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The 21st (twenty-first) century is the current century of the Gregorian calendar. It began on January 1, 2001, and will end on December 31, 2100.[1] It is the first century of the 3rd millennium. It is distinct from the century known as the 2000s which began on January 1, 2000 and will end on December 31, 2099.[2]

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The first years of the 21st century have thus far been marked by the rise of a global economy and Third World consumerism, mistrust in government, deepening global concern over terrorism and an increase in the power of private enterprise.[3][4][5] The Arab Spring of the early 2010s led to mixed outcomes in the Arab world.[6] The Third Industrial Revolution which began around the 1980s also continues into the present, and is expected to transition into Industry 4.0 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution by as early as 2030.[7] Sequencing cost continues to fall exponentially: the first human genome cost three billion dollars.[8] Today, sequencing only one human genome only costs about a thousand.[9] Millennials and Generation Z come of age and rise to prominence in this century.[10] In 2016, the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union, causing Brexit.[11]

Contents

Transitions and changesEdit

 
Shanghai has become a symbol of the recent economic boom of China.

Technology and societyEdit

Advances in technology such as ultrasound, prenatal genetic testing and genetic engineering is changing the demographics and has the potential to change the genetic makeup of the human population. Because of sex selective abortion, fewer girls have been born in the 21st century (and since the eary 1980s) compared to in past centuries, mostly because of son preference in East and South Asia. In 2014 only 47 percent of Indian births were of girls.[12] This has led to an increase in bachelors in countries such as China and India. The first genetically modified children were born in November 2018 in China, beginning a new biological era for the human species and raising great controversy.

Anxiety[13] and depression[14] rates are rising in the United States and many other parts of the world. However, suicide rates have fallen in Europe and most of the rest of the world so far this century, declining 29% globally between 2000 and 2018, despite rising 18% in the United States in the same period. The decline in suicide has been most notable among Chinese and Indian women, the elderly and middle-aged Russian men.[15][16]

Knowledge and informationEdit

The entire written works of mankind, from the beginning of recorded history to 2003, in all known languages, is estimated to be at five exabytes of data.[17][18] Since 2003, with the birth of social media and "user-generated content", the same amount of data is created every two days.[19] The advancement of the sum total of human knowledge and information continues to grow at an exponential rate; humans now collect and archive more data in one day than in the previous 10 years.[20]

Telecommunications in the early 21st century are much more advanced and universal than they were in the late 20th century. Only a few percent of the world's population were Internet users and cellular phone owners in the late 1990s; as of 2018 55% of the world's population is online and as of 2019 an estimated 67% own a cell phone.[21] In the 2010s, artificial intelligence, mostly in the form of deep learning and machine learning became more prevalent, and is prominently used in Gmail and Google's search engine, as well as in banking, the military and other niches. In 2017, 14% of the world's population still lacked access to electricity.[22]

 
India's Prayag Kumbh Mela is regarded as the world's largest religious festival.

In 2001, Dennis Tito became the first space tourist, beginning the era of commercial spaceflight. Entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and Richard Branson are working towards commercial space exploration, colonization and tourism, and China and India have made substantial strides in their space program. On January 3, 2019, China landed a robotic spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, being the first to do so.[23]

Culture and politicsEdit

War and most kinds of crime and violence have declined considerably compared to the 20th century; such a period of "relative peace" between major powers has not been documented in human history since the Roman Empire.[citation needed] Malnourishment and poverty are still widespread globally, but fewer people live in the most extreme forms of poverty, relative to recorded history. In 1990 one-in-four people were malnourished, nearly 36% of the world's population lived in extreme poverty; in 2015 this percentage dropped to one-in-eight and 10%, respectively. If current trends hold, the United Nations projects the eradication of famine and extreme poverty by the end of this century.

The Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal draws international attention to the possible negative effects of social media on influencing citizen's views, particularly in regards to the 2016 United States presidential election.

Population and urbanizationEdit

The world population was about 6.1 billion at the start of the 21st century, and reached 7.7 billion by January 2019. It is estimated to reach about 8.6 billion by the year 2030,[24] and 9.8 billion by the year 2050. According to the United Nations World Urbanization prospects, 60% of the world's human population is projected to live in megacities and megalopolises by 2030, 70% by 2050, and 90% by 2080. By 2040, more than 5 times the current global gross domestic product is expected to be invested in urban infrastructure.[25]

Life expectancy is increasing as child mortality continues to decline. A baby born in 2016, for example, can on average (globally) expect to live 72 years—26 years longer than the global average of someone born in 1950. Ten million Britons (16% of the population of the United Kingdom) are expected to live to 100 or older.[26]

However, climate change remains an extremely serious concern; UN Chief António Guterres, for instance, has described it as an "existential threat" to humanity.[27] Furthermore, the Holocene extinction event, the sixth most significant extinction event in the history of the Earth, continues with the widespread degradation of highly biodiverse habitats as a byproduct of human activity.[28]

 
A map of uncontacted tribes, around the start of the 21st century

Economics and educationEdit

Economically and politically the United States and Western Europe were dominant at the beginning of the century; by the 2010s, China became an emerging superpower and by some measures the world's largest economy. In terms of purchasing power parity India's economy became larger than that of Japan around the year 2011.[29]

The ongoing impact of technological unemployment due to automation and computerization on job employment is massive: the rate of jobs disappearing—due to machines replacing them—is expected to escalate.[30] Automation alters the number of jobs and their skills demands of industries. As of 2019, the manufacturing sectors of first world nations' production output was doubled when compared to 1984 output; but are now produced with one-third fewer workers and at significantly reduced operating costs.[31] Half of all jobs with requirements less than a bachelor's degree are currently in the process of being replaced with partial- or full-automation.[32]

According to the World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school will end up in jobs or careers that currently do not yet exist.[33]

PronunciationEdit

There is a debate among experts and the general public on how to pronounce specific years of the 21st century in English. Regarding this, academics suggested that since former years such as 1805 and 1905 were commonly pronounced as "eighteen oh" or "nineteen oh" five, the year 2005 should naturally have been pronounced as "twenty oh-five".[34] A less common variation would have been "twenty nought-five". Generally, the early years of the 21st century were pronounced as "two-thousand (and) five", with a change taking place in 2010, where pronunciations often shift between the early-year standard of "two-thousand and ten" and the common approach used in the late 20th century of "twenty-ten".

The Vancouver Olympics, which took place in 2010, was being officially referred to by Vancouver 2010 as "the twenty-ten Olympics". The latest timeframes for change are usually placed at 2020.[34]

According to The Stanley Kubrick Archives, in the press release for his film 2001: A Space Odyssey, film director Stanley Kubrick included specific instructions for journalists to refer to the movie as "two thousand and one" instead of the commonplace pronunciation of "twenty-oh-one". Kubrick said he did this in the hope that if the film became popular, it would influence the pronunciation of that year.[35]

EventsEdit

Politics and warsEdit

Despite a very large decline in conflict deaths compared to the 20th century, genocide still remains a problem in this century with the concern of the war in Darfur and the conflict in Sri Lanka which ended in 2009. Low estimates on the deaths in Darfur stand around 200,000 deaths with 2.5 million in displacement, there has been much outcry against the perpetrators, the Sudanese government, and the very weak international response. Also, controversies from past genocides remain commonplace in the minds of victims and average people alike.

EventsEdit

 
Russian President Vladimir Putin with George W. Bush and other Western leaders in Moscow, 9 May 2005
 
Protesters try to stop members of the G8 from attending the summit during the 27th G8 summit in Genoa, Italy by burning vehicles on the main route to the summit.

2000sEdit

 
Barack Obama, the first African-American President of the United States, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev after signing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

2010sEdit

 
Pope Francis in Poland

New countries and territorial changesEdit

Some territories have gained independence during the 21st century. This is a list of sovereign states that have gained independence in the 21st century and have been recognized by the UN.

 
Celebration of the Declaration of Independence of Kosovo

These territories have declared independence and secured relative autonomy but they have only been recognized by some UN member states:

These territories have declared independence and secured relative autonomy but they have been recognized by no one:

These territories were annexed from a sovereign country, the action has only been recognized by some UN member states:

  •   Crimea annexed from Ukraine into the Russian Federation on March 18, 2014.

Science and technologyEdit

Space explorationEdit

 
NASA successfully lands the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars.
 
Artist's impression of New Horizons' close encounter with the Pluto–Charon system.

PhysicsEdit

MathematicsEdit

MedicineEdit

  • 2003 – Completion of the Human Genome Project
  • 2003 – Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spreads around the globe.
  • 2005 – The first successful partial face transplant is performed in France.
  • 2006 – Australian of the Year Dr Ian Frazer develops a vaccine for cervical cancer.
  • 2007 – Visual prosthetic (bionic eye) Argus II.
  • 2008 – Japanese scientists create a form of artificial DNA.
  • 2008 – Laurent Lantieri performs the first full face transplant.
  • 2009 – Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 spreads around the globe.
  • 2012 – The first successful complete face transplant is performed in Turkey.
  • 2012 – Doubts raised over Statin medication.
  • 2013 – First kidney grown in vitro in the U.S.
  • 2013 – First human liver grown from stem cells in Japan.
  • 2014 – Ebola virus spreads in west Africa, prompting the largest ever epidemic, with more than 20,000 cases. The first cases outside Africa are reported.
  • 2016 – The Zika virus, caused by mosquitoes, targets unborn babies, causing birth defects on newborns making some pregnant women afraid of traveling overseas.

TelecommunicationsEdit

The Digital Revolution continued into the early 21st century with mobile usage and Internet access growing massively, becoming available to more people and with more applications and faster speeds.

Social networking emerged in the late 2000s as a popular social communication, largely replacing much of the function of email, message boards and instant messaging services. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat are all major examples of social media to gain widespread popularity. The use of webcams and front-facing cameras on PCs and related devices, and services such as Skype and FaceTime, have made video calling and video conferencing widespread.

Civil unrestEdit

Linguistic diversityEdit

As of 2009, SIL Ethnologue catalogued 6,909 living human languages.[49] The exact number of known living languages will vary from 5,000 to 10,000, depending generally on the precision of one's definition of "language", and in particular on how one classifies dialects.

Estimates vary depending on many factors but the general consensus is that there are between 6,000 and 7,000 languages currently spoken, and that between 50–90% of those will have become extinct by the year 2100.[50] The top 20 languages spoken by more than 50 million speakers each, are spoken by 50% of the world's population, whereas many of the other languages are spoken by small communities, most of them with fewer than 10,000 speakers.[50]

DisastersEdit

Natural disastersEdit

 
The tsunami striking Ao Nang in Thailand on December 26, 2004.
 
New Orleans, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

2000s

  • 2001 Gujarat earthquake – An earthquake in Gujarat, India on January 26, 2001 killed approximately 20,000 people.
  • January 2001 El Salvador earthquake – A 7.9 earthquake in El Salvador shook the whole country on January 13, 2001, causing a major devastating landslide, hundreds dead, thousands injured and many homeless. A month later, on February 13, 2001 the country suffered a second earthquake – 6.7
  • 2003 European heat wave – Approximately 30,000 people were killed across Europe in a summer long heat wave.
  • 2003 Bam earthquake – An earthquake in Bam, Iran on December 27, 2003, killed more than 26,000.
  • 2004 Hurricane Jeanne – Over 3,000 people are killed by Hurricane Jeanne in Haiti in September 2004.
  • 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami – On December 26, 2004, a massive undersea earthquake resulted in a massive tsunami striking southeast Asia killing approximately 230,000.
  • 2005 Hurricane Katrina – The hurricane killed 1,836 in southeast Louisiana and Mississippi (mostly in New Orleans) and South Florida. A significant portion of the city, most of which sits below sea level, was submerged. Damages reached US$81.5 billion, making Katrina the costliest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the U.S.
  • 2005 Kashmir earthquake – An earthquake in Kashmir on October 8, 2005, killed at least 74,500 in India and Pakistan.
  • 2008 Cyclone Nargis – lead to catastrophic storm surge, leading to a death toll in excess of 100,000 and making millions homeless.
  • 2008 Sichuan earthquake – An earthquake between 7.9 and 8.0-magnitude struck Sichuan, China, on May 12, 2008, killing 68,712, with 17,921 missing.
  • 2009 Black Saturday bushfires – The Black Saturday bushfires were a series of bushfires that ignited or were burning across the Australian state of Victoria, Australia on and around Saturday, February 7, 2009. The fires occurred during extreme bushfire-weather conditions and resulted in Australia's highest ever loss of life from a bushfire; 173 people died and 414 were injured.
  • 2009 L'Aquila earthquake – A 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes near L'Aquila (Italy) on April 6, 2009, one of the worst in Italian history. 308 were pronounced dead and more than 65,000 were made homeless.
  • 2009 flu pandemic – A worldwide outbreak of Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 spread around the world forming a pandemic by June 2009.

2010s

 
The eye of Hurricane Irene as viewed from the International Space Station on August 24, 2011
 
Hurricane Maria destruction in Dominica in 2017.
  • 2010 Haiti earthquake – At least 230,000 are killed in Haiti after a massive earthquake on January 12, 2010. As of late February 2010, the death toll is expected to rise. Three million people were made homeless.
  • 2010 Chile earthquake – A massive earthquake, magnitude 8.8, strikes the central Chilean coast on February 27, 2010.
  • 2010 Yushu earthquake – A large 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the Yushu region of China in Qinghai near Tibet, on April 14, 2010, killing over 2,200 people.
  • 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull – A massive ash cloud is formed by the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, on April 14, 2010, grounding flights across northwest Europe. Scientists began recording volcanic activity there in 2009 which increased through March 2010 culminating in the second phase eruption in April.
  • 2010 Pakistan floods – Began in July 2010 after record heavy monsoon rains. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan was worst affected. At least 1,600 people were killed, thousands were rendered homeless, and more than thirteen million people were affected.[51][52][53][54][55] Estimates from rescue service officials suggest the death toll may reach 3,000 victims.[56]
  • 2011 Queensland floods – Began in December 2010 primarily in Queensland. The flood causes thousands of people to evacuate. At least 200,000 people were affected by the flood. The flood continued throughout January 2011 in Queensland, and the estimated reduction in Australia's GDP is about A$30 billion.
  • Cyclone Yasi – A category 5 (Australian Scale) cyclone hits North Queensland with winds as strong as 290 km/hr (197 miles/hr) and devastates the residents of North Queensland.
  • February 2011 Christchurch earthquake – 185 people died in New Zealand after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch on February 22, 2011, making it New Zealand's second-deadliest natural disaster after the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.
  • 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami – On March 11, 2011, a catastrophic undersea earthquake of magnitude 9.0 occurred offshore of eastern Japan, the greatest in the country's history and created a massive tsunami which killed 15,894; it also triggered the Fukushima I nuclear accidents. The overall cost for the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accidents reached up to US$235 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster on record.
  • 2011 Super Outbreak – Regarded as the deadliest tornado outbreak ever recorded and dubbed the 2011 Super Outbreak, a catastrophic tornado outbreak on April 25–28 affected the Southern United States and killed over 330 people, most of whom were in or from Alabama. Damages are expected to be near or over $10 billion.
  • 2011 Joplin tornado – On May 22, 2011, a devastating EF5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri resulting in 159 casualties, making it the deadliest tornado to hit the United States since 1947.
  • Tropical Storm Washi – Locally known as Sendong, it caused catastrophic flooding in the Philippine island of Mindanao on the night of December 16, 2011. The hardest hits were in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City. Almost 1000 people perished, most of whom were sleeping, and President Benigno Aquino III declared a state of calamity four days later.
  • Hurricane Sandy – October 24–30, 2012 – kills at least 185 people in the Caribbean, Bahamas, United States and Canada. Considerable storm surge damage causes major disruption to the eastern seaboard of the United States.[57][58][59]
  • Typhoon Haiyan 2013 – kills more than 6,000 people in central Philippines. Considered to be one of the strongest storms ever, it brought major damage and loss of life to the Philippines, especially the islands of Leyte and Samar. A worldwide humanitarian effort began in the aftermath of the typhoon.
  • 2014 Southeast Europe floods – kill at least 80 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Floodwaters caused over 2,000 landslides across the Balkan region, spreading damage across many towns and villages.
  • April 2015 Nepal earthquake – An earthquake of 7.8 magnitude kills almost 9,000 people, injures another 22,000 and leaves nearly 3 million people homeless in Central Nepal. The earthquake was so strong it was felt in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • 2016 Taiwan earthquake – An earthquake of 6.4 magnitude kills 117 people, injures 550, and 4 people were left missing. The earthquake resulted in 3 executives of the Weiguan developer being arrested under charges of professional negligence resulting in death.
  • August 2016 Central Italy earthquake - A 6.2 magnitude earthquake killed 299 people and severely damaged Amatrice, Accumoli and Arquata del Tronto

Man-made disastersEdit

 
Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling unit in the Gulf of Mexico on fire in 2010
  • On July 27, 2002, a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter crashes at an air show in Ukraine, killing 77 and injuring more than 100, making it the worst air show disaster in history.
  • On February 1, 2003, at the conclusion of the STS-107 mission, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during reentry over Texas, killing all seven astronauts on board.
  • The Black Saturday bushfires – the deadliest bushfires in Australian history took place across the Australian state of Victoria on February 7, 2009 during extreme bushfire-weather conditions, resulting in 173 people killed, more than 500 injured, and around 7,500 homeless. The fires came after Melbourne recorded the highest-ever temperature (46.4 °C, 115 °F) of any capital city in Australia. The majority of the fires were ignited by either fallen or clashing power lines or deliberately lit.
  • On April 10, 2010, Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and 94 other people, including dozens of government officials, are killed in a plane crash.
  • On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, operating in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, left eleven crewmen dead and resulted in a fire that sank the rig and caused a massive-scale oil spill[60] that may become one of the worst environmental disasters in United States history.[61] On June 18, 2010 oceanographer John Kessler said that the crude gushing from the well contains 40 percent methane, compared to about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits. Methane is a natural gas that could potentially suffocate marine life and create "dead zones" where oxygen is so depleted that nothing lives. "This is the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history," Kessler said.[62] On June 20 an internal BP document was released by Congress revealing that BP estimated the flow could be as much as 100,000 barrels (4,200,000 US gallons; 16,000 cubic metres) per day under the circumstances that existed since the April 20 blowout.[63][64]

Economics and industryEdit

 
Jeff Bezos became the richest man in the world in 2018. There were over 2,200 U.S. dollar billionaires worldwide, with a combined wealth of over US$9.1 trillion, up from US$7.67 trillion in 2017.[65]

SportsEdit

At the start of the 21st century sports are very popular. The IOC's Modern Olympic Games was the most viewed sporting event. Association football is the most popular sport worldwide with the FIFA World Cup the most viewed football event. Other sports such as rugby, cricket, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, tennis, and golf were popular globally. In cricket the emergence of the Twenty20 format as well as the creation of the Indian Premier League led to changes in the nature of the sport. American swimmer Michael Phelps won an Olympic record setting 8 Gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

 
The Beijing Bird's Nest Stadium during the 2008 Summer Olympics.

International tournamentsEdit

Modern Olympic Games

Association football

 
Portugal vs Morocco match during the 2018 World Cup in Russia

Athletics

Aquatics

Cricket

Cycling

Rugby Union

Tennis (Men)

  • Roger Federer won 20 Grand Slam titles (6 Australian Opens, 1 French Open, 8 Wimbledons, and 5 US Opens) to surpass Pete Sampras' record of 14.
  • Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic completed a Career Grand Slam, winning the singles championships in the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open; Nadal also won the Olympic Singles gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics to complete a Golden Career Slam.
  • At the 2010 Wimbledon Championships, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut completed the longest tennis match ever. Isner won 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(7), 7–6(3), 70–68.
  • In 2019, Rafael Nadal became the first male player to win a single Grand Slam tournament (French Open) 12 times.

Tennis (Women)

  • Serena Williams won 22 Grand Slam titles (7 Australian Opens, 3 French Opens, 7 Wimbledons, and 5 US Opens) in the 21st century, in addition to her 1999 US Open title.
  • Maria Sharapova became the first female Russian player to reach No.1 on August 22, 2005.
  • China's Li Na won the 2011 French Open, becoming the first player, male or female, from that country to win a Grand Slam.
  • Belarusian Victoria Azarenka won the 2012 Australian Open, becoming the first player, male or female, from that country to win a Grand Slam, and also hold the No.1 ranking (taking over from Caroline Wozniacki).

Motorsport

 
The start of a race during the 2016 Supercars Championship in Australia
  • Dale Earnhardt passes away after a last-lap crash during the Daytona 500 in February 2001. NASCAR surpasses the Indianapolis 500 as the most popular motorsport in the United States.
  • Michael Schumacher breaks many records in the first few years of the century, breaking the record for most races won (91), most World Championships (7), and most pole positions (68) by the time he retired in 2006. He then announced his comeback to Formula One after three years out of the sport, in 2010, before retiring again in 2012.
  • Sebastian Vettel breaks numerous records on his way to becoming Formula One's youngest ever world champion, in 2010 at age 23, and then the youngest ever double world champion, in 2011 at age 24.
  • Sébastien Loeb becomes the most successful rally driver ever, winning the World Rally Championship a record 9 consecutive times between 2004–2012. He also sets new records for the most wins, podium finishes and points scored.
  • Casey Stoner wins his second MotoGP world title (2007 and 2011) before announcing his retirement from the sport at just 27 years of age, citing disagreement with the direction of the sport and a desire to spend more time with his family. His retirement is effective at the end of the 2012 MotoGP season. Stoner has won every MotoGP-branded race at least once.
  • Craig Lowndes became the first driver to reach 100 race wins in the V8 Supercars Championship.
  • Lewis Hamilton breaks the record for most pole positions in Formula One held by Michael Schumacher which is now 85 pole positions.

Golf

Boxing

Arts and entertainmentEdit

ArtsEdit

FilmEdit

Computer-animated films became popular in the early 21st century, with DreamWorks Animation and Pixar films being the most notable, such as Madagascar, Over the Hedge, Bee Movie, the Kung Fu Panda, Rise of the Guardians, The Croods, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Trolls, The Boss Baby and Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Inside Out respectively, as well as other popular computer-animated films such as, the Ice Age series, Robots, Happy Feet, Surf's Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Monster House, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and A Christmas Carol.

Comic book adaptations, especially from Marvel and DC, became extremely successful, such as the X-Men series, the Spider-Man trilogy, Daredevil, Catwoman, the Dark Knight trilogy, Green Lantern, Man of Steel, and The Avengers.

MusicEdit

 
A. R. Rahman, an Indian composer, became the first ever from the sub-continent to have won double Oscars for his original score and soundtrack in 2009.

The most popular styles of music in the 21st century have been hip hop and electronic dance music, although rock music is still popular and other genres such as jazz and classical music still have active scenes and continue to evolve.

Issues and concernsEdit

There are several points-of-view pertaining to the following items, all of which should be considered accordingly.

Issues that have been frequently discussed and debated so far in this century include:

 
Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2006. Almost 97% of future population growth will occur in developing countries.[69]
  • Population. The world's population demographics will shift considerably in this century, with the population of Europe and East Asia to decline considerably and the population of Africa and to a lesser extent South Asia to grow considerably. The United Nations estimates that world population will reach 9.8 billion by the year 2050.[70] Most of this growth will take place in the world's poorer countries, which may slow down the global reduction of poverty and combined with the effects of global warming may lead to large migrations.
  • Poverty. Poverty remains the root cause of many of the world's other ills, including famine, disease, and insufficient education. Poverty contains many self-reinforcing elements (for instance, poverty can make education an unaffordable luxury, which tends to result in continuing poverty) that various aid groups hope to rectify in this century. Immense progress has been made in reducing poverty, especially in China and India but increasingly in Africa as well. Microcredit lending has also started to gain a profile as a useful anti-poverty tool.
  • Overpopulation. The United Nations estimates that world population will reach 9.2 billion by mid-century. Such growth raises questions of ecological sustainability and creates many economic and political disruptions. In response, many countries have adopted policies which either force or encourage their citizens to have fewer children, and others have limited immigration. Considerable debate exists over what the ultimate carrying capacity of the planet may be; whether or not population growth containment policies are necessary; to what degree growth can safely occur thanks to increased economic and ecological efficiency; and how distribution mechanisms should accommodate demographic shifts. Evidence suggests that developed countries (such as Japan) suffer population implosion, and the population debate is strongly tied with discussions about the distribution of wealth.
  • Disease. AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria each kill over a million people annually. HIV remains without a cure or vaccine, and while new cases are declining it remains a major problem, especially for women.[71] Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern for organisms such as tuberculosis. Other diseases, such as SARS, ebola, the Zika virus and flu variations, are also causes for concern. The World Health Organization has warned of a possible coming flu pandemic resulting from bird flu mutations. In 2009, there was an outbreak of swine flu whose country of origin is still unknown.
  • War and terrorism. Although war and terror have declined so far in the early 21st century,[72] active conflicts continue around the world, such as the Syrian Civil War, the Yemeni Civil War and the War in Afghanistan. The 9/11 terrorist attacks triggered invasions of Afghanistan and partially and controversially Iraq. The War on Terror has seen controversies over civil liberties, accusations of torture, continued terrorist attacks and ongoing instability, violence, and military occupation. Violence continues in the Arab–Israeli conflict. Considerable concern remains about nuclear proliferation, especially in Iran and North Korea, and the availability of weapons of mass destruction to rogue groups.
     
    US yearly overdose deaths, and the drugs involved. There were 70,200 drug overdose deaths overall in 2017 in the USA.
  • War on Drugs. Increasingly, the legal, social and military battle led by governments against drug cartels around the world show little results in ending drug trading and consumption, and a constant increase in the lives taken from this struggle. Notably, after 2006 in the Mexican Drug War, more than 100,000 human lives have been lost to this conflict. Some jurisdictions have enacted some degree of legalization or decriminalization of some kinds of drugs, notably including several U.S. states legalizing marijuana either for recreational or medical use.
  • Intellectual property. The increasing popularity of digital formats for entertainment media such as movies and music, and the ease of copying and distributing it via the Internet and peer-to-peer networks, has raised concerns in the media industry about copyright infringement. Much debate is proceeding about the proper bounds between protection of copyright, trademark and patent rights versus fair use and the public domain, where some argue that such laws have shifted greatly towards intellectual property owners and away from the interests of the general public in recent years, while others say that such legal change is needed to deal with a perceived threat of new technologies against the rights of authors and artists (or, as others put it, against the outmoded business models of the current entertainment industry). Domain name "cybersquatting" and access to patented drugs and generics to combat epidemics in third-world countries are other IP concerns.
  • Technology developments continue to change society. Communications and control technology continues to augment the intelligence of individual humans, collections of humans, and machines. Some, notably Ray Kurzweil, have predicted that by the middle of the century there will be a technological singularity if artificial intelligence that outsmarts humans is created. In addition, some economists have expressed concerns over technological unemployment.
     
    Same-sex intercourse illegal:
      Death penalty for homosexuality
  • Civil rights, including women's rights, LGBT rights, racial equality and the rights of disabled and neurodiverse people are still a work in progress. Women are not able to realize or are outright denied their rights in many countries, including India, China [73] and Saudi Arabia, and sexual violence against women is still an enormous problem everywhere in the world. Sex-selective abortion has reduced the number of women born worldwide since 1990, mostly because of son preference in China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, South Korea and some other smaller countries. In many countries attitudes towards homosexuality have become more tolerant. Same-sex marriage was legalized in several jurisdictions during the first two decades of the century, but outlawed by constitutional amendment in other places. Meanwhile, some countries such as Uganda and Russia moved to toughen their laws against any sort of homosexual behavior or expression. Political battles over pro- or anti-gay legislation provoked much activism in the streets and on the Internet. Hate groups remain a serious problem, and ethnic minorities have a lower status in many countries, including the United States. Neurological conditions such as autism are slowly becoming more understood and recognized.

Astronomical eventsEdit

List of the long central solar eclipsesEdit

Other phenomenaEdit

  • 2004: Transit of Venus.
  • December 23, 2007: grand conjunction, a galactic conjunction which happens every 26,000 years.
  • 2009: Triple conjunction JupiterNeptune.
  • 2012: Transit of Venus.
  • November 11, 2019: Transit of Mercury.
  • Friday, April 13, 2029: The asteroid 99942 Apophis (previously better known by its provisional designation 2004 MN4) will pass within 30,000 km (18,600 mi) of the Earth.
  • July 2061: Next return of Halley's Comet.
  • 2063: Triple conjunction Mars-Uranus.
  • November 11, 2065: Transit of Mercury.
  • November 22, 2065: At 12:45 UTC, Venus will occult Jupiter. This event will be the first occultation of a planet by another since January 3, 1818. This event will be very difficult to observe from Earth's surface, because the elongation of Venus and Jupiter from the Sun on that date will be only 7 degrees.
  • 2066: Triple conjunction Jupiter-Uranus.
  • July 15, 2067: At 11:56 UTC, Mercury will occult Neptune. This rare event will be very difficult to observe from Earth's surface, because of the constant low elongation of Mercury from the Sun, and the magnitude of Neptune always under the limit of visibility with the naked eye.
  • Friday, November 10, 2084: Transit of Earth as seen from Mars, the first and the only one in this century.
  • November 7, 2085: Transit of Mercury.
  • 2100: Polaris appears furthest north. Polaris' maximum apparent declination (taking account of nutation and aberration) will be 0.4526° from the celestial north pole, on March 24, 2100.[74]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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NotesEdit

External linksEdit