How Southern California witnessed the world in 2017

By Daphne Khalida Kilea

1. FBI Director James Comey is fired by Trump in May as press coverage of the Russia investigation reaches a boiling point.
2. North Korea claims possession of a working hydrogen bomb after its sixth and largest nuclear test in September.
3. The Dow Jones Industrial Average breaks 20,000 in January on its way to cruising past 24,000 in November.
4. The #MeToo campaign explodes after the Weinstein sex abuse scandal in October and continues to bring down powerful men who abuse their power.
5. The Thomas fire — at 281,000 acres and counting, the largest wildfire in California history — claims a home on Foothill Road in Ventura in early December.(Photo by T Christian Gapen.)

On Jan. 1, it becomes illegal in California for drivers to hold and operate electronic devices while driving, unless the device is mounted. Any use of the mounted device is limited to one swipe or tap of the screen.

Following years of criticism and dwindling attendance, SeaWorld San Diego hosts its final killer whale performance on Jan. 8.

Donald J. Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20.

The Women’s March, a response to Trump’s inauguration, takes places in cities across the world on Jan. 21, becoming the largest single-day protest in American history.

For the first time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches 20,000 points on Jan. 25. It goes on to set a new record of 24,000 on Nov. 30.

Trump’s first travel ban prompts large demonstrations at LAX and other major U.S. airports on Jan. 28 and 29.

Trump’s first travel ban is suspended on constitutional grounds on Feb. 3, and the courts go on to halt a revised version in March.

Following massive rainstorms in January (including record single-day rainfall at LAX on Jan. 22), an emergency spillway failure at Oroville Dam on Feb. 12 causes evacuations of nearly 200,000 people in Northern California.

News of repetitive contact between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence officials breaks on Feb. 14. On May 17, the U.S. Justice Department taps former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate the U.S. election meddling by Russia and the possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raises interest rates from 0.75% to 1.0% on March 15, the first of what would be three increases (June 14 and Dec. 13) in 2017.

The Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings on March 20 on the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. He takes the oath of office on April 10.

The United Kingdom triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on March 29, officially beginning negotiations for Brexit.

Hawthorne-based SpaceX conducts the world’s first re-flight of an orbital-class rocket on March 30. On Dec. 22, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 lifts off Vandenberg Air Force Base, carrying the Iridium-4 mission to orbit.

On April 6, the U.S. military launches 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against an air base in Syria as a response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the Middle Eastern nation by its government.

The U.S. drops the world’s largest nonnuclear weapon (the GBU-43/B MOAB) on April 13 at an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant/ Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) base in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of Trump supporters clash with anti-Trump demonstrators on April 15 in Berkeley, prompting 21 arrests.

Los Angeles joins more than 600 cities worldwide in participating in the March for Science on April 22 (Earth Day).

Trump fires FBI Director James Comey on May 9, with the president admitting to doing so because of the Russia investigation.

Computers in at least 150 nations are affected by a ransomware cyberattack on May 12.

On May 17, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital grow human blood stem cells in a laboratory for the first time.

On May 20, Trump signs a $110-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, the largest in U.S. history.

After 146 years, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus hosts its last show on May 21 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.

A May 23 terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, kills 22 and injures more than 500.

Trump announces on June 1 that the U.S. will withdraw from the nearly globally unanimous Paris climate agreement.

Student Otto Warmbier returns to the U.S. in a coma on June 12 after spending 17 months in a North Korean prison. He dies on June 19.

A shooter opens fire on a June 14 practice for a goodwill congressional baseball game, injuring four.

ISIS destroys the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, Iraq, on June 21.

On June 25, the World Health Organization estimates that Yemen has over 200,000 cases of cholera.

Mosul is declared fully liberated from ISIS on July 10.

A Senate GOP bill presented to repeal and replace large portions of Obamacare lacks the support to pass on July 18. Later, second (“straight” repeal) and third (“skinny” repeal) attempts also fail.

O.J. Simpson is granted parole on July 20 after nine years in a Nevada prison. He is released on Oct. 1.

Trump tweets on July 26 that transgender people cannot serve in “any capacity” in the U.S. military, an order expected to fail in the courts next week.

Reince Priebus is dismissed as White House chief of staff on July 28 and Trump names Gen. John Kelly as his replacement. Anthony Scaramucci and Steve Bannon later get the boot.

Following a series of missile tests, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approves new sanctions against North Korea on Aug. 5.

Alt-right groups gather in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12 to protest the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials, prompting violence that turns deadly. Trump makes public statements blaming counter-protesters, prompting mass resignations from his business councils (disbanded Aug. 16). A tweet from President Obama becomes the “most liked” of all time.

A terrorist kills 14 people and injures over 100 others by driving a van through crowds in Barcelona on Aug. 17

“The Great American Eclipse” passes from coast to coast on Aug. 21.

On Aug. 25, Trump pardons Joe Arpaio, Arizona’s former Maricopa County sheriff who had previously been convicted of disobeying a court order that traffic patrols stop using racial profiling.

Hurricane Harvey bears down on Houston from Aug. 25 to 30, causing more than 80 deaths and $180 billion in damage.

The U.S. government orders the closure of Russian consulate facilities in San Francisco, D.C. and New York City on Aug. 30. Vladimir Putin expels 755 diplomats from Russia in response.

North Korea conducts its sixth and seemingly most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, claiming possession of a hydrogen bomb.

Trump announces the impending end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy on Sept. 5.

Hurricane Irma, the strongest Atlantic basin hurricane ever recorded, hits the Caribbean and the U.S. from Sept. 6 to Sept. 10.

On Sept. 13, the International Olympic Committee names Paris and Los Angeles as hosts of the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games.

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake strikes Central Mexico on Sept. 19, killing more than 300 people and injuring thousands.

Hurricane Maria makes landfall on Sept. 19, obliterating agricultural sources, tainting water and cutting off power in Puerto Rico.

Saudi Arabia announces on Sept. 26 that it will end its ban on women driving cars.

On Oct. 1, Stephen Paddock opens fire on concertgoers in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 and injuring more than 500. This becomes the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in U.S. history.

On Oct. 5, The New York Times publishes an exposé accusing film producer Harvey Weinstein of serial sexual harassment and assault. Additional allegations arise, triggering the #MeToo movement to call out sexual predators.

Wildfires ignite throughout Northern California on Oct. 8, eventually killing 42 people, causing 100,000 to evacuate and destroying more than 8,000 structures.

On Oct. 12, the U.S. withdraws from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), citing anti-Israeli bias by the organization.

More than 500 people are killed when a truck bomb explodes on Oct. 14 in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Raqqa, Syria, is declared fully liberated from ISIS on Oct. 17.

Qualcomm Technologies Inc. announces the world’s first 5G mobile connection on Oct. 17.

On Oct. 27, special counsel Robert Mueller files the first charges related to the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, indicting former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates for money laundering and tax fraud.

The World Meteorological Organization reports on Oct. 30 that concentrations of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere reached a record high of 403.3 parts per million
in 2016.

On Nov. 1, federal lawmakers announce that Facebook sold more than 3,000 ads to Russian propagandists during the 2016 election.

Robert Mugabe resigns on Nov. 21 after 37 years of rule in Zimbabwe.

A Nov. 24 attack aimed on a mosque in Egypt kills more than 300.

The U.K.’s Prince Harry announces his engagement to American actress Meghan Markle on Nov. 27, receiving both support and criticism because Markle is biracial and a divorcée.

Wildfires engulf Southern California on Dec. 4, starting with the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, which later spreads into Santa Barbara County and has consumed more than 281,000 acres to date.

Trump announces on Dec. 6 that the U.S. now officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Alabama Republican Roy Moore, accused of sexually assaulting teen girls, loses his bid for a Senate seat on Dec. 12.

The Federal Communications Commission votes to essentially repeal net neutrality on Dec. 14.

Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals abruptly resigns on Dec. 18 amid a growing number of sexual harassment accusations and a misconduct inquiry.

Trump signs the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on Dec. 22.

The Alexa-compatible Echo Dot smart speaker was the top-selling item on Amazon during the holidays, heralding the age of the “smart home.”