Review of news events in 2020
December 31, 2020 - A review of major news stories in 2020 includes the global coronavirus pandemic, the contentious U.S. presidential election, China’s controversial law to curtail democracy in Hong Kong, the Black Lives Matters protests, and new developments in space programmes.
The year was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic which claimed its first victims in the Chinese city of Wuhan in January before rapidly spreading worldwide. Promising clinical trial results from three vaccine candidates emerged in November, offering the hope that Covid-19 may be brought under control in 2021.
Democrat Joe Biden looked to have won the contentious presidential election in the United States but Republican incumbent Donald Trump alleged voter fraud and refused to concede. When the dust settles Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, is set to become the country’s first female vice-president.
A constitutional referendum in Russia granted Vladimir Putin the right to run for two further presidential terms, clearing the way for him to stay in power till 2136. His counterpart in Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, won a sixth consecutive election victory that sparked violent protests throughout the former Soviet state.
New Zealand prime minster Jacinda Ardern also stood for re-election, winning convincingly after leading successful efforts to control the coronavirus in the country.
Black Lives Matter protests were staged across the U.S. and elsewhere following the death of George Floyd, who died after being arrested by a police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.
China imposed a tough new security law in Hong Kong, giving Beijing unprecedented powers over the semi-autonomous province.
Conflicts erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno Karabakh region, and in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia.
A massive explosion of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in Beirut killed 200 people, while Cyclone Amphan forced the evacuation of four million people in India and Bangladesh. Australia’s intense bushfire season destroyed vast tracts of land and killed or displaced three billion animals.
A new era in space travel began as astronauts returned to space from U.S. soil for the first time since the demise of the space shuttle. The UAE launched its Mars Hope probe, one of three missions that blasted off to the Red Planet in July. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe successfully collected rock samples from the asteroid Bennu and China’s Chang-e 5 mission is on course to return the first moon rocks to Earth in over 40 years.