2020 Year in Review; some of the News that made Headlines last year
We regret to inform you that 2020 is over and we are glad it is not a trailer for 2021...But there is no time to be excited because the pandemic still raging… Look back at what we have already weathered.
January felt like such a simpler time. All we had to worry about was whether the killing of an Iranian general in a US drone strike would lead to World War III. The death of Qasem Soleimani on January 3 led to days of terrifying tension between the United States and Iran, with massive protests, threats of war and Iran’s retaliatory attack on Iraqi bases housing US troops.
The first week of the year set the pace of what was to come.
On Jan. 8, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down shortly after takeoff from Tehran, bound for Kyiv, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board. Among the dead were dozens of Canadians and permanent residents who had just settled into their seats for the trip out of Iran. The Iranian government was quick to claim it was some sort of engine trouble or mechanical problem that caused the sudden explosion and crash, which happened so fast that there was no chance for a radio distress call from the airliner.
A day later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the nation, calling the downing of the plane an “unspeakable tragedy” that “shocked not only Canada, but the world.” Under international pressure, it took three days for the Iranian government to admit that its military had, indeed, shot down the civilian airliner while on high alert amid tensions with the U.S. in Iraq. It was not until the summer that Iran sent the jet’s flight data recorders to France for data recovery, with Tehran blaming the missile launch on human error and bad communication
Meanwhile in China, a strange new virus began to spread, its presence a silent clock counting down to the time it would bring the world to its knees.
Kobe Bryant, the basketball legend who was celebrated after his playing days as a storyteller, entrepreneur, and loving father, was killed along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash in the hills of Calabasas, California on Jan. 26. A massive memorial came together outside Staples Center in Los Angeles, where Bryant played as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 seasons from 1996-2016. Bryant was a five-time NBA champion and the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player. The Lakers would go on to win the franchise’s 17th NBA Championship in October.
Trump was acquitted in early February, and the political event that had hung heavy over his office in the previous six months was over in less than three weeks. But 2020 is an election year, and the political wheels kept turning.
The first round of primary elections quickly divided the Democratic field, and major candidates began to fall. By February, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris were already out. Andrew Yang soon followed. Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren limped through, but it soon became clear their time was running out.
In between the slowly unfolding dramas, a bolt of shock struck the sports world when NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash. The memorial took place in late February.
And finally, the virus making its way through China started to spark fear throughout the world. For many, the word “coronavirus” was still unfamiliar, and the threat seemed far off.
In March, all hell broke loose. But under the shadow of a pandemic, hell is not a clattering sturm und drang. It’s eerie silence and empty spaces. It’s people dying alone in quarantined hospital beds. Global markets shuddered, sputtered, and crashed, foreshadowing months of economic suffering.
As shutdowns rolled across the globe, life as we knew it seemed to grind to a halt overnight: Empty flights, deserted city centers, and cruise ships floating listlessly though the open water, their trapped passengers hoping in vain for a place to port.
On March 11, the World Health Organization called the coronavirus what it is and what it will remain for months: A pandemic. For weeks afterward, little else seems to matter.
In April, widespread coronavirus restrictions began to chafe, and groups of Americans took to the streets in protest, demanding a return to normalcy.
People — and economies — cannot stay locked down forever. But normal was already long gone. Face masks became a familiar sight, and social distancing became a way of life.
Worldwide coronavirus cases hit 1 million at the beginning of the month. By the end of April there were 1 million cases in the United States alone, and more than 62,000 deaths worldwide. Federal social-distancing guidelines also expired, leaving states to chart their own path forward despite clear signs that the threat was far from over.
While in Canada – the Nova Scotia massacre shocked the Nation! 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. The 51-year-old gunman was heavily armed, drove a replica RCMP cruiser, and was dressed, in part, as an officer as he targeted some of his victims and shot others at random. Investigators believed the killing spree began following a domestic dispute with his common-law partner, who was later charged, along with two others, with supplying ammunition after it was revealed some of the guns were bought illegally and in three cases, smuggled into Canada from the U.S..
Among those killed were a teacher, a pair of corrections officers, a pregnant nurse, a retired firefighter, a 17-year-old girl, and an on-duty Mountie. After repeated demands from the victims’ families, the federal and provincial governments gave in and a public inquiry was launched to prevent something similar from ever happening again. The inquiry is still underway.
In May, rumblings of a different kind of unrest began to surface in the Georgia town of Brunswick, where a Black man named Ahmaud Arbery had been shot and killed while jogging in a neighborhood in February. The case echoed painful memories of other unarmed Black men who had died at the hands of police or, in Arbery’s case, men allegedly pursuing some form of vigilante justice.
One racial crisis was quickly compounded with another when George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed during an encounter with police in Minneapolis later that month — an encounter that was caught on video as an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Suddenly, the floodgates were opened. Streets left barren during weeks of coronavirus lockdowns were filled night after night with thousands of protesters calling for justice, police accountability and reform. Clashes between demonstrators and police only added to the tensions, and before the month was over, it was clear a reckoning was going to come.
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.” Cellphone video of Floyd’s death quickly drew attention to the treatment of Black Americans by police and the criminal justice system. Peaceful protests started taking place in the U.S. against racial injustice and police brutality, with Black Lives Matter demonstrations quickly spreading across the globe. 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.
In the months that followed, people would also protest in the names of other Black Americans who had been killed, such as Breonna Taylor, 26, Ahmaud Arbery, 25, Eric Garner, 44, Michael Brown, 18, Tamir Rice, 12, and Trayvon Martin, 17, to name a few.
In Canada, solidarity protests broke out in, with Canadians calling out racism and police brutality within their own country. Thousands of people gathered in Downtown Vancouver Sunday as part of a protest against racism and police brutality
Among those rallies were the demonstrations over the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old Indigenous-Ukrainian-Black Canadian woman who fell from a 24th floor balcony while Toronto police officers were in her apartment on May 27. Her family has questioned the role of officers in her death. Confederate statues have been toppled, and many cities worldwide are debating overhauling, dismantling, or defunding police departments.
After a few weeks of optimism, coronavirus cases came roaring back across the globe. In the United States, experts warned premature reopenings may have sent the country hurtling toward another round of calamity and death.
In June 29 - Iran sent the flight data recorder from a downed Ukrainian passenger jet to France for further analysis. The Iranian military accidentally shot down the jet in January, killing all 176 people aboard, including 55 Canadian citizens. Since then, the country had been under pressure from Ukraine, Canada and other nations that lost citizens in the crash to allow a thorough investigation.
Next on June 30 - Actor, comic and "Dick van Dyke Show" creator Carl Reiner died at the age of 98. Considered one of Hollywood's greatest writers, actors and directors, Reiner broke through as a "second banana'' to Sid Caesar and rose to comedy's front ranks. In recent years, he was part of the roguish gang in the "Ocean's Eleven'' movies starring George Clooney. He was also the father of actor-director Rob Reiner.
On July 01st Canada, the U.S. and Mexico officially enacted the new North American free-trade deal, after months of gruelling negotiations and several setbacks.
July 01st World Health Organization (WHO) says Middle East at "critical threshold" with coronavirus COVID-19 cases over 1 million, 80% of deaths in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia
Next, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an unusual celebration of Canada’s 153rd birthday, with backyard gatherings and digital events replacing large ceremonies. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent part of the morning with his family harvesting broccoli at a farm operated by the Ottawa Food Bank.
One of the first Black actors to perform in mainstream British films died. Earl Cameron was 102. He was best remembered for his starring role as a sailor in the 1951 drama “Pool of London,” the first British film to feature an interracial relationship
In June 2019, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine announced his candidacy for the 2021 Ugandan presidential election. He currently serves as Member of Parliament for Kyadondo County East constituency in Wakiso District, in Uganda's Central Region. He also leads the People Power, Our Power movement in opposition to President Yoweri Museven.
July 13th Actress Kelly Preston died at age 57. John Travolta, Preston’s husband of 28 years, confirmed his wife had died after a two-year battle with breast cancer.
July 17th Civil rights activist and U.S. Congressman John Lewis died at the age of 80. Lewis was the last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
July 24th - Legendary television personality Regis Philbin died at 88. According to a statement from his family, Philbin died of natural causes. The genial host shared his life with television viewers over morning coffee for decades and helped himself and some fans strike it rich with the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
Jul 30 Barack Obama gives the eulogy at the funeral of congressman John Lewis, with former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta
August 4thUnited Nations (UN) says COVID-19 pandemic has created biggest educational disruption in history affecting nearly 1.6 million students in 190 countries, 94% worldwideAug 18Joe Biden is formally nominated as the Democratic party's presidential candidate during the second night of their 1st ever virtual convention
Aug 28, Hollywood actor Chadwick Boseman, who gained fame for his role as Black Panther/King T’Challa in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, has died after battling colon cancer for four years. He was 43. Besides Black Panther, Boseman was known for his performances in 42, Captain America: Civil War, Marshall, Avengers: Infinity War, 21 Bridges and Da 5 Bloods. His film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is yet to be released.
On September 1, protests started again in LA after police fatally shot a Black man. The man, who was pulled over for breaking a vehicle code, allegedly punched a deputy in the face and tried to run, dropping a gun in the process. Police allegedly opened fire the moment they spotted the dropped gun. On September 4, protests in Rochester entered their second night after a fatal encounter between Black man and police. While the protests began peacefully, they later turned violent after many aggressive protesters clashed with police. At least 11 people were arrested amidst the violence. Despite these reports, a new study released on September 5 found that 93% of BLM protests are peaceful. On September 5, President Trump banned racial sensitivity training in federal agencies, claiming it was divisive, anti-American propaganda.” President Trump has stated that these trainings cause unrest in the workplace. His decision comes amid the protests on racial injustices.
On September 18, the Supreme Court announced that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, age 87, has died from cancer. Ginsburg is best known for her feminist views and battle for women’s rights. She died at her Washington DC home surrounded by loved ones. Her death raises concerns that President Trump will attempt to fill the court seat before the November election.
Sepetmeber 25, 2020 , military coupe in Mali. It all began on 18 of August 2020, elements of the Malian Armed Forces began a mutiny. Soldiers on pick-up trucks stormed the Soundiata military base in the town of Kati, where gunfire was exchanged before weapons were distributed from the armory and senior officers arrested. Tanks and armoured vehicles were seen on the town's streets, as well as military trucks heading for the capital, Bamako. The soldiers detained several government officials including the President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta who resigned and dissolved the government. This was the country's second coup in less than 10 years, following the 2012 coup d'état. On September 25, Colonel Assimi Goïta declared himself the vice president of Mali.
On September 29, there was a shooting at a Jacksonville, Florida Amazon facility. The shooting left at least one person dead and another injured. The investigation is still ongoing; however, police do not believe it was a workplace incident.
On October 3, Kuwait monarch Sheikh Sabah Al-Sabah died at the age of 91. Sabah ruled the country for 14 years and was widely respected for his dedication to peace.
Tuesday October 2020, Nigeria’s security forces are accused of shooting dead demonstrators according to several witnesses, as authorities imposed a curfew while promising an investigation.
Amnesty International says it has received “credible but disturbing evidence of excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos”, adding that it was investigating the killings.
At least 12 people were killed, the group claims, adding the death toll was likely to be higher. The Human Rights Watch also confirmed security forces shooting at protesters calling it a “shooting spree”.
On October 22, the death toll due from the Nigerian protests rose to 56. Protesters set fire to a prison in Lagos. Witnesses reported seeing prisoners trying to break out before the army and police officers arrived. There have been reports that a warehouse containing food and medical supplies has also been ransacked. On October 23, President Trump announced that Sudan and Israel have agreed to normalize relations. The agreement is designed to end the turbulent relations between the two countries. The two nations agreed to meet soon to discuss cooperation in the areas previously discussed. This is a sought-after foreign policy for President Trump, who is just two weeks away from the election.
On October 25, Australia announced that Melbourne residents will be out of lockdown, as the coronavirus epicenter has not reported any new cases or new deaths for the first time in four months. Social distancing restrictions will also be relaxed in the area.
On October 31, main opposition parties in Tanzania demanded a fresh election after declaring October 28’s election as fraudulent. Incumbent President John Magufuli was declared the winner by 84% of the vote. Opposition leaders have called for mass protests. On October 31, CNN reported that the US received word that the election may have been tampered with, but the claims have yet to be investigated.
(also reported by BBC)
On November 1, Dr. Fauci gave an interview stating that the US was in for “a whole lot of hurt” regarding coronavirus. The US has recently recorded over 230.000 deaths and 9 million cases. On November 3, the cases in El Paso, Texas continued to rise as people headed to the polls to vote. CNN reported that the county has seen higher voter outcomes than four years ago, despite the virus.
" 'Jeopardy!' is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex," according to a statement from "Jeopardy!"
The 2020 United States presidential election was the 59th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020
On November 11, Johns Hopkins University announced that Texas has become the first state to surpass one million coronavirus cases since the pandemic first began. This means one tenth of the country’s 10 million cases is from the state.
November 12, 2020 - Ghana's former President Jerry John Rawlings has died at the age of 73. He led two coups, first in 1979, before twice being elected president in multiparty polls. A charismatic figure, he first seized power railing against corruption and was responsible for executing several former heads of state for their alleged graft and mismanagement.
He was also seen as a champion of the poor but came to be criticized for alleged human rights abuses.
He died in hospital in the capital, Accra, after a short illness.
A week of national mourning has been announced in Ghana for the country's longest-serving leader, who oversaw the transition to multiparty elections in what is now one of Africa's most stable democracies.
On November 13, the state of California reached over 1 million coronavirus cases. There has been a 47.1% increase in cases in the last week in the Golden State. A statewide travel advisory has been implemented and was also extended to Washington and Oregon. The advisory asks people to refrain from non-essential travel. On November 13, amidst growing cases, New York City’s public school system announced that it could close schools as early as Monday. On November 18, nearly 200 Facebook content moderators accused the company of forcing them to go back to work despite the risk of contracting coronavirus. An open letter to the company demanded that they take employees’ health into consideration. The company has yet to reply. On
On November 26, President Trump continued to taut “election fraud” despite the loss of his lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Three officials stated there was no proof of election fraud, rejecting Trump’s appeal in Pennsylvania. Trump then encouraged Republican voters to go out and vote for Senate seats in Georgia, though many wonder if his claims of fraud will affect turnout. The votes in Georgia could determine which party controls the Senate.
On November 27, it was reported that Biden picked up 132 more votes in Milwaukee after a Trump-requested recount. Despite the recount, more than 27,000 ballots are being segregated due to the campaign’s absentee objections. On November 30, Arizona officially certified Joe Biden’s victory.
On December 02nd the UK becomes the first western country to authorize a vaccine for COVID-19, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
December 07th Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo wins a second term in the country's general elections
December 09th Canada approves the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19
December 11th America's FDA authorizes the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use
December 21st US President-elect Joe Biden receives the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine live on TV
30 - The federal government announced that all incoming travellers to Canada will soon be required to test negative for COVID-19 three days before arriving.
31 - China gave conditional approval to a COVID-19 vaccine developed north yorkm4p1l9by state-owned Sinopharm. The vaccine is the first one approved for general use in China.