The year 2020 will go down in history as the year that saw more misery than cheer. Lives were lost, disrupted and brought to a standstill as the world grappled with a deadly pandemic. Millions lost their jobs, countries shut down their borders and restricted citizens to their homes, billions were pushed into poverty, businesses were hit and millions died. As we wrap up a rather grim year, here’s a look at the 10 biggest headlines of 2020:
1. Kamala Harris: US’ First Female Vice President
In a historic mandate, Kamala Harris became America’s first female vice president. Democratic candidate Joe Biden won the US Presidential election with Kamala Harris as his deputy. Kamala Harris is also the first black person and the first person of South Asian descent to hold the post.
2. Killing Of George Floyd And Anti-Race Protests
George Floyd, 46-year-old African-American man, died as a white policeman pressed his knee on his neck for over nine minutes. His death triggered global anti-race protests that spanned across over 60 countries. Political leaders, actors, sportsmen and activists “took the knee” as the cries of Black Lives Matter echoed the world over. Companies like Hindustan Unilever renamed their skin lightening creams while JP Morgan dropped the terms “master” and “slave” from internal tech code following the anti-race protests.
3. Coronavirus, Lockdown And Migrants Exodus
As the coronavirus pandemic infected billions worldwide, countries struggled to keep their citizens safe. Borders were closed down, curfews were imposed and nations were put under lockdown. As millions lost their lives and livelihoods to the deadly pandemic, efforts to stop its spread in India saw the biggest migrant movement in decades. Labourers across the country began their journey home even as buses, trains and flights were grounded. While some walked, some cycled and some hitch-hiked their way home, the less fortunate ones died on their arduous journey back home.
4. Namaste Trump
India hosted outgoing US President Donald Trump, who was accompanied by his wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, during his two-day visit even as the country erupted in bloody violence over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. Greeted by PM Modi with a hug as he landed in Ahmedabad, Donald Trump and his family were welcomed by a waving crowd. The outgoing US President and PM Modi addressed a packed stadium, teeming with millions who had shown up for the event, amid growing coronavirus scare.
5. India-China Galwan Face-Off
20 Indian soldiers were killed in a “violent face-off” with Chinese troops in Ladakh in June that led to months of border escalation between the two countries. In the months following the border violence, China and India have held multiple talks at all levels to resolve the conflict but with very little success. China has also carried out massive constructions along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh. India has since banned 59 Chinese Apps, including TikTok.
6. Delhi Anti-CAA Protests
Supporters and protesters of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act clashed in Delhi killing 53 people and injuring over 200. Homes were set on fire, schools were vandalised and public property was destroyed in the communal violence that jolted the national capital. Protesters resorted to throwing stones at the security personnel who responded with lathicharge and tear gas shelling.
7. Prince Harry, Wife Meghan Step Down As Royals
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced this year they will step back as “senior” royals and work to become financially independent. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle officially transitioned out of their roles as “senior members” of Britain’s royal family on March 31.
8. Ram Mandir Bhoomipujan
PM Modi, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and senior BJP leaders attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on August 5 – exactly a year after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. The ceremony was held with all Covid protocols in place – barring relaxation of the restrictions on gathering of more than 50 people – as 175 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony amid the pandemic.
9. Hong Kong Security Law Passed
China passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong in June – a historic move that critics and many western governments fear will smother the finance hub’s freedoms and hollow out its autonomy. Beijing and Hong Kong’s government said the laws will only target a minority of people, will not harm political freedoms in the city and will restore business confidence after a year of historic pro-democracy protests. Millions had taken to the streets in 2019 while a smaller hardcore of protesters frequently battled police in often violent confrontations that saw more than 9,000 arrests.
10. Farmers’ Protest
For nearly three weeks, lakhs of farmers are camping at the entry points to Delhi, protesting the three new farm laws. Farmers, braving the cold Delhi winters, lathicharge and tear gas shelling by the security forces, have refused to budge until the laws are repealed. Talks have been held between the Centre and farmers but with no success.