From the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani to Prince Harry and his wife Megha stepping back from royal duties, from WHO declaring the coronavirus a pandemic to Russia announces 1st Covid vaccine, from Joe Biden winning US Presidential elections to China planting its flag on the moon, the year 2020 witnessed many ups and downs throughout. Before we welcome 2021, here are some major international events that hogged the headlines.
1. Iran's Gen Soleimani killed in US drone strike
A US drone killed General Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force at Baghdad’s international airport on January 3rd. The attack drew severe Iranian retaliation against Israel and American interests. Iran issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining President Donald Trump as they believed he was involved in the incident.
2. Prince Harry & Megan step back from royal duties
On January 8th, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan announced they are stepping back as senior members of Britain's royal family. They intended to become financially independent and to balance their time between the U.K. and North America. They also announced not to use the "royal highness" titles and would no longer receive public funds for royal duties.
3.Coronavirus declared a pandemic
The World Health Organisation on January 30th announced a public health emergency of international concern over the coronavirus crisis in China and other countries. Later on March 11th, the UN health agency declared that the coronavirus outbreak has been labelled a pandemic following deep concern about the alarming levels of infection.
4. Karachi plane crash
A passenger plane belonging to Pakistan International Airlines with 98 people on board crashed on May 22nd in a crowded neighbourhood near the airport in Karachi after an apparent engine failure during landing. Authorities stated that there had been two survivors and at least 57 bodies were found.
5. Black Lives Matter protests
Clashes erupted between protesters and police in the US city of Minneapolis over the death of an unarmed black man in police custody. Four Minneapolis officers involved in the incident were fired, hours after a video showed an officer kneeling on handcuffed George Floyd’s neck, even after he pleaded that he could not breathe and stopped moving.
6. Beirut port blast
At least 100 people were killed and more than 4,000 wounded in the massive explosion in Beirut on August 4th. Lebanese officials linked the blasts to a stock of ammonium nitrate stored in the warehouse at the city's port. Lately, a Lebanese judge has filed charges against caretaker PM Hassan Diab, accusing him of negligence leading to the death of hundreds of people.
7. Russia announces 1st Covid vaccine
Russia on August 11th became the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine. President Vladimir Putin said the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and was shown to provide lasting immunity against the coronavirus. Later Pfizer Inc. announced its COVID-19 vaccine followed by Moderna and AstraZeneca.
8. France attacks
On September 25th, French authorities arrested one suspect and launched a terror probe after a stabbing injured two people near the former offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Following the incident, president Emmanuel Macron laid out a five-point plan to counter Islamic separatism. Macron also denounced an “Islamist terrorist attack” against the beheading of a teacher for showing his pupils cartoons of the Prophet in Paris.
9. Biden wins White House; Harris becomes vice-president
Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on November 7th. His victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed the processing of some ballots. Kamala Harris also made history as the first Black woman to become vice president, an achievement that comes as the U.S. faces a reckoning on racial justice.
10. Hong Kong security law
China on June 30th approved a contentious national security law for Hong Kong. Under the law for, those found guilty of inciting secessionist, subversive, terrorist activities and colluding with foreign forces could face life imprisonment. Damaging public transportation facilities and arson would constitute acts of terrorism.
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