At the very start of the decade, tensions rose between Iran and the United States after the assassination of Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani; the tensions calmed after Iran unintentionally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, and, within a few months, the COVID-19 pandemic, spread to over 200 countries and territories. The pandemic caused severe global economic disruption, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression. It led to the postponement or cancellation of sporting, religious, political and cultural events, widespread supply shortages exacerbated by panic buying, and decreased emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Numerous countries implemented mandatory lockdowns on public movement, and there have been more than 18.9 million cases, resulting in more than 712,000 deaths. The 10 countries that have reported the most COVID-19 cases (in alphabetical order) are Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Iran, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa and the United States. As of August 5, 2020[update], the United States reported the highest number of active cases and deaths in the world, with San Marino recording the most deaths of any country per capita, followed by Belgium and the United Kingdom. China, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Spain were hard-hit countries early in the pandemic.
Many conflicts that began in the previous decade continued into the 2020s, such as the Syrian Civil War, the Second Libyan Civil War, the War in Donbass, the Iraqi insurgency, the Yemeni Civil War, the South Sudanese Civil War, Rohingya persecution in Myanmar, and the crisis in Venezuela. Conflicts that began before the previous decade have also continued, such as the War in Afghanistan, the Somali Civil War, the Kashmir insurgency, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A huge swarm of desert locusts threatened to engulf massive portions of the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In tandem with the COVID-19 pandemic, this posed major hazards to billions of people who might be affected. Although experts had thought the insects would die out during the dry season in December 2019, unseasonal rains caused the incursion to reach unanticipated and hazardous levels. The killing of George Floyd led to many protests and riots in 2020, in the United States and internationally.
Politics and conflictsEdit
Conflicts and peaceEdit
The prominent wars of the decade include:
|Name||Start date||End date||Description|
|Israeli–Palestinian conflict||14 May 1948||Ongoing||The conflict between Jewish and Arab communities in Israel and the West Bank has been ongoing since 1948. After Israel occupied the West Bank, it began making settlements there, which has been an obstacle to the peace process. Tensions remained high as Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, launched rockets and cross-border raids into Israeli territory, to which Israel responded with military force.|
|Kurdish-Turkish conflict||27 November 1978||Ongoing||Numerous Kurdish groups, including the Kurdistan Workers' Party (the PKK) have fought for an independent Kurdistan incorporating parts of Turkey. In 2016, Turkey has occupied parts of Northern Syria and in 2019, invaded Kurdish-held areas of Northern Syria. In 2020, Turkey launched an insurgency in Iraqi Kurdistan.|
|Nagorno-Karabakh conflict||February 1988||Ongoing||The region of Karabakh has been disputed over the Republic of Artsakh, which is recognized by the Armenian government. A ceasefire was held in 1994. In July 2020, a series of border skirmishes left at least 15 dead.|
|War on terror||11 September 2001
||Ongoing||Motivated by the September 11 attacks, the United States and other governments started a large scale effort to eliminate terrorism. With support from NATO, the United States invaded Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and overthrew the government. Two years later, on the pretext that the government of Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, the United States and a coalition of partners invaded Iraq and overthrew Hussein's regime, after which the U.S. occupied the country. However, insurgencies remained active in both countries, long after the invasions.|
|Russian military intervention in Ukraine||20 February 2014||Ongoing||After the fall of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, Russian soldiers took control of strategic positions in the Ukrainian territory of Crimea and subsequently annexed the region after a controversial referendum. In the months that followed, demonstrations in Donbass escalated into an armed conflict between the government of Ukraine and Russia-backed separatist forces.|
|Military intervention against ISIL||13 June 2014||Ongoing||In late-2013, a terrorist organisation called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant began making rapid advances and territorial gains in Iraq and Syria. It captured Mosul in June and made Raqqa its capital. Various international coalitions were formed to help fight the militants. By December 2017, ISIL had lost much of its former territory.|
|Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen||26 March 2015||Ongoing||During the Yemeni Civil War, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and other countries invaded parts of Yemen in order to depose the Houthi-controlled government.|
|Turkish occupation of northern Syria||24 August 2016||Ongoing||During the Syrian Civil War, Turkey invaded parts of northern Syria in order to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Syrian Democratic Forces, and the PKK.|
|Name||Start date||End date||Description|
|Colombian conflict||27 May 1964||Ongoing||Fighting between the Colombian government, left-wing guerrillas, and various paramilitary factions had been ongoing since 1964. However, at the start of the decade, only two major groups remained, FARC and ELN. Since 2012, both groups have been in peace talks with the government, with FARC and the government signing a ceasefire in 2016.|
|Insurgency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||16 March 2004||Ongoing||Since 2004, Pakistan has been fighting an insurgency by various armed militant groups in the country. The violence has killed almost 57,000 people since, with over 3 million more affected. By 2014, however, casualties from terrorist and militant attacks had dropped by around 40%.|
|Insurgency in Paraguay||27 August 2005||Ongoing||Since 2005, Paraguay has been fighting an insurgency by various armed militant groups in the country, including the Paraguayan People's Army, the Armed Peasant Association and the Army of Marshal López. At least 82 people have died in the conflict.|
|Mexican Drug War||11 December 2006||Ongoing||Following a rise in criminal violence as a result of drug trafficking in the country, Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared a war on drugs in December 2006. Since the start of the war, the death toll from drug violence had sharply increased. Arrests of key cartel leaders led to increasing violence as cartels fought for control of trafficking routes into the United States.|
|War in Somalia||31 January 2009||Ongoing||In 2009, Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group, began waging an insurgency against the newly formed Transitional Federal Government. In 2011, the federal government captured Mogadishu and subsequently retook several towns across the country. Since then, the government has attempted to clean out the remaining Al-Shabaab strongholds with help from AMISOM soldiers.|
|Boko Haram insurgency||26 July 2009||Ongoing||The Boko Haram insurgency began when the jihadist rebel group started an armed rebellion against the government of Nigeria. In 2015, the group pledged alliance to ISIL. It has since been called the world's deadliest terrorist group.|
|Syrian civil war||15 March 2011||Ongoing||Protests erupted in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad's rule, with police and the army sent in to crack down on protesters. They later morphed into war after army officers defected to the opposition, forming the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The war allowed for Islamic extremist groups like Al-Nusra Front and ISIL to temporarily take control of vast amounts of territory.|
|Mali War||16 January 2012||Ongoing||In January 2012, a rebellion by Tuaregs in Northern Mali began. After Malian president Amadou Toumani Touré was ousted in a coup d'état, Tuaregs captured Northern Mali, and declared it to be the independent state of Azawad. However, shortly afterward, various Islamists groups took over Northern Mali from the Tuaregs and imposed sharia law on the region.|
|Second Libyan Civil War||16 May 2014||Ongoing||Following the factional violence that engulfed Libya after the fall of Muammar al-Gaddafi, a second civil war broke out among rival factions seeking control of the territory and oil of Libya. The conflict at the beginning was mostly between the House of Representatives (HoR) government that was controversially elected in 2014, also known as the "Tobruk government"; and the rival General National Congress (GNC) government, also called the "National Salvation Government", based in the capital Tripoli, established after Operation Odyssey Dawn and the failed military coup.|
|Yemeni Civil War||19 March 2015||Ongoing||Preceded by a decade-long Houthi insurgency, the Yemeni Civil War began between two factions: the then-incumbent Yemeni government, led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, and the Houthi militia, along with their supporters and allies. Both claim to constitute the Yemeni government.|
|Philippine Drug War||30 June 2016||Ongoing||Following a rise in criminal violence as a result of drug trafficking in the country, the Philippines has been engaged in a drug war since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was inaugurated on 30 June 2016. It has caused 3,000 deaths.|
|Anglophone Crisis||9 September 2017||Ongoing||As a result of the ongoing sociopolitical issue in Cameroon known as the Anglophone problem, separatists in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon declared the independence of Ambazonia and initiated a conflict against the Cameroonian government. 3,000 people have been killed and 500,000 people have been displaced.|
|Islamist insurgency in Mozambique||5 October 2017||Ongoing||Since early-October 2017, Islamist militant groups, namely the group Ansar al-Sunna and the Islamic State have been attempting to create an Islamic state in northern Mozambique. Over 200 have been killed as of May 2019.|
|Iraqi insurgency||9 December 2017||Ongoing||A part of the larger Iraqi conflict that has been waged since 2003, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has been engaged in an insurgency against the Iraqi government and CJTF-OIR since the loss of territorial control in the Iraqi Civil War in 2017.|
|Catatumbo campaign||January 2018||Ongoing||Despite the Colombian peace process, a military conflict between various militia groups has existed in Colombia's Catatumbo region since January 2018. The war is being fought between the Popular Liberation Army, the National Liberation Army, Frente 33, and the Colombian military. Roughly 145,000 people have been affected by the war.|
Revolutions and major protestsEdit
|Name||Start date||End date||Description|
|Rojava conflict||19 July 2012||Ongoing||Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, ethnic Kurds, Assyrians, and Arabs in Northern Syria have been protesting against the Syrian government. The main cause of the protests was state-sponsored discrimination against ethnic minorities. Although originally starting as protests against the government, the protests quickly turned into an armed conflict after the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) captured the cities of Kobanî, Amuda, and Efrîn between 19 July and 20 July 2012, facing relatively little resistance from the Syrian government. Much of Northern Syria was occupied by the YPG between July and August 2012, with little resistance encountered due to Syria's involvement in the Battle of Aleppo. Led politically by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the territories declared autonomy in January 2014 and Rojava was formed, officially known as the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.|
|2018–2020 Arab protests||1 January 2018||Ongoing||Popularly known as the New Arab Spring, a series of anti-government protests began in 2018 and quickly spread throughout the Arab League countries. The protests were launched in response to authoritarianism, political corruption, human rights violations, high unemployment and inflation, and other causes.|
|Yellow vests movement||17 November 2018||Ongoing||Massive protests began in mid-November in response to a number of changes instituted by the French government, namely the institution of a fuel tax, and other factors such as the high cost of living in France. Their stated goals are an increase in the minimum wage and the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron, among others. The yellow vest became a symbol of the movement due to its ubiquity, visibility, and accessibility.|
|2019–20 Hong Kong protests||9 June 2019||Ongoing||Protests began in June 2019 in response to the government of Hong Kong's vote on a bill that would allow criminals to be extradited to mainland China; the bill was retracted on 23 October 2019, but demonstrations continued due to misconduct by the Hong Kong Police Force. Multiple goals have been repeated by the protesters, namely the creation of an inquiry into police misconduct, a retraction of the characterization of the protests as "riots", the release of arrested protesters, and universal suffrage in Hong Kong. In May 2020 the protests again expanded to oppose the National Anthem Bill and National People's Congress Decision on Hong Kong national security legislation.|
|2019–2020 Chilean protests||14 October 2019||Ongoing||A series of protests and demonstrations began in Chile in October 2019 in response to an increase in public transport fares, a rise in the cost of living, income equality, and privatization, with end goals of healthcare, educational, and pension reforms, an increase in the minimum wage, and the resignation of Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.|
|Citizenship Amendment Act protests in India||4 December 2019||Ongoing||Protests are taking place across India and overseas against and in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which was enacted into law on 12 December 2019 to give citizenship to religiously prosecuted minority communities of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian of the Islamic republics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, who have entered India on or before 31 December 2014. Protests are also taking place against proposals to enact a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC). The protests began in Assam, Delhi, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, and Tripura on 4 December 2019. In a few days, the protests spread across India, though the concerns of the protesters vary.|
|George Floyd protests||26 May 2020||Ongoing||Protests in Minneapolis began after an unarmed African American man named George Floyd was subdued by police; an officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, and Floyd died shortly thereafter. The incident was captured on cellphone video that circulated widely on the internet, which sparked outrage across the United States and other parts of the world. The protests in Minneapolis quickly turned into riots; arson and looting occurred for several days in Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Detroit, and dozens of other US cities. There were also many peaceful protests demanding an end to systemic racism and police brutality.|
Prominent political eventsEdit
This table of events is listed by the region and by chronological order. The prominent political events include, but are not limited to:
|24 September 2019 – 5 February 2020||Under Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 of the U.S. Constitution. Donald John Trump was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on 18 December 2019. The United States Senate trial began on 16 January 2020 and ended on 5 February 2020, concluding with an acquittal on both charges.|||
|2019–2020 Persian Gulf crisis||5 May 2019||The Persian Gulf region saw tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran escalate in mid-2019. The crisis saw oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz sabotaged and seized, drone shootdowns, and efforts by the U.S. and United Kingdom to pursue military patrols to protect shipping in the gulf, known as the International Maritime Security Construct. On December 31, 2019 tensions reached a breaking point as Iranian-backed Shiite militia stormed into the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, leading to the targeted killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike on January 3, 2020.|||
|Brexit||31 January 2020||The United Kingdom and Gibraltar formally withdrew from the European Union at 11PM (GMT).|||
- 2020 –
Assassinations and attemptsEdit
Prominent assassinations, targeted killings, and assassination attempts include:
|3 January 2020||Qasem Soleimani, a high-ranking Iranian official, was killed in a United States airstrike near Baghdad International Airport.|
|2020 Beirut Explosions||4 August 2020||Beirut, Lebanon||Massive explosion occurred in the port of Beirut. Reportedly, the blasts were so loud that they were even claimed to be heard in Cyprus, which is 240km from the place of explosions. The windows of major buildings in a radius of 6 miles were shattered and roads were filled with debris. According to initial findings, it is estimated that a warehouse with 2,750 Tonnes Of Ammonium Nitrate Exploded. Till now, 157 deaths have been confirmed, at least 80 more people are missing and more than 5,000 are reported injured. Beirut governor Marwan Abboud estimated that up to 300,000 people were left homeless by the explosions.|
Earthquakes and tsunamisEdit
Note: This table is a chronological list of earthquakes reported with 7.5Mw or greater or that have reported at least 100 fatalities.
|2020 Caribbean earthquake||28 January 2020||Caribbean Sea||A 7.7Mw struck in the Caribbean Sea between Jamaica and Cuba at 14:10 local time on 28 January 2020. The earthquake was also felt in the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Dominican Republic, and the Cayman Islands. This was the strongest earthquake reported in 2020. No damages were reported. A small (12.2 cm) tsunami was reported in the Cayman Islands.|
|2020 Zagreb earthquake||22 March 2020||Croatia||A 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck Croatia's capital city Zagreb at 06:24 local time on 22 March 2020. The earthquake was followed with numerous aftershocks, the strongest of which with a magnitude of 5.0. The earthquake caused significant material damage in Zagreb (mostly in the historic city center) and in Krapina-Zagorje County. Two deaths and twenty-six injuries were reported. It was the strongest earthquake in Zagreb since 1880.|
|Kuril Islands earthquake||24 March 2020||Kuril Islands, Russia (offshore)||A 7.5Mw offshore earthquake struck at midnight on 24–25 March near the Kuril Islands, Russia. A tsunami alert was triggered and the 400 people were evacuated in the Severo-Kurilsky District due to half-meter high waves. No damages were reported.|
|Cyclone Amphan||May 16–21, 2020||Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka||118 people were killed and millions made homeless in the strongest storm in two decades. Damage is estimated at US$13.2 billion.|
|2020 Taal Volcano eruption||12 January 2020 – Present||On 12 January the Taal Volcano in the Philippines erupted at VEI 4 intensity, bringing intense ashfall to the surrounding areas and killing at least 3 people.|
Droughts, heat waves, and wildfiresEdit
|2019–20 Australian bushfire season||August 2019 – present||Bushfires in Australia continued into 2020, having started in September 2019.|
Depending on the measurement of GDP, either the United States or China has the largest economy, but China is expected to surpass the United States in both the nominal and purchasing power parity approaches by 2033. India currently has the fifth-largest economy and is expected to soon surpass Germany and Japan. Falling oil prices will probably push Saudi Arabia out of the top ten. World population is likely to increase by one billion, and the number of megacities of over 10 million people is likely to grow—mostly in the developing world. The developing world, including not only China and India, but also Brazil and Indonesia, are likely to see the most economic growth in the coming decade. Areas of concern to the economy are climate change, artificial intelligence, energy sustainability, trade, refugees, and resource conflicts.
The World Trade Organization says that trade growth has stagnated and that the number of trade restrictions is increasing as the decade begins. The sectors most affected by import restrictions are mineral and fuel oils (17.7%), machinery and mechanical appliances (13%), electrical machinery and parts (11.7%), and precious metals (6%). On the other hand, regional trade agreements are increasing.
Since mid- to late February 2020, global stocks have been declining as a consequence of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and other factors, such as the Russia-Saudi Arabia oil price war, with Wall Street heavily hit in particular. This was in particular seen on the day of 24 February, when global stocks went into free-fall due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 1,000 points, or 3.5%, the S&P 500 fell 3.3%, and the NASDAQ-100 fell 3.7%. Global markets were similarly affected, with the FTSE 100 closing 3.3% lower, and Italy's FTSE MIB falling 6% lower. Stocks continued to decline severely that week, amounting to over 3,500 points in losses in the Dow. Although stocks recovered the following week, late into the week of 2 March, most stocks began to decline, although East Asian markets remained relatively stable.
On Sunday, 8 March 2020, Saudi Arabia unexpectedly announced that they would be imposing discounts on oil prices, essentially initiating a price war with Russia, who had rejected a plan by OPEC to cut production in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In reaction to the announcement, the DJIA futures market plunged over 1,300 points, suspending trade for that day. This drop would have established the next day, 9 March, as the largest daily change in the index's history. On Monday, 9 March 2020, markets crashed in the worst trading day since 2008. All three Wall Street indices experienced their largest daily changes in history up to that point, with the Dow Jones falling 1800 points at the opening bell, exceeding the predicted 1300 points, and the DJIA closed out at an over 2000 point. or 7.8% loss. Markets worldwide experienced similar crashes; the S&P 500 fell 7.6%, the NASDAQ Composite fell over 7.3%, the FTSE 100 fell 7.7%, and the FTSE MIB in Italy, the hardest hit index, fell 11.2%, the largest in its history up to that point.
Although stocks rebounded the day after Black Monday, on Wednesday, 11 March, stocks continued to decline over coronavirus fears, and the fall resulted in the Dow Jones Industrial Average entering a bear market (a 20% drop from the most recent peak) for the first time in 11 years, and ending the bull market. The same day, after trading had ended, U.S. President Donald Trump gave an address announcing a 30-day travel ban on the Schengen Area due to the coronavirus pandemic, with an initial exclusion of Ireland and the United Kingdom, although the two countries were eventually included. On Thursday, 12 March, the day after the announcement, markets again crashed, with the Dow Jones plummeting 1800 points at the opening, and closing out at over 2300 points lost, or a 10% loss. 12 March, known as Black Thursday, came to be the largest crash on Wall Street since 1987.
Cybersecurity and hackingEdit
|2020 Twitter bitcoin scam||15 July 2020||Multiple high-profile Twitter accounts, each with millions of followers, were compromised in a cyberattack to promote a bitcoin scam.|
|Event||Date||Infections and deaths||Description|
|COVID-19 pandemic||December 2019 – ongoing||18,986,629 confirmed cases and 712,334 deaths in 229 countries and territories reported by August 7, 2020.|
|Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS||1981 – ongoing||37.9 million people living with HIV (end of 2018), 24.5 million people accessing antiretroviral therapy (end of June 2019), 32.0 million deaths from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic (end 2018)|
Science and technologyEdit
- Space company SpaceX sent two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station on 30 May 2020, marking the first time a private company completed a crewed orbital spaceflight mission.
- NASA launched the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter drone on July 30th 2020 as part of their Mars 2020 mission to search for signs of ancient life on Mars.
Communications and electronicsEdit
Software and electronic platformsEdit
24.3% of all national parliamentarians were women as of February 2019. 11 women were serving as Head of State and 12 as Head of Government in June 2019. 20.7% of government ministers were women as of January 2019. Katerina Sakellaropoulou became the first female president of Greece in January 2020.
There are wide regional variations in the average percentages of women parliamentarians. As of February 2019, these were: Nordic countries, 42.5%; Americas, 30.6%; Europe excluding Nordic countries, 27.2; sub-Saharan Africa, 23.9; Asia, 19.8%; Arab States, 19%; and the Pacific, 16.3%. Rwanda has the highest number of women parliamentarians worldwide, 61.3% of seats in the lower house. About 26% of elected local parliamentarians are women.
- A law allowing third gender option on driver licenses takes effect in New Hampshire.
- Switzerland has banned discrimination on the basis of sexuality based on a referendum, putting into effect a law previous introduced in 2018, that was subsequently blocked by the government that requested a referendum to be held on the matter first.
- In Northern Ireland, the first same-sex marriage, after legislation to allow this took affect in January 2020.
- In Costa Rica same-sex marriage and joint adoption by same-sex couples became legal on 26 May 2020.
- In the United States, the Supreme Court ruled that job discrimination against workers for their sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal.
- The Trump Administration passed a law on 12 June 2020 removing protections against discrimination from LGBTQ people in terms of health care and health insurance in the United States.
The 2020s started off with the primary streaming services being Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Disney+. Cable television is continuing to fall out of popularity, and is not as prevalent as it was in the 2010s and decades prior.
The decade began with trap as the most prevalent genre on the charts. Many popular songs are influenced by musical stylings of the late 20th century, including new wave, synthpop, disco, house music, and funk.
- Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games for a second time. Originally scheduled for July–August 2020, the games were rescheduled for summer 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Beijing hosts the Winter Olympics for the first time.
- Birmingham hosts the Commonwealth Games for the first time.
- Qatar hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
- Paris hosts the Olympic Games for a third time.
- Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo hosts the Olympic Games which will be the first Olympic Games hosted in Milan and the fourth hosted in Italy.
- United States, Canada, and Mexico host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
- Los Angeles hosts the Olympic Games for a third time.
- The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship will be held across 12 countries in Europe. Originally scheduled for June–July 2020, they were rescheduled for June–July 2021.
- The 2023 Rugby World Cup will take place in France, the second time as a single host and third time including joint hosting.
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