Russia-Ukraine Conflict, Elon Musk's Twitter Deal: 5 Top Global News Events Of 2022
From extreme weather events to political chaos in several countries, here is what all happened in 2022.
Political upheavals in the backdrop of extreme climate events. That is what the year 2022 looked like. There were heat waves, floods, cyclones, and erratic rainfall patterns, and then there were countries, like the United Kingdom and Pakistan, tackling political instability.
Russia's military action on Ukraine in February was among the first major international news that broke in 2022. There were apprehensions of nuclear war as well and tensions flared further when fighting reached Chernobyl's nuclear accident sight, fanning fears of radiation leakage from the sealed sight.
In the United Kingdom, chaos seemed to take centre stage when Boris Johnson quit as the leader of the Conservative Party in July. Liz Truss was announced as the new leader in September after she defeated Rishi Sunak. However, she quit within 45 days, making her tenure the shortest in the history of the UK. She was succeeded by Sunak. Britain also lost it's longest reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II on September 8.
As 2022 comes to an end, here's a look back at some of the major global events of the year.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a full-scale military action on Ukraine. An attack was launched via air, land and sea as people fled from cities and took refuge in underground train stations.
Russia had been planning the military buildup since 2021 as it had warned Ukraine against joining NATO.
"Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted.
Despite condemnation from world leaders, Russia continued its attack on Ukraine which caused widespread death and destruction. Ukrainian leaders, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, reiterated their stand that Ukraine would continue to fight Russia and defend its territory.
Russia maintained that it was targeting the Ukrainian military infrastructure with "precision weapons" and that they were not targeting civilians. The US responded with sanctions on Russia. Biden said the "sweeping financial sanctions and stringent export controls" were being imposed to have an "impact on Russia's economy, financial system, and access to cutting-edge technology."
Nearly a year since then, Russia continues strikes on Ukrainian cities. On December 28, the attack intensified on Kherson city, over a month after it was reclaimed by Ukrainian troops, Reuters reported.
"We have not lost our humanity, although we have endured terrible months. And we will not lose it, although there is a difficult year ahead," Zelensky was quoted as saying.
UK political chaos
The United Kingdom was pushed into political chaos with two prime ministers resigning from the post in 2022. Boris Johnson was embroiled in several controversies, including the party gate scandal. Reports emerged that Johnson along with other leaders attended parties twice in 2020 at his official residence at 10 Downing Street in London when the country was under a lockdown, in violation of Covid rules. Eighty-three people, including current PM Rishi Sunak, were reportedly given fixed penalty notice over the violation of the Covid rules.
On July 7, Johnson finally announced his resignation as the leader of the Conservative Party amid the rising cost of living and inflation in the country. This followed the resignation of several Tory leaders over his performance as the British prime minister. Conservative MPs in the UK parliament chose former chancellor Sunak and foreign secretary Liz Truss as the final contenders for the post of party leader. Truss defeated Sunak by almost 21,000 votes during elections held on September 5.
Truss quit in just 45 days, becoming UK's shortest-serving prime minister, after a tumultuous term as she tried to introduce economic policies to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. Her Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, introduced a 'mini-budget' with slashed taxes on the richest, frozen duties on the sale of alcohol, canceled a plan to hike corporation tax and outlined a plan to entice foreigners to shop in the United Kingdom tax-free. However, the pound dropped to its lowest value against the dollar.
Truss was succeeded by Sunak, the first non-white person to hold the post in the UK. While Sunak's election was welcomed by all world leaders, the news evoked an exuberant response in India because of his origins in the sub-continent.
In September, a young Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, reportedly died in police custody after she was arrested by Iran's morality police for not wearing her hijab properly. Eyewitnesses said Amini was beaten by the cops in a police van in Tehran. While in custody, she slipped into a coma and died a few days later.
Police denied the accusation and said that she died after falling ill while she was waiting with other women. Her death triggered a wave of anger among the Iranians who questioned the compulsory hijab rules for women in Iran. As a mark of protest, women at Amini's funeral took off their hijabs.
Women on social media, as well as on the streets, started setting their headscarves afire and chopping their hair. Activists across the world showed solidarity with the Iranians even as the Iranian government continued to crack down on the protesters. Hundreds of protesters have since been arrested. Two young men were reportedly executed in December for their involvement in the protests.
At least 11 men have been served the death sentence, while 24 others are facing charges that could lead to a death sentence in Iran, CHRI said in a statement on December 15. According to AP, around 495 people, including children, have been killed in the crackdown on demonstrators, while 18,200 people have been reportedly detained by authorities.
Musk takes over Twitter
In October, Elon Musk completed a $44 billion acquisition deal to take over the ownership of Twitter. The deal was finalised a day after he visited the Twitter headquarters in San Fransisco with a sink. "The bird is freed," Musk wrote on tweeted after the deal alluding to the Twitter logo.
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"The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future civilisation to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence," Musk said in an open letter to advertisers after the takeover.
Soon after the deal, US media, including Reuters and Washington Post, reported that chief executive Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde have been fired.
Musk tried introducing changes, including charging people for the blue tick of verification. "Twitter's current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn't have a blue checkmark is bullshit," Musk wrote justifying his decision. He initially said Twitter users would need to pay USD 20 per month for blue tick. He later said the price for blue tick would be USD 8 a month. The move was rolled back amid criticism.
Also Read:'You Dox, You Get Suspended': Why Elon Musk Is At War With Journalists
In another attempt to bring changes to Twitter and uphold his claims on "free speech", Musk revoked the ban on several Twitter handles, including that of former US President Donald Trump, Kanye West, Babylon Bee and Jordan Peterson.
Queen Elizabeth II dies
Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving British monarch died on September 8, at the age of 96. Her death also saw a generational shift in the British royal family as her son, Charles was crowned the new king.
Charles, 73, waited for seven decades as the first in line to the throne. With the Queen's death, Charles' eldest son William became the Prince of Wales and is now the first-in-line to the throne.
Thousands of people including politicians filed past her coffin before her funeral on September 19. Her coffin was taken from St Giles' Cathedral to Buckingham Palace and Westminster Hall. Her funeral was held at Westminster Abbey.
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