Year in Rap 2013

The Year's Headlines in Rhyme

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Ousted president Mohamed Morsi

Former Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak, led the country for 30 years until the Arab Spring revolution ousted him from power in 2011. The Egyptian people voted in their first democratic election and chose Mohamed Morsi as president in 2012. After thousands of people protested Morsi's leadership, the military ousted him, too. What's an ouster?


In late September, a radical Islamist group took over a shopping mall in Kenya for four days while security forces attempted to end the siege. At least 72 people were killed and many more were injured. Do you recall why the group attacked the mall?

Disaster relief for the Philippines

2013 was another year with deadly natural disasters around the world. In November, one of the largest storms in history hit the Philippines, killing as many as 6,000 people. In India, 500,000 people were evacuated when October's Cyclone Phailin blew through. A 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck Pakistan in September. And in November, a series of tornadoes wreaked havoc across the Midwest. Do you know anybody who has been affected by a natural disaster?

President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad

Syria has been in a bloody civil war since 2011. The ongoing conflict is between the Syrian government and its opposition. Over the summer, the Syrian government used chemical weapons to kill thousands of innocent civilians, according to US intelligence analysts. Why are chemical weapons worse than traditional weapons?

Some Americans opposed US military involvement in Syria.

The United States and the UN demanded that Syria give up its chemical weapons. Some people thought that the US should have launched a military strike, while others favored coming up with a diplomatic solution. Ultimately, Syria agreed to clear out its weapons. Do you think Syria will see peace in 2014?

Pope Francis

Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected to lead the Roman Catholic Church. Now called Pope Francis, he is the first Latin American and first non-European pope ever. His plan is to focus on poverty, and he has attacked the "idolatry of money." What does it mean to "idolize money?"

Air pollution

The United Nation's Panel on Climate Change met in Stockholm to discuss global warming. The panel's scientists confirmed that human activity is the main cause of climate change. What can you do to help prevent further damage to the environment?

George Zimmerman

On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager. After deliberating for over 16 hours, a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter. The case ignited a national debate on racial profiling and civil rights. How closely did you follow this case and what do you think of the verdict?

The finish line of the Boston Marathon, an hour before the explosions.

This year, the Boston Marathon turned into a tragedy when two bombs exploded near the finish line about four hours after the race began. Three people were killed and more than 170 were injured. The manhunt for the suspects ended with one of them killed and the other in custody. What's the scariest situation you've ever been in?

President Obama signing his health care act into law

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was passed into law in 2010 and was upheld by the Supreme Court last year. Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, don't want to fund Obamacare. Democrats, who control the Senate, want a budget that funds Obamacare. Instead of compromising, the two sides both dug in and refused to budge. The result was that the government shut down for 16 days because Congress couldn't agree on the budget. In the end, Republicans agreed to a budget that funded Obamacare and the government reopened. Do you think one party or both parties are to blame for the government shutdown?

The new healthcare website

When the Obamacare website went live on October 1, users faced timeouts, delays and other error messages when trying to sign up. Some of the problems were attributed to the site's overwhelmingly high traffic. But many experts say the administration failed to test the website adequately. After shutting down on Nov. 30 for site fixes, it relaunched. Did the fact that the healthcare website worked so poorly change your opinion of President Obama?

Protesters gathered in Washington both for and against same-sex marriage.

In a historic victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The court ruled that married same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal benefits as other married couples. What is the biggest Supreme Court ruling of your lifetime?

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden worked for the National Security Agency. He leaked as many as 200,000 classified documents to the press about the NSA's surveillance programs. It turns out the government has been spying on citizens. The leaked documents stated that the NSA aims to: "acquire the capabilities to gather intelligence on anyone, anytime, anywhere.” Now, Snowden is hiding out in Russia. The FBI is trying to get Russia to release him, so they can arrest him. Do you think Snowden is a hero or a traitor?

Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst

Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, was found guilty of providing more than 700,000 government files to WikiLeaks and revealing American military activities around the world. The sentence was 35 years in jail. Prosecutors portrayed Manning as a “traitor” who recklessly endangered lives. The defense portrayed him as a good-intentioned citizen who wanted to prompt debate and change. Do you think the punishment fit the crime?

The Avengers all-star cast

Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor and others drew fans to theaters this year in record-breaking numbers. The Avengers brought in $200 million domestically on its opening day, stealing the title of biggest opening ever from Harry Potter. Why do you think people like superheroes so much?

The Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics on their way to the top.

Athletes LeBron James, Jacoby Jones and John Lackey had good seasons. The Miami Heat won the NBA playoffs again, beating the San Antonio Spurs for the title. The Ravens defeated the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. And the Red Sox won their eighth World Series. Did you watch any of these big games? What do you remember most?

The Chelyabinsk meteor was more than 60 feet across.

A meteorite traveling 19 miles per second streaked across the sky and exploded over central Russia. The space rock rained fireballs over a vast area causing a shockwave that smashed windows, damaged buildings and injured 1,200 people. This has prompted discussion about the potential for similar incidents in the future. If a meteor was going to smash into Earth tomorrow, what would you do today?

The Milky Way

Scientists reported that there are billions of Earth-like planets in our galaxy. According to data, one out of every five sun-like stars in our galaxy has a planet orbiting it that is similar in size and temperature to our planet. Do you think there is intelligent life on other planets?

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, holding the royal baby

Kate Middleton gave birth to Prince George Alexander Louis. Prince George is third in line to succeed his great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, as the English monarch. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West welcomed a baby girl into the world, and named her after one of the cardinal directions. What's the strangest celebrity baby name you can think of?

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela helped end Apartheid in South Africa and inspired the world. He died this year at the age of 95. The world also bid farewell to Hugo Chaves, Margaret Thatcher, Roger Ebert, James Gandolfini, Lou Reed, Paul Walker and others. What do you know about Apartheid in South Africa?

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