Looking back at 2016 - The Daily Star | The Daily Star

Looking Back at 2016

When historians look back on the 21st century, 2016 has surely got to be in the running as one of the most memorable, certainly from a news perspective. From Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to the numerous stars who have passed away, it has been a busy 12 months. Here, we look back at the biggest stories of the year.

Published Dec 27, 2016

Top five innovations by Bangladeshis in 2016

Akanda Muhammad Jahid

Bangladesh has had remarkable achievements in innovations at different sectors in 2016. Several Bangladeshi scientists have brought international laurels and have attributed their discoveries to the country.

Here are the five innovations by Bangladeshi scientists who are in forefront of major discoveries around the world – in the realm of astrophysics, electronics engineering, physics and health.

Five giant stars: Rubab Khan

Rubab Khan. Photo: Collected

Bangladeshi scientist Rubab Khan has made a major breakthrough in astronomy.

Khan, of Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, and his team has discovered five supersize stars "Eta twins" in other galaxies on par with a monstrous stellar system in our own Milky Way.

During the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in the USA this year, Rubab placed his findings on the discovery of five "Eta twins". They were identified with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope and Nasa's Spitzer Space Telescope.

Working with Scott Adams and Christopher Kochanek at Ohio State and George Sonneborn at Goddard, Rubab developed a kind of optical and infrared fingerprint for identifying possible Eta twins. According to Nasa, Rubab and his team surveyed seven galaxies from 2012 to 2014 to look for Eta twins.

The team found two candidates in the galaxy M83, located 15 million light years away, and one each in NGC 6946, M101 and M51, located between 18 and 26 million light years away. These five objects mimic the optical and infrared properties of Eta Carinae, indicating that each very likely contains a high mass star buried in five to 10 solar masses of gas and dust.

(Top) Hubble view of M83 -- the galaxy that possibly hosts two potential "Eta twins". Its high rate of star formation increases the chances of finding massive stars that have recently undergone an Eta Carinae-like eruption. (Bottom) Hubble data showing the locations of M83's Eta twins. Photo: Nasa

Further study will let astronomers determine more precisely their physical properties. The findings were published in the December 20 edition of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Gravitational waves: Selim Shahriar

US-based Bangladeshi Professor Selim Shariar discovered gravitational waves – which now confirm Albert Einstein's famous theory of relativity.

Selim Shahriar. Photo: Collected

A team of scientists at Northwestern University led by Shahriar confirmed the existence of gravitational waves created by the collision of two black holes in the universe. This collision took place 1.3 billion light years away from earth. (A light year is the distance that a ray of light travels in a vacuum in 1 year, equivalent to 5.88 trillion miles or 9.46 trillion kilometres).

Shahriar, who had been working to “improve the sensitivity of LIGO detectors and broaden the spectrum” for the last ten years, placed two L-shaped antennae on opposite sides of the US – one in Washington State in west USA and the other in the eastern sea board. And then, on the same day, he noticed a small blip lasting for 0.2 seconds, which was 1000 times smaller than a proton. Such blips gave extensive information to scientists about the birth and nature of the universe. It also confirmed Albert Einstein's idea of gravitational wave in the universe.

Gravitational waves and ripples in space: Dipankar Talukdar

Scientist Dipanker Talukdar brought fame to Bangladesh detecting gravitational waves and ripples in space.

The detected gravitational waves came from the merging of two distant black holes. Photo: Collected

The 39-year-old former student of Physics Department of Dhaka University along with his team used a pair of giant laser detectors in the US. One of these detectors was in Lousiana and the other in Washington. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) received a wave signal about which scientists came to know. They found that the waves were the product of a collision between two black holes 30 times more massive than our sun and located about 1.3 billion light years from earth.

Nano-scale electronic and spintronic devices: Sayeef Salahuddin

Bangladeshi scientist Sayeef Salahuddin developed nanoscale electronic and spintronic devices for low power logic and memory applications.

Pieter Abbeel, Hillel Adesnik and Sayeef Salahuddin are the campus’s newest Presidential Early Career Award recipients. Photo: Collected

The devices use the properties of electrons to transmit, process and store information. Electronic devices use the electrical charge of an electron to encode data. Spintronic devices instead use another fundamental property known as spin, which is the intrinsic angular momentum of the electron.

An associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science in UC Berkeley, Salahuddin was named as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers in February. It is the highest honor bestowed by the US government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Sayeef Salahuddin received his B.Sc. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology) in 2003 and PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University in 2007. He joined the faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley in 2008.

Turning algae into biofuel: Dr Tamjidul Hoque

Tamjidul Hoque, assistant professor of computer science, has been awarded $141,453 by the Louisiana Board of Regents Industrial Ties Research Subprogram to develop the software tools and theoretical underpinning needed to help convert algae into biofuel. The grant also has a three-year institutional match of $36,720.

From left, Computer science professors Irfan Ahmed, Md Tamjidul Hoque and Shengru Tu recently have been awarded more than $500,000 in grants combined. Photo: Collected

“Algae are found to have good potential for providing biofuel at a higher rate compared to any other plants,” according to Hoque. “Algae can be developed as an excellent microbial cell factory that can harvest solar energy and convert atmospheric carbon-dioxide to useful products and thus can establish the missing link in the fuel-cycle.”

Hoque’s project is a collaboration among UNO, BHO Technology and the Louisiana Emerging Technology Centre in Baton Rouge. His lab will develop advanced algorithms for analysing and optimising gene regulatory network-based biofuel production modeling in algae.

Genetical mutation responsible for Parkinson's disease: Dr Miratul Mohamid Khan Muqit

British-Bangladeshi Dr Miratul Mohamid Khan Muqit, a leading scientist based at the University of Dundee, has been named as one of this year's awardees of the prestigious European Molecular Biology Organisation Young Investigator Programme (EMBO YIP).

His research has made several important breakthroughs in the genetical mutation responsible for Parkinson's disease, according to a press release put up on the university website.

A Welcome Trust Clinical Investigator in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit, part of the university's School of Life Sciences, Dr Muqit has been using his cutting edge research to better understand the causes of the disease.

A consultant neurologist at Ninewells Hospital, he treats patients with the disabling conditions.

Muqit was born in Glasgow, Scotland on October 12, 1973. His father Abdul Muqit, a general practitioner, and his mother Mamataz Begum, a psychiatrist, are now living in Dhaka.

Muqit completed MBChB from the University of Edinburgh in 1997. He did his MD in Harvard University and Phd in the University of London. He was also awarded Kennedy Scholarship. He is now serving as a Scottish clinical neurologist and scientist at the University of Dundee Medical Research Council.

Top shockers of 2016

1. Turkey coup

On July 15, Turkey saw its first attempted coup in 36 years. It briefly looked like the government would fall before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan got a message out, calling for his supporters to take to the streets. The toll of the coup attempt was devastating.

Over 300 died when tanks started shelling the crowds, and another 2,100 were injured. The backlash was arguably worse. Erdogan loyalists arrested over 6,000 people, dismissed another 36,000 from their jobs, and tortured and raped hundreds more. Not everyone is convinced this was a true coup. Many have alleged it was plotted and carried out by Erdogan himself to smooth his path toward dictatorship.

2. Iraq, France and Germany devastated by ISIS attacks

July 3 saw ISIS start the month by carrying out their deadliest attack yet. A truck bomb in the heart of Baghdad exploded shortly after midnight, killing 292 people. It was the deadliest attack in Iraq since 2007 and the deadliest ever carried out by a single bomber.

Unfortunately, even this carnage would soon be overshadowed by yet more attacks. Only 11 days later, an ISIS supporter drove a 19-ton truck through the Bastille Day crowds at Nice, killing 84. Barely had France recovered from its latest bout of grief when ISIS attackers struck again, murdering a Catholic priest in his church.

In comparison, Germany got off almost lightly. Two refugees inspired by ISIS separately carried out axe and bomb attacks. Although nearly 20 were injured, only the attackers themselves died.

3. Germany, Japan rocked by rampage killings

Besides ISIS attacks, two developed nations also suffered their deadliest mass-killings in years. In Germany, a German-Iranian teenager went on a rampage in a McDonald’s, killing nine and wounding 35. He was a loner obsessed with school shooters, and police found evidence he’d used Facebook to lure his teenage victims.

The gunman had expressed support for Adolf Hitler and was a fan of Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik. As a result, police are now investigating if this rampage shooting was actually Germany’s first major far-right attack in decades.

There was no such ambiguity about Japan’s worst mass-killing since World War II. The murderer, Satoshi Uematsu, had a clear and pathological hatred of disabled people and expressed that hatred in the vilest way possible. On July 26, Uematsu broke into a care home and stabbed 19 people to death. Police said he showed no remorse.

4. Trump becomes US president

After that depressing cavalcade of death, it was almost a relief when the news returned to the US elections. In late July, the two parties formally coroneted Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In doing so, they kicked off a contest between the two least popular candidates in US history.

Overwhelming all the odds and statistics, Donald Trump emerged victorious in the race for White House when poll results came out in November.

5. Brexit

The United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union is widely known as Brexit, a portmanteau of "British exit". The terms of withdrawal have not yet been negotiated; in the meantime, the UK remains a full member of the European Union.

6. US rocked by targeted cop killings

When the shots rang out across Dallas on July 7, sending people running for cover, it marked the point that anti-cop resentment in the States finally boiled over. 2016 was already a bad year for cop killings: Prior to Dallas, 26 had died, compared to 18 by that point in 2015.

The sniper attack, by an ex-member of the New Black Panthers, added another five bodies. It was the deadliest single day for law enforcement since 9/11.10 days later, another black supremacist ambushed and gunned down three more officers in Baton Rouge.

In between these two attacks, four officers were shot and injured in ambush attacks, and two former cops working as courthouse bailiffs were shot and killed. All these incidents have combined to make 2016 exceptionally bloody for cops. More worryingly, they show black supremacism may be emerging as America’s newest domestic terror threat.

7. International court’s collision course with China

The South China Sea has long been a potential flashpoint for World War III. In July 2016, that hypothetical conflict got even closer. After years of tension, the international court ruled against China’s incursions into the sea, saying they violated Philippine sovereignty. Beijing predictably went ape. Just after the ruling, China published a white paper saying the UN had been influenced by US lies.

The government swore to increase militarization in the region. The US responded by reiterating its right to keep sailing in the South China Sea. Russia then jumped in on the dispute, saying it would hold drills there, thereby ensuring that three of the world’s nuclear powers are now caught in a game of naval chicken.

Thankfully, the likelihood of a full-blown war is currently small. Whether that’ll still be the case in a year’s time, though, is anybody’s guess.

8. Dhaka attack

On July 1, 20 hostages mostly foreigners were slain during a 12-hour long siege at an upscale eatery in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone Gulshan in Bangladesh. Additionally, two police officers were also killed by gunmen who were allegedly of the Islamic State.

9. Death of Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States and for five decades defied US efforts to topple him, died on November 25 at the age of 90. The world poured their hearts out at the news and said goodbye to the leader in respect.

Top natural disasters in 2016

Star Online Report

In 2016, three major earthquakes rocked the world by their deadly nature including 663 killed in Ecuador. Storms, floods, landslides and notorious disease Ebola also claimed human lives. Other than lives, natural and human resources were destroyed by the natural calamities.

Deadly earthquakes

1. April 16 - 663 killed in Ecuador

Deadly Ecuador quake kills 235

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake strikes coastal Ecuador, killing 663 people, the worst ever in decades, in April 16, 2016.

The quake struck off the Pacific coast and was felt around the Andean nation of 16 million people, causing panic as far away as the highland capital Quito and collapsing buildings and roads in a swath of western towns.

Death toll hits 654

Several strong tremors and more than 700 aftershocks have continued to shake the country since the major quake, sparking momentary panic but little additional damage. Tremors are expected to continue for several weeks.

With close to 7,000 buildings destroyed, more than 25,000 people were living in shelters. Some 14,000 security personnel were keeping order in quake-hit areas, with only sporadic looting reported.

2. August 24 - 290 killed in Italy

120 dead in Italy quake

Italy quake death toll rises to 267

Italy to mourn its dead

At least 290 people were killed in a 6.2-magnitude earthquake in central Italy on August 24, 2016.

Around 387 people have been hospitalised with injuries but no one has been pulled alive from the piles of collapsed masonry since the devastation.

Some 2,100 people who spent the night in hastily-erected tented villages were shaken by a 4.8 magnitude aftershock just after 6:00 am yesterday morning.

3. December 7 – 100 killed in Aceh, Indonesia quake

97 dead as earthquake hits western Indonesia

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit the northern province of Aceh, killing 100 people and leaving thousands homeless on December 7, 2016.

The powerful earthquake toppled dozens of buildings and injured hundreds of people, was the worst disaster to hit the region since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Devastating storm

Hurricane Matthew

4. October 8 – 842 killed in Haiti

Hurricane toll jumps to 842 in Haiti

Hurricane Matthew killed more than 800 people and left tens of thousands homeless in its rampage through Haiti earlier this week before it lashed Florida yesterday with howling winds and rolled northward up the US Atlantic coast.

The number of deaths in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, surged to at least 842 yesterday as information trickled in from remote areas previously cut off by the storm, according to a Reuters tally of death tolls given by officials.

Damaging flood and landslide

Louisiana flood

5. Aug 14 – 13 killed in Louisiana flooding

3 killed in 'historic' Louisiana floods

At least 13 people have died across five parishes in Louisiana flooding in the US in August, 2016.

The catastrophic flood devastating Louisiana is now the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Hurricane Sandy four years ago, the Red Cross said.

"Thousands of people in Louisiana have lost everything they own and need our help now," said Brad Kieserman, the Red Cross' vice president of disaster services operations and logistics.

Sri Lanka landslide

6. May 18 - 150 ‘buried’ in Sri Lanka landslide

Foreign aid reaches capital; 71 killed

150 feared buried in landslides

Hopes fade for 150 'buried'

Around 150 people are feared dead after more than three days of heavy rain triggered two landslides in central Sri Lanka.

Half a million people who have been driven from their homes across the South Asian country by heavy rains and landslides that have killed at least 71.

Return of Ebola

7. Jan 21 – Ebola return feared in Sierra Leone

Fears as Ebola returns in Sierra Leone

Fears of a fresh flare-up of Ebola were reported on January 21 just days after West Africa was declared officially free of the disease.

The World Health Organization had declared the West African region Ebola-free on January 15, but stressed the need for vigilance in the months to come. The two-year epidemic has killed more than 11,300 people across West Africa.

Looking back: Hottest cars, cameras and gadgets of 2016

Star Online Report

MOBILE PHONES

1. Apple iPhone/iPhone 7 plus

iPhone 7 and 7 plus, the best and most advanced iPhone ever, featuring an entirely new camera system. The fastest performance and best battery life in an iPhone. And also water and dust resistant. Initial quantities of the iPhone 7 Plus have been sold out globally soon after Apple launched its new phones at a San Francisco event early September this year. The phones have been unveiled in Bangladesh around two months ago with the starting price of Tk 76,000 for iPhone 7 (32 GB), and Tk 1,01,000 iPhone 7 (128 GB) Plus.





Apple iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus have been announced and the camera is the highlight of the event. Photo: Reuters

2. Google Pixel phone

The new Google Pixel phone was unveiled in California on October 4, 2016 with the ‘best' smartphone camera ever. The phone is an excellent flagship phone that's only let down by mediocre battery life and the still-developing assistant. The 12MP camera on the back of the phone is one of the best on the market.

The Google Pixel phone is displayed during the presentation of new Google hardware in San Francisco, California, US on October 4, 2016. Photo: Reuters

http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/20-best-mobile-phones-in-the-world-today-645440/2

3. Motorola Moto Z

This smartphone is the world's thinnest smartphone. Moto Z takes the modular accessory idea we liked so much about the LG G5 and actually makes it work with better add-ons and an easier-to-use snap-on design.

http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/20-best-mobile-phones-in-the-world-today-645440/2

Motorola’s new Moto Z phones double as projectors and high-powered speakers.

CAMERA

1. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is one of the most complete DSLRs we have seen with a full-frame sensor and resolution of 30.4MP. The 5D Mark IV pretty much tweaks and improves on everything before it. With a new sensor that delivers pin-sharp results, a 61-point AF system that’s incredibly advanced and some very polished handling, the 5D Mark IV has to be one of the best DSLRs we've seen.

2. Fuji X-T2

A stunning camera perfect for the enthusiast photographers. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, is one of the most complete DSLRs we've seen.

3. Nikon D500

Nikon has taken their flagship D5 DSLR and most of its high-end features and distilled all of this into a smaller, but still very durable metal body. The full-frame sensor is replaced by a 20.9MP APS-C sized chip, so it hasn't got quite the same resolving power as the D7200, but it does mean that the D500 can shoot at a rapid 10fps, while the 153-point AF arrangement is perhaps the best autofocus system out there right now. A brilliant all-rounder, it excels at fast action like sports and wildlife photography.

http://www.techradar.com/news/photography-video-capture/cameras/best-camera-1271079

AUTOMOBILES

Car shoppers’ decision to buy the best car certainly depends on a reasonable price. There are many all-rounder cars of 2016 -- Toyota Aygo 1.0 3 Cyl, Nissan Pulsar 1.2 4 Cyl and Volvo V40 1.5 4 Cyl Turbo -- made for smart people who want the whole package of uniqueness, fun, efficiency and practicality.

http://www.thedailystar.net/shift/features/8-great-2016-cars-for-Bangladesh











Automobile companies in 2016 brought many good cars for the shoppers. A few names of the best automobiles are: Subaru Forester (Small SUV), Subaru Impreza (Small SUV), Lexus RX (Luxury SUV) and BMW 318i

http://www.consumerreports.org/cars-best-cars-top-picks-2016/

The global taxi service company, Uber, on September 14 launched a groundbreaking driverless car service, jumping ahead of Detroit auto giants and Silicon Valley rivals with technology that could revolutionize transportation.

SMART TV

1. Samsung

Samsung is the first brand to introduce incredible picture quality the world has seen so far. It in 2016 delivered the KS9500 Series (starts with 65-inch) of smart tvs which the world has seen to date.

2. LG's latest OLED TV

LG's latest OLED TV (55-inch) combines stunning contrast with an amazing ultra-thin design and exceptional sound

http://www.lg.com/us/tvs/lg-55EC9300-oled-tv

3. Sony W805/809C Series

Sony W805/809C Series (Starts with 43-inch), an outstanding full HD range of tvs that proved 4K resolution is not necessary to deliver gorgeous picture quality. (http://www.techradar.com/news/television/best-tv-2013-what-tv-should-you-buy-this-year-709255)

VR (VIRTUAL REALITY) HEADSETS

Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR and the HTC Vive are the companies provided their best VR headsets to the world in 2016. The device which provides immersive virtual reality for the wearer got popular in 2016. VR headsets are widely used with computer games but they are also used in other applications, including simulators and trainers.

LAPTOPS

1. Dell XPS 13

It is the best laptop for the laptop users. Featuring a revolutionary design it is astonishingly thin and light. Fitting a 13.3-inch screen into an 11-inch frame is no small feat; however, Dell has managed to pull off a miracle with its nearly borderless infinity display.

2. Asus ZenBook UX305

A user can do all the incredible things with ZenBook UX305FA he/she has always wanted to do, according to the Asus website. It is designed to go everywhere you go. It’s not just an amazingly-beautiful, lightweight laptop and seriously powerful too, it said.

https://www.asus.com/us/Notebooks/ASUS-ZenBook-UX305FA/

3. HP Chromebook 13

This amazingly thin and light laptop provides professionals a simple, secure, and easily managed cloud-based experience. Built for collaboration, this agile performer has a host of accessories to help enhance productivity.

http://store.hp.com/us/en/ContentView?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&eSpotName=chromebook13

AMAZON KINDLE OASIS

Kindle Oasis features a high-resolution 300 ppi display for crisp, laser-quality text—all on the same 6” display size as Kindle Voyage. A redesigned built-in light features 60% more LEDs than any other Kindle, increasing the consistency and range of screen brightness for improved reading in all types of lighting. Kindle Oasis guides light toward the surface of the display with its built-in front light—unlike back-lit tablets that shine in your eyes—so you can read comfortably for hours without eyestrain.

https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Kindle-Oasis-eReader-with-Leather-Charging-Cover/dp/B00REQKWGA