The six month truce between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip mediated by Egypt ended on December 19. Following the end of that ceasefire, tensions and violence escalated between Israel and Hamas.
Nearly 3 million people visited Global Voices in 2008. Traffic to the site has tended to peak at times of natural disasters or conflicts, but the stories we've highlighted this year cover a vast range of subjects. 2008 has been an eventful year for citizen media, which continued to increase in importance and influence this year as an information source alongside mainstream media.
Google Street View arrived in Japan in August, one year after its debut in the United States. The photo mapping service immediately drew criticism. Despite the Google's generally positive image in this country, Japanese online bulletin board threads and blogs were filled with comments about how Street View was rolled out.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day (December 1). More than 33 million people live with the HIV/AIDS virus, and at least 2 million have died in the past year. Bloggers around the world play an important part in keeping awareness about HIV/Aids alive.
Anti-government protesters led by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have been conducting provocative street actions for several months demanding the removal of the elected government. They believe the current leadership is a proxy of ousted Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra.
On November 26, 2008 the city of Mumbai in India came under attack in at least seven different locations in an unprecedented sort of terror. A combination of gun fire, blasts, grenade blasts have been used to attack cinema halls, hotels, hospitals, and other public places.
On Dec. 27 a surprise victory for former president Mwai Kibaki (PNU) in the Kenyan presidential election was followed by arson and violence aroused by suspicions of vote rigging. More than 200 have been killed (mostly from the Kikuyu tribe) and tens of thousands displaced.
On March 10, 2008 hundreds of Tibetans in Lhasa began protesting on the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Beijing rule. Police arrested protesters, and violence in the streets has escalated in the following days. Bloggers across the region have responded.
On March 1, 2008 the Colombian Armed Forces attacked a camp of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) located in the territory of Ecuador, killing a high-ranking leader, Raúl Reyes. As a result, the neighboring countries Venezuela and Ecuador publicly questioned the incursion into Ecuador, which ultimately led to the breaking of diplomatic ties.
On March 29, 2008 Zimbabweans cast their votes in the presidential election. Days later, the official result has still not been declared. MDF opposition leader Morgan Tsvagirai, has claimed victory over the incumbent president Robert Mugabe of Zanu (PF), but power may not change hands without a fight.
What started as a day of general strike in Egypt on April 6, to protest inflation, low wages, and the ongoing bread crisis, has sprawled into a face-off between authorities and the masses. Now Egyptian bloggers are working around the clock to tell the world about the workers’ revolt that is shaking their country.
A deadly cyclone hit Myanmar (Burma) at the beginning of May, causing massive human loss of life and environmental destruction. International controversy has followed over the military junta's refusals and delays to allow aid workers and journalists to enter the country or reach disaster areas.
Bloggers around the world have noticed the global increase in food prices. Global Voices authors translate and link to the observations of ordinary people writing in blogs in many different countries. For some it's a matter of life and death, for others a mere inconvenience.
On May 12, an earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale struck in southwestern China's Sichuan province, centered in Wenchuan county, with tremors felt as far away as Beijing and Hong Kong. Thousands have died. Citizens have distributed videos, pictures, and comments in the aftermath.
On July 2, 2008, Colombian security forces launched a rescue operation that successfully freed 15 hostages taken by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Among the liberated were former presidential candidate Íngrid Betancourt, 11 members of the Colombian security forces and 3 U.S. citizens.
The fourth global iSummit will be held by in Sapporo, Japan from 29 July to 1 August, 2008. The meeting, convened by iCommons, will bring together pioneers of the free Internet from over 60 countries to discuss open education, access to knowledge, free software, open access publishing and free culture communities. Several Global Voices contributors will be attending and blogging the iSummit.
They say one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter, and seldom has it been more apparent than in the aftermath of the exchange of prisoners between Israel and Lebanon on July 16, 2008. Bloggers across the Middle East are the witnesses of events unfolding in parallel emotional universes, with shared physical borders.
The XVII International AIDS Conference is taking place in Mexico City from August 3rd to 8th, 2008. The event, which is the largest international meeting on a global health issue, occurs every two years in a different city.
The Olympics in Beijing have begun! Thanks to support from Reuters, Global Voices is covering citizen media reactions to the Olympics from citizens in China and around the world on our special coverage page and in our Olympics Twitter feed.
On August 8, 2008 fighting intensified between the Georgian and Russian military on the outskirts of Tskhinvali, the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Earlier in the week, Georgia and the South Ossetian separatist government had concluded a truce after an outbreak of fighting for which each side blamed the other.
On September 11, 2008 China's biggest milk powder producer, the Sanlu Group ordered a recall of its milk products because melamine, a chemical used in plastics, was found in their products. The incident resulted in enormous public outrage in China, when it turned out that Sanlu was notified about the melamine several weeks earlier. At least 3 babies have died as a result of poisoning.
Throughout most of the western world, Halloween is celebrated on October 31st and All Saints Day is commemorated on November 2nd. These couple of days are ones where the living think back on the dead, and when ghosts, ghouls, myths and legends are remembered in stories and tales.
Americans are the only ones who can elect the United States president, but the 2008 election offers a unique opportunity to harvest global commentary on America's politics and foreign policy and how it affects the rest of the world.
Radovan Karadžić was arrested in Belgrade by Serbian security officers in July 2008 on charges of genocide after evading capture for more than 13 years. He lived under the alias Dr. Dragan David Dabić and practiced alternative medicine. Read the astonished reactions of Balkan bloggers.