In 2019, a General Assembly hosted by the United Nations declared 2021 as the International Year of Peace and Trust, with the continual promotion and preservation of peace across the world.
Although 2021 saw extraordinary social and economic disruptions derived from new mutations of SARS-CoV-2, re-establishing American society back to normalcy was abstained by the non-peaceful transfer of power caused by domestic insurrectionists as well as a lack of vaccination among populations.
Throughout 2021, however, landmark advancements were made in many areas of space exploration, medicine, and technology. Here are the 30 biggest news headlines of 2021.
30. Domestic Terrorists Invade The U.S. Capitol
Date of Origin: January 6th, 2021
Reporting: Some Misinformation
During the first days of 2021, the peaceful transfer of power in the nation’s capital was complicated by the execution of a domestic invasion not seen in centuries. Just days before a mob of far-right insurrectionists would storm the capitol building in Washington, D.C., preparations were being made on social networking sites and in more clandestine areas of the Web in an attempt to foster massive attendance. On January 6th, insurrectionists occupied many areas of the building, making their way to the Senate Chamber as a result of a lack of action by elected D.C. officials.
Many insurrectionists were later apprehended as part of an ongoing investigation. Attendees of the insurrection included alt-right domestic terrorist groups, former state legislators, and at least one DEA agent and FBI handler. The event led to the second impeachment of the 45th POTUS by the lower chamber of Congress for inciting an insurrection. A female Air Force veteran and several police officers died as a result of the events that unfolded. More than 130 police officers were injured.
29. North Korea Elects Kim Jong-Un As General Secretary
Date of Origin: January 10th, 2021
On January 10th, North Korean supreme ruler Kim Jong-Un was elevated to general secretary of the Worker’s Party of Korea, succeeding his late father, Kim Jong-il.
South Korean intelligence claimed Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong, the country’s second-in-command, did not see an elevation of power during the congressional changes. Aside from a growing interest in North Korea’s top female leader, Western media outlets have also been fixated on the unexpected weight loss of the supreme leader, arousing speculation of looming health problems.
28. Joe Biden Becomes The 46th POTUS
Date of Origin: January 20th, 2021
Reporting: Some Misinformation
Following an unprecedented demonstration of civil unrest, Joseph Biden took the oath of office by Chief Justice John Roberts and began his tenure as the 46th POTUS on January 20th. Having served for eight years as Barack Hussein Obama’s right-hand man, the former vice president had also served as a senator from Delaware since the 1970s.
The inauguration of Biden led to the nation’s first female, black, and Indian vice president. 2021 also saw the brief takeover of vice president Kamala Harris as the nation’s first acting female president in November. Despite the historic transition of power, President Biden has been received unfavorably by both left and right-wing Americans, with profoundly low approval ratings. The nation’s most-watched cable news outlet, Fox News, has been airing its case of unfitness for office practically every single night to its viewers since Biden’s inauguration.
27. WHO Concludes COVID-19 Likely Originated ‘Naturally’
Date of Origin: February 9th, 2021
Reporting: Some Misinformation
In January 2021, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) carried out an investigation to establish the origins of SARS-CoV-2, having occurred as a joint effort between health experts at the WHO and Chinese scientists.
In the spring, the report was made public. The WHO probe concluded that the virus likely originated naturally as part of a zoonotic origin found in bats. The report downplayed any possibility of a laboratory origin, citing such allegations as “extremely unlikely,” fueling conspiracy theorists.
26. UAE’s Hope Becomes First Arabian Mission To Reach Mars
Date of Origin: February 9th, 2021
As a first for an Arab nation, the United Arab Emirates, with the aid of experts from the University of Colorado, UC Berkeley, and Arizona State University, helped launch the Hope probe, eventually making its way into Mars’ orbit on February 9th.
The Emirates Mars probe was intended to demonstrate optimism among millions of Arabs across the world, encouraging innovation in space exploration. Hope was one of three probes that reached Mars in 2021.
25. NASA’s Perseverance And Ingenuity Lands On Mars
Date of Origin: February 18th, 2021
On February 18th at 20:55 UTC, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed in Jezero Crater, with video of the descending parachute and heat shield being publicized following the historic mission.
The rover is a successor to Curiosity. Numerous upgrades included payload instruments, cameras, and microphones. The addition of Ingenuity led to humanity’s first man-made spacecraft to take flight on another planet. The mini-helicopter has made more than 14 flights since its landing in the Jezero Crater.
24. Iraq Hosts Meeting With The Pope And Grand Ayatollah
Date of Origin: March 6th, 2021
A historic meeting occurred on March 6th in Iraq’s holy city of Najaf. Pope Francis met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, urging Muslims in the Arab world to embrace Iraq’s Christian minority.
The meeting concluded with a statement released by al-Sistani’s office, asserting that religious authorities have the right to protect Iraq’s Christian minority, ensuring their peace, security, and full constitutional rights.
23. Scientists Inject Human Stem Cells Into Monkey Embryos
Date of Origin: April 15th, 2021
What was once theorized as science fiction became a landmark moment in biomedicine. In the academic journal Cell, a team of scientists led by Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte of the Salk Institute, conducted a series of experiments in a laboratory using human stem cells. The US-Chinese research team developed monkey embryos containing human cells and studied them for up to 20 days in the laboratory.
Although the experiments were praised as monumental, there were ethical concerns raised by some scholars. Regardless, the historic experiments are expected to pave the way for future experimentation of human-nonhuman chimeras.
22. Ghislaine Maxwell’s Child Sex Trafficking Trials
Date of Origin: April 17th, 2021
A French-born, former British socialite was the subject of 2021’s hallmark criminal trial. Maxwell was convicted on five out of six counts pertaining to sex trafficking allegations involving now deceased American pedophile and financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Later in 2022, Maxwell is expected to undergo another trial for perjury involving Epstein’s abuse of minors. Maxwell and Epstein developed close ties within elite circles in the areas of academia, politics, law, and business. At least two former sitting American presidents, including alleged sexual predators Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, are implicated in the heinous crimes. In academia and law, it is purported that lawyers, judges, and academic figures affiliated with institutions like Harvard University, might have also been implicated. Alleged pedophile Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, remains the second top accomplice of interest in Epstein’s trafficking ring, behind Maxwell.
21. Castro Ruling Ends In Cuba
Date of Origin: April 19th, 2021
The rule that began with Fidel Castro’s rise to power in 1959, subsequently elevating him to the rank of “Comandante en Jefe,” came to an end in April upon the resignation of his brother Raul.
On April 19th, Miguel Díaz-Canel was voted as the First Secretary of the Communist Party, putting an end to a nearly six-decade ruling by the Castro brothers. The transition of power occurred amid reports in mid-2021 of spikes in COVID-19 cases and bizarre allegations made by Cuban nationals of aiding Lee Harvey Oswald in the shooting of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy.
20. China’s Zhurong Successfully Lands On Utopia Planitia
Date of Origin: May 14th, 2021
As part of the Tianwen-1 mission to Mars, the China National Space Administration successfully landed its Zhurong rover in Utopia Planitia on May 14th.
The rover was tasked with identifying any potential proof of whether the region once housed large ancient bodies of water. The landing of the rover is a historic milestone for China and the first time an intricate mission was launched to Utopia Planitia since the Viking 2 lander back in 1976.
19. Israeli Airstrike Wipes Out High-Rise In Gaza
Date of Origin: May 15th, 2021
On May 11th, the Gaza Strip was hit with airstrikes by Israeli forces, and on May 15th, an Israeli airstrike obliterated a high-rise building occupied by media outlets such as Al Jazeera and the Associated Press.
Conflicts between Israeli military forces and Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza resulted in a total death rate of nearly 200 people, including 58 children and 34 women.
18. Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor Is Born
Date of Origin: June 4th, 2021
Mountbatten-Windsor was born to former British royal Prince Harry and former American actress Meghan Markle on June 4th.
The infant was born at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California. Mountbatten-Windsor is regarded as the highest-ranked individual in the current line of succession to the British throne to have been born in a foreign land.
17. Juno Performs Flyby Of The Largest Moon In The Solar System
Date of Origin: June 7th, 2021
On June 7th, a flyby of NASA’s Juno spacecraft near the surface of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, was successfully executed. The Juno probe returned high-resolution stills of the moon’s surface, showing numerous impact craters.
Ganymede is the only moon in the solar system that is purported to have its own magnetosphere. Future flyby missions scheduled within the next several years include NASA’s Europa Clipper and ESA’s JUICE probe.
16. Copa América Is Hosted in Brazil
Date of Origin: June 13th, 2021
The third most-watched football competition in the world, Copa América was hosted in Brazil throughout June and July. Political unrest and rising cases of COVID-19 led to the removal of Argentina and Colombia as co-hosts.
The tournament concluded with Argentina securing their fifteenth title, defeating Brazil 1 to nil. The top scorer of the 2021 Copa América was Lionel Messi.
15. Haitian President Jovenel Moïse Is Assassinated
Date of Origin: July 7th, 2021
Reporting: Some Misinformation
On July 7th, Haitian politician Claude Joseph was elevated to the tenure of acting president of Haiti following the assassination of the island’s top leader.
Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his private residence in Pétion-Ville, where gunmen stormed their way in, only wounding Moïse’s wife, Martin Moïse. The alleged perpetrators were said to have spoken a language other than Creole. They have yet to be identified.
14. Israeli Spyware Pegasus Exposed
Date of Origin: July 18th, 2021
An Israeli-based spyware known as Pegasus plagued the headlines of many mainstream outlets worldwide throughout the second half of 2021. The spyware was said to have been developed by a cyber-weaponry and surveillance firm called NSO Group.
The spyware is said to function by the covert installation on the mobile devices of nearly all modern versions of iOS and Android. Upon executing exploitation, the spyware is capable of combing through text messaging data, call logs, passwords, location, microphone and camera accessibility, and data transmitted from applications, according to reports. Such spyware is commonly used as part of national security and criminal investigations.
13. Blue Origin Conducts Its First Human Spaceflight Test
Date of Origin: July 19th, 2021
Founded by Jeffrey Bezos, the privately-funded Blue Origin achieved its first crewed mission into space for approximately 10 minutes. One of the crew members was Dutch pilot Oliver Daemen, who, upon boarding Blue Origin NS-16, became the youngest person and the first teenager to travel to space.
Future plans are already in place for a potential Blue Moon robotic cargo carrier and lander designed to transport deliveries to the Moon. The mission is aimed for 2024.
12. Scientists Announce First Direct Observation Of Light Behind A Black Hole
Date of Origin: July 28th, 2021
On July 28th, astronomers spotted light behind a black hole in a first-of-its-kind discovery. Telescopes picked up on what are referred to as luminous echoes, confirming Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
One co-author of the research gave the following comment in his Nature report: “Fifty years ago, when astrophysicists started to speculate how the magnetic field might behave close to a black hole, they had no idea that one day we might have the techniques to observe this directly and see Einstein’s general theory of relativity in action.”
11. Durham Probe Leads To Indictment Of Perkins Coie Lawyer
Date of Origin: September 16th, 2021
A renowned international law firm based in Seattle, Washington was once the epicenter of political activities tied to the Democratic National Committee. On September 16th, the John Durham special counsel reportedly indicted a prominent cybersecurity lawyer named Michael Sussmann for alleged perjury.
The indictment is the second of its kind from Durham’s probe, which saw a guilty plea by a former FBI lawyer named Kevin Clinesmith. More indictments may transpire in 2022 as Durham continues to probe the origins of the Trump-Russian collusion fiasco.
10. ICIJ Publishes Pandora Papers Exposé
Date of Origin: October 3rd, 2021
Dubbed the Pandora Papers, the trove of documents released to the public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists was the biggest dump of offshore leaks since the Panama Papers.
The Pandora Papers purportedly exposed a clandestine financial system allowing the world’s richest and most powerful people to stash their cash and assets away from tax authorities and governments. The exposé has led to the development of numerous ongoing investigations, including into the Chilean president, Sebastián Piñera.
9. WHO Endorses Groundbreaking Vaccine For Malaria
Date of Origin: October 6th, 2021
In October, the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed the breakthrough vaccine developed to curb malaria among children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Known as RTS,S/AS01, the vaccine’s endorsement by the WHO was considered a historic moment. According to WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”
8. Ousted Miami Police Chief Claims Cuban Mafia Runs City
Date of Origin: October 14th, 2021
Reporting: Some Misinformation
Local city commissioners voted in October to oust the city’s police chief, Art Acevedo, after having led police forces in Austin and Houston, Texas.
In a reported altercation between local officials and lawmakers, Acevedo made the bizarre claim that the “Cuban Mafia” runs the city of Miami. The Cuban-born former police chief currently serves as a law enforcement analyst for CNN.
7. Mark Zuckerberg Rebrands Facebook As Meta
Date of Origin: October 19th, 2021
Amid an unprecedented number of recent legal battles involving dozens of state attorney generals and the FTC, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg rebranded its parent company to Meta, drawing some backlash from mainstream outlets.
The modification to the parent company name was reportedly to introduce a metaverse to its users to help keep them connected and transform the online social experience.
6. Gulf Clan Leader Is Nabbed By Colombian Forces
Date of Origin: October 23rd, 2021
Dario Antonio Úsuga, the leader of the Gulf Clan drug trafficking group, was apprehended near the Panamanian border in the early morning hours of October 22 thanks to Colombian officials with the assistance of American and British intelligence.
At least 20 helicopters and 10 unmanned surveillance drones were used for the capture, along with hundreds of armed troops. A standoff in the remote, mountainious area before his nabbing resulted in the killing of a Colombian police officer.
5. COVID-19 Pandemic Surpasses 5 Million Deaths
Date of Origin: November 1st, 2021
As one of the deadliest pandemics in history, the mutations of SARS-CoV-2 have occupied headlines throughout 2021, with some nations experiencing profound social and economic disruptions.
As the death toll exceeded 5 million worldwide as of the final days of 2021, nations across the world managed to contain the spread of the virus through the mass distribution of vaccines. Although the exact origin of the virus is not yet fully known, many experts suggest the pandemic may come to a complete halt in 2022.
4. The World’s Most Powerful Woman Steps Down
Date of Origin: December 8th, 2021
Having served as chancellor of Germany since 2005, Angela Merkel stepped down during the final weeks of 2021, leaving behind a legacy as one of the most adept female leaders in history.
On December 8th, Olaf Scholz of the Social Democratic Party began his first tenure as chancellor, beginning a new era for Germany.
3. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Enters The Sun’s Atmosphere
Date of Origin: December 14th, 2021
The first man-made mission aimed at touching the sun was launched as part of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. The small spacecraft was expected to fly directly into the sun’s upper atmosphere, reaching the sun’s corona.
The mission was a historic first in space exploration, with the probe having endured an estimated 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. One NASA official said in a publicly released statement: “This milestone provide us with deeper insights into our sun’s evolution and its impacts on our solar system, but everything we learn about our own star also teaches us more about stars in the rest of the universe.”
2. CNN And Fox News Hit With Internal Legal Scandals
Date of Origin: December 16th, 2021
Reporting: Some Misinformation
CNN, a left-leaning cable news outlet, faced a slew of legal scandals in 2021, including allegations of pedophilia and sexual misconduct among its behind-the-scenes employees and on-air personalities.
Conservative cable news outlet Fox News also faced legal battles, including a $1.6 billion lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems alleging damage to its credibility over the authenticity of its election technology. In 2021, a judge failed to toss the defamation suit.
1. Historic James Webb Space Telescope Launches
Date of Origin: December 25th, 2021
In collaboration with the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, NASA successfully launched their James Webb Space Telescope on December 24th. The James Webb Telescope is the successor to the Hubble Telescope.
The new telescope is expected to facilitate sharper observations of extrasolar planets and some of the most distant objects in the known universe, including the formation of the first galaxies.