2014: the year in numbers – from five to 700 billion
Five years in jail for Oscar Pistorious, 6,800 dead from Ebola, 551m voters in India
By any standards, 2014 was a dramatic year. A new fault line opened between Russia and the West after Moscow annexed the Crimea, the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola ravaged parts of West Africa, and militants from Islamic State took control of large swathes of Syria and Iraq. Here are some of the more striking and poignant numbers contained within the year's news stories.
On the night of 14 April, Boko Haram militants kidnapped 276 Nigerian schoolgirls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, northeastern Nigeria. The hashtag '#bringbackourgirls' soon became a cause celebre, with Michele Obama, Anthony Kiedis and Sean Combs adding their voices to the campaign. Fifty-seven of the kidnapped girls escaped, but nothing has been heard of the remaining captives and talks with Boko Haram stalled several months ago.
The number of people who voted in India's presidential election – a turnout higher than any previous election in the country's history. Narendra Modi, the controversial Hindu nationalist leader and his Bharatiya Janata Party won an emphatic victory. During the campaign, Modi contrasted the Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi's "privileged upbringing" with his own "relatively impoverished background" in a small-town Gujarat, The Independent reports. Gandhi, meanwhile, characterised his opponent as a Hindu nationalist who would "destroy the secular foundation of India".
In June, following the kidnap and murder of three Jewish teenagers, Israel launched a military incursion into Gaza. Called Operation Protective Edge, it had the stated aim of stamping out rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel. After 50 days of fighting, 2,200 people had been killed and 11,000 more were injured. The UN estimates that at least 17,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed by Israeli bombardments, leaving 100,000 people homeless. When the guns fell silent, Hamas urged Gazans to celebrate a "victory," even though the terms of the deal "appeared to be almost identical to those agreed at the end of the previous war 21 months ago," The Guardian notes.
The number of passengers and crew who were lost when the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing on 8 March. Investigators still don't know why the Boeing 777, which was supposed to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared. The leading theory is that the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean with no survivors six or seven hours after it took off. Australian authorities are leading an international search across a large span of the southern Indian Ocean for the wreckage. So far over 2,600 square miles of sea floor have been surveyed.
Number of Oscars won by Gravity at the 86th Academy Awards, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron. The film took more gongs than any other this year, but the movie was pipped to the post for Best Picture which went to 12 Years a Slave. A selfie taken by comedian Ellen DeGeneres featuring Hollywood stars including Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong'o and Kevin Spacey became the most retweeted ever, so far it has had more than 3.4 million retweets.
On 25 November, Apple's shareprice on the Nasdaq hit $700bn. The figure prompted some analysts to speculate whether the technology giant would eventually become a $1 trillion company.
The number of goals at the World Cup in Brazil, equalling the record set at the 1998 tournament in France. Fourteen of the goals came in two remarkable matches: in the opening week of the tournament defending champions Spain were thrashed 5-1 by Netherlands and there was an even bigger shock in the semi-final as hosts Brazil were humiliated 7-1 by Germany in front of their own fans. Germany went on to beat Argentina 1-0 in the final.
Leaders from around the world met several times this year in a bid to work out a joint response to an outbreak of Ebola that has killed at least 6,800 since the middle of the year. The disease has been described as "a severe acute viral illness" that kills most of its victims and is highly contagious. In spite of global efforts to tackle the disease, there is still no proven vaccine or cure. Ebola is now believed to have infected more than 17,000 people, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.
The number of female stars who had intimate pictures stolen from their phones or computers by hackers in early September. Dozens of celebrity iCloud accounts were hacked leading to nude photos being published on the controversial picture sharing site 4Chan. One of the victims, Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, declared: "This isn't a scandal, it is a sex crime."
The number of years in prison Oscar Pistorius received for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Millions tuned in every day to watch the blanket courtroom coverage of the trial of the Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius. The State had attempted to find the athlete guilty of premeditated murder, arguing that he intended to kill Steencamp when he fired four shots into the toilet in his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year following a row. But Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled that the prosecution had not proven he had intent, and instead sentenced Pistorius to five years in prison for culpable homicide. However, in December, prosecutors were given the go ahead to appeal the conviction. The case will likely be heard next year, by a panel of judges at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.
A school massacre in Peshawar in December that left 132 children and nine staff dead provoked fierce international condemnation. Leaders from around the world, including US president Barack Obama and Narendra Modi condemned the attack. On the morning of 16 December, Taliban suicide bombers stormed a military-run school moving from classroom to classroom slaughtering anyone they encountered. After seven hours, 141 people were dead in the country's worst terrorist attack. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani Nobel prize winner, said she was "heartbroken by this senseless and cold-blooded act of terror".