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It may seem peculiar that in order to understand and learn about people from other cultures, we must first begin by becoming more conscious of our own culture. If you can identify and understand how your own culture has affected you first hand, then it is reasonable to understand how it could affect others.
Many of us acquire misinformed messages and begin to stereotype people from different cultures when we are young. This acquired information may come in the form of bits and pieces we may hear from television or radio reports, from listening to people's conversations, and from our own cultures general attitude at large. We are not awful people for acquiring this information (after all no one requested to be misinformed) but in order to build trusting relationships with people from different cultures, we must all educate ourselves to become aware of the misinformation we acquired. If you are ever given the opportunity to travel to another country to experience their culture, then by all means openly embrace it and form your own opinion!
Significant Events of the Past 30 Years
Beirut Marine Barracks Bombing 
Suicide bombings in the Middle East. A truck bomb destroyed the barracks killing 241 U.S. service personnel. The troops had gone to Beirut on a peacekeeping mission, but the bombing led to their departure.
Chernobyl Disaster 
Science fiction became fact when a Ukrainian nuclear power plant, at Chernobyl, exploded sending radioactive fallout over Europe. More than 330,000 people had to be relocated.
Challenger Explosion 
Christa McAuliff was going to be the first teacher in space. But 73 seconds after launch, the space shuttle exploded killing all seven astronauts. Disaster hit the program again in 2003, when seven astronauts died aboard the space shuttle Columbia.
Pan Am Flight 103 
Explosives hidden in a suitcase destroyed a jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. Many of the 189 Americans aboard were students or military personnel returning home for Christmas. A former Libyan intelligence officer was convicted, and Libya accepted responsibility for the bombing.
Fall of Communism 
The Berlin Wall that divided a city into a communist east and a non-communist west, was the most tangible symbol of a Cold War that divided the whole world. When it came down, it was proof that the war was over and that the communists who built the wall had been defeated.
Tiananmen Square 
The spirit of China’s student led pro democracy protests was dramatized by one scene - a lone man standing defiantly before a column of tanks in the heart of Beijing, but the military force prevailed. Communist leaders crushed the protests, killing hundreds, or quite possibly thousands.
Nelson Mandela 
Rarely has anyone suffered so much and for so long with so little apparent bitterness. The South African nationalist spent 27 years in prison under the white racist regime. His release in 1990 was the beginning of apartheid’s end. Later, as president, he used his position for reconciliation rather than revenge.
Persian Gulf War 
After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and ignored the deadline to withdraw, a U.S. led coalition invaded. The ground battle was won in a few days at the cost of 148 American lives. Tens of thousands of Iraqis died. Saddam was driven from Kuwait but still held power from his residence.
Rodney King [1991-92]
The video was shocking - white Los Angeles police officers beating a black man who lay on the ground. Rodney King was a parolee who had kept driving when police tried to pull him over. The acquittal of four officers on brutality charges sparked riots that left more than 50 people dead.
Branch Davidians 
At least 80 members of the Branch Davidian sect were killed during a 51 day standoff outside Waco, Texas. It began when federal agents tried to arrest group leader David Koresh for stockpiling guns and explosives.
Rwandan Genocide 
Neighbor killed neighbor, sometimes with a machete. More than 500,000 people died in about 100 days in government orchestrated violence that grew out of a civil war. Despite news coverage, the international community did not prevent it.
O.J. Simpson [1994-95]
After Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman were murdered, the former football star was named a suspect and the case became a national obsession. His criminal trial ended in a controversial acquittal.
Oklahoma City Bombing 
The truck bomb that destroyed the Murrah Federal Building was the work of Army veterans Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, who sympathized with the violent anti federal militia movement. The blast killed 168 people and injured nearly 700.
John Howard Elected 
John Winston Howard becomes the 25th Prime Minister of Australia. His term in office is the second longest in Australian history, ending on December 3, 2007.
Death of Diana 
The people’s princess was a complex personification of glamour, innocence and tragedy. Her death in a Paris car crash evoked extraordinary public expressions of grief. Princess Diana’s funeral at Westminster Abbey drew more than a million mourners and a worldwide television audience.
Clinton Impeachment [1998-99]
President Clinton first denied anything improper with Miss Lewinsky, and then admitted he had a wrong relationship with her. The House impeached him on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, the Senate acquitted him.
Columbine Massacre 
Most Americans once believed their kids were safe at school. Then came the shootings at Columbine High School near Denver. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher, and then committed suicide. It was a precursor to 2007’s massacre at Virginia Tech, where 33 people died.
Presidential Election 
Election Day 2000 was just the beginning of a five week struggle to decide who had won. It came down to a 5 to 4 vote by the Supreme Court that ended a Florida recount and put Republican George W. Bush in the White House over Democrat Al Gore.
9/11 Terrorist Attacks 
Islamic extremists turned four commercial jetliners into weapons of mass murder, destroying two of the USA’s largest office towers and punching a hole in its military headquarters. The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people, led to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and ushered in unprecedented national security measures.
Afghanistan Invasion 
After the 9/11 attacks, and in the first stage of the ‘war on terrorism,’ U.S. led forces toppled the Taliban regime that had harbored the al-Qaeda plotters. But terrorist Osama bin Laden had eluded capture.
Near Earth Asteroid 
A near-Earth asteroid estimated at 10 metres diameter explodes over the Mediterranean Sea between Greece and Libya. The resulting explosion is estimated to have a force of 26 kilotons, slightly more powerful than the Nagasaki atomic bomb.
Iraq War [2003- ]
It was a war of two actions. First came the conventional conflict in which the United States and its allies quickly rolled over the forces of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Then came the protracted struggle against an insurgency that frustrated Americans like no other war since Vietnam.
Gay Marriage 
Same sex marriage took one step forward and several steps back. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s 2003 ruling that granted homosexuals the right to marry sparked a backlash. The next year, 11 states passed bans on same sex marriage.
New York Times Admission 
The New York Times publishes an admission of journalistic failings, claiming that its flawed reporting and lack of scepticism towards sources during the build up to the 2003 war in Iraq helped promote the belief that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.
Japanese Earthquake 
A powerful earthquake and its aftershocks hit Niigata prefecture, northern Japan, killing 35 people, injuring 2,200, and leaving 85,000 evacuated and homeless.
Asian Tsunami 
The peace of Christmas was shattered by tragedy when an earthquake triggered a devastating Indian Ocean tsunami. A 9.3 magnitude earthquake created a tsunami causing devastation in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives and many other areas around the rim of the Indian Ocean, killing 230,000 people.
Hurricane Katrina 
The costliest hurricane in U.S. history flooded New Orleans, scattered its residents, killed more than 1,700 people and devastated the Mississippi and Alabama coastline.
Non Stop Flight 
Steve Fossett became the first person to fly an airplane around the world solo without any stops or refuelling. The journey of 40,234 km or 25,000 miles was completed in 67 hours and 2 minutes.
Tour de France victory 
Lance Armstrong retires after winning a record seventh consecutive Tour de France victory. Medals were later stripped from him in 2012 after he admitted to doping.
New Years Day Record 
Sydney, Australia swelters through its hottest New Years Day on record. The thermometer peaked at 45 degrees Celsius, sparking bushfires and power outages.
New World Trade Centre 
Construction begins on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Centre in New York City.
Hurricane Kyrill 
The strongest storm the United Kingdom has experienced in 17 years. Hurricane Kyrill, causes at least 44 deaths across 20 countries in Western Europe. Other losses include the Container Ship MSC Napoli destroyed by the storm off the coast of Devon, England.
Birth of the iPhone 
Apple Inc CEO, Steve Jobs introduces the iPhone.
Smoking Ban 
Smoking in England is banned in all public indoor spaces. With the ban already in force in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, this means it is illegal to smoke in indoor public places anywhere in the UK. The ban is also put into effect in Australia.
Kevin Rudd Elected 
Australians elect the Kevin Rudd Australian Labor Party at the federal election, ending the eleven year tenure of the John Howard Liberal/National coalition government.
Stolen Generation Apology 
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes an official historic apology to the Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations.
B-2 Crash at Guam 
A B-2 Spirit of the USAF crashes at Guam. The crew survived but the aircraft was written off, making it the most expensive air crash in human history. The B-2 had a perfect safety record before the crash, and had a cost price of 1.2 billion dollars.
Canadian First Nation Apology 
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made an official historic apology to Canada's First Nations in regard to a residential school abuse in which children were isolated from their homes, families and cultures for a century.
Barack Obama Elected 
Barack Obama becomes the first African American to be nominated by a major political party for President of the United States. Barack Obama becomes the first African American to be elected President of the United States.
Jeddah Floods 
Powerful storms bring 3 years worth of rain in 4 hours to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sparking terrible floods known as the 2009 Jeddah Floods, which kill over 150 people and sweep thousands of cars away right in the middle of Hajj in the second largest city of Saudi Arabia.
Sri Lankan Civil War Ends 
The LTTE are defeated by the Sri Lankan government ending almost 27 years of fighting between the two sides. Sri Lanka announces victory in its 27 year war against the terrorist organisation, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Typhoon Ketsana 
Typhoon Ketsana hits the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, causing 700 fatalities.
Non Stop Unassisted Sailing 
Jessica Watson becomes the youngest person to sail, non-stop and unassisted around the world solo.
Canterbury Earthquake 
A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand at 4:35 am causing widespread damage and several power outages.