In Pictures: One Month Into 2020
January isn’t over yet and 2020 has already seen protests in India, Iran and Lebanon and Australia battle with wildfires.
Here are the biggest events of the month—in pictures.
The U.S. and Iran have lived in the state of hostility for years. But the killing of the Middle East nation’s top general Qasem Soleimani in an airstrike ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump further complicated the already tensed relations.
Iran vowed a “severe retaliation”, leading to #WWIII trending within days of entering the new decade. On Jan. 8, Iran launched 10 missiles towards two U.S. military bases in Iraq—a country that voted to remove the U.S. troops from its soil. Trump and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif soon tweeted, saying they didn’t wish to escalate the situation into war. There, however, was some collateral damage.
Plane Shot Down
A Ukraine-bound Boeing 737-800 aircraft crashed into a field shortly after taking off from Tehran, killing all 176 people on board. Iran admitted that the plane was accidentally shot down by a military missile fired by it at the U.S. military bases in Iraq. The attack on the bases were in retaliation for Soleimani’s targeted killing.
Iranians gathered in vigils against the state’s accidental shooting of the passenger plan. Ukraine and Canada joined in.
Also, a wave of demonstration swept Iran following a spike in gasoline prices. That led to mass detainment and shootings by security forces.
India is currently gripped with protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act, the National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register. These three when banded together, according to protesters, have the power to rob the minority Muslim community in India of their citizenship.
The law seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The cut-off date to qualify is Dec. 31, 2014. The NRC will be prepared according to the rules prescribed under the Citizenship Act, 1955.
While these protests have cropped up across all major cities and most of Northeast, the women of Shaheen Bagh — a neighborhood in South Delhi— have grabbed special attention.
Students too have been protesting against the CAA-NRC threat. On Jan. 5, a mob of masked men and women entered the Jawaharlal Nehru University, India’s premier university, and attacked students and teachers while they were protesting a more-than-double hike in annual hostel fees.
Students alleged that miscreants belonged to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. The attack came after the Delhi police cane-charged students and fired tear gas at the Jamia Millia Islamia University campus to clamp down on anti-CAA protesters who turned violent.
On Jan. 30, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia University was injured after a man opened fire at a group of protesters, causing panic and chaos on the city’s streets. Later, he was taken into custody by the Delhi police.
Protests in Hong Kong seeking greater independence from China entered the eighth month.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Lebanon over the last three months demanding an overhaul of the country’s power sectarian sharing system amid years of economic decline and threat of a sovereign default. On Jan. 22, the revolution against corruption led to the formation of a new government led by its former education minister Hassan Diab.
Raging since months now, the wildfires in Australia intensified in January. That killed billions of animals and at least 28 human beings. The fires have burned across an area twice the size of Switzerland, destroying thousands of homes. They have also pumped out more than half of the country’s annual carbon-dioxide emissions, in an another setback for the fight against climate change. This, however, is just the beginning of wildfire season for the country.
Coronavirus — originating from a food market in Wuhan, China — has infected more than 6,000 people in mainland China and killed at least 132. It starts as a common cold, and can lead to pneumonia and finally organ failure, particularly in people with preconditions and infants.
At least six countries have confirmed transmission of the disease. On Jan. 30, India reported its first case of Coronavirus in Thrissur, Kerala. A student studying at a university in the Chinese city of Wuhan tested positive for the virus.
Taal Volcano Eruption
Volcano Taal, in a small village around 65 kilometres from the capital city of Manila in the Philippines, started spewing smoke and ash followed by lava on Jan. 12. It hasn’t led to any casualties so far and eruptions have waned since, prompting authorities to reduce the alert level.
The Jan. 8 announcement from Harry and Meghan that they wished to back away from the royal family has thrown Britain’s monarchy into turmoil. On Jan. 13, Queen Elizabeth agreed to a period of transition after which they will spend time in Canada and the U.K., and later move to America.