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Modern history

The world today

A camp for Syrian refugees from the civil warA camp for Syrian refugees from the civil warToday we still face many of the same problems that have troubled our world for centuries: how to provide food and clean water, healthcare and education for all. Many believe that the age-old problem of the gap between rich and poor is a growing problem in the 21st century, both within countries and between rich countries and poor countries. The tensions and bloodshed in the Middle East, ongoing for generations, pose perhaps the greatest threat to world peace and stability. In our Information Age, many new challenges face us as well, such as how to use technology for the good of all, and how to protect our environment from industry, pollution and population growth.


Smoke rises from the World Trade Center.Smoke rises from the World Trade Center.


Four attacks were launched by the terrorist group Al-Qaeda (meaning “The Base”) against the USA on 11th September 2001. They quickly became known as the 9/11 attacks. Al-Qaeda is a worldwide Islamist terrorist group founded by Osama bin Laden (1957–2011) in 1988/9. Militant Islamists believe in the removal of non-Muslim influences from the Muslim world and are opposed to US foreign policy in the Middle East. During the attacks, four airliners were hijacked: the pilots were forced to fly according to the orders of the hijackers. Two planes were deliberately crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, causing them to collapse. The third plane was crashed into the Pentagon, headquarters of the US Department of Defense, in Virginia. The last plane, which was heading for Washington, crashed into a field after its passengers battled the hijackers. Including the 19 hijackers, 2996 people died in the attacks.

Social media played a vital role in the Arab Spring: nine out of ten Egyptians and Tunisians told a poll that they used Facebook for organizing protests and spreading awareness.

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