Top National Stories of 2014

The Ebola Outbreak

Health workers identified Ebola in March in the West African country of Guinea and later in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The virus didn’t garner much attention from the United States at first. But by June, the international medical group Doctors Without Borders warned that efforts to contain the disease were failing.

A month later, two U.S. health care workers in Liberia became ill.

Their homecomings played out in front of a national television audience. News helicopters followed Dr. Kent Brantly’s ambulance on a half-hour ride through Atlanta, and watched as Brantly emerged in a protective suit, leaning on the arm of another health care worker.

Personalities such as Donald Trump called for stopping all flights from countries where Ebola cases had been found. Governors in New York and New Jersey moved to strictly quarantine health care workers even if they showed no symptoms, procedures that were later relaxed.

Thomas Eric Duncan was the first person to die of Ebola in the United States. Duncan went to the Dallas hospital Sept. 25 complaining of abdominal pain, dizziness, nausea and headaches. Health care workers sent him home, but he returned Sept. 28 via ambulance. He was seriously ill.

In the days after Duncan’s death, two nurses who cared for him — Nina Pham and Amber Vinson — contracted the virus but recovered.

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The 2014 World Cup

The 2014 FIFA World Cup was the 20th FIFA World Cup, the tournament for the association football world championship, which took place at several venues across Brazil. Germany won the tournament and took its fourth title, its first since the reunification of West and East Germany in 1990, by defeating Argentina 1–0 in the final – the same result as the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final.

The USA was defeated 2-1 in game 8 against Belgium.

The ESA Landed a Probe on an Astroid

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft spent more than 10 years chasing down Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko before releasing a 200-pound, robotic landing craftcalled Philae in mid-November. As planned, Philae descended towards the comet at a speed of about 3 feet per second before landing at its carefully selected destination, where it was supposed to drive ice screws and harpoons into the surface to anchor itself.

Philae bounced twice before finally landing and staying put at a different, much less optimal location on the comet. The probe’s mission, to send back scientific data from the surface for up to six weeks, lasted just 64 hours. After Philae’s primary battery drained, it turned out there was inadequate sunlight at the accidental landing site to power up a second rechargeable battery via solar panels.

Ferguson Missouri, The Shooting of Michael Brown

Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed on Aug. 9, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis. The shooting prompted protests that roiled the area for weeks. On Nov. 24, the St. Louis County prosecutor announced that a grand jury decided not to indict Mr. Wilson. The announcement set off another wave of protests.


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