If you can cast your mind back to the days before coronavirus, you’ll remember that we had a pretty explosive start to 2020. Here are some of the most shocking moments to come out of this year so far.
The Australian bush fires. Huge swathes of Australia was on fire at the beginning of the year after a period of extremely high temperatures and severe drought. At least 33 people were killed, including four firefighters and more than 11 million hectares (27.2 million acres) of bush, forest and parks were perished. The fires also claimed the lives of thousands of koala bears.
The Assassination of Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani. Tensions between Iran and the US came to a head on January 3, when the US launched a drone strike which killed Soleimani, a senior military figure in Iran. His death caused Iran to launch missiles at bases which housed the US military in Iraq on January 8.
The Ukraine International Airlines crash. On the same day that Iran launched the airstrikes on the US military housing in Iraq, Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed in Tehran, killing all 176 people on board. Iran initially blamed technical issues, but soon after it emerged that the plane had been shot down because of ‘human error’.
Donald Trump’s Impeachment. Trumps faced two charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It was said that Trump allegedly tried to coerce the Ukraine and other foreign countries to provide damaging narratives about Joe Biden – this also included information about Russian interference in the 2016 US elections.
The death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant. The former LA Lakers basketball player and his daughter along with seven other passengers died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26. Travelling through cloud and fog with limited visibility, the helicopter began a 60 second descent into the Los Angeles hillside before bursting into flames.
Brexit. On January 31 the United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union and entered an 11 month transition period. Three and a half years since the referendum and after three attempts of a departure, the UK officially became the first nation to leave the EU.
The death of Caroline Flack. Love Island host, Caroline Flack, 40, was found dead in her London flat on February 15 after being charged with assaulting her partner and being hounded by the press. Taking her own life, Flack’s suicide started the ‘#BeKind’ campaign on social media after the star was bullied by journalists from The Sun.
Harvey Weinstein’s conviction. The film mogul was found guilty of third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act on February 24. Weinstein sexually assaulted multiple young female actresses and the scandal led to the #MeToo movement which supports victims of sexual violence.
Harry and Meghan stepping down as senior members of the royal family. After less than two years of marriage and under a year since the birth of their son Archie, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex formally resigned from their royal duties on March 31. The couple now live in Canada and are financially independent.
Covid-19 outbreak. On January 7 The World Health Organization was notified of the novel coronavirus, then known as 2019-nCoV, in China. Four days later, Wuhan recorded its first coronavirus death and the city was under total lockdown by January 23. On March 10, Italy became the first nation to declare a nationwide lockdown and a day later, the WHO declared the virus a pandemic. On March 13 Trump declared a national emergency and by April 9 New York had more coronavirus cases than in any country in the world. The UK entered lockdown on March 23 but now aims to start its exit strategy with primary schools and non-essential shops reopening in June.
The latest coronavirus scandal took place this week when Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings broke lockdown rules to visit Barnard Castle for his wife’s birthday. Cummings drove 260 miles from London to Durham when he and his wife had suspected coronavirus symptoms, specifically poor eyesight.
The death of George Floyd. On May 25, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was suffocated to death by a police officer in Minnesota. His death sparked protests and riots across America and in the UK. People in the streets chanted “I cant breath”, as a tribute to Floyd’s last words and the Minnesota police station was burnt down by rioters demanding the arrest of officer Derek Chauvin.
It’s fair to say that this year has been full of shocking moments already, and its not not even June yet…