While the outbreak of coronavirus has marred the
lives of people around the globe, making headlines, there were other events, too, created their own impact, affecting lives in different nations. From Black Lives Matter
protests that shook the United States to Beirut Explosion that shook Lebanon, the world witnessed events that made 2020 an unforgettable year.
The year also witnessed Brexit, the long-delayed exit of Britain from the European Union and entering the transitional period and it also saw the most controversial US election battle, between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump.
Here is a look at the major events, apart from coronavirus, that made headlines:
2020 saw one of the most controversial elections in the history of the United States. Republican President Donald Trump was up for re-election, who was challenged by Democrat and former vice president Joe Biden.
While Biden emerged victorious by securing the highest ever votes in the United States’ history in the November 3 election, Trump refused to concede his defeat and challenged the results in several states, including Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania.
President-elect Biden will make history when he swears in as the oldest leader the US has ever got while his mate, Kamala Harris, will make history as the first woman, first South-Asian person, and first African person to become the Vice President of the United States. Currently, the transition process has started and Biden and Harris will take oath as President and Vice President in January.
More than four years after a referendum on membership that split the nation down the middle, on January 31, 2020, Boris Johnson-led England officially left the EU. At 11 GMT on January 31, the United Kingdom left the European Union, ending 47 years of membership, and entered into a transitional period that is set to end on December 31, 2020. The UK is bound to the EU’s tariff-free single market until a post-Brexit transition period.
Black Lives Matter
This year witnessed a resurgence against racism after a black man, George Floyd, was killed in Minnesota, on May 25, by police officers who kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd kept saying, “I can’t breathe,” which became the slogan for a national movement against racism and police brutality, gaining momentum from May 26.
The George Floyd protests not only did shook the United States but reached beyond the borders. Many other countries, including the United Kingdom, witnessed ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests. Reportedly, the anti-racism protests were witnessed in over 2,000 cities and towns in over 60 countries, where people came out in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Nasa SpaceX launch
NASA in collaboration with Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched a manned mission to the International Space Station in May for the first time in history. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley lifted off on May 31 on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
“Today a new era in human spaceflight begins as we once again launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil on their way to the International Space Station, our national lab orbiting Earth,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
On November 16, SpaceX launched its first-ever fully-operational mission for a Crew Dragon Capsule sending four International Space Station-bound astronauts into orbit from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
Major Conflicts around the world
Hong Kong protests: Since 2019, Hong Kong has been witnessing widespread protests, however, the demonstrations gained another momentum as China passed a national security law in the city on June 30. China received heavy criticism for implementing from several countries, including the US, the UK, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and promoted measures for countries to implement measures to accept Hong Kong migrants in increasing numbers.
Belarus protests: When Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory in general elections by saying he has got 80% of the votes, nationwide protests broke out against him, who has been the first and only leader of the nation. The European nation has been witnessing a series of widespread protests, in which oppositions and demonstrators have claimed that Lukashenko has rigged the elections.
Azerbaijan-Armenian conflict: The clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia started on September 27 in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and its surrounding territories. This came as the latest escalation over an unsolved conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region that is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan. As of now, the nations signed a ceasefire agreement on November 11 as Azerbaijan retains control over the region.
On February 29, 2020, in a bid to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan, the United States signed a peace treaty Taliban. The peace treaty says the US will withdraw its troops from the war-torn country if the Taliban agrees to its terms of the agreement. Talks are ongoing since September between Afghanistan and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar.
On August 4, 2020, two massive explosions hit Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon that killed more than 200 people, injured over 6,500, and did damage of US $15 billion. The explosions, which happened due to ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse of Beirut port, have made around 300,000 people homeless.
The effect of blasts was felt in other countries as well, including Turkey, Syria, Israel, Palestine, and parts of Europe, and have been termed as one of the most powerful non-nuclear explosions in history. After the explosions, protests broke out in Lebanon against the Beirut government that led to the resignation of the then Prime Minister.
attacks in Europe
Paty: A 47-year-old French teacher, Samuel
Paty was beheaded while returning home from his school in Northwest Paris on
October 16. He was murdered for showing Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of Prophet
Mohammad. Paty’s murder resulted in protests by thousands of people against the
heinous act. French President Emmanuel Macron said the incident was a “typical
Islamist terrorist attack.”
Nice attack: On October 29, three people were killed in Nice, including a woman whose throat was slit. Nice mayor Christian Estrosi termed the assault an “Islamo-fascist attack”, and added that the assailant “kept repeating ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Greater). France has been on high alert for terror attacks since the massacre at satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, the trail for the accomplices of which is currently ongoing in Paris.
Austria attack: On November 2, a series of shootings occurred in Austria’s Vienna in which four civilians were killed and 23 were injured. The attacker was also killed in Central Vienna by police, who said that there had been ‘six different shooting locations.’
Following the attacks in France and Austria, the United Kingdom raised its terror threat from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’ on November 4, which means the possibility of another attack is “highly likely”.
Killing of Qasem Soleimani in US drone attack
Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani was killed on January 3 after a drone of the United States struck near Baghdad International Airport, while he was on his way to Iraqi PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi. Four Iranian and five Iraqi nationals were killed along with Soleimani in the drone attack.
Resignation of Shinzo Abe
The longest-serving Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe announced his resignation with a year left in his mandate, due to a recurrence of ulcerative colitis, a condition that has long plagued him. Abe served as Japan PM from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020.
Abe was succeeded by Yoshihide Suga, the former chief cabinet secretary who is expected to stick closely to policies championed by Shinzo Abe during his record-breaking tenure. He was elected on September 16.
Israel-Middle East peace deals
On August 13, Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a landmark deal, the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement brokered by the United States, to normalise ties. The UAE became the first gulf nation and the third Arab nation to formally normalise its relationship with Israel after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.