nasa successfully lands the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars.


  • 2003 - WMAP observations of the cosmic microwave background.
  • 2010 - The Large Hadron Collider's first high power collisions took place in March 2010.
  • 2012 - European physicists have statistically demonstrated the existence of the Higgs boson.


  • 2002 - Grigori Perelman posted the first of a series of eprints to the arXiv, in which he proved the Poincaré conjecture, the first of the Millennium Prize Problems to be solved.


  • 2003 – Completion of the Human Genome Project
  • 2003 – Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spreads around the globe.
  • 2005 – The first successful partial face transplant is performed in France.
  • 2006 – Australian of the Year Dr Ian Frazer develops a vaccine for cervical cancer.
  • 2008 – Japanese scientists create a form of artificial DNA.
  • 2009 – Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 spreads around the globe.
  • 2012 – The first successful complete face transplant is performed in Turkey.
  • 2012 – Doubts raised over Statin medication.
  • 2013 - First baby cured of HIV in the US.

Storage and mediums

  • DVD technology replaces the VCR in the start of the 21st century.
  • Blu-ray technology emerges.
  • Compact Discs succeed Cassettes, and became rapidly removed by digital downloads.
  • High Definition Television is replacing Standard definition
  • 3D technology becomes popular in the late 1990s and early 2010s.
  • The World Wide Web and websites becomes a major new medium for storing files and information.
  • Since the introduction of smartphones and tablets with 3G and 4G, mobile devices are connected with the internet.

Social technology

  • The Digital Revolution continued into the early 21st century with mobile usage and Internet access growing massively in the early 21st century. By the 2010s, the majority of people in the developed world had Internet access and the majority of people worldwide had a mobile phone.
  • The World Wide Web continues to rise in popularity and Social Networking emerges in the early 21st century as a popular social communication. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are all major examples of social websites to gain widespread popularity.


AIDS which emerged in the 1980s continued to spread yet more treatment of AIDS made the disease less of a deadly threat. A cure was still not found in the '00s despite expectations. Same-sex marriage began to emerge as legal. In 2001 the Netherlands became the first nation in the world to legalize this type of marriage. The 2000s (decade) saw significant change surrounding this social issue and the change continued into the 2010s.

The early 21st century was marked by the Arab Spring, a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world that began in December 2010.

By the beginning of the 21st century the social issue of racism was seeing change as rights of other nationalities in other nations increased; as can be seen by the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. This event takes place only two centuries after African-Americans were considered to be second class citizens or even slaves.


  • The world population was about 6.1 billion at the start of the 21st century.
  • The world population reached 7 billion in October 2011, and is increasing at a rate of 78 million per year.

Civil unrest

  • Anti-globalization protests in Prague
  • Protests against the Iraq War
  • February 15, 2003 Iraq anti-war protest
  • 2004-2005 Orange Revolution in Ukraine
  • 2005 civil unrest in France
  • 2007 Georgian demonstrations
  • 2008 Tibetan unrest
  • Tea Party protests
  • 2009 G-20 London summit protests
  • 2009–2010 Iranian election protests
  • 2010 G-20 Toronto summit protests
  • 2010 UK student protests
  • 2010–2011 Greek protests
  • Arab Spring
  • Tunisian revolution
    Peaceful protests in Madrid. In August 2011, Spain's unemployment reached 21.2% (46.2% for youths).
  • 2011 Egyptian revolution
  • 2011 Egyptian Post-Revolution protests
  • Impact of the Arab Spring
  • 2011 Iranian protests
  • 2011 Libyan civil war
  • Syrian civil war
  • 2011 United Kingdom anti-austerity protests
  • 2011 London anti-cuts protest
  • Spanish "Indignants"
  • 2011 England riots
  • 2011 Chilean protests
  • 2011 Israeli social justice protests
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • 15 October 2011 global protests
  • Worldwide "Occupy" Protests
  • 2011–2012 Russian protests
  • Bersih 3.0 rally
  • 2012 Catalan independence demonstration
  • Yo Soy 132

Linguistic diversity

As of 2009, SIL Ethnologue catalogued 6909 living human languages. The exact number of known living languages will vary from 5,000 to 10,000, depending generally on the precision of one's definition of "language", and in particular on how one classifies dialects.

Estimates vary depending on many factors but the general consensus is that there are between 6000 and 7000 languages currently spoken, and that between 50-90% of those will have become extinct by the year 2100. The top 20 languages spoken by more than 50 million speakers each, are spoken by 50% of the world's population, whereas many of the other languages are spoken by small communities, most of them with less than 10,000 speakers.


Natural disasters

The tsunami striking Ao Nang in Thailand on December 26, 2004.


  • 2001 Gujarat Earthquake – An earthquake in Gujarat, India on January 26, 2001 killed approximately 20,000.
  • 2001 El Salvador Earthquake – 7.9 earthquake in El Salvador shook the whole country on January 13, 2001, causing a major devastating landslide, hundreds dead, thousands injured and many homeless. A month later, on February 13, 2001 the country suffered a second earthquake – 6.7
  • 2003 European heat wave – Approximately 30,000 people were killed across Europe in a summer long heat wave.
  • 2003 Bam earthquake – An earthquake in Bam, Iran on December 27, 2003, killed more than 26,000.
  • 2004 Hurricane Jeanne – Over 3,000 people are killed by Hurricane Jeanne in Haiti in September 2004.
  • 2004 Asian Tsunami – On December 26, 2004, a massive undersea earthquake resulted in a massive tsunami striking southeast Asia killing approximately 230,000.
  • 2005 Hurricane Katrina – The hurricane killed 1,836 in southeast Louisiana and Mississippi (mostly in New Orleans). A significant portion of the city, most of which sits below sea level, was submerged. Damages reached US$81.5 billion, making Katrina the costliest tropical cyclone recorded.
  • 2005 Kashmir earthquake An earthquake in Kashmir on October 8, 2005, killed at least 74,500 in India and Pakistan
  • 2008 Cyclone Nagris – lead to catastrophic storm surge, leading to a death toll in excess of 100,000 and making millions homeless.
  • 2008 Sichuan earthquake – An earthquake between 7.9 and 8.0-magnitude struck Sichuan, China, on May 12, 2008, killing 68,712, with 17,921 missing.
  • 2009 Black Saturday bushfires - The Black Saturday bushfires were a series of bushfires that ignited or were burning across the Australian state of Victoria, Australia on and around Saturday, February 7 2009. The fires occurred during extreme bushfire-weather conditions and resulted in Australia's highest ever loss of life from a bushfire; 173 people died and 414 were injured.
  • 2009 L'Aquila earthquake – A 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes near L'Aquila (Italy) on April 6, 2009, one of the worst in Italian history. 308 were pronounced dead and more than 65,000 were made homeless.
  • 2009 flu pandemic – A worldwide outbreak of Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 spread around the world forming a pandemic by June 2009.


The eye of Hurricane Irene as viewed from the International Space Station on August 24, 2011
  • 2010 Haiti earthquake – At least 230,000 are killed in Haiti after a massive earthquake on January 12, 2010. As of late February 2010, the death toll is expected to rise. Three million people were made homeless.
  • 2010 Chile earthquake – A massive earthquake, magnitude 8.8, strikes the central Chilean coast on February 27, 2010.
  • 2010 Yushu earthquake – A large 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the Yushu region of China in Qinghai near Tibet, on April 14, 2010, killing over 2200 people.
  • 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull – A massive ash cloud is formed by the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, on April 14, 2010, grounding flights across northwest Europe. Scientists began recording volcanic activity there in 2009 which increased through March 2010 culminating in the second phase eruption in April.
  • 2010 Pakistan floods – Began in July 2010 after record heavy monsoon rains. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan was worst affected. At least 1,600 people were killed, thousands were rendered homeless, and more than thirteen million people were affected. Estimates from rescue service officials suggest the death toll may reach 3,000 victims.
  • 2011 Queensland floods – Began in December 2010 primarily in Queensland. The flood causes thousands of people to evacuate. At least 200,000 people were affected by the flood. The flood continued throughout January 2011 in Queensland, and the estimated reduction in Australia's GDP is about A$30 billion.
  • Cyclone Yasi - A category 5 (Australian Scale) cyclone hits North Queenland with winds as strong as 290 km/hr (197 miles/hr) and devastates the residents of North Queensland.
  • February 2011 Christchurch earthquake – New Zealand's prime minister says 181 people have died after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch on February 22, 2011, making it New Zealand's second-deadliest natural disaster after the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.
  • 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami – On March 11, 2011, a catastrophic undersea earthquake of magnitude 9.0 occurred offshore of eastern Japan, the greatest in the country's history and created a massive tsunami which killed over 15,000; it also triggered the Fukushima I nuclear accidents. The overall cost for the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accidents could reach $300 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster on record.
  • April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak – Regarded as the deadliest tornado outbreak ever recorded and dubbed the 2011 Super Outbreak, a catastrophic tornado outbreak on April 25–28 affected the Southern United States and killed over 330 people, most of whom were in or from Alabama. Damages are expected to be near or over $10 billion.
  • 2011 Joplin Tornado – On May 22, 2011, a devastating EF5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri resulting in 159 casualties, making it the deadliest tornado to hit the United States since 1947.
  • Tropical Storm Washi - Locally known as Sendong, it caused catastrophic flooding in the Philippine island of Mindanao on the night of December 16, 2011. The hardest hits were in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City. Almost 1000 people perished, most of whom were sleeping, and President Benigno Aquino III declared a state of calamity four days later.
  • Hurricane Sandy – October 24 – 30 2012 – kills at least 185 people in the Caribbean, Bahamas, United States and Canada. Considerable storm surge damage causes major disruption to the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Man-made disasters

  • On July 27, 2002, a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter crashes at an air show in Ukraine, killing 85 and injuring more than 100, making it the worst air show disaster in history.
  • On February 1, 2003, at the conclusion of the STS-107 mission, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during reentry over Texas, killing all seven astronauts on board.
  • The Black Saturday bushfires – the deadliest bushfires in Australian history took place across the Australian state of Victoria on February 7, 2009 during extreme bushfire-weather conditions, resulting in 173 people killed, more than 500 injured, and around 7,500 homeless. The fires came after Melbourne recorded the highest-ever temperature (46.4°C, 115°F) of any capital city in Australia. The majority of the fires were ignited by either fallen or clashing power lines or deliberately lit.
  • On April 10, 2010, Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and 95 other people, including dozens of government officials are killed in a plane crash.
  • On April 20, 2010 an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, operating in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, left eleven crewmen dead and resulted in a fire that sank the rig and caused a massive-scale oil spill that may become one of the worst environmental disasters in United States history. On June 18, 2010 oceanographer John Kessler said that the crude gushing from the well contains 40 percent methane, compared to about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits. Methane is a natural gas that could potentially suffocate marine life and create "dead zones" where oxygen is so depleted that nothing lives. "This is the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history," Kessler said. On June 20 an internal BP document was released by Congress revealing that BP estimated the flow could be as much as 100,000 barrels (4,200,000 US gallons; 16,000 cubic metres) per day under the circumstances that existed since the April 20 blowout.


At the start of the 21st century sports were very popular. The IOC's Modern Olympic Games was the most viewed sporting event. Association football is the most popular sport worldwide with the FIFA World Cup the most viewed football event. Other sports such as Rugby, American football, Basketball, Tennis and Golf were popular globally. In cricket the emergence of the Twenty20 format as well as the creation of the Indian Premier League led to changes in the nature of the sport. American swimmer Michael Phelps won an Olympic record setting 8 Gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The Beijing Birds Nest Stadium during the 2008 Summer Olympics.

International tournaments

Modern Olympic Games

Association Football

  • 2001 Copa América was won by host country Colombia.
  • 2002 FIFA World Cup was held in Japan & South Korea - the first Asian countries to hold this tournament - and won by Brazil.
  • Euro 2004 was held in Portugal and won by Greece.
  • 2004 Copa América was held in Peru and won by Brazil.
  • 2005 FIFA Club World Cup is won by São Paulo FC.
  • 2006 FIFA World Cup was held in Germany and won by Italy.
  • 2006 FIFA Club World Cup is won by SC Internacional.
  • 2007 Copa América was held in Venezuela and won by Brazil.
  • 2007 FIFA Club World Cup is won by AC Milan.
  • Euro 2008 was held in Austria & Switzerland and won by Spain.
  • 2008 FIFA Club World Cup is won by Manchester United.
  • 2009 FIFA Club World Cup is won by Barcelona.
  • 2010 FIFA World Cup was held in South Africa - the first African nation to hold this tournament - and won by Spain.
  • 2010 FIFA Club World Cup is won by Inter Milan.
  • 2011 Copa América was held in Argentina and won by Uruguay.
  • 2011 FIFA Club World Cup is won by Barcelona.
  • Euro 2012 was held in Poland and Ukraine and won by Spain.
  • 2012 FIFA Club World Cup is won by Corinthians
  • 2014 FIFA World Cup will be held in Brazil.
  • Euro 2016 will be held in France.
  • 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia – the first Eastern European country to hold this tournament.
  • 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held in Qatar – the first Middle Eastern country to hold this tournament.


  • Usain Bolt broke various world records, including in the 100 meter dash at the 2009 World Championships, setting the record of 9.58 seconds.
  • A record low number of Athletes failing drug tests occurred in 2008 for Athletes, with only one recordedly failing a drug test in the Women's Long Jump.


  • Michael Phelps won six gold medals in the 2004 Summer Olympics, a record eight in the 2008 Summer Olympics (some of those medals coming from split-second wins), and his final four in the 2012 Summer Olympics, making him the most decorate Olympian of all time.


  • 2003 Cricket World Cup is won by Australia.
  • 2007 Cricket World Cup is won by Australia.
  • 2007 Twenty20 World Cup is won by India.
  • 2009 Twenty20 World Cup is won by Pakistan.
  • 2010 Twenty20 World Cup is won by England.
  • 2011 Cricket World Cup is won by India.
  • 2012 Twenty20 World Cup is won by West Indies
  • 2015 Cricket World Cup – will be hosted by both Australia and New Zealand.
  • 2019 Cricket World Cup – will be hosted by both England and Wales.


  • 2001 Tour de France – started in Dunkerque, France (winner United States Lance Armstrong [since negated]).
  • 2002 Tour de France – started in Luxembourg (winner United States Lance Armstrong [since negated]).
  • 2003 Tour de France – started in Paris, France (winner United States Lance Armstrong [since negated]).
  • 2004 Tour de France – started in Liège, Belgium (winner United States Lance Armstrong [since negated]).
  • 2005 Tour de France – started in Vendée, France (winner United States Lance Armstrong [since negated]).
  • 2006 Tour de France – started in Strasbourg, France (winner Spain Oscar Pereiro).
  • 2007 Tour de France – started in London, United Kingdom (winner Spain Alberto Contador).
  • 2008 Tour de France – started in France Brest, France (winner Spain Carlos Sastre).
  • 2009 Tour de France – started in Monaco, Monaco (winner Spain Alberto Contador).
  • 2010 Tour de France – started in Rotterdam, Netherlands (winner Luxembourg Andy Schleck).
  • 2011 Tour de France – started in Vendée, France (winner Australia Cadel Evans).
  • 2012 Tour de France – started in Liège, Belgium (winner United Kingdom Bradley Wiggins).

Rugby Union

Tennis (Men)

  • Both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal completed a Career Grand Slam, winning the singles championships in the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open; Nadal also won the Olympic Singles gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics to complete a Golden Career Slam.
  • At the 2010 Wimbledon Championships, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut completed the longest tennis match in history. Isner won 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(7), 7–6(3), 70–68.
  • Rafael Nadal becomes the first male player to lose three consecutive Grand Slam finals, all to Novak Djokovic, from the 2011 Wimbledon Championships to the 2012 Australian Open inclusive.

Tennis (Women)

  • Serena Williams wins five Australian Opens (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010).
  • In a major upset at the 2004 Wimbledon Championships, then-unknown 17-year-old Maria Sharapova defeated Serena Williams 6–1, 6–4 to become the second youngest player ever to win Wimbledon.
  • Maria Sharapova became the first female Russian player to reach No.1 on August 22, 2005.
  • In her comeback to the sport after becoming a mother, Kim Clijsters wins three Grand Slams - two US Opens (2009 and 2010) and the 2011 Australian Open. She had previously won the 2005 U.S. Open.
  • China's Li Na won the 2011 French Open, becoming the first player, male or female, from that country to win a Grand Slam.
  • Belarusian Victoria Azarenka won the 2012 Australian Open, becoming the first player, male or female, from that country to win a Grand Slam, and also hold the No.1 ranking (taking over from Caroline Wozniacki).


  • Ralph Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (Dale Earnhardt) passes away after a last-lap crash during the Daytona 500 in February 2001.
  • Lewis Hamilton becomes the first black Formula One champion in history
  • Mark Webber became the first Australian since Alan Jones in 1980 to win a Formula One race at the 2009 German Grand Prix.
  • Sebastian Vettel breaks numerous records on his way to becoming Formula One's youngest ever world champion, in 2010 at age 23, and then the youngest ever double world champion, in 2011 at age 24.
  • Michael Schumacher announces his comeback to Formula One after three years out of the sport, in 2010. He has not won a Formula One race since the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix.
  • Casey Stoner wins his second MotoGP world title (2007 and 2011) before announcing his retirement from the sport at just 27 years of age, citing disagreement with the direction of the sport and a desire to spend more time with his family. His retirement is effective at the end of the 2012 MotoGP season. Stoner has won every MotoGP-branded race at least once.


  • The 2002 Ryder Cup was won by Europe 15 and a half to USA's 12 and a half.
  • The 2004 Ryder Cup was won by Europe 18 and a half to USA's 9 and a half.
  • The 2006 Ryder Cup was won by Europe again 18 and a half to USA's 9 and a half.
  • The 2008 Ryder Cup and last this decade was won by USA 16 and a half to Europe's 11 and a half.
  • The 2010 Ryder Cup was won by Europe 14 and a half to USA's 13 and a half.
  • The 2012 Ryder Cup was won by Europe 14 and a half to USA's 13 and a half.

Wheelchair DanceSport

  • Wheelchair DanceSport is continuing to increases in importance worldwide and is now recognized as an official international paralympic sport.
  • Periodically are organized regional competitions, World championships (for example 2010 in Hannover) and European championships.

Club Sports

AFL (Australian Rules Football)

  • 2001 AFL Grand Final – Brisbane Lions def. Essendon
  • 2002 AFL Grand Final – Brisbane Lions def. Collingwood
  • 2003 AFL Grand Final – Brisbane Lions def. Collingwood
  • 2004 AFL Grand Final – Port Adelaide def. Brisbane Lions
  • 2005 AFL Grand Final – Sydney Swans def. West Coast Eagles
  • 2006 AFL Grand Final – West Coast Eagles def. Sydney Swans
  • 2007 AFL Grand Final – Geelong def. Port Adelaide
  • 2008 AFL Grand Final – Hawthorn def. Geelong
  • 2009 AFL Grand Final – Geelong def. St Kilda
  • 2010 AFL Grand Final – Collingwood def. St. Kilda
  • 2011 AFL Grand Final – Geelong def. Collingwood
  • 2012 AFL Grand Final – Sydney Swans def. Hawthorn


  • 2001 NBA Finals – Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • 2002 NBA Finals – Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Jersey Nets.
  • 2003 NBA Finals – San Antonio Spurs defeated the New Jersey Nets.
  • 2004 NBA Finals – Detroit Pistons defeated the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • 2005 NBA Finals – San Antonio Spurs defeated the Detroit Pistons.
  • 2006 NBA Finals – Miami Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks.
  • 2007 NBA Finals – San Antonio Spurs defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • 2008 NBA Finals – Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • 2009 NBA Finals – Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic.
  • 2010 NBA Finals – Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics.
  • 2011 NBA Finals – Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat.
  • 2012 NBA Finals – Miami Heat defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Major League Baseball

  • 2001 World Series – Arizona Diamondbacks def. New York Yankees.
  • 2002 World Series – Anaheim Angels def. San Francisco Giants.
  • 2003 World Series – Florida Marlins def. New York Yankees.
  • 2004 World Series – Boston Red Sox def. St. Louis Cardinals.
  • 2005 World Series – Chicago White Sox def. Houston Astros.
  • 2006 World Series – St. Louis Cardinals def. Detroit Tigers.
  • 2007 World Series – Boston Red Sox def. Colorado Rockies.
  • 2008 World Series – Philadelphia Phillies def. Tampa Bay Rays.
  • 2009 World Series – New York Yankees def. Philadelphia Phillies.
  • 2010 World Series – San Francisco Giants def. Texas Rangers.
  • 2011 World Series – St. Louis Cardinals def. Texas Rangers.
  • 2012 World Series – San Francisco Giants def. Detroit Tigers.

National Rugby League

  • 2001 NRL season – Newcastle Knights 30 def. Parramatta Eels 24
  • 2002 NRL season – Sydney Roosters 30 def. New Zealand Warriors 8
  • 2003 NRL season – Penrith Panthers 18 def. Sydney Roosters 6
  • 2004 NRL season – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16 def. Sydney Roosters 13
  • 2005 NRL season – Wests Tigers 30 def. North Queensland Cowboys 16
  • 2006 NRL season – Brisbane Broncos 15 def. Melbourne Storm 8
  • 2007 NRL season – Melbourne Storm* 34 def. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 8
  • 2008 NRL season – Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 40 def. Melbourne Storm 0
  • 2009 NRL season – Melbourne Storm* 23 def. Parramatta Eels 16
  • 2010 NRL season – St. George Illawarra Dragons 32 def. Sydney Roosters 8
  • 2011 NRL season – Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24 def. New Zealand Warriors 10
  • 2012 NRL season – Melbourne Storm 14 def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 4
    • In 2002, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs were stripped of 37 competition points and fined $500,000 for breaching the salary cap.
    • In 2010, the Melbourne Storm were stripped of their 2007 & 2009 premierships and other titles won between 2006–2010 for breaching the salary cap.

American Football

  • 2001 Super Bowl XXXV – Baltimore Ravens defeated the New York Giants.
  • 2002 Super Bowl XXXVI – New England Patriots defeated the St Louis Rams.
  • 2003 Super Bowl XXXVII – Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Oakland Raiders.
  • 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII – New England Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers.
  • 2005 Super Bowl XXXIX – New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • 2006 Super Bowl XL Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks.
  • 2007 Super Bowl XLI – Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chicago Bears.
  • 2008 Super Bowl XLII – New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots.
  • 2009 Super Bowl XLIII – Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals.
  • 2010 Super Bowl XLIV – New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts.
  • 2011 Super Bowl XLV – Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • 2012 Super Bowl XLVI – New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots.
  • 2013 Super Bowl XLVII – Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers.

National Hockey League

  • 2001 Stanley Cup – Colorado Avalanche defeated the New Jersey Devils.
  • 2002 Stanley Cup – Detroit Red Wings defeated the Carolina Hurricanes.
  • 2003 Stanley Cup – New Jersey Devils defeated the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
  • 2004 Stanley Cup – Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames.
  • 2005 Stanley Cup – Season cancelled due to labour dispute.
  • 2006 Stanley Cup – Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Edmonton Oilers.
  • 2007 Stanley Cup – Anaheim Ducks defeated the Ottawa Senators.
  • 2008 Stanley Cup – Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • 2009 Stanley Cup – Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings.
  • 2010 Stanley Cup – Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • 2011 Stanley Cup – Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks.
  • 2012 Stanley Cup – Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils.

Economics and industry

  • The Late-2000s financial crisis continues to affect the economy worldwide .
  • The European sovereign-debt crisis sends Europe's economy into decline, having a major effect on European politics.
  • Developing countries make up for 97% of the world's growth, and industrialization leads to the rapid rise of BRIC economies, producing less of an American-lead hegemony in the world economy.
  • Many American auto brands have been phased out such as Plymouth by Chrysler in 2001 and Oldsmobile by General Motors in 2004, Pontiac and Saturn by General Motors in 2010 and Mercury by Ford in 2010.
  • The Dow Jones reaches record highs on Wall Street on in March 2013.


Entertainment during the 21st century had evolved from the same types of entertainment which emerged around the middle of the 20th century. Sports, films, music, TV series' and books remained popular into the early 21st century but new forms of entertainment including social networking & internet accessed videos became popular. The most popular mediums of entertainment in the first decade at least were via televisions, the internet, CDs, DVDs and paper. Digital information begins to complete its succession over analog information and storage techniques.

Mark Zuckerberg co-created Facebook in his Harvard dorm room.


  • 2003 – The first edition of Final Cut Pro is released of which series would soon become very popular in the film industry.
  • 2004 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ties the record for most Academy Award wins for a single film (11).
  • 2004 – Downfall, a film depicting the final ten days of Adolf Hitler's life, is released in Germany. The film would then become famous worldwide through countless Internet parodies.
  • 2009 – Release of Avatar, the world's highest grossing film.
  • 2010s – Increasing use of 3D Camera Technology.
  • 2010 – Release of the third installment of the Toy Story franchise becomes the world's highest grossing animated film, making over 1 billion dollars in the box-office.
  • 2011 – Completion of the Harry Potter film series.
  • 2012 - Beginning of Hunger Games trilogy with the Hunger Games (movie).
  • 2012 – Disney buys Lucasfilm for $3 billion thus gaining control of Star Wars


A. R. Rahman, an Indian composer became the first ever from the sub-continent to have won double Oscars for his Original score and soundtrack in 2009.
  • 2012 – Return of boy bands and teen pop such as Justin Bieber, One Direction, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Rebecca Black.
  • 2011 – Return of British Invasion such as Amy Winehouse, Adele, Florence + The Machine and Ellie Goulding.
  • 2010s – Popularity of house, electro house, dance, hip house music David Guetta, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Afrojack.
  • 2010s – Popularity of outrageous outfits Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Katy Perry.
  • 2010s – Popularity of Dubstep and various other Electronic Genres such as Skrillex, Deadmau5 and Knife Party.
  • 2010s – Popularity of more conservative, alternative hip-hop such as Nicki Minaj, Pitbull.
  • 2010s – Popularity of pop country music such as Taylor Swift.
  • 2009 – Death of Michael Jackson.
  • 2009 – A. R. Rahman won Oscars for original score and original song in Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, becoming the first Indian composer to strike gold at the annual Hollywood awards. He was also awarded with Golden Globe and two Grammys for the same composition.
  • 2000s (decade) and 2010s – Moderate success of indie and alternative music such as Kings Of Leon, The Script, Coldplay, Stereophonics, The Killers, The Temper Trap, The Strokes, Florence + The Machine and The Sunshine Underground
  • 2000s (decade) – Politics become involved in music such as Green Day, John Mayer, Radiohead and many more
  • 2000s (decade) and 2010s – Popularity of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Ke$ha.
  • 2000s (decade) – Popularity of reality star music such as Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Susan Boyle, Adam Lambert, One Direction
  • 2000s (decade) – The early 21st century has had a profound impact on the condition of music distribution. Recent advents in digital computing & storage technology have fundamentally altered industry and marketing practices as well as players in heretofore unusual rapidity.
  • 2000s (decade) – Popularity of Anastacia, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Eminem.
  • 2000s (decade) – Rising popularity in underground genres of music such as Death Metal and Black Metal, some fusion genres emerging as a specific fusion such as Blackened Death Metal.
  • 1990s and 2000s (decade) – Popularity of "emo music" such as The Used and Hawthorne Heights.
  • 1990s and 2000s (decade) – Increasing use of Autotune technology.
  • 1990s and 2000s (decade) – Popularity of hip-hop music such as Jay-Z, Eminem, 2Pac, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Nelly, Kanye West & Snoop Dogg.

Social networking

  • 2010s – MySpace fades but Facebook & YouTube remain popular and new sites such as Twitter and Google+ emerge. Facebook replaces Digg as the most popular media sharing site.
  • 2000s (decade) – MySpace, Facebook and YouTube emerge in the 2000s (decade), with the very first social networks in the 1990s.

Issues and concerns

There are several points-of-view pertaining to the following items, all of which should be considered accordingly.

Issues that have been frequently discussed and debated so far in this century include:

  • Globalization. Advances in telecommunications and transportation, the expansion of capitalism and democracy, and free trade agreements have resulted in unprecedented global economic and cultural integration. This has caused (and is continuing to cause) economic and cultural shifts which have been the subject of considerable controversy.
    Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2006. Almost 97% of future population growth will occur in developing countries.
  • Overpopulation. The United Nations estimates that world population will reach 9.2 billion by mid-century. Such growth raises questions of ecological sustainability and creates many economic and political disruptions. In response, many countries have adopted policies which either force or encourage their citizens to have fewer children, and others have limited immigration. Considerable debate exists over what the ultimate carrying capacity of the planet may be; whether or not population growth containment policies are necessary; to what degree growth can safely occur thanks to increased economic and ecological efficiency; and how distribution mechanisms should accommodate demographic shifts. Evidence suggests that developed countries (such as Japan) suffer population implosion, and the population debate is strongly tied with discussions about the distribution of wealth.
  • Abortion. Debates between " Pro-choice" and " Pro-life" factions on the controversial procedure continue. The approximate number of induced abortions performed worldwide in 2003 was 42 million.
  • Gay rights are a major political issue in many places, with same sex marriage being legalized in several jurisdictions during the first decade of the century, but outlawed by constitutional amendment in other places. Meanwhile, some countries such as Uganda moved to toughen their laws against any sort of homosexual behaviour. Political battles over pro- or anti-gay legislation provoked much activism in the streets and on the Internet.
  • Poverty. Poverty remains the root cause of many of the world's other ills, including famine, disease, and insufficient education. Poverty contains many self-reinforcing elements (for instance, poverty can make education an unaffordable luxury, which tends to result in continuing poverty) that various aid groups hope to rectify in this century. Microcredit lending has also started to gain a profile as a useful anti-poverty tool.
  • Disease. AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria each kill over a million people annually. HIV remains without a cure or vaccine, and is growing rapidly in India and much of the African continent. Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern for organisms such as tuberculosis. Other diseases, such as SARS, ebola, and flu variations, are also causes for concern. The World Health Organization has warned of a possible coming flu pandemic resulting from bird flu mutations. In 2009, there was an outbreak of swine flu whose country of origin is still unknown.
  • War and terrorism. Active conflicts continue around the world, including civil wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the largest war since World War II), Chechnya, Côte d'Ivoire, Somalia, Senegal, Colombia, Sudan (mainly in Darfur), and Libya. The 9/11 terrorist attacks triggered invasions of Afghanistan and partially and controversially Iraq. The War on Terrorism has seen controversies over civil liberties, accusations of torture, continued terrorist attacks and ongoing instability, violence, and military occupation. Violence continues in the Arab–Israeli conflict. Considerable concern remains about nuclear proliferation, especially in Iran and North Korea, and the availability of weapons of mass destruction to rogue groups.
  • Global warming. Climate scientists have postulated that the earth is undergoing significant anthropogenic (human-induced) global warming. The resulting economic and ecological costs are hard to predict. Some scientists argue that human-induced global warming risks considerable losses in biodiversity and ecosystem services unless considerable sociopolitical changes are introduced, particularly in patterns of mass consumption and transportation.
    Global Peak Oil forecast. Virtually all economic sectors rely heavily on petroleum.
  • Fossil fuels are becoming scarce and more expensive, due to the escalating demand for petroleum ("oil") and oil-based products such as gasoline and kerosene, unmatched by production. Discovery of new oil fields has not been sufficient to sustain current levels of production, and some fear that the earth may be running out of economically viable oil, pressing for alternatives. As Agrofuel, one possible alternative, yields further hazards for the environment and endangers food security, debate is far from over. Electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf have been built to address the problem of peak oil.
  • Power in international relations. Issues surrounding the cultural, economic, and military dominance of the United States and its role in the world community have become even more pointed given its recent military activities, problematic relations with the United Nations, disagreement over several international treaties, and its economic policies with regard to globalization. Integration of the European Union and the African Union have proceeded.
  • Intellectual property. The increasing popularity of digital formats for entertainment media such as movies and music, and the ease of copying and distributing it via the Internet and peer-to-peer networks, has raised concerns in the media industry about copyright infringement. Much debate is proceeding about the proper bounds between protection of copyright, trademark and patent rights versus fair use and the public domain, where some argue that such laws have shifted greatly towards intellectual property owners and away from the interests of the general public in recent years, while others say that such legal change is needed to deal with a perceived threat of new technologies against the rights of authors and artists (or, as others put it, against the outmoded business models of the current entertainment industry). Domain name "cybersquatting" and access to patented drugs and generics to combat epidemics in third-world countries are other IP concerns.
  • Technology developments show no sign of slowing. Communications and control technology continues to augment the intelligence of individual humans, collections of humans, and machines. Cultures are forced into the position of sharply defining humanity and determining boundaries on desire, thought, communication, behaviour, and manufacturing. Some, notably Ray Kurzweil, have predicted that by the middle of the century there will be a Technological Singularity if artificial intelligence that outsmart humans is created.
  • NATO–Russia relations seem to remain strained as the "Western Alliance" and NATO square off with Russia and other nations over international policy and the future of the ex-Soviet sphere. An Eastern Europe Missile Defense Shield, military and social conflicts in former Yugoslavia and the Caucasus (particularly Georgia and Chechnya), fossil fuel infrastructures like the Nabucco pipeline and the future of nuclear arsenals are among the topics that have strained the relations between the two sides with eerie reminders reminiscent of the Cold War.
  • Water crisis. As the human population increases, so has the demand for water. Desalination has been used more and more to address this issue.

The United Nations lists global issues on its agenda and lists a set of Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs) to attempt to address some of these issues.

Astronomical events

List of the long central solar eclipses

  • Solar eclipse of July 22, 2009, total of 6 min 38.8 s, saros 136. The longest of the century.
  • Solar eclipse of January 15, 2010, annular of 11 min 08 s, du saros 141. The longest of the century, and also of the entire millennium.
  • Solar eclipse of August 2, 2027, total of 6 min 23 s, saros 136.
  • Solar eclipse of January 26, 2028, annular of 10 min 27 s, saros 141.
  • Solar eclipse of August 12, 2045, total of 6 min 06 s, saros 136.
  • Solar eclipse of February 5, 2046, annular of 9 min 42 s, saros 141.
  • Solar eclipse of August 24, 2063, of 5 min 49 s, saros 136.
  • Solar eclipse of February 17, 2064, annular of 8 min 56 s, saros 141.
  • Solar eclipse of May 11, 2078, total of 5 min 40 s, saros 139.
  • Solar eclipse of November 4, 2078, annular of 8 min 29 s, saros 144.
  • Solar eclipse of May 22, 2096, total of 6 min 07 s, saros 139.
  • Solar eclipse of November 15, 2096, annular of 8 min 53 s, saros 144.

Other phenomena

  • December 23, 2007: grand conjunction, a galactic conjunction which happens every 26,000 years.
  • 2009: Triple conjunction JupiterNeptune.
  • November 11, 2019: Transit of Mercury.
  • Friday, April 13, 2029: The asteroid 99942 Apophis (previously better known by its provisional designation 2004 MN4) will pass within 30,000 km (18,600 mi) of the Earth.
  • July 2061: Next return of Halley's Comet.
  • 2063: Triple conjunction Mars-Uranus.
  • November 11, 2065: Transit of Mercury.
  • November 22, 2065: At 12:45 UTC, Venus will occult Jupiter. This event will be the first occultation of a planet by another since January 3, 1818. This event will be very difficult to observe, because the elongation of Venus and Jupiter from the Sun on that date will be only 7 degrees.
  • 2066: Triple conjunction Jupiter-Uranus.
  • July 15, 2067: At 11:56 UTC, Mercury will occult Neptune. This rare event will be very difficult to observe, because of the constant low elongation of Mercury from the Sun, and the magnitude of Neptune always under the limit of visibility with the naked eye.
  • Friday, November 10, 2084: Transit of Earth as seen from Mars, the first and the only one in this century.
  • November 7, 2085: Transit of Mercury.
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