Our favourite stories of 2017

Dogs are mint 📸: MoD

In a year plagued by political uncertainty, diplomatic disorder, environmental disasters, terror attacks and harassment scandals, it’s hard to muster up positive memories of 2017.

But as the year comes to an end here at the upday UK newsroom, we’re not going to forget the stories that put a smile on our faces.

We’ve racked our brains for the moments of 2017 that warmed our hearts, got us excited, or simply just resorted our faith in humanity.

You can’t keep a good man down

Nationalise all festivals 📸: PA

Words by Tom McArthur

I was somewhere in a field in Somerset when the chant began to take hold.

Ooooooohhhhhhhh Jere-my Corbyn!

I was surrounded by thousands of apparent devotees, chanting the name of a 68-year-old politician who had just “not won” a general election.

At first I thought there may have been something in my scrumpy, but as the Labour leader stepped out onto the Pyramid stage to a raucous cacophony, it was clear this was no hallucination brought about by bad apples.

Mr Corbyn’s political speech was perhaps the most hotly anticipated moment of this year’s Glastonbury Festival –an astounding feat a year after he cancelled his 2016 festival appearance following the vote for Brexit and as uncertainty mounted about his future as Labour leader.

My hungover heart was lifted. Perhaps a “gentler kind of politics” has a future, after all?

With apologies to the Good Doctor.

The truth is out there

This year, the US government admitted running an ‘X-Files’ division, of sorts, that focused on reports of alien technology and Unidentified Flying Objects between 2007 and 2012.

The $22 million department wasn’t just interviewing drunk rednecks with shaky phone-videos — but elite military pilots backed up with gun-camera and CCTV footage.

Incredibly reliable witnesses, then.

A rotating “glowing aura” traveling at high speeds was captured from a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet.

The New York Times also reports that there are “modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials… recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena.”

In short: Secret government warehouses full of alien tech.

Luis Elizondo, the man who led the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, told reporters that “In my opinion, if this was a court of law, we have reached the point of ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’”

“I hate to use the term UFO but that’s what we’re looking at,” he added. “I think it’s pretty clear this is not us, and it’s not anyone else, so no one has to ask questions where they’re from.”

This… this feels like it should be bigger news that it actually is. We are not alone, and it seems the US government knows it.

Glowing Auras and 'Black Money': The Pentagon's Mysterious U.F.O. Program

Another Royal engagement

Words by Roop Gill

On 27 November, Clarence House announced that Prince Harry will marry Meghan Markle in the spring of 2018.

Cue a unanimous cheer from Royal fans (like myself), and a collective eye-roll from everyone else in the UK.

Even without the lure of a bank holiday, it’s exciting news – even for republicans. Their engagement is a step forward, both for monarchy, modern relationships and racial equality.

Megan is a divorced biracial American who stars in a TV show – that should be grounds for a royal controversy. But, thankfully, all the unnecessary negativity has been overshadowed by her commendable CV.

She’s a self-described activist, a UN women’s advocate, a racial equality campaigner, an entrepreneur and a humanitarian.

What Meghan Markle Means for the Royal Family

With Harry being fifth in line to the throne, their wedding isn’t particular important, but it’s significant and delightful.

PS: Just LOOK at them!

Too much coffee

Words by Dan Chirwa

My favourite story of the year involves a university experiment gone wrong.

The actual story itself is a serious one and the outcome could’ve been tragic as a catalogue of errors in a lab led to two students being given a near-fatal 30g dose of caffeine instead of .30g.

The result? The two gentlemen suffering reported short-term memory loss and losing 10–12kg in weight. It is only because the pair both made full recoveries that I could begin to enjoy this tale.

Students left fighting for life after taking caffeine for 300 cups of coffee

The institution where this took place — Northumbria University — is my alma mater.

It’s the “poly” to Newcastle University’s Russell Group red brick 150 yards down the road. Poly v Posh is a battle that will rage on until the end of time. And this doozy handed the enemy an easy win in the banter wars.

The thought of the merciless hounding this story would have invoked in the city alone, breaks my face out into a broad smile every time.

Down on their luck poly kids subjecting themselves as human guinea pigs for a few quid, only for their esteemed Northumbria professors to almost kill them due to a decimal point error.


It’s as bad as when the Poly used to be called the City University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne — try that for an acronym.

Heroic dogs

Words by Beth Alexandra Arnold

To put it simply, dogs are mint.

When word broke earlier this year that two “hero” service dogs and a police dog were due to be euthanised after a ruling that they were unsuitable for re-housing, Britons were none too pleased. They fought the move with a fierce bark.

So much so, Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan wrote to the MoD calling for a reprieve and another 370,000 people backed a petition launched by special air sergeant turned author Andy McNab to save Kevin, Dazz and Driver — such strong doggo names!

Hero army dogs who faced being put down saved 'at last minute'

And they were saved. Following the huge public outcry defence secretary Gavin Williamson ordered a reprieve for all three animals. Who doesn’t love a happy ending?

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