2020 was one of the deadliest years in modern history for Americans, as a viral strain known as SARS-CoV-2 caused unprecedented social and economic disruption on a global scale.
While cancellations and lockdowns were implemented throughout the year, many of the wealthiest individuals in history saw record monetary growth. Historic achievements were also made in nearly all sectors of arts, politics, and scientific disciplines, including several landmark missions of space exploration.
In this excerpt, we recap the first year of the 2020s decade. Here are the 50 biggest news stories of 2020.
50. Historic Bushfire Leads To Cataclysm
Date of Origin: January 1st, 2020 Reporting:Factual
An unusual catastrophe ensued in early-2020, one that resulted in the destruction of more than 45 million acres of land, thousands of buildings, and countless wildlife. Throughout January, a significant portion of Australia experienced one of the most intense bushfires in recent decades.
In totality, the destruction exceeded over $100 billion (AUD) in damage and left behind an alarming disaster for climate change experts, as more than 337 million short tons of CO2 were emitted into the atmosphere, according to estimates.
49. U.S. Drone Strike Kills Iranian General
Date of Origin: January 3rd, 2020 Reporting:Some Misinformation
On the third day of January, a US drone strike led to the purported assassination of Iran’s number two in command at close proximity from Baghdad International Airport. Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani, along with several other Iranian and Iraqi nationals, were killed in the overnight hours, sparking anger among Iranian leadership.
The strike was reportedly conducted to prevent the onset of a full-scale war, US officials claimed. In mid-2020, Iranian leaders, labeled as the world’s top sponsors of terrorism, pursued an arrest warrant for the 45th President of the United States over Soleimani’s alleged unlawful killing. Interpol declined to prosecute.
48. Iran Shoots Down Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752
Date of Origin: January 8th, 2020 Reporting:Some Misinformation
As part of an international passenger flight scheduled to reach Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv, more than 170 occupants stared into the face of death as the Boeing 737-800 was reportedly downed by Iranian forces. The incident occurred just days after the assassination of Iran’s Qasem Soleimani in Iraq.
An investigation of the incident led to the recovery of the craft’s black boxes, including the cockpit voice and flight data recorder. North American, Swedish, and British citizens were among the victims on board that tragic day.
47. NASA Captures First Images Of The Sun’s Surface
Date of Origin: January 29th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
A solar telescope located on a remote Hawaiian island captured what is considered to be the most detailed images ever taken of the Sun’s surface. The high-resolution stills show the mark of plasma cells on the surface of the Sun, with each cell measuring about the size of Texas, America’s largest continental state.
The unveiling was regarded as a major milestone for astronomers studying the atmosphere and magnetic field of the Sun, with one leading solar expert stating, “This is a huge leap for our field, I think, in terms of observations.”
46. United Kingdom Withdraws From the EU
Date of Origin: January 31st, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Commonly referred to as Brexit, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, sparking chaos. The agreement was forced into effect on February 1st, 2020.
Britain’s withdraw occurred after nearly half a century of membership.
45. U.S. Senate Acquits In Historic Impeachment Trial
Date of Origin: February 5th, 2020 Reporting:Some Misinformation
On what started as an inquiry opened by the lower chamber of Congress, the 45th President of the United States experienced a trial for impeachment that stemmed from suspicious communications with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
As articles of impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress landed in the upper chamber, the trial ended with an acquittal and complete vindication from the U.S. Senate. The trial was only the third of its kind with the Senate deciding the fate of the nation, previously occurring during Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton’s time in office — both also accused of high crimes and misdemeanors. The 45th sitting president managed to evade criminal charges at the federal level.
44. CNSA Rover Probes The Lunar’s Subsurface
Date of Origin: February 26th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Chang’e-4’s mission to the far side of the lunar surface was a first for space exploration. Data from ground-penetrating radar delved deep to scour underneath the subsurface debris of the Moon.
Developed by the China National Space Administration, a Chinese government-funded agency, the Chang’e-4 probe is just one of several other missions intended to extensively assess the lunar subsurface history, in preparation for future human exploration.
43. First Nation To Offer Free Public Transport
Date of Origin: February 29th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
On March 1st, the European country of Luxembourg was the world’s first to offer free public transportation for all. The decision made by government officials resulted from a history of problems with the existing public transport infrastructure.
In brief, the recent measures implemented for free access to public transportation nationwide would decrease traffic problems throughout every community, ensuring a safe commute, while reducing lost productivity.
42. ICC Opens Inquiry Into Afghanistan War Crimes
Date of Origin: March 5th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
In Spring 2020, the United Nation’s International Criminal Court (ICC) opened an inquiry to investigate allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the war in Afghanistan. The chief prosecutor involved, Fatou Bensouda, has been heading the ongoing investigation, designed to thoroughly dissect the revelations of alleged criminal activity by the United States Armed Forces and numerous U.S. intelligence officials.
In response to the ICC’s probe, its chief prosecutor and workers close to the investigation, have purportedly received threats from high-ranking government officials, including Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State. American officials have authorized sanctions against ICC staff in retaliation for the investigation.
41. WHO Declares COVID-19 Global Pandemic
Date of Origin: March 11th, 2020 Reporting:Some Misinformation
As early as 2015, reported incidents of MERS and cases of an unidentified coronavirus strain had begun spreading between humans, originating in the Arabian Peninsula and in some regions of Asia. By 2020, early confirmed cases in Europe and Asia caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), led to the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global pandemic on March 11th, 2020.
First appropriately alerted in an academic peer-reviewed journal in 2007 of the looming reemergence of SARS, the pandemic caused a global social and economic disruption, becoming one of the deadliest medical disasters in human history. Although early reporting suggests Wuhan, China may have been the location with the first outbreak, the exact virus’ origination has not yet been validated, fueling conspiratorial theorists.
40. U.S. DOJ Unseals Indictment of Nicolas Maduro
Date of Origin: March 26th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
On behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice led by William Barr, an indictment was unsealed in the Southern District of New York with charges ranging from narco-terrorism, drug trafficking, and corruption. The court proceedings unveiled charges against Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro, along with his former head of military intelligence, former top military general, Chief Supreme Court Justice, and numerous other Venezuelan officials.
The case is pending before U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein. The Southern District of Florida in Miami is also awaiting Venezuela’s Chief Justice Maikel Moreno Perez’s court appearance. The previous time such a case in the U.S. court system was brought upon a foreign sitting president occurred with Panama’s former leader Manuel Noriega, which required the use of U.S. Marine Corps servicemen to invade, capture, and place the suspect in front of a U.S. court to face criminal charges. Maduro is also facing additional criminal accusations by the United Nations.
39. North Macedonia Joins NATO
Date of Origin: March 27th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
In 2020, North Macedonia became a full member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), effective as of March 27th, 2020.
As NATO’s 30th member, the majority of Macedonians were in favor of a NATO alliance, with national polls showing as many as 68 percent advocating for the accession.
38. U.S. Space Force Launches First Satellite
Date of Origin: March 27th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Following a subtle delay, 2020 was the year the newly formed U.S. Space Force launched its first communications satellite into orbit. The rocket housing the satellite was flown into the sky from the Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida.
The national security mission, considered historic at the time, would ensure the new branch is fully equipped to defend with the use of warfare in space, as other nations ramp up operations for space exploration.
37. Scientists Record First Known Antarctic Heat Wave
Date of Origin: March 31st, 2020 Reporting:Factual
For the first time in the Eastern Antarctic region, scientists documented a heatwave at the Casey research station. A region of the peninsula experienced the highest temperature ever recorded, at about 18.3 degrees Celcius from the Esperanza research base.
As outlined in a paper released in the academic journal Global Change Biology, the recorded heatwave event could spell drastic changes to global weather patterns, including the potential for a global sea-level rise.
36. Kepler-1649c: Most Earth-Like Planet Ever Found
Date of Origin: April 16th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
An exoplanet discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope is reportedly the ‘most similar planet to Earth’ found thus far, as described in the publication Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Known as Kepler-1649c, the exoplanet is thought to be in a habitable zone, not too far nor too close to the red dwarf star it orbits. The planet is just one of many discovered in recent years which hypothetically may presently or previously have harbored extraterrestrial life.
35. Nova Scotia Shootings Is Canada’s Deadliest
Date of Origin: April 18th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Using a Colt AR-15 and a mini 14 rifle, along with numerous semi-automatic pistols, a gunman named Gabriel Wortman stormed several locations on April 18th, 2020 in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, massacring innocent civilians along the way.
The suspect was shot and killed just a few miles from Halifax Stanfield International Airport. A total of 22 people were pronounced dead, as the incident was claimed by Canadian officials to be the nation’s single deadliest mass shooting.
34. Authorities Nab Rwandan Genocide Mastermind
Date of Origin: May 16th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
One of France’s most wanted suspects was nabbed on May 16th, 2020. Rwandan business magnate Félicien Kabuga is said to have masterminded a genocide that led to more than half a million deaths from a large-scale civil war in the region.
Kabuga was previously charged in 1998 by a United Nations International Criminal Tribunal with conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. The Rwandan businessman is currently in the custody of the IRMCT branch in The Hague.
33. Flight PK8303 Crashes In Residential Area
Date of Origin: May 22nd, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303, carrying 99 occupants, crashed into a residential area in Karachi, Pakistan on May 22nd, 2020. The aircraft reportedly suffered technical faults from a failure of both engines upon taking off.
Miraculously, Zafar Masood, the chief executive officer of the Bank of Punjab, was one of only two people who walked away from the crash alive.
32. Minneapolis Officer Fatally Arrests George Floyd
Date of Origin: May 25th, 2020 Reporting:Some Misinformation
A purported American music entertainer turned security guard with an extensive criminal history had contracted COVID-19 in early-2020. After showing symptoms, he was thought to have recovered within weeks of the initial infection. After having lost his security post, at about the same time when reportedly falling ill, George Perry Floyd was allegedly killed during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The alleged perpetrator, Derek Chauvin, along with other officers at the scene, were heavily disdained as part of a national moment of riots and violent protests. Many across the United States, and even in foreign countries, protested the death of George Floyd, which was said to exhibit police brutality. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 surged following the massive demonstration of national protests, putting an end to the political showings.
31. Central America’s First Same-Sex Marriage Law
Date of Origin: May 26th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
In late-May 2020, Alexandra Quiros and Dunia Araya were recognized as the first same-sex couple to marry in Costa Rica, as part of a historic legal ruling.
Costa Rica was the first country in Central America to rule the legality of same-sex marriage in a Supreme Court. Homosexuality has long been classified as a grave sin and remains a controversial topic in the scientific community. The new ruling could pave the way for more legal rulings of same-sex marriage in other Latin American countries.
30. U.S. Labels Antifa Activity As Domestic Terrorism
Date of Origin: May 31st, 2020 Reporting:Factual
In the wake of numerous radical demonstrations in 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice labeled activities associated with the Antifa movement as domestic terrorism.
Throughout 2020, particularly during the riots attributed to the death of George Floyd, far-left protestors engaged in civil disturbances and violent behavior nearly mirroring that exhibited by foreign terrorist groups. Legislative action was introduced within the U.S. and in Europe to curb the disruptive measures deployed by Antifa.
29. U.S. Air Force Names The First Female Stealth Pilot
Date of Origin: June 9th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
A female military pilot became the first woman to fly a stealth bomber in combat. Emily Thompson, a U.S. Air Force Captain, took part in a flight mission in her Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II aircraft, deploying from the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
In a statement published as a press release, Thompson stated the following, “It was very empowering, it was awesome! This is my first deployment … so for me it was a pretty big deal, the first combat sortie for me. … Of course being the first female, it’s a pretty big honor.”
28. China Passes Hong Kong National Security Law
Date of Origin: June 30th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Enacted by the Chinese Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, a piece of legislation was passed known as the Hong Kong national security law.
Signed on June 30th, 2020, the enacted law strictly prohibits acts of treason, secession, sedition, or subversion toward the Central People’s Government. Theft of state secrets and foreign political interference is also scarcely forbidden.
27. Accused Pedophile Ghislaine Maxwell Jailed
Date of Origin: July 2nd, 2020 Reporting:Factual
A child sex trafficking operation alleged to have been headed by an American financier and the daughter of a British publishing magnate, occupied headlines and tabloid gossip sites during most of 2020.
Jeffrey Epstein, the alleged mastermind, was purportedly found dead in a New York jail cell in 2019, while his reported accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell remains behind bars, as of 2020. England’s Duke of York Prince Andrew, the third top suspect of the trafficking ring, is also the subject of a federal investigation after victims have accused him of child molestation. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Peter Nygard, and other high-profile figures, are also implicated in the heinous crimes.
26. U.S. Exits The World Health Organization
Date of Origin: July 8th, 2020 Reporting:Some Misinformation
Amid tensions between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the administration of the 45th President of the United States, it was decided by Americans to head for the exit.
The intent to withdraw from the WHO occurred as the COVID-19 pandemic sparked remarkable levels of stress and an array of disastrous responses. The Lancet, a prominent academic journal, released a comment on the matter shortly after the decision to cut ties was publicized, describing the action as a violation of U.S. law that places its population’s health and security at risk. Regardless, the withdrawal is expected to be effective on July 6th, 2021.
25. First Entire Assembly Of Human X Chromosome
Date of Origin: July 14th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Genomic pioneers at the University of California, Santa Cruz reached a major milestone after fully assembling a human chromosome, from telomere-to-telomere, with the aid of machine learning.
The findings were made available in the prolific scientific journal Nature and were led by Assistant Research Scientist Karen Miga. “Our results demonstrate that finishing the entire human genome is now within reach, and the data presented here will facilitate ongoing efforts to complete the other human chromosomes,” Miga and her colleagues inferred in their Nature article.
24. NASA and CNSA Launch Flagship Probes To Mars
Date of Origin: July 23-31st, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) launched their flagship rovers into space for a landmark mission to Mars in early-2021.
NASA’s Perseverance and CNSA’s Tianwen-1 are expected to land within close proximity of each other several weeks apart. The rovers will probe the Martian surface for any possible signs of past microbial life in the Utopia Planitia region and the Jezero crater. A helicopter will be deployed on Mars as a first of its kind operation if the NASA-based landing is a success.
23. Beirut Explosion Causes Mass Catastrophe
Date of Origin: August 4th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
About 500 tonnes of fertilizer triggered one of the largest port blasts ever witnessed in Lebanon. On August 4th, 2020, the city of Beirut dealt with an enormous explosion comprised of ammonium nitrate in its capital. The blast was felt in numerous parts of the Middle East and Europe and resulted in the detonation of nearly 1.1 kilotons of TNT.
The incident left 204 people dead and thousands injured. Property damage exceeded $10 billion (USD) and displaced approximately 300,000 residents. The blast raised concerns among other countries about the storage of large quantities of ammonium nitrate in ports.
22. Russia Registers World’s First COVID-19 Vaccine
Date of Origin: August 10th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Named Sputnik V, or Gam-COVID-Vac, the vaccine is only one of a few approved for global distribution and emergency use, with a purported efficiency rate above 90 percent. Other strong vaccines approved for similar use include Tozinameran (BNT162B2) and mRNA-1273. British experts behind a vaccine developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca planned on combining their creation with Sputnik V due to their vaccine’s purported inefficiency in comparison to Russia’s creation. Pfizer and BioNTech’s creation was the first COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization.
21. English Scientists Unearth A New Dinosaur Species
Date of Origin: August 12th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Vectaerovenator inopinatus, a newly-unearthed dinosaur with an origination date of 115 mya, was recently announced in a paper published in the journal Papers in Paleontology.
The ancient creature measured an estimated 4 meters long. Its bones were spotted on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom back in 2019.
20. Mali President Is Overthrown By Military Coup
Date of Origin: August 13th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
A Malian coup d’état by domestic armed forces prompted the forced resignation of its sitting president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.
The coup was condemned by the United Nations and the African Union, with calls from foreign leaders to return power to the civilians and free arrested leaders. The coup is the second of its kind, with a previous coup attempt having occurred in 2012.
19. Jeff Bezos Is World’s Richest Centi-Billionaire
Date of Origin: August 26th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
In 2020, Jeffrey Bezos was the first individual to reach a net worth of $200 billion. He is allegedly the wealthiest person in modern history.
As a child, Bezos grew up in Houston, Texas and Miami, Florida, before relocating to Washington where his multinational technology company was founded. As the chief executive officer at Amazon, Bezos’ wealth skyrocketed amid the economic disruption that ensued from the globalized pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2. Estimates show that Bezos may become the world’s first trillionaire by 2026, as a result.
18. Longest-Serving Japanese Prime Minister Resigns
Date of Origin: August 28th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Citing health reasons, Japan’s longest-reigning Prime Minister resigned from his post in August 2020.
Shinzo Abe, born in the world’s most populous city of Tokyo, served as a conservative with some political views leaning toward right-wing nationalism. Throughout his lifespan, Abe has served under two Japanese monarchs: Emperor Akihito and Emperor Naruhito.
17. Scientists Detect Phosphine In Venus’ Atmosphere
Date of Origin: September 14th, 2020 Reporting:Some Misinformation
A peculiar discovery within Venus’ atmosphere led to speculation that it may harbor some form of bacterial life. Traces of phosphine gas was reportedly detected in the cloud decks of Venus, stirring new debate on the potential of extraterrestrial life.
Several weeks after the initial findings by scientists, the theory for life on Venus was merely shot down by a series of independent studies. Some experts believe that no evidence of phosphine should exist on Venus, refuting the need for future NASA explorational missions to its atmosphere. The notion that life may exist on Venus is still the subject of vigorous debate.
16. BuzzFeed and ICIJ Releases FinCEN Files
Date of Origin: September 20th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
A trove of leaked documents made it into the hands of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and American news outlet Buzzfeed. The documents detailed suspicious activity collected by the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a branch of the U.S. Department of Treasury.
The leak reportedly exposed a $2 trillion (USD) flow of potentially suspicious transactions among countless international banking institutions. Referred to as the FinCEN Files, the information reignited talks of how global financial institutions do little to inhibit money laundering operations.
15. Ruth Ginsburg’s Lain In State At the U.S. Capitol
Date of Origin: September 25th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a former Supreme Court Justice, was pronounced dead on September 18th, 2020 from complications of pancreatic cancer. Ginsburg is of Jewish and Russian descent.
Ginsburg was the first woman and Jew to lie in state at the Capitol. She was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery. Ginsburg was viewed within U.S. political circles as a pioneer of gender equality and women’s rights.
14. The EU Accuses UK Of Breaking International Law
Date of Origin: October 1st, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Leadership within the United Kingdom landed themselves in hot water over their Brexit negotiations with the European Union. Amid negotiations for a trade deal, the United Kingdom was accused by the European Union of breaking international law.
The European Commission, led by its first female leader Ursula von de Leyen, took legal action in 2020 after British ministers admitted to breaching the withdrawal agreement.
13. New Caledonia Rejects Independence From France
Date of Origin: October 4th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
The South Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia rejected the move to gain its independence from France after a referendum elicited a majority of support to refrain from splitting.
As many as 53.26% of voters were not in favor of proceeding with independence from France. Another referendum is expected by 2022.
12. Scientists Reach Asteroid 101955 Bennu
Date of Origin: October 21st, 2020 Reporting:Factual
NASA’s Osiris-rex spacecraft participated in a landing on the asteroid Bennu on October 21st, scooping samples to bring back to Earth. The samples are estimated to be dated around the time the solar system first originated.
The craft is expected to take part in a return trip to Earth in 2023. The asteroid was first discovered in 1999.
11. Edward Snowden Is Granted Permanent Residency
Date of Origin: October 23rd, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Years after fleeing the U.S., former security contractor Edward Snowden reportedly adjusted to life in Russia under temporary permission to stay.
In 2020, Snowden was granted permanent residency in Russia but agreed to return to the U.S. if a fair trial was guaranteed for the allegations put forth in a 2013 leak of classified documents. The alleged whistleblower is expected to remain in Russia and may raise his first new-born child there.
10. Joe Biden & Kamala Harris Secure Historic Election
Date of Origin: November 7th, 2020 Reporting:Some Misinformation
On election day in America, former Vice President Joe Biden and California Senator Kamala Harris defied all odds and secured a historic victory, ousting the 45th President of the United States from federal office. Barack Obama’s right-hand man for eight years was presumed the 46th President-elect of the United States after scoring the majority of the electoral college and the popular vote. Kamala Harris became the first African American, Indian, and female Vice President-elect of the United States.
The Biden administration will enter its first term having inherited a pandemic and hostile tensions in the Arabian and Asian peninsula. Both politicians have vowed to end the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure the safety and health of all Americans. Harris’s role as a former prosecutor will also be crucial as the nation’s leaders remain vigilant over the continued breaching of international law by Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela.
9. A Link Between Gut Microbiota & Dementia
Date of Origin: November 10th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
Scientists from Switzerland and Italy published a landmark study confirming a correlation between gut microbiota and Alzheimer’s disease.
Outlined in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the findings showed a link in humans between an imbalance in the gut microbiota and the onset of amyloid plaques, typical of patients with neurodegeneration. The study was conducted at a number of institutions, including the Laboratory of Neuroimaging and Alzheimer’s Epidemiology, IRCCS Istituto Centro San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy.
8. Iran’s Top Nuclear Scientist Is Executed
Date of Origin: November 27th, 2020 Reporting:Some Misinformation
Months following the assassination of Iran’s number two in command, Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was executed in late-November.
Fakhrizadeh was reportedly shot numerous times by a remote-controlled machine gun just east of Tehran. Iranian officials speculated the hit was carried out by a machine gun guided via satellite.
7. Atlantic Hurricane Season Shatters Record
Date of Origin: November 30th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
As the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season neared its start, experts at NOAA forecasted above-average activity, but nothing like what ensued. By the season’s conclusion in late-November, the Atlantic had experienced the most active season since record-keeping began.
The Atlantic season resulted in 31 tropical depressions, 13 hurricanes, and a total of $47 billion (USD) in damage. It was only one of two seasons to have utilized the Greek alphabet.
6. CNSA Successfully Lands Chang’e-5 On The Moon
Date of Origin: December 1st, 2020 Reporting:Factual
China’s Chang’e-5 mission to the lunar surface was a historic first for space exploration. The robotic mission successfully launched on November 23rd and landed on December 1st, scooping samples for its return on December 16th.
The sample taken near the Louville Omega hill was the first sample-return mission since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 operation back in 1976.
5. U.S. DOJ Appoints John Durham In Special Counsel
Date of Origin: December 1st, 2020 Reporting:Some Misinformation
A former U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut was appointed Special Counsel for the Department of Justice to probe the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion fiasco. The Russian-based probe led to no criminal charges for the 45th President of the United States. Instead, it resulted in the firing and prosecutorial action against two male directors at the Bureau.
Since 2018, John Durham has been probing intelligence officials from several agencies tied to the Russian collusion investigation. So far, one former federal worker with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) pled guilty to criminal charges. Durham’s probe arose at a time when high-ranking FBI officials have purportedly been exposed in the media for actively engaging in the sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and blackmail of female agents.
4. UN Commission Labels Marijuana As Safe
Date of Origin: December 3rd, 2020 Reporting:Factual
A United Nations Commission reclassified the use of marijuana, labeling it as a non-dangerous drug, but still vows the pursuit of legal action if consumed for non-medical or non-scientific purposes.
While leadership within the United States argued in favor of removing it as a controlled substance, Chilean and Japanese experts have sided with science, indicating its legality could have disastrous effects on the mental health of people, as past research has suggested.
3. The Philippines Is Investigated By The ICC
Date of Origin: December 15th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
The United Nation’s International Criminal Court opened another inquiry into possible crimes against humanity, now probing the Philippines. Its war on drugs led by President Rodrigo Duterte caused an immense number of deaths related to the illegal drug trade in just a short span of time.
The ICC is investigating events that transpired between July 2016 and March 2019. Fatou Bensouda, the court’s chief prosecutor, is leading the probe.
2. SolarWinds Breach Affects Top US Apparatuses
Date of Origin: December 16th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
A massive security breach occurred within the U.S., prompting backlash among technology experts. The cybersecurity firm SolarWinds experienced a malicious breach of its platform, purportedly compromising countless federal government agencies, including the Pentagon, the U.S. Treasury Department, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Advanced persistent threat 29, or APT29, was allegedly behind the cyber attack.
1. China Launches Antitrust Probe Into Alibaba
Date of Origin: December 25th, 2020 Reporting:Factual
On the final days of 2020, China’s top market watchdog announced a probe into e-commerce giant Alibaba. The investigation was publicized as other tech giants, such as Google and Facebook, are enduring their own antitrust legal battles.
An Alibaba statement made just after the announcement, reads: “Today, Alibaba Group has received notification from the State Administration for Market Regulation that an investigation has been initiated into the Company pursuant to the Anti-Monopoly Law. Alibaba will actively cooperate with the regulators on the investigation.”