By Amrutha Varshini
After a horrific 2020, the year ‘2021’ was filled with unpredicted twists and turns at the global level. It was a year of both pleasant and unpleasant events, namely, the emergence of new administrations, authorization of Covid-19 vaccines by WHO, Bitcoin in El Salvador, 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, shooting of the Russian film ‘Vyoz’ in the International Space Station and on the contrary, riots in the Capitol Hill, Myanmar’s military coup, the Israel-Palestine crisis, the Pegasus Spyware case, Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the Pandora papers, the Suez Canal crisis and the emergence of Omicron variant respectively.
Let’s take a look at the events:
- Capitol riots
Former US President Donald Trump’s supporters breached and attacked the Capitol Building of the United States in order to reverse the presidential election results in favor of Trump.
- Biden’s victory
On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden was elected as the 46th President of the United States of America. At 78 (now 79), Biden was the oldest person to have assumed the office.
- Myanmar coup
A coup was staged by Myanmar’s military – the ‘Tatmadaw’ on February 1 which followed the arrest of various senior politicians including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and saw the transfer of power from the country’s President to the military’s Senior General Aung Hlaing for a period of one year.
- Suez Canal crisis
A Japanese-owned cargo ship known as ‘Ever Given’ clogged the Suez Canal. It blocked the international waterway for six days. Shipping analysts claimed that this blockage affected around $10 Billion dollars worth of goods every day.
- Authorization of Covid-19 vaccines
Ten of a total of twenty-nine Covid-19 vaccines in the world are authorized for emergency use by The World Health Organization (WHO).
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first while the Sinopharm BIBP vaccine was the first non-Western vaccine to be approved by WHO.
- Israel-Palestine crisis
The Israeli police tried to forcefully evict eight Palestinian families of Sheikh Jarrah, a tiny neighborhood of East Jerusalem, in order to allow Israelis to settle (Jewish settlers). Following the eviction that occurred in Sheikh Jarrah, the Hamas fired rockets from Gaza overnight on Israel which later invited airstrikes from the Jewish state. The Hamas is a Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza.
- New administrations – Israel, Germany and Japan
|Israel||Prime Minister – Naftali Bennett||13th Prime Minister||Benjamin Netanyahu|
|Germany||Olaf Scholz||9th Chancellor||Angela Merkel|
|Japan||Fumio Kishida||100th Prime Minister||Yoshihide Suga|
- Pegasus Spyware
It was the spyware developed by Israeli surveillance technology firm – NSO group and was sold to governments. Reports claim that this software listed some 50,000 phone numbers that were used to target prominent journalists, heads of states, opposition politicians, etc. globally.
- 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics
The Summer Olympics was held in Tokyo, Japan from July 23 till August 8 of 2021 after it was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic.
- The fall of Kabul and the rise of the Taliban
On August 15, Afghanistan’s capital – Kabul was captured by the Taliban. The government surrendered to the terrorist organization. US troops and all foreign diplomats decamped to their countries.
Issues such as chronic poverty, lack of electricity, exploitation of human rights, food insecurity, poor healthcare facilities, etc. continue to depict the humanitarian crisis of Afghanistan.
- Bitcoin in El Salvador
El Salvador became the first country in the world to declare Bitcoin as the country’s official currency along with the US dollar.
- The Pandora Papers
These include around 11.9 million leaked files that revealed the corrupt or unethical dealings of prominent wealthy politicians, businessmen, etc. globally.
- Russian film shooting in space
On October 5, ROCOSMOS launched the three seated ‘Soyuz MS-19’ spacecraft to the ISS (International Space Station). It carried the director and the actress of the Russian film – ‘Vyzov’ (Meaning ‘The Challenge’) in order to shoot in space. On October 17, it landed in Kazakhstan along with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy from ISS.
- Omicron variant
On 24th November 2021, the first case of ‘Omicron’ variant was detected in Geneva. Experts from around the world described this variant as a ‘variant of concern’.
- Coup: a sudden illegal, often violent, taking of government power, especially by part of an army (Cambridge dictionary)
- Neighborhood: a district or community within a town or city (Wikipedia)
- Spyware: software that is installed in a computer or mobile device without the user’s knowledge and that transmits information about the user’s activities (Merriam-Webster)
- Bitcoin: a type of cryptocurrency (Cambridge dictionary)
- A variant of concern: A variant of concern has been observed to be more infectious, more likely to cause breakthrough or re-infections in those who are vaccinated or previously infected (John Hopkins Medicine)