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Features & Columns

2020 World News Roundup

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2020 World News Roundup

2020-12-28 00:03:10

By Dwaipayan

The world basically shut overnight. 2020 was a cursed year for most of us, we all consumed more media. Countless were confined to just four walls, so it was bye-bye to billboards, car radios went quiet, cinemas gathered dust and the Olympics and Euros were felled. News brands became invaluable, podcasts and radio provided the isolated with a connection to the outside world. Live video, from hangouts to Zoom, connected people.

Festivals, natural disasters, protests, pandemic; hardly a moment in the year 2020 was free of the spectre of the disease that rampaged across the world. Looking back at it 11 months later, it's hard to shake a lingering feeling of foreboding.


1. January 2020 saw the worst outbreak of desert locusts in Kenya in 70 years has seen hundreds of millions of locusts swarm into the East African nation from Somalia and Ethiopia.

2. On Jan. 24, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake caused 41 deaths in Turkey's Elazığ province, located about 550 kilometers east of Ankara, and its neighbor, Malatya province. More than 1,600 others were hurt, including 86 still being treated in hospitals.

3. On January 8, a Ukrainian plane was downed by the Iranian military, killing all 176 people on board. The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries.

4. On 12 January, Taal Volcano, the second-most active volcano in the Philippines, near the capital of Manila, began erupting on Jan. 12, crushing scores of homes and killing livestock and crops. The explosive eruption forced over 135,000 people into shelters over fears of a massive blast.

5. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global emergency over the spreading of coronavirus. A new viral illness being watched with a wary eye around the globe spread in 25 countries, mostly in Asia, killing at least 213 people and infecting nearly 10,000 in a month. The pathogen is believed to have emerged in a Wuhan market that sold wild game and spread due to the Lunar New Year holiday season, in which hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home or abroad.

6. February 27 stock market crash: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) plunged by 1,190.95 points, or 4.4%, to close at 25,766.64, its largest one-day point decline at the time. This follows several days of large falls, marking the worst week for the index since 2008, triggered by fears of the spreading of Coronavirus.

7. February 28 Syrian Civil War: Ambassadors of all 29 NATO allies meet in the North Atlantic Council to express solidarity with Turkey after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike by pro-Syrian government forces.[29]


8. The Olympic flame is displayed in Iwaki, Japan, on March 25, a day after the 2020 Tokyo Games were postponed a year because of the coronavirus.

9. On March 16, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 2,997.10, the single largest point drop in history and the second-largest percentage drop ever at 12.93%, an even greater crash than Black Monday (1929).

10.The death toll from COVID-19 exceeds 100,000 globally, a ten-fold increase from March 20

11.  World leaders discuss the coronavirus pandemic via video conference on March 26. The coronavirus, in a matter of weeks, turned video conferencing into the backbone of our lives.

12. A bitter battle ensued between Saudi Arabia and Houthi rebels in Yemen, after they ousted pro-Saudi president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. The conflict began in 2015, but the United Nations intervened in April 2020 and urged both sides to pursue peace talks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

13. A Saudi-led coalition called a unilateral ceasefire in April. However, Saudi-led coalition carried out dozens of airstrikes within a week and on July 2, coalition fighter jets launched scores of airstrikes on several Yemeni provinces. The operation was a response to ballistic missile and drone launchings by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia.

14.  The Nova Scotia massacre, over the span of 13 hours between April 18 and 19, 22 people were killed across 16 crime scenes in several towns in Nova Scotia in what became Canada’s deadliest mass shooting.

15.The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 passes 4 million worldwide.

16. On May 7 eleven people died and over 5,000 fell ill from a styrene gas leak from an LG Polymers chemical plant in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, India.

17.  May 21 Cyclone Amphan makes landfall in eastern India and Bangladesh, killing over 100 people and forcing the evacuation of more than 4 million others. It causes over US$13 billion in damage, making it the costliest cyclone ever recorded in the North Indian Ocean, shattering the record previously held by Nargis.

18. May 21 The U.S. announces it will withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty within six months, alleging continuous violations by Russia.


19. India-China Border standoff. The 2020 skirmishes between India and China began in May 2020, with military personnel from both countries engaging in aggressive melee, face-offs and skirmishes along the border near Pangong Lake in Ladakh.

20.  Black Lives Matter protests - On May 25, George Floyd, a Black 46-year-old man, died after a police officer pressed a knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, despite Floyd repeatedly crying out, “I can’t breathe.” The protests sparked by George Floyd’s death roared into June and went global. Demonstrators filled city centers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Brazil, Australia, South Africa and countless other countries, uniting under one refrain: Black Lives Matter.

21. On 30th May, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from the Kennedy Space Center. NASA and space fans had waited nearly a decade for this milestone.

22. On June 1 The World Health Organization reports six new cases of Ebola, and UNICEF reports five deaths, in a renewed outbreak of the disease in Mbandaka, Équateur Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

23. June 16 COVID-19 pandemic: The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 passes 8 million worldwide.

24. July 19 Flooding of the Brahmaputra River kills 189 and leaves 4 million homeless in India and Nepal.

25. On 28 July, ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak was found guilty of all seven charges in the first of five trials on the 1MDB scandal, being jailed 12 years and fined RM210 million as a result.

26. On July 30 NASA successfully launched its Mars 2020 rover mission to search for signs of ancient life and collect samples for return to Earth. The mission includes technology demonstrations to prepare for future human missions.

27. An explosion caused by unsafely stored ammonium nitrate kills over 220 people on August 4, injures thousands, and severely damages the port in Beirut, Lebanon. Damage is estimated at $10–15 billion, and an estimated 300,000 people are left homeless. The following day, the Lebanese government declares a two-week state of emergency.

28. August 10, COVID-19 pandemic: The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 passes 20 million worldwide

29. On August 27, Hurricane Laura makes landfall in Lake Charles, Louisiana with winds of 150 mph, making it the strongest hurricane to ever strike the state in terms of wind speed, tied with the 1856 Last Island Hurricane.

30. September: France, Germany, and the United Kingdom issue a joint note verbale to the United Nations rejecting China's claims to the South China Sea, and supporting the ruling in Philippines v. China that said the historic rights per the nine-dash line ran counter to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. However the statement says that on "territorial sovereignty" they "take no position"31. On October 30, A magnitude 7.0 earthquake hits Turkey and Greece, killing at least 81 people and injuring nearly 1,000

32. October 30, COVID-19 pandemic: The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 passes 45 million worldwide.

33. On October 31, Typhoon Goni makes landfall in the Philippines, becoming the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone in history, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and killing dozens of people in the region.

34. The 2020 United States presidential election was the 59th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. The Democratic ticket of former vice president Joe Biden and incumbent U.S. senator from California Kamala Harris defeated the Republican ticket of incumbent president Donald Trump and vice president Mike Pence.

35. November 9 COVID-19 pandemic, The first successful phase III trial of a COVID-19 vaccine is announced by drug companies Pfizer and BioNTech, which is 90% effective according to interim results.

36. November 16, COVID-19 pandemic: Moderna's mRNA vaccine is proven to be 94.5% effective against COVID-19 based on interim results, including severe illnesses. The vaccine has been cited as being among those that are easier to distribute as no ultra-cold storage is required

37. Hurricane Iota makes landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane just two weeks after Hurricane Eta made landfall, devastating the same areas.

38. November 27, Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, is assassinated near Tehran.

39. November 30, Protein folding, one of the biggest mysteries in biology, is solved by Alpha Fold, an artificial intelligence algorithm developed by DeepMind.

40. December 4 COVID-19 pandemic, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 passes 65 million worldwide, with the global death toll exceeding 1.5 million. Figures reflect that, in the last week, over 10,000 people worldwide have died on average every day, with one death every nine seconds. According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 had caused more deaths in 2020 than tuberculosis in 2019, as well as four times the number of deaths than malaria.

41. December 20 – COVID-19 pandemic: A highly infectious new strain of SARS-CoV-2 spreading in Europe and Australia, provoking international border closures.

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