Review of the year 2011 Al Jazeera
With a triumphant end to the season in Brazil, and 20 races now scheduled for 2012, Bahrain included, what next for the Formula One empire?
Almost as popular as the sport itself, Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One’s boss, joins Sir David Frost to discuss the prospect of the slimming down of races in Europe and whether he will continue to work on Formula One’s expansion.
By any measure 2011 has been a remarkable year. Who could have predicted the hunger for democracy that has transformed the political landscape of the Middle East?
One person who has done more than most to sculpt these changes is Yemeni journalist and human rights activist Tawakkal Karman. Last week she became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of her relentless campaigning against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s administration. She speaks to Sir David about the future she envisages of her country.
The Brazilian government is finding it difficult to be green. Their attempt to meet the country’s rapidly growing energy needs with the construction of the Bel Monte dam has been met with outrage by environmentalists who point to the destruction of rainforest and indigenous communities as an inevitable consequence of building the dam.
The explorer and environmentalist David de Rothschild has pledged his support to the affected local communities. Alongside local tribal leaders, he erected a totem pole in the heart of the Amazon to represent all that will be lost when the dam is built.
De Rothschild joins Sir David to discuss how he thinks the green movement needs to adapt to save the planet.
It was the year of the Arab Spring, with revolutions spreading through the Arab world, starting in Tunisia, through Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and a number of other countries.
In some cases, regimes were overthrown: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s president, and Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president, were both toppled. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya was blasted out with the help of NATO. Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president handed over his powers last month – leaving Syria, where the battle continues as we speak.
In Europe, another revolution of sorts. Governments fell in Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland as countries who for years had lived beyond their means finally faced up to the truth: they were broke. The euro was plunged into crisis, the fallout spread around the world, and public protest found a new outlet as demonstrators occupied Wall Street and other financial centres.
NATO continued its military operations in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan and Barack Obama, the US president, gave his approval to the secret operation to kill Osama bin Laden. But in Iraq, it is almost over. The final US troops pull out by the end of the year – a welcome boost for Obama, as he faces up to an election year and an as yet unknown Republican opponent.
Elsewhere, the year’s most dramatic pictures came from Japan where one of the most powerful ever earthquakes caused destruction and a tsunami that swept inland and caused a meltdown in three reactors of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.