The week that was: 13th-19th June
What happened between 13th and 19th June over the past five years? We pored over a half-decade’s worth of Delayed Gratification to find the most interesting, surprising and quirky events to have happened over this period from 2011 to 2015.
On 13th June 2015, Georgian capital Tbilisi was hit by its worst floods ever and many animals escaped from the zoo. Bizarre photographs such as the one below dominated news coverage of the floods outside of Georgia – but with 20 people killed and many homes destroyed, the image of a hippopotamus casually strolling by a Swatch shop didn’t do justice to the trauma of Tbilisians. In issue #19 of Delayed Gratification, we published this feature in which we look beyond the iconic images and find out how the city was rebuilding itself.
One year ago this Tuesday, the European Space Agency announced it had re-established communications with Philae, its comet lander which landed on Comet 67P in November 2014. Philae marked the end of its hibernation by sending more than 300 data packets to Earth, but its bout of consciousness was short-lived: ESA received its last communication from the lander on 9th July 2015. In February of this year, the space agency said they were unlikely to ever hear from Philae again.
On 15th June 2010, Icelandic comedian Jón Gnarr became mayor of Reykjavik. Two years into his tenure, we spoke to the cross-dressing entertainer about his unlikely transition into CEO of a beleaguered city. In what wouldn’t have come as a surprise to anybody who read the last paragraph of our article, Gnarr announced in 2014 that he would not seek a second term. Since leaving office, he has continued forging his colourful career, writing a book about his stint as mayor and joining the Centre for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences at Houston’s Rice University as a writer in residence in 2015.
On 16th June 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi accepted her Nobel Peace Prize in person, 21 years after the prize was awarded to her in absentia. When she won the award in 1991, she had been held under house arrest by the military junta in Myanmar. In her 2012 acceptance speech, she talked about the isolation she had experienced during her six-year house arrest, which ended in 1995. On 8th November last year, Myanmar held its first openly contested elections in 25 years, with Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) emerging as the winner. Shortly afterwards, we spoke to Bhojraj Pokharel, who was part of the electoral observation mission and had a unique view of the process. Here is an an excerpt from our interview with him.
17th June 2012 was the final day of Egypt’s first presidential elections following the toppling of Hosni Mubarak. Mohamed Morsi was announced to have won on 24th June, but his reign did not last long: he was ousted in a military coup in July 2013 and sentenced to death in May 2015 – a verdict that was reportedly endorsed by the Egyptian grand mufti on 4th June this year.
On 18th June 2012 it was reported that Fifty Shades of Grey had become the UK’s fastest-selling paperback of all time. Back when EL James set her record, we pored through the trilogy and made this Fifty Shades pornographic from our copious research notes.
19th June 2014 saw the swearing in of King Felipe VI in Spain. His father Juan Carlos – king and besieged elephant-hunter – had announced his abdication earlier that month. To put that controversy into perspective, we looked back on the night which defined his reign, and still inspires conspiracy theories 35 years later.
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