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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.

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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

India News

Viral: Residents of Omaxe society face UP government’s bulldozer justice, resident asks have fundamental rights of people vanished | Watch

The probe by the Noida authority was influenced by Shrikant Tyagi’s wife, who alleged that only her family was subjected to actions in the encroachment issue, whereas, other residents who had done the same are not subjected to the same punishment.

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A video from UP’s Noida has been making rounds on the internet where residents of the Grand Omaxe society in UP can be seen blasting the bulldozer culture started by UP CM Yogi Adityanath. In the video, the resident can be seen saying that the alleged encroachment done by is false and asked the Media to come along with him, he further can be heard saying that these people will get exposed.

The media in reply can be heard that they are not being allowed to see the alleged encroached area of the resident, to which the resident can be seen losing his cool and blasting the government officials asking the media if the fundamental rights of people have vanished. The resident further asked when did India turn into the Republic of China. He further added and asked are Iran? has Uttar Pradesh turned into Iran?

Read Also: Viral: Another Bihar mobile thief hangs from moving train’s window, internet applaud passengers | Watch

The Omaxe Society of UP’s Noida recently came into the limelight when a video went viral where Politician Shrikant Tyagi had an altercation with another resident. Subsequently, after the video went viral, Tyagi was arrested for abusing and pushing a woman on camera.

After his arrest, the Noida authorities rolled in with bulldozers to demolish the illegal structures constructed on the encroached land. The residents of the society had welcomed the decision taken by the authorities as many of them came in support of the bulldozer action taken by the government on Shrikanth Tyagi’s residence.

However, in a sudden turn of events, the residents of the Omaxe society, who were celebrating the bulldozer action, became victims of it themselves as the municipal corporation of Noida rolled into the society to demolish any illegal construction done to it.

The probe by the Noida authority was influenced by Shrikant Tyagi’s wife, who alleged that only her family was subjected to actions in the encroachment issue, whereas, other residents who had done the same are not subjected to the same punishment.

The residents of the Omaxe society were given a 48-hour notice, however, some reports claim that some residents were not given any notice and this action by the authorities came as a surprise to them. The residents of the society can be seen protesting outside the gate of their society, imploring the authorities to not carry out these actions.

Despite incessant impeding and imploring by the residents, the authorities carried out demolition on the encroached land of the residents.

The Supreme court of India recently cautioned and instructed the UP to strictly adhere to due process before carrying out the removal of unauthorized structures.

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Shashi Tharoor files nomination for Congress Party’s presidential election, shares aspirations to seek changes in high command culture

Tharoor, while talking to the media, stated that he believes that a new leader, who has not been demotivated and dismayed by the current working conditions of the congress, can be the one who can come up as a refreshing leader and appeal to more voters.

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Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor on Friday filled for his candidacy ahead of the Presidential elections of the Congress party. The Congress MP had announced his intention for running for party president as soon as the schedule for the party elections was fixed. Madhusudan Mistry, election authority chairman, accepted Shashi Tharoor, Thiruvananthapuram MP, papers at the All India Congress Committee Office.

The Congress MP before officially filing for his candidature had visited Rajghat in honor of Mahatma Gandhi. Tharoor shared the pictures on his Twitter and wrote that he paid tribute to the man who built India’s bridge to the 21st century and also echoed sentiments shared by the former prime minister, Rajeev Gandhi.

Read Also: Watch: Parents request BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri to resolve local school issues, Bidhuri replies why they birthed their kids | Watch

The caption echoed Rajeev Gandhi’s dreams of India being an old country yet a young nation, and the dream of his dream for India to be strong, independent, self-reliant, and be amongst the top-ranked nations of the world in the service of mankind. The tweet showed how Tharoor still believes in the legacy left behind by Rajiv Gandhi.

Tharoor, while talking to the media, stated that he believes that a new leader, who has not been demotivated and dismayed by the current working conditions of the congress, can be the one who can come up as a refreshing leader and appeal to more voters.

He further addressed his underdog tag in the presidential election, however, he did further highlight that the Gandhi family had assured him they will hold a neutral role and won’t back anyone as an official candidate in the party’s presidential elections. Tharoor further said that Gandhi family welcomed his decision to run in the presidential elections.

The Congress MP also reflected on his aim for High command culture and highlighted the problem of how every decision is referred up to Delhi, directing toward the Gandhi family playing the decisionmaker role.

Tharoor’s counterpart and key candidate pit against him is Mallikarjun Kharge who has already claimed the support of all the senior party leaders according to Ashok Gehlot. However, Tharoor with high spirits welcomed the competition as he stated that Kharge is the Bhishma Pitamah of the Congress party and added that they both are not rivals, but rather colleagues, suggesting that there is no bad blood between the leaders.

The Congress MP in his interview also put forward that he aims to seek changes in order to rejuvenate the party and reimagine the leadership while also reiterating the core ideology and focusing on broadening participation by focusing on youth. Tharoor also added his aspirations to see an ethos of politics in social work return if he becomes Party President.

Tharoor, however, while remarking and highlighting the changes he aspires to achieve if he wins stated that the Gandhi Family is and will be the moral conscience, ultimate guiding spirit, and the foundation pillar of Congress

Apart from Tharoor, many names came forward who were supposed to declare their run for the presidency including Ashok Gehlot and Digvijay Singh, however, it is finalized that the key candidate for the presidency will be Malikarjun Kharge.

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Watch: Parents request BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri to resolve local school issues, Bidhuri replies why they birthed their kids | Watch

One parent, in the video, stated that the during the time of elections these BJP leaders implore and ask for votes from us, and do not ask such questions because our votes hold value.

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Delhi BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri’s video has emerged on the internet where the BJP MP, in response to the problems in a local school, can be seen asking the parents why have they birthed their children. The parents after hearing his remarks can be seen to be infuriated.

In the video, the BJP MP can be heard asking why did the parents birth their kids, the parents while talking to the press were enraged at the uncouth way the BJP leader dealt with the situation. One parent, in the video, stated that the during the time of elections these BJP leaders implore and ask for votes from us, and do not ask such questions because our votes hold value.

Read Also: Congress party files complaint against Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, allegations of spreading fake news and creating enmity between groups

Another parent remarked that now we have to ask permission from these leaders before birthing and raising a child, whereas another parent urged and promised the MP to start the school and resolve all the issues in the school, promising, if he can resolve all the issues, the member of the parents association will garland and praise the BJP MP for his task.

Twitter users, while being enraged by the statement made by Bidhuri, trenchantly remarked on the incident as one user came forward and wrote and highlighted the type of people the BJP gives tickets to run in the elections.

Whereas, another Twitter user remarked that this is the representative of the people and instead of finding solutions to the problem, the MP himself has problems with people’s issues. The user further proclaimed that despite this, the people will still vote for him, suggesting the hero-worship culture of voting which is followed by some factions of the country.

Another incident of a similar nature transpired in Bihar where a girl asked IAS Harjyot Kaur, Bihar Women Development Corporation’s Managing Director for the sanitary pads to be made available for free. To this request, IAS Harjyot Kaur, asked if there is an end to the demands made by the public and further asked that right now you are asking for sanitary pads and tomorrow you will ask for condoms.

The statement by the official enraged Twitter as many people came to check the official’s remark and asked if India is a welfare state, then why are people’s demands being dismissed and becoming a taboo topic for her.

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