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A look back at some of the biggest stories of the 2010s as the decade comes to a close

A lookback at the past decade's biggest events. Credit: PA

The last ten years have brought us many iconic moments - with some having an impact that will last well beyond this decade.

Here are just some of the defining moments of the 2010s to remember for years to come.

  • The start of the Arab Spring - December 2010

By ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy

When a young Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest against police seizing his vegetable stand in December 2010, he triggered a wave of protest, the effects of which have been felt across the world and continue to resonate.

His actions were the catalyst for the Arab Spring.

The effect has been uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and full scale civil war in Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Dictators have fallen, societies collapsed, millions have been killed or displaced and terror groups have been empowered.

An entire region has been destabilised and the consequences have been felt far from the Middle East.

The spark quite literally lit in Tunisia's capital Tunis spread across the world - it burns now as it has throughout the decade.

Mohammed Bouazizi's (seen in the poster behind) death triggered the Arab Spring. Credit: AP
  • The princes get hitched - 29 April 2011 and 19 May 2018

The last decade has treated us to not one but two major royal weddings.

Back at the start of the 2010s, Prince William and Kate got married in the lavish venue of Westminster Abbey in front of around 2,000 guests in April 2011.

Kate wore a stunning Alexander McQueen dress designed by Sarah Burton and the ceremony was watched by millions of people across the world.

The couple were beaming as they emerged from the Abbey as a newlywed couple and took a horse-drawn carriage to Buckingham Palace, where they greeted royal fans who were waiting along the route.

Around seven years later, Prince Harry and Meghan tied the knot in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle after a whirlwind romance.

The couple took a carriage ride through Windsor immediately after exchanging their vows.

Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot in May 2018. Credit: PA
  • Osama Bin Laden killing - May 2 2011

The now iconic photo of Barack Obama, and his security team watching the killing of Osama Bin Laden play out in real time has become a defining image of the past decade.

The photo - taken in the Situation Room at the White House - managed to capture the tension in the room, as the leader of al-Qaeda was finally tracked down and killed by Navy SEALs.

The hunt for Bin Laden played out over the 10 years following the 9/11 attack, which he masterminded.

The world's most wanted terrorist was eventually found at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011.

His body was buried at sea within 24 hours to comply with Islamic law.

Robert Moore reflects on Bin Laden's life.

  • London riots - 6 to 11 August 2011

London was gripped by riots which were triggered by the fatal police shooting of Mark Duggan.

The 29-year-old was shot and killed in Tottenham, north London, after armed officers intercepted the minicab in which he was travelling on the basis of intelligence that he was carrying a gun. A handgun was later found about seven metres away from the minicab.

A peaceful protest in Tottenham over his death soon turned violent.

The riots spread across London, including in Brixton, Croydon, Ealing and Enfield and then further afield to cities across England.

Shops were looted, vehicles were set on fire and police were injured over several days in August.

The violence caused more than £200 million worth of damage, with many attributing the unrest to social unrest, poverty, police power and class tensions.

  • London 2012 Olympics - 27 July 2012 - 12 August 2012

By ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott

The drawn-out political torture of Brexit has shone a bright light on deep divisions in our country. Whether they were always there, festering away, and leaving Europe was just the catalyst that sucked them to the surface or whether the ideological conflict was created simply as a result of a one-off poll in the summer of 2016 is a conundrum that will no doubt trouble academic researchers for years to come.

However, there was another event, during another summer of the last decade that had the opposite effect. The London 2012 Olympics. It was a fleeting moment, that for a time united our country; it made us proud, it was pretty much the only conversation. From the surprisingly confident, spectacular, funny and all-round brilliance of Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony to the sporting excellence of Super Saturday when Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford put in golden performances and the nation cheered. Britain was smiling.

The sadness on reflection is that the London panacea was so temporary. All grins wear thin after a while but they would have left our faces much quicker had we known the truth about those Games; now considered the dirtiest in history. Forty plus (and counting) medals have been stripped from Olympic athletes who competed in London. And since then a Russian state-sponsored doping programme has been exposed, the ramifications of which have impacted not only on the memory of London but every Olympics, winter and summer, since.

Opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. Credit: PA

Britain is in no position to be preach; Sir Bradley Wiggins, who took part in Boyle’s opener, has been the centre of allegations about medication he took before his Tour de France win and other big races, Team Sky’s leadership was questioned during a Parliamentary investigation, Farah’s former American coach, also a consultant at UK Athletics has been banned from the sport and the widespread use of thyroid medicine among British athletes, is very much a topic that won’t go away. In addition, participation among most Olympic sports, while spiking after the Games has gradually declined again.

Like Brexit it seems, scratch the surface and you might not like what you find underneath; a soothsayer’s trade has never been more challenging.

  • Andy Murray wins Wimbledon - 7 July 2013
Andy Murray became the first British man to win the Wimbledon men's singles since Fred Perry in 1936. Credit: AP

In 2013, Andy Murray became the first British man to win the Wimbledon men's singles since Fred Perry in 1936.

He fended off number one seed Novak Djokovic to claim his second major title.

Murray sunk to his knees upon winning and went to the stands to celebrate the momentous achievement with his family and support team.

The Scot repeated his win in 2016, against Canadian player Milos Raonic when he won in straight sets, making it his third grand slam title of his career.

An emotional Murray said after the match: "I’ve had some great moments here and some tough losses, and I’m proud to have my hands on the trophy again. I played really good stuff today."

  • The Rise and Fall of Islamic State - June 2014 to March 2019
There has been fierce fighting against groups like so-called Islamic State. Credit: AP

By ITV News Senior International Correspondent John Irvine

The Islamic State showed how low humankind can go.

They grabbed global attention by storming Iraq’s second city Mosul.

But it was the launch, a few weeks later in 2014, of their genocidal campaign against the Yazidis that revealed just how monstrous they were.

We could all empathize with the primal fear that drove thousands of Yazidis to take refuge on Mount Sinjar.

The world came to their aid and soon a coalition of nations decided the territorial IS - which had grown larger than the UK - had to be rolled back.

It would take more than four years and during that time IS inspired a global campaign of terror that saw appalling attacks in Manchester, Paris, Nice and elsewhere.

Bombing campaigns have been frequent against the terror group. Credit: AP

Millions of refugees were created by the IS land grab. The world watched in horror as tyrannical IS rule saw people enslaved, beheaded, drowned, immolated and thrown off tall buildings.

The journalists who reported the campaign to defeat IS have never covered anything so dangerous.

During the assault on Mosul myself, Sean Swan and producer Lutfi Abu-Aun witnessed four suicide car bomb attacks on the Iraqi Army convoy we had joined.

It was a grim bloody slog but eventually those who had declared war on the world were defeated. At its core this was a story about good triumphing over evil.

  • David Bowie's death - 10 January 2016
A memorial to David Bowie in South London. Credit: AP

Rock star, cultural icon, actor, artist, king of self-invention, fashion chameleon, ground-breaker; David Bowie was all these things and more to millions around the world.

His death was as much a work of art as his life; diagnosed with liver cancer 18 months earlier, Bowie kept his illness a secret from all but the very closest to him as he continued to work on what would be his last album.

He died two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his acclaimed final record Blackstar.

His death stunned the world and prompted an outpouring of grief across continents, age groups and musical alliances. Fans erected impromptu shrines to Bowie from his birthplace Brixton to Berlin, his adopted home throughout much of the 70s.

  • Arts Editor Nina Nannar reflects on David Bowie's iconic career

Constantly curious and incessantly creative, Bowie had been a trailblazer since he transformed from a mime artist and cabaret entertainer into the defining rock star of our age, beginning with the 1969 release of Space Oddity.

His albums – from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars and Hunky Dory to Low and Young Americans – were era defining, but Bowie was celebrated as much for his atheistic, his charisma, his artistry as he was for his music.

Some say David Bowie was holding the world together, and judging by the seismic events that followed in the months and years following his death, they may have had a point...

  • EU Referendum - 23 June 2016

By ITV News Europe Editor James Mates

It has been a tumultuous, controversial decade for the European Union that began with collapse of the Greek economy morphed into the near-collapse of the Eurozone, and then was confronted with the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since the war. But for all that, the Twenty-Teens will be remembered for one story only: Brexit.

Since that June night in 2016 when a stunned continent woke up to discover its second biggest economy was leaving, Brexit, it’s ramification and implications have dominated every debate and every decision in the European Union.

The UK will leave one month into the new decade, but Brexit will not be ‘done’.

Not nearly. Will that date back in 2016 be looked back on by historians as the day the EU began to fall apart, or the day it finally faced up to the decisions needed to secure its future?

By this date in 2019, we may be in a better position to judge.

  • Manchester Arena bombing - 22 May 2017
Some 22 people died when a bomb was detonated at a Manchester concert. Credit: AP

By ITV News Security Editor Rohit Kachroo

When Salman Abedi carried out a suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, 22 people were killed and many more were injured.

His powerful device, packed with nuts, screw and triacetone triperoxide, made this Britain’s deadliest terrorist attack of the decade. Many teenagers were among the dead.

We will always remember May 2017 for the convoy of ambulances, the many grieving families and classmates, the 250 square foot crater on Manchester Arena’s concrete floor, the candles and benefit concerts, the solidarity among Mancunians, the spontaneous renditions of ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’.

But another of Abedi’s grim legacies was shock: shock that this could happen here.

Before the deadly incidents of 2017, mass casualty terrorist attacks in the the UK might have seemed like a distant possibility - despite the constant warnings about the ambitions of groups like so-called Islamic State, despite the blood already shed in Paris, Lyon, Brussels, Berlin and elsewhere. Abedi redefined our perception of the threat of terrorism.

An attack on Westminster Bridge two months earlier had already prepared the public for the sense of panic and grief that follows such incidents - it was deadly and disturbing, but Manchester was even more so, particularly given the age of many of the victims.

In the aftermath of the Arena attack, soldiers were sent onto the streets as the terror threat level was raised to ‘critical’. And across the country, many parents sending their children to concerts might suddenly have wondered ‘what if?’.

Perhaps more than any other moment of the last decade, Manchester encapsulated the way that a youngster can become radicalised, combining a hateful ideology with bomb-making methods learned online to kill and cause terror in their home city.

  • #MeToo Movement - 15 October 2017
The #MeToo hashtag took off in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations. Credit: AP

In what can be argued as one of the world's most famous hashtags, #MeToo has become the defining and collective response of women standing up against sexual harassment and abuse.

A phrase that was originally coined in 2006 by sexual harassment survivor and activist Tarana Burke, the hashtag took off in the wake of allegations against film executive Harvey Weinstein.

Actress Alyssa Milano wrote on Twitter on 15 October 2017: “If all the women who have ever been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, then we give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem."

Since that first tweet, allegations against high-profile figures have emerged.

The hashtag has grown into an international movement, with women worldwide speaking up about their sexual harassment.