We may live in an ever-more connected world, but some news still seems to pass us by.
And given this year’s wall-to-wall coverage of Brexit and Donald Trump’s constant Twitter proclamations, it’s unsurprising some important stories slipped under the radar.
Here are seven stories of 2017 you should know more about.
1. How a Saudi Crown Prince purged his royal family rivals and turned the Ritz-Carlton into a prison
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stunned Middle East observers with an unprecedented purge of his rivals in November.
The 32-year-old proclaimed the move to oust 320 prominent fellow royals and senior business figures as a stance against corruption. Critics say it was the final act of a sensational power grab, underway since his father King Salmon took power two years ago.
The Crown Prince believes that unless the country changes, especially regarding corruption, the economy will sink into a crisis that could lead to unrest. That could threaten the royal family and weaken the country in its regional rivalry with Iran, Reuters reported in a long-form piece in December.
The state, which is battling lower than expected revenues from its oil reserves and rocketing costs of a war with Yemen, hopes to earn as much as $100bn from the arrests.
The purge had another consequence: it turned the opulent Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh into a prison. A letter delivered to guests staying there blamed an “unforeseen booking by local authorities” for cutting short their stays. And according to the state’s attorney general, some 159 of those ousted were housed in the hotel.
One detainee, a Saudi prince known as the “Arabian Warren Buffet”, was told he must pay up to $7billion to be released.
2. The EU ‘suppressed 300-page report that found piracy doesn’t harm sales’
A report commissioned by the EU to determine the impact of internet piracy on the sales of music, books and films, was kept secret – in a move campaigners suggest was intended to bury its findings.
Julia Reda, who represents the Pirate Party of Germany, said the May 2015 paper was delivered to the European Commission but never published in full.
The €360,000 document was only released when the German MEP submitted a freedom of information request.
Reda wrote on her blog in September: “The study’s conclusion[?] With the exception of recently released blockbusters, there is no evidence to support the idea that online copyright infringement displaces sales.”