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December 31, 2019 -
A review of major news stories in 2019 includes the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria, the grounding of Boeing’s entire 737 Max fleet, and multiple wildfires in the Amazon rainforest and Australia.
President Donald Trump escaped censure in the Mueller report into Russian interference in the 2016 election but faces impeachment over pressuring Ukraine into announcing an investigation into a Democrat rival in the 2020 election.
Elsewhere tensions between the West and Iran mounted with as series of attacks on oil tankers in and around the Strait of Hormuz, India revoked the special status of disputed Kashmir, and Spain jailed nine Catalan separatist leaders. The Republic of North Macedonia came into being, while the Kartarpur Corridor allowed Indian Sikhs visa-free access to a holy site just inside Pakistan.
Presidents Presidents Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Evo Morales of Bolivia were ousted from power or forced to resign, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky was a surprise winner of Ukraine’s presidential election, Boris Johnson became UK prime minister, and Emperor Naruhito acceded to Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne.
Cyclone Idai brought devastation to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, and Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas. Other disasters included a dam collapse at a mine in Brazil, D.R. Congo’s ongoing Ebola epidemic, terror attacks in Sri Lanka and New Zealand and the Notre Dame fire.
People in the news included Ursula von der Leyen of Germany, who took office as the first female President of the European Commission, and teenage environment campaigner Greta Thunberg, who travelled by boat to avoid flying to conferences on climate change on either side of the Atlantic. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed their first child but fell out with the British press.
Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán was jailed for life in the U.S., Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died in Syria, U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell while facing trial for sex-trafficking, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London.