In contemporary history, the 21st century began with the United States as thesole superpower in the absence of the Soviet Union, while China began its rapidrise to become the next superpower and the BRIC countries aim to create morebalance in the global political and economic spectrum. As the Cold War was overand terrorism on the rise, exemplified by the September 11, 2001 attacks at theWorld Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon. Unfortunately, Britain didnot avoid international terrorism.7 July 2005 London bombingsThe 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of co-ordinated suicide bombingsthat struck Londons public transport system during the morning rush hour.At 8:50 a.m. three bombs exploded within 50 seconds of each other on threeLondon Underground trains. A fourth bomb exploded on a bus at 9:47 a.m. inTavistock Square. The bombings led to a severe, day-long disruption of the citystransport and mobile telecommunications infrastructure.Fifty-six people were killed in the attacks, including the four suspected bombers,and about 700 injured. The incident was the deadliest single act of terrorism inthe United Kingdom since Lockerbie (the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103which killed 270), and the deadliest bombing in London since the Second WorldWar.Police investigators identified four men whom they believe to be suicidebombers. These are the first suicide bombings in Western Europe, and arethought to have been planned by Islamist paramilitary organisations based in theUnited Kingdom; the terrorist organization al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.
The financial crisis of 2007–2008,also known as the global financial crisis and 2008 financial crisis, is considered bymany economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the1930s. It resulted in the threat of total collapse of large financial institutions, thebailout of banks by national governments, and downturns in stock marketsaround the world. In many areas, the housing market also suffered, resulting inevictions, foreclosures and prolonged unemployment. The crisis played asignificant role in the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealthestimated in trillions of US dollars, and a downturn in economic activity leading tothe 2008–2012 global recession and contributing to the European sovereign-debtcrisis. The active phase of the crisis, which manifested as a liquidity crisis, can bedated from August 7, 2007, when BNP Paribas terminated withdrawals from threehedge funds citing "a complete evaporation of liquidity".
The United Kingdom general election of 2010 was held on Thursday 6 May 2010to elect members to the House of Commons. The election took place in 650constituencies across the United Kingdom under the first-past-the-post system.None of the parties achieved the 326 seats needed for an overall majority. TheConservative Party, led by David Cameron, won the largest number of votes andseats but still fell twenty seats short. This resulted in a hung parliament where noparty was able to command a majority in the House of Commons. This was onlythe second general election since World War II to return a hung parliament, thefirst being the February 1974 election.And some words about David CameronIn 2003, he was appointed shadow minister in the Privy Council and vice chairmanof the Conservative party. In 2005, Michael Howard resigned as leader of theConservative party, leaving the leadership wide open. Despite his young age andrelative lack of experience, he gained support from some key party members. Theparty was keen to look towards a new generation, who could perhaps competewith a revitalised ‘New Labour’ party. Despite finishing second in the first ballot,he went on to win, beating more established names.In spite of criticism from both the left and right wings of his party, he led to theConservatives to a partial victory in the 2010 elections. The Conservatives gainedthe most seats, but had to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Cameronwas elected Prime Minister, with faithful George Osborne as chancellor.Summer OlympicsThe 2012 Summer Olympics was a major international multi-sport event. It tookplace in London, United Kingdom, from 27 July to 12 August 2012.London was selected as the host city on 6 July 2005 during the 117th IOC Sessionin Singapore, defeating bids from Moscow, New York City, Madrid and Paris.London was the first city to host the modern Olympic Games three times, havingpreviously done so in 1908 and in 1948.Construction for the Games involved considerable redevelopment, with anemphasis on sustainability. The main focus was a new 200-hectare (490-acre)Olympic Park, constructed on a former industrial site at Stratford, EastLondon.The Games also made use of venues that already existed before the bid.
The Games received widespread acclaim for their organisation, with thevolunteers, the British military and public enthusiasm praised particularly highly.The opening ceremony, directed by Danny Boyle, received widespread acclaimthroughout the world with particular praise from the British public despite somecriticism levelled internationally on social media sites.During the Games, MichaelPhelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, winning his 22ndmedal. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei entered female athletes for the first time,so that every currently eligible country has sent a female competitor to at leastone Olympic Games. Womens boxing was included for the first time, thus theGames became the first at which every sport had female competitors.The London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony took place at 9pm on 27July 2012. Titled Isles of Wonder, the Ceremony welcomed the finest athletesfrom more than 200 nations for the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games,marking an historic third time the capital has hosted the world’s biggest and mostimportant sporting event.The Opening Ceremony reflected the key themes and priorities of the London2012 Games, based on sport, inspiration, youth and urban transformation. It wasa Ceremony for everyone and celebrated contributions the UK has made to theworld through innovation and revolution, as well as the creativity and exuberanceof British people.Performers included Rowan Atkinson in a comedy sequence with the LondonSymphony Orchestra, Sir Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web), SirPaul McCartney, Kenneth Branagh as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and Her Majestythe Queen, as herself, in a scene with James Bond (Daniel Craig) shot atBuckingham Palace.A total of 85 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) won medals, 54 of thosecountries winning at least one gold medal. The United States once again finishedat the top of the table winning 46 gold medals and winning 104 medals overall.China finished second with 38 gold medals and 88 medals overall after failing totop the medal table as they did as hosts in Beijing four years previously. HostsGreat Britain came in a remarkable third place winning 29 gold medals and 65medals overall in their best performance since London hosted its first SummerOlympic Games back in 1908 pushing Russia into fourth place who won 24 goldmedals although they won 82 medals (17 more than Great Britain) overall.