January: Nearly 20 years after the racist murder of British teenager Stephen Lawrence in Eltham, South East London, Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty in January. Each was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The five-week trial — which ended in relief and justice for Lawrence’s family — had taken 18 years to get to court, and had been the subject of a public outcry and several independent investigations over the handling of the case.
Matthew Ryder QC, representing the Lawrence family, told the press that the case and its fight for injustice had ‘profoundly changed how we view race and racism within this society.’
Photo © Alex Milan Tracy/Corbis
February: Josefina Vazquez Mota became Mexico’s first ever woman presidential candidate in the history of the country. Ms. Mota, the former education minister for the Conservative government, beat the party’s alternative candidate Ernesto Cordero in the party’s poll by 20 percent.
Although she lost in the country’s July election to Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the move to pick Ms. Mota for presidential candidate marked a historic moment for gender equality.
Photo © Susana Gonzalez/DPA/Corbis
March: Delivering his third budget since being in government, Chancellor George Osborne vowed that cutting the deficit was still a top government priority and told the House of Commons during his statement that there would be “no deficit funded giveaways.”
He raised the personal tax allowance — a move championed by the Liberal Democrats — from £8,105 to £9,205, introduced a simpler tax system and promised to clamp down on tax avoidance.
Some moves such as removing child benefits from those earning more than £50,000 weren’t quite so popular, but other schemes — such as introducing a business Real Time Information system which provides taxpayers with statements detailing where their tax goes — was generally welcomed. Photo © Andy Thornley/Demotix/Corbis
April: News that human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi and her party the National League for Democracy (NLD) had won 40 out of 45 parliamentary seats during the Burmese by-election in April was a victory for both her supporters and the majority of Burma’s civilians, too.
In a politically-tense country dominated by thousands of displaced persons, house arrests and forced labour, the NLD’s victory gave hope to many. A political prisoner, having been subjected to house arrest over a period of 15 years, Aung San Suu Kyi said in her acceptance speech that she hoped ‘it would be the beginning of a new era.’ Photo: Christian Liewig/Corbis
May: Boris Johnson was re-elected for a second term as London’s mayor in May in an unexpectedly close call with Labour candidate and previous London mayor Ken Livingstone.
Local elections also took place up and down the country, where Labour gained over 800 councillors across England, Scotland and Wales, whereas the Conservatives lost 405 and the Liberal Democrats lost 336. Photo © Andrew Parsons/ZUMA Press/Corbis
June: Over a million people turned out for Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee weekend to celebrate her 60 years on the throne. The Diamond Jubilee bank holiday weekend from 2-5 June included a thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, a Thames river pageant of nearly 1,000 boats, and a royal appearance by the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Photo © Paul Brown/Demotix/Corbis
July: The resignation of Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond following the London Libor scandal was welcomed by both the coalition government and Labour.
Several high streets banks, including Barclays, were found to have submitted false lending rates to improve their credit worth. Barclays was fined nearly £290m by UK and US regulators.
It was hoped that Diamond’s resignation would help restore trust in the financial and banking sectors. Photo © Paul Davey/Demotix/Corbis
August: After years of preparation, building construction and planning, London became a hive of excited activity during the Olympics — even more so than usual. The London 2012 Olympic Games kicked off with a spectacular opening ceremony by Danny Boyle and the two-week sport fest saw over two million fans visit the capital from all over the world.
Mo Farah won Britain its first 10,000 metre gold medal, creating an instant internet sensation with his signature ‘Mobot’ pose. Photo © Tim Clayton/Corbis
September: Just two weeks after the much-celebrated London Olympics, the Paralympics brought disability to the forefront and did much to change public perceptions for the better. LOCOG Chair Seb Coe said in his speech at the Paralympics closing ceremony: ‘these were games for everyone — games for people of all faiths, cultures, and backgrounds that connected millions of young people with sport and education in communities and cities around the world.’ Photo © Leo Mason/Corbis
October: The European Union was announced as the winner of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize at the beginning of October. Speaking at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, praised the EU for its several key achievements since the 1940s.
These victories include: rebuilding countries affected by World War II, instigating the fall of the Berlin Wall, expanding to include other European countries, and stepping in to help with the 1990s conflict in the Balkans. Photo © Thierry Tronnel/Corbis
November: United States President Barack Obama won a second presidential term at the White House after months of intense campaigning across the country. Beating Republican candidate Mitt Romney with 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206, Obama delivered an impassioned speech amidst cheers and confetti.
And in other election news, voters supported the legalisation of same-sex marriage in nine US states including New York, Washington, Massachusetts and Iowa. Photo © John Gress/Corbis
December: Following the sudden hospitalisation of the Duchess of Cambridge, St. James’ Palace announced the news in early December that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child.
At eight weeks pregnant, the Duchess had been suffering from severe morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum but responded well to hospital treatment.
Under the 2011 Royal Marriages Act, passed in October last year, if the royal baby is female, she will become heir to the throne rather than passing the crown to the first-born son. Photo © Matt West/BPI/Corbis