We’re in the throes of a news cycle which seems to constantly gravitate towards the new President of The United States. Trump is a ratings obsessed narcissist, who must be loving the constant attention being placed on his administration by news outlets (any press is good press, right?) He’s been deriding press he sees as unfavourable as “fake news” and constantly attacking the media. Something which, ironically has only gained him more attention from the media. The problem with a news cycle that so viciously comes back to the centre of gravity which is Trump is that a few really interesting, important stories have slipped under the radar this year. For that reason, we’ve assembled a list of 6 significant “real news” events that have occurred in 2017 that don’t involve the most powerful/dumbest man in the world.

Kim Jong-Un’s Brother Was Assassinated.

In a bold and targeted attack that served to show the rest of the world that North Korea still doesn’t play by any international rules, Kim Jong-Un may or may not have arranged the assassination of his younger brother, Kim Jong-Nam. Following a string of actions which were perceived to be against the state including a visit to Disneyland in Japan in 2001, Kim Jong-Nam was exiled from North Korea. Reportedly, his father Kim Jong-Il was unsatisfied with his actions of dissent against North Korea. After that point, Kim Jong-Nam became a regular critic of the North Korean regime, and a strong advocate for reform in the region. This kind of behaviour isn’t tolerated well by a totalitarian government like Kim Jong Un’s. As a result, Nam was assassinated at Kuala Lumpar International Airport with the VX Nerve agent, a chemical which has been listed by the U.N as a weapon of mass destruction. Two women smeared the chemical agent on his face at the airport, and he died shortly after. The women defended their actions, saying they thought they were performing a prank for a comedy reality show. But, I mean, wouldn’t the lack of cameras and sound guys have tipped them off that maybe they weren’t on a TV show?

Photo: JoongAng Sunday/AFP/Getty Images

Nasa Discovered A Whole Bunch Of Planets.

We reported on this when it was first announced, but we feel like it deserves another mention here. NASA discovered a series of seven Earth-like planets orbiting a sun, which they named the TRAPPIST-1 system. The discovery set a new record for the greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. Exciting or scary depending on your point of view, three of these planets could potentially harbour life under the right conditions, and some may even be abundant with water (which is essential to life as we know it.) Whether this will lead to a genuine discovery of life amongst the stars or not, this is still one of the most exciting discoveries made in space for some time.

Syria Has Taken Back The Water In Aleppo.

It has been said that “in war there are no winners, only widows.” The ongoing civil war in Syria has been targeted at taking down the Assad regime. Assad’s family have essentially ruled the region since the 1970’s, and the people had enough of what was considered a tyrannical reign. Rebel groups and ISIS insurgents have fought the government for control of the region, but due to the fact that all parties have different end games and goals, the city of Aleppo has become a strategic hot-bed that has resulted in countless deaths. Recently, ISIS took control of the water pumping station near Aleppo, cutting off water mains to residents for more than two months. Now, Syrian government forces (of the Assad regime) have taken back the water supply. The facility was taken by ISIS in early 2014, after rebels wrestled it from the Syrian government in 2013. The conflict has no end in sight until international forces can agree on how to resolve the issues that face the region, but at least the people will be able to drink clean water again. For now.

A City In China Plans On Pumping Water From A Russian Lake Through A 1000km Pipeline.

While the Syrian government has taken back the water from ISIS, a Chinese city is attempting to take water from Russia right now. Planners in the drought stricken Lanzhou (the capital of the Gansu provinence) have drawn up proposals to pump water from Russia’s Lake Baikal which is the deepest freshwater lake on Earth. The project has been called “theoretically feasible” by Chinese academics, though it is unclear whether the Russian government will play along. “Once the technical issues are resolved, diplomats should sit down and talk to each other about how each party would benefit from such international cooperation,” said the vice president of the China Society of Economic Reform.

WikiLeaks Has Published A Heap Of Sensitive CIA Information.

WikiLeaks may or may not have been a driving force in getting Donald Trump elected in the first place – their leaking of emails from the DNC caused many people to distrust Hillary Clinton, which pushed them to vote for Trump. Now, WikiLeaks are at it again. They’ve released over 8000 sensitive CIA documents which contain information about and techniques for hacking, while also revealing ways in which the CIA coordinated with British intelligence services to establish a way to compromise smart TV’s, and turn them into surveillance devices. The leak also provided the location of a CIA base in Frankfurt, hidden underneath the US Consulate Office there, which covers Europe, The Middle East and Africa.

Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Russia Is Trying To Get Far Right Governments Elected All Over Europe

Russia’s meddling in the US election last year was highly reported, and there is a wealth of information coming to light at the moment about whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials during this process. But it isn’t just the US feeling the sting of Russia’s meddling. Vladimir Putin’s government is reportedly attempting to destabilise elections in France and Germany, two of Europe’s most powerful players, with the likely goal of shattering the EU, which is already weakened significantly due to the recent Brexit. The Russian government may have been targeting the campaign of Emmanuel Macron, a centrist “pro-liberal and pro-Europe” candidate who has a chance of defeating Marine Le Pen, a right-wing nationalist who wants France out of the EU, in the coming French election this May. At the same time, cyber-attacks launched against German political parties are aiming to change the views of the populous. The head of German foreign intelligence said that “We have evidence that cyber-attacks are taking place that have no purpose other than to elicit political uncertainty.” Vladimir Putin’s clear distain for the west, and for democratic principles seems to be his driving motivation, though the intended results of this rhetoric are unclear.