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World highlights 2020: Trump, Covid, Biden, Vaccine?

2020 was unprecedented for the world, mostly due to 2019’s virus of Chinese origin that sneaked in to the rest of the world, killing almost 2 million people and infecting 83 million people across the world.




2020 was unprecedented for the world, mostly due to 2019’s virus of Chinese origin that sneaked in to the rest of the world, killing almost 2 million people and infecting 83 million people across the world. The home became the workplace, the workplace the home, the ennui and the epiphanies were all at home. Other things did happen in the world, like the dethronement of Trump, Israel finding acceptance among 3 Arab countries. Here’s a brief look back at 2020 before we bid it bye!

Israel makes new friends in Arabia and North Africa

Israel became friends with more Arab countries in 2020. It had already established diplomatic ties with Egypt in 1979, leading to the assassination of then president Anwar Sadat, and with Jordan in 1994.

The United Arab emirates (UAE) was the first to recognise Israel, possibly under the nudging of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has emerged the regional hegemon opposed to the other hegemon, Iran. Bahrain became the second Gulf nation to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. Sudan and Morocco were not too far in forging deals with the Jewish state and reshaping politics in the Middle East. Though Rabat had been engaging Tel Aviv on the sly all this while, the sudden melting of age-old enmities has left the Middle East in an unforeseen space.

The United States brokered most of the deals. The peace agreements between Israel and four nations broke years of consensus among Arab and north African states that haven’t recognised Israel over its occupation of Palestinian territories and establishment of the two-state solution on the borders of 1967.

The year 2020 saw Palestinians a dispirited lot with feelings of betrayal from key supporters in the Gulf. Saudi Arabia was expected to sign along the dotted line too but that, now, looks like a 2021 possibility.

US Presidential Elections

In the month of  November 2020, United States voted to elect its 45th President. The candidates in the race were Democratic Party’s Joe Biden and Republican Party’s Donald Trump, who was eyeing a second term as President.  The election assumed more significance as it was held amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It was being said it was going to be a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency who has often been accused of downplaying covid-19 despite the fact that United States is worst-hit country by the pandemic with more than three lakh deaths and total cases inching towards 2-crore mark.

The bitterly fought election was won by Democrat Joe Biden who won 306 electoral  college votes to Trump’s 232. The results were not without controversy as Trump went on to file suit after suit in different states alleging fraud, a claim he was unable to substantiate with any evidence. Even the Supreme Court in US has not been able to find any widespread fraud as alleged by Trump who is yet to concede defeat. Biden will be assuming the office on January 20, 2021, while Indian-origin Kamala Harris will be the first woman vice president of the US.

Donald Trump impeachment

For the third time in the history of the US Presidency, Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, was on trial for impeachment. The impeachment was initiated on December 18, 2019 when the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Trump was accused of asking the Ukraine government to announce an investigation into his political opponent Joe Biden, who is now the President-elect of the United States. To convince Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to do so, Trump held back military aid to Ukraine and rejected a proposed White House meeting with Zelensky. Trump was also accused of seeking help from the Ukraine government to help himself get re-elected and to promote a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 US Presidential elections.

Both the articles were submitted to the Senate on January 16, 2020, commencing Trump’s impeachment trial. The trial saw no witnesses or documents being subpoenaed, as Republican senators, who made up the majority in the Senate by 53 members to 47,  rejected attempts of Democrats to submit witnesses and documents at the start of the trial. The Senate acquitted Trump of these charges on February 5, 2020 as neither count received a majority 67 votes to convict. On Article I, abuse of power, 48 senators voted for conviction, while 52 senators voted for acquittal. On Article II, obstruction of Congress, 47 senators voted for conviction, while 53 senators voted to acquit.

Trump had denied any wrongdoing.

Qasem Soleimani Assassination

Iran’s most powerful military commander, General Qasem Soleimani, who spearheaded Iranian military operations in the Middle East as head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was killed in US air strikes on January 3, 2020 ordered by President Donald Trump. Soleimani was considered the second most powerful figure of Iran after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran observed three days of national mourning with the rest of the world worried about the outbreak of hostilities.

He was killed at Baghdad airport, along with other Iran-backed militia figures, including the deputy chairman of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and commander of the Iran-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah militia, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who had been designated a terrorist by the US and the UAE.

The US administration justified the killing of Soleimani saying he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US personnel and was plotting to kill many more. Donald Trump had said he should have been taken out many years ago and that he was both hated and feared within Iran and the country will never be able to properly admit it.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated when the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran on May 18, 2018 and reimposed sanctions. The killing of Soleimani had further added to escalations. Khamenei said severe revenge awaits the criminals behind the attack.

France Beheading

The murder of Samuel Paty, a French middle-school teacher, took place on October 16, 2020 in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a suburb of Paris for showing Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Prophet Mohammad to his students in a civics class. He was beheaded by an Islamist terrorist. The attacker had said he wanted to punish Paty for his blasphemous act.

The 18-year-old perpetrator, Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov, a Muslim Russian refugee of Chechen ethnicity, killed and beheaded Paty with a cleaver. He was shot dead by police minutes after the incident.

Paty showed Charlie Hebdo’s 2012 cartoons in his class on freedom of expression. These cartoons were seen by many Muslims as offensive. Ten people have been charged with assisting the killer, including an imam, a parent of a student, and two students at Paty’s school.

Days after the beheading incident, a knife-wielding assailant, said to be shouting Allahu Akbar, killed a woman and two others at a church in the French city of Nice on October 31, 2020. Reports suggested that both the incidents were linked to each other.

French President Emmanuel Macron denounced radical Islam and said the incident was a typical Islamist terrorist attack. The response of the French government has been criticized by many Muslims, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, some of whom have called for a boycott of French goods.

Harvey Weinstein #MeToo Verdict: In a landmark verdict in the month of March, former movie producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault. One of Hollywood’s most powerful figures, Weinstein was found guilty of the charges by Manhattan criminal court. The disgraced producer was accused of sexual misconduct by more than 100 women. The widespread #MeToo movement, which saw many women coming out and sharing stories of sexual harassment at workplaces with hashtag MeToo , was also fuelled following Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault cases. Weinstein however, continues to maintain that any sex was consensual. He said he feels for the thousands of men who are being denied due process in the #MeToo era.

Weinstein had won an Academy Award for producing Shakespeare in Love. He has also produced many other acclaimed films including Pulp Fiction, The English Patient and Gangs of New York. Weinstein was dismissed from The Weinstein Company (TWC) and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and other professional associations. Following his conviction, his lawyers had said they would appeal against the court’s decision.

George Floyd Killing

George Floyd, a 46-year-old man, was killed by a White police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota while he was being arrested. The policeman, Derek Chauvin, knelt on Floyd’s neck for about nine and a half minutes after he was handcuffed and lying face down. Two other policemen, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, assisted Chauvin while one more police officer Tou Thao prevented bystanders from intervening. Floyd had complained about breathing problems before being shoved to the ground, but after being restrained he became more distressed and called for his mother as he feared he would die. After several minutes, Floyd stopped speaking and laid motionless on the street. Despite this, Chauvin refused to lift his knee of Floyds neck until medics told him to but by then, Floyd was dead.

Videos of the incidents surfaced online and all four officers were dismissed. Autopsies found Floyd’s death to be a homicide. While Chauvin was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, Kueng, Lane, and Thao were charged with assisting and abetting second-degree murder. Their trial is to begin March 8, 2021.

The incident triggered worldwide protests against police atrocities, intolerance and violence attacks against black people, and lack of police accountability. The Black Lives Mattermovement returned to international headlines after the killing of George Floyd. An estimated 20 to 26 million people participated in the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, making it one of the largest movements in the country’s history.

Black Lives Matter began in July 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who shot dead African-American teen Trayvon Martin.

Hagia Sophia

A UNESCO world heritage site, Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul was turned into a mosque in Turkey after a court annulled the site’s museum status. The move drew widespread criticism from secular opposition leaders in Turkey as well as political leaders across the world who considered it as a bridge between two faiths, and a symbol of co-existence. However, Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended the move and said the country had exercised its sovereign right by turning the museum into mosque. He said the mosque will be open to locals , foreigners, muslims and non-muslims alike. Critics slammed the move and said it was done to divert the attention from the economic damage suffered by the country in the wake of Covid-19.

Hagia Sophia was built1,500 years ago as an Orthodox Christian cathedral and was turned into a mosque in 1453. In 1934 it was converted into a museum. The decision to convert the world-famous museum into a mosque was taken despite UNESCO’s request to not change its status without discussion. The move was also slammed by head of the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as Greece.

Namaste Trump: In the month of February, US President Donald Trump came to India on his maiden visit. The highlight of the tour was the Namaste Trump rally held in Ahmedabad in response to Howdy Modi event held for PM Modi in 2019. Around 1 lakh people attended the event at Sardar Patel Stadium.

During the Namaste Trump tour, US President visited Taj Mahal in Agra along with his wife Melania. He later headed to Delhi and attended the dinner banquet hosted by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind.  During the visit, Trump and PM Modi addressed several common issues such as 5G connectivity and trade deals. They also inked a US$3 billion defense deal.

Also Read: India to begin dry run for Covid-19 vaccination from January 2

The Namaste Trump tour was marred by controversy as a wall was built by Gujarat government ahead of it. Social workers had opposed the construction of the wall saying it was built to hide the slum area. However, officials said it was built for security reasons. The 2020 Delhi riots, which resulted in widespread violence across the capitals also coincided with US President’s visit to India. The opposition had slammed the government on extravaganza and advised the government to use the opportunity to address key issues.

Input: Shivani Chauhan and Prerna Ahuja

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Land for jobs scam case: Tejashwi Yadav moves Delhi High Court challenging CBI summons

The CBI has, till now, issued three notices to Tejashwi Yadav.



Tejashwi Yadav

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav on Wednesday moved the Delhi Court to challenge the summons issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for questioning in the alleged land-for-jobs scam.

Tejashwi in a petition said notice can only be issued to a person, who is situated within the local jurisdiction of that police station or is within the adjoining police station.

The plea argued that even though he was a resident of Patna, he was being asked to appear for questioning in Delhi, which is in violation of Section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The hearing in the matter is scheduled for today and will be heard before justice Dinesh Sharma.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader, via a petition, requested time from the CBI to appear before it after the end of the current Bihar Assembly session. He stated that it was his duty to attend the meeting as the recently appointed Deputy Chief Minister.

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The CBI has, till now, issued three notices to the 33-year-old Yadav. The Bihar Deputy Chief Minister has sought the quashing of the summons.

Tejashwi Yadav requested that directions be given to the CBI so that they may have his advocate(s) present anytime he is questioned about the current FIR in accordance with the rules established by the Supreme Court of India.

Additionally, he requested that a directive be given, preferably in the form of mandamus, to revoke three summons issued by the CBI on February 28, 2023, March 4, 2023, and March 11, 2023, calling for his appearance before the CBI branch in New Delhi.

His family members, including parents and former Bihar Chief Ministers Lalu Yadav and Rabri Devi, and his sister Misa Bharti are being investigated in the alleged land-for-jobs scam. The court granted them bail on Wednesday in this case.

The CBI asserts in its charge sheet that applicants who were hired as substitutes in the railways from 2004 to 2009 sold land to Lalu Prasad Yadav’s family members, particularly wife Rabri Devi and daughter Misa Bharti, at extremely discounted rates, sometimes a fourth or fifth of market rates

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Electric scooter explodes inside house in Karnataka’s Mandya district, fridge, TV damaged

Muthuraj said they tried to control the fire but their efforts went in vain. By then the fire had engulfed other household items.



Electric scooter explodes

In yet another shocking incident, an electric scooter exploded while it was being charged inside a house in Karnataka’s Mandya district on Monday, damaging several home appliances. A family of five was present in the house when the mishap occurred.

According to the reports, the incident happened in Valagerehalli village of Maddur taluk when the owner of the vehicle, Muthuraj, who bought the e-scooter for Rs 85,000 about six months ago, parked the vehicle inside the house for charging at around 8:30 am today.

Minutes after plugging in the e-scooter, the battery exploded and the e-scooter was covered in flames. Due to the mishap, several home appliances including a TV, fridge, two-three mobile phones, dining table, and other items were burnt and the glasses shattered.

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All five members of the family were present at home at the time of the incident. Fortunately, they all had a narrow escape as they were not close to the e-scooter when the incident occurred.

Muthuraj said they tried to control the fire but their efforts went in vain. By then the fire had engulfed other household items.

This is not the first case when the e-scooter had caught fire. Earlier, an e-scooter exploded while it was being charged at home, killing a 7-year-old boy. As per reports, the deceased, identified as Shabbir, and his grandmother were sleeping in a hall at their home, where the electric scooter was plugged in for charging by his father.

While Shabbir’s grandmother suffered minor injuries, the boy suffered over 70 percent burns and was rushed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

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Massive fire erupts in Mumbai’s Oshiwara furniture market, over 100 shops damaged

Normal life was affected after thick plumes of black smoke billowing from the godown of a furniture market engulfed the area.



fire erupts in Mumbai

A massive fire broke out in the Oshiwara furniture market in Mumbai on Monday morning. A fire erupted in a furniture godown at the relief road in the city’s Jogeshwari west area, resulting in over 100 shops being gutted.

According to the reports, a fire was caused at a furniture godown at around 11 am. Ten fire engines and six jumbo tankers, along with an ambulance, ward-level officers and a police squad rushed to the spot to douse the fire. No casualties or injuries have been reported so far.

A video of the mishap is going viral on social media. Normal life was affected after thick plumes of black smoke billowing from the godown of a furniture market engulfed the area.

Read Also: Man kills father, chops up body over property dispute in UP’s Gorakhpur


Reportedly, a total of three small lines of 12 motor pumps are in operation.

A firefighting operation is underway. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, however, the BMC Disaster Control team is investigating the matter.

Earlier, more than 100 shops were gutted in a massive fire in the wholesale market of the Bhagirath Palace area in Chandni Chowk. Five major buildings were also affected during the fire-fighting operations, out of which three collapsed.

The incident happened in the last week of November at around 9 pm. Soon after, 40 fire tenders were rushed to the spot to extinguish the fire.

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