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12 Events That Shook The World In 2020

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The outgone year 2020 has been most eventful for the world, especially with the coronavirus pandemic and the devastating effects it had since it broke out in Wuhan, China, in the early part of the year. The virus has refused to succumb to efforts by various countries and organizations to look for a remedy for it.

With the novel virus came other incidents that shook some nations, notably plane crashes, oil spills, floods, hurricanes and many disastrous events that occurred in the year.

It may be hard to fathom any other time that the word ‘coronavirus’ would dominate our day-to-day vocabulary, but then, the world also had some other notable events worth mentioning, like the death of African-American, George Floyd, which emphasized the #BlackLivesMatter and gave birth to the #Ican’tBreathe, the deaths of basketball superstar, Kobe Bryant, movie star Chad Boseman, and the tension that the US-Iran conflict caused which almost led to a global conflagration.

And oh, Donald Trump lost the United States presidential election to Joe Biden, also in 2020.

In our Year in Review, we take a look at 12 of the events that shook the world in 2020.

Coronavirus outbreak

The Covid-19 pandemic which crept upon the world from Wuhan in China in February, 2020 was to have a serious and disturbing effect on every part of the world.

The novel pandemic wreaked havoc globally, claiming more than 1.8 million lives in its wake, and destroying the economies of most countries. Though the outbreak occurred in the late 2019, thus its name, it was first discovered in China and later spread all over the world, recording over 80 million positive cases so far.

In 2020, the Covid-19 virtually halted the world with many countries going into lockdown, restricting movements as a measure to curb the spread. The outbreak also stifled the world economy, impacted lives, decimated jobs and placed millions of livelihoods at risk.

US-Iran tension

Iran accuses British security firm, German airbase of involvement in killing of top general, Soleimani

Back in January, the world was concerned that the United States was on the brink of a war with Iran as tensions between the two countries hit a boiling point after the US government killed a top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani.

On January 4, US President Donald Trump tweeted a warning to Iran saying if they retaliated the killing of Soleimani, the US would target 52 Iranian sites “and those targets, and Iran itself, would be hit very fast and hard. The USA wants no more threats!” Trump threatened.

Many people feared that the military action could lead to a full-scale war which sparked the then famous #NoNewWar protests across the US and other parts of the world.

A few days later, on January 7, Iran fired missiles at Iraqi bases housing US troops and though no lives were lost, Trump responded by saying the US would issue more sanctions on Iran.

Hours after Iran fired its missiles, the country mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, attributing it to a fear of US aggression. All 176 people on board including 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, and 11 Ukrainians died, prompting thousands of Iranian protesters to hit the streets, condemning their leaders over the downed plane.

Death of Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant and other stories

The death of Kobe Bryant, an NBA legend, alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on January 26, was one event that shocked the world as the basketball star was well loved all over the world.

The news left Los Angeles where the beloved athlete played for the Lakers in his entire 20-year career, and the rest of the world in mourning.

Known as the Black Mamba, Bryant was a five-time NBA champion and won the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2008. In 2018, he won an Oscar for best animated short film for “Dear Basketball.”

Around the world, people paid their respects, with memorials and murals. Thousands, including a handful of celebrities, packed the Staples Center in Los Angeles to honor Bryant in a celebration of his life.

Death of Chadwick Aaron Boseman

Black Panther actor, Boseman dies of cancer

The death of Chadwick Aaron Boseman, aka the Black Panther, one of the most loved and popular black actor in Hollywood, came as a rude shock to the world and was one event that shook the world in 2020.

The actor was best known for playing the superhero Black Panther, for his role as T’Challa /Black Panther which earned him a spot on the 2018 Time 100 world’s most influential people.

Boseman was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer in 2016, which eventually progressed to Stage IV before 2020. He died on August 28 at his home as a result of complications related to the colon cancer with his wife and family by his side.

The following day, the tweet in which his family announced his death on his Twitter account became the most-liked tweet ever, with more than 6 million likes in under 24 hours, and accumulating over 7 million by August 31.

#BlackLivesMatter

Australia fears second wave of covid-19 after #blacklivesmatter protester test positive for virus

The #BlackLivesMatter movement, was, perhaps one of the most notable incidents in 2020.

Though the movement was started in 2013 by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and a Nigerian, Opal Tometi, on the shoulders of the death of Trayvon Benjamin Martin, the revolutionary movement in 2020, became one of the largest movements in US history with an estimated 15 million to 26 million people taking to the streets to say enough of systemic racism, the illusion of freedom and also started an active conversation about the equality of races.

It became more popular with the killing of an African-American, George Floyd who was killed by white police officers.

The phrase “I Can’t Breathe,” used by Floyd before his death later became synonymous with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. A video recording later revealed that Floyd had told the officer who knelt on his neck for eight minutes, “I can’t breathe” several times.

“I Can’t Breathe” will become the anthem for the #BlackLivesMatter protest which also caused a chain reaction around the world with an average of 140 demonstrations per day.

Joe Biden winning the US Presidency

COVID-19: Biden says Trump's incompetence, lies has caused America grave losses

The 2020 presidential election in the United States of America was seen by many as having the capability of shaping the world. Americans themselves also felt passionately about the presidential election but it would have been foolhardy for anyone to believe that the incumbent President Donald Trump would lose to his opponent, Joe Biden.

The proof, however, was in the turnout with more than 159 million people voting, meaning there was a massive 66.7 percent voter turnout, the highest since 1900.
More than 100 million Americans voted early, either in-person or by mail, the first time in history that more people voted before Election Day than on it.

The size of the mail-in vote and a handful of tight races meant it wasn’t until November 7, four days after Election Day, that the race was called for Biden. Trump refused to concede defeat, insisting he had won.

He demanded recounts in several states, claimed large-scale election fraud, and filed lawsuits in state and federal courts to overturn the results. None of his challenges paid off, though.

On December 14, the Electoral College elected Biden president with the outcome fitting with the saying that while foreign policy doesn’t determine presidential elections, presidential elections determine foreign policy.

New Delhi and Hong Kong riots

Activists raise fears as China passes security law on Hong Kong

In February, deadly riots erupted across India after the government officially approved the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill in December 2019. The bill gave Indian citizenship to asylum seekers from three neighboring countries, but not if they were Muslims.

A number of people died as a result of clashes which coincided with the visit of US President Donald Trump. 24 people reportedly died in the violent protest which rocked parts of New Delhi, and at least 188 were injured.

Also in Hong Kong, anti-government protests which began in 2019 spilled into 2020 with demonstrators calling for greater democracy and more autonomy from mainland China.
With the pandemic slowing in Hong Kong in May, the city successfully contained multiple waves of the virus and the protesters headed back to the streets.

This time, it was to oppose the Chinese government’s controversial national security law, which threatened the city’s autonomy and civil liberties. Several thousand people marched through the streets for months, chanting slogans, including “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” and “Hong Kong independence, the only way out.”

Beirut explosion

BEIRUT BLAST: Lebanese PM vows to bring perpetrators to book, appeals for int’l assistance

On August 4, a heavy explosion shook a port in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, and caused wide scale destruction. The incident occurred after a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of the city of Beirut exploded, killing over 600 people, injuring more than 2,000 more and rendering over 6,000 people homeless.

The explosion was so devastating that the Prime Minister of Lebanon had to resign from his position with international bodies launching several investigations into the cause of the carnage.

Locusts attacks

Swarms of desert locusts, a migratory insect from eastern Africa and Southeast Asia, invaded India in April, damaging millions of acres of standing crops. The desert locusts, a short-horned grasshopper species, invaded the Indian cities of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, destroying crops in its wake, throwing the country already ravaged by the impact of the coronavirus into more hunger and famine that it took a loan from the World Bank to restore sanity in the country.

Mauritius oil spill

A Japanese bulk carrier, MV Wakashio, ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius in July and began to leak fuel oil in the following weeks and broke apart in mid-August. By August 10, about 1,000 metric tons of fuel had spilled, representing a danger for the country of 1.3 million people relying heavily on tourism. The Mauritius government declared the incident a national emergency and sent out signals to several countries in the world to come to its aid.

Australia wildfire

The period of unusual intense bushfires in many parts of Australia, which began in 2019, continued into 2020. Australian bushfire season, known as Black Summer, peaked during December-January. The fires burnt an estimated 18.6 million hectares as of March 2020, and destroyed over 5,900 buildings.

The fires were among the worst in the country’s history. They killed at least 28 people, destroyed thousands of homes and affected an estimated 1 billion animals, including the koala population, which now faces an immediate threat of extinction.
A study released in March found that the Australia’s fires were made far more likely and intense by the climate crisis.

Assam flood

The Brahmaputra River, which flows through Tibet, India and Bangladesh, burst its banks in Assam late in June due to heavy rainfall and wreaked havoc in India’s north-eastern state.

The flood affected over five million people, destroying crops and homes in October 2020. More than 300 people were reported dead.

The flooding and landslides also caused damage to bridges, buildings, roads and schools. The floods also swamped most of Kaziranga National Park with more than 150 wild animals rescued and as many as 200 died in the prolonged flooding.

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President Olusegun Obasanjo at 85! | The Harmattan News

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Former President Matthew Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo turned eighty-five years on Saturday 5th of March 2022 and citizens from different walks of life stormed Abeokuta to celebrate with this icon of national politics. It was a busy week for him and his staff. I had an appointment to see him Thursday the 3rd and was witness to the calibre of persons who came in throughout the day. For a man who joined the military to get on in life, God has been really kind to him. He has governed the country in two different capacities- as a soldier and as an elected democrat- and continues to be a strong moral, political force even outside government. And the old man acknowledges a divine touch in his life’s choices and decision outcomes. Fit as a fiddle on his 85th birthday and coming out to pay soccer as an attestation of how fair nature had been to him health wise. How many 85-year-olds can jog round the football field without collapsing? Added to this is his level of mental alertness when he holds conversations and when he addresses an audience extempore. No man prays for more! For this he is eternally grateful. What is the secret behind this agile and solid framework in the ripe age of 85years?
After his days as Military Head of State when he handed over power to a civilian administration in 1979, Obasanjo became a darling of the western world. Of course, we are familiar with the penchant of African leaders to sit tight in office upon seizing power, transiting to civilian rulers with the temperament of a soldier. Obasanjo said no to the that temptation and handed over to Alhaji Shehu Shagari in a very colourful ceremony in 1979. He saluted the new president and took a back seat. That singular action endeared him to the world, and he became an international statesman huge in stature, rubbing shoulders with the world’s Eminent Group of Persons.
But Chief Obasanjo would not have become president if Murtala Mohammed was not assassinated in February 1976 in a coup attempt. It is on record that Obasanjo as Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, effective Vice President of the country, did the yeoman’s job for that administration. He worked so well with the fiery Mohammed and became the natural choice after the latter fell to the bullets of reactionary coup plotters. Much against his personal will and desire, (the other members of the Supreme military Council had to compel him to step into the shoes) he became head of State and promised to lead the nation in the spirt with which Murtala Mohammed had led the nation – that of complete dedication. He then pursued the return to civil rule with a sense of urgency.

“Fit as a fiddle on his 85th birthday and coming out to pay soccer as an attestation of how fair nature had been to him health wise. How many 85-year-olds can jog round the football field without collapsing? Added to this is his level of mental alertness when he holds conversations and when he addresses an audience extempore. No man prays for more! For this he is eternally grateful. What is the secret behind this agile and solid framework in the ripe age of 85years?”

He subsequently became a moral force in the country, often emerging from semi-retirement to write pungent letters to some of his successors once he thought the ship of state needed to be redirected. Indeed, serving Presidents prayed never to receive an Obasanjo letter. Presidents Ibrahim Babangida, Jonathan and Buhari have been victims of his trenchant moral missiles at different times. In such letters, he often spoke the mind of Nigerians, daring to say what persons in his class would not say openly. He has been involved in making presidents and unmaking them too. No government ignored such letters.
His political fortunes took a nosedive during the tumultuous days of the Abacha junta when he was arrested and detained for coup plotting. The nation will never forget that footage of a bewildered Obasanjo shocked by the gravity of the frame up by that notorious regime which soon kicked the dust in a most disgraceful and tragic manner. The fear in the nation was palpable. Abacha had no qualms deleting people from the world if he thought that it would serve his interest. The tragic story of General Musa Yar Adua illustrates this vicious aspect of Abacha’s character. Obasanjo could easily have gone the way of Yar Adua and MKO Abiola.

READ MORE: Dealing with Marriage-Related Stress – Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

But fate smiled at him. Innocent of the coup charge, and favoured by his antecedents, from jail, Obasanjo was drafted to become a democratically elected President in 1999 under the aegis of the Peoples’ Democratic Party. Not too many persons have their grace in this world.
As a young man, it was the post-1976 coup speech that caught my attention about him. He was virtually choking as he gave that speech to the nation. This man who had fought in the Nigeria-Biafra conflict of 1967-70, instrumental to the end of hostilities was badly shaken by the senseless violence of the 1976 assassination of his immediate political boss, Murtala Mohammed. And he conveyed that emotion to the shocked nation. He piloted the nation from 1976 till 1979 when he handed over power to a civilian administration.
His years as an elected President was a mixed bag, owing to the peculiarities of the time. He was the first elected military officer to work with hardcore often mischievous politicians at the centre. But he made the mobile phone possible in the country, disabled the military capacity to plot and execute coups and stabilized the naira among other achievements. His contacts around the world facilitated a debt forgiveness programme for Nigeria possible. He helped to entrench democracy and won a second term in office in a landslide. Although the end of his tenure was almost marred by a rumoured third terms agenda, history will be kind to Chief Obasanjo. Already, he is seen as one of the best leaders in the post military era both in achievements and the moral authority represented by his vibrant personality on national matters.

VISIT US: @theharmattan1

As he turns 85 years, I join him to give thanks to God for the grace of a long, successful and prosperous life and for his stabilizing personality in the affairs of the Nigerian state. A former king who becomes a king maker never really leaves the stage. Metaphorically speaking, Chief Obasanjo will never leave the Nigerian stage as long as he breathes the God-given fresh air of Mother Earth. If we all continue to wonder what Chief Obasanjo’s opinion is on national matters, then the man Obasanjo remains, relevant and powerful in the hearts of the people. Baba, I greet you from the bottom of my heart! Cheers!

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ECOWAS Condemns Guinea Coup

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ECOWAS condemns Guinea coup, demands immediate release of ousted President

ECOWAS condemns Guinea coup, demands immediate release of ousted President

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday demanded the immediate and unconditional release of ousted Guinean President Alpha Condé and other detained persons.

The Guinean military had in the early hours of Sunday captured the President and put him in detention in the capital, Conakry.

The leader of the military junta, Col. Mamady Doumbouya, said the 83-year-old Conde was captured following hours of gunfire in the capital, and warned the people to stay indoors.

The Chairman of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, Nana Akufo-Addo, in a statement expressed concern at the recent political developments in the West African country.

The statement read: “ECOWAS notes with great concern the recent political developments which occurred in Conakry, Republic of Guinea. She condemns with the greatest firmness this coup attempt on Sunday, September 5, 2021.

“ECOWAS demands respect for the physical integrity of the President of the Republic, the Professor Alpha Condé, and his immediate and unconditional release as well as that of all the personalities arrested

“ECOWAS reaffirms its disapproval of any unconstitutional political change. She asks the defense and security forces to remain in a posture Republican and expresses its solidarity with the Guinean people and Government.”

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Lagos Displaces Nairobi As Africa’s Top Startup City, Two Other Things And A Trivia

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This line-up of stories will help you discover the latest happenings around the tech world, today.

1. Lagos displaces Nairobi to become Africa’s top startup city

How Google joined Facebook to redefine “free” as it launches Lagos hub for developers

Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, has been named Africa’s top startup city, displacing Kenya’s Nairobi which was earlier holding the title.

This is according to the recently released StartupBlink Ecosystem Index Report 2021.

Now ranked 122nd globally, the city takes over from Nairobi which now ranks 136 globally.

Still leading the pack is San Francisco and New York, maintaining their positions from the last rating.

Described as the “supernova” of startup ecosystems, San Francisco scored 328.96, nearly 3 times higher than New York’s 110.77.

The Global Startup Ecosystem Index is built using hundreds of thousands of data points processed by an algorithm that takes into account several dozens of parameters including the number of startups, the size of the domestic market, the ease of doing business amongst others.

Tech Trivia: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were well-known founders of Apple Inc., but there was a third founder. What was his name?

A. Ronald Wayne
B. Paul Allen
C. Chris Knight
D. Linus Torvalds

Answer: See end of post.

2. Cape Town fintech invests in local startup FundingHub

Cape Town-based fintech, Finch Technologies, has invested an undisclosed amount in local startup, FundingHub.

FundingHub is one of South Africa’s leading business finance marketplace.

The new investment comes as a second equity funding, and makes the company FundingHub’s majority shareholder.

Since its inception in 2017, FundingHub connects SMEs with 33 banks and alternative lenders.

Michael Bowren, Finch Technologies CEO, expressed excitement over the new investment.

He said: “We made a second investment into FundingHub due to its dramatic growth over the past 18 months. We are confident about the ongoing expansion of this business.

“We are particularly interested in investing in technology-driven businesses that help financial service providers originate sales, onboard new clients seamlessly and enrich their database. It is through the seamless origination and onboarding that real value is offered to businesses and consumers.”

3. Egyptian trucking marketplace Trella secures $42m funding round

Looking at commencing a major expansion, Cairo-based digital trucking marketplace Trella has secured a US$42 million Series A funding round.

According to the startup, the funding comprised of US$30 million in equity and US$12 million in debt facilities.

The development comes as the startup seek to expand its portfolio to the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP).

Launched operation in 2018, Trella is a B2B technology platform and trucking marketplace connecting shippers with carriers in real-time.

Today, the startup has over 350 shipper partners including blue-chip brands such as Coca-Cola, Maersk, Mondi, Henkel, Orascom and Cemex.

The equity element was led by Maersk Growth – the corporate venture arm of global multinational A.P. Moller – Maersk – and Raed Ventures, a Saudi Arabian venture capital firm.

Tech Trivia Answer: Ronald Wayne

According to CNBC, Wayne joined the nascent Apple in 1976 and was given 10 percent ownership. He lasted only 12 days, became quickly concerned he would be held personally responsible for the company’s debt, decided to leave and sold back his share to Jobs and Wozniak for $800, the network reported.

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