Friday 27 December 2019

It’s been a tumultuous year. Here is a recap of some of 2019’s key highlights – tragedy and outrage across the globe, lined with silver.

6 January

Sultan Muhammad V, the Sultan of Kelantan, abdicated the federal throne as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia. Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billal Shah succeeded him on 31 January. Sultan Muhammad V is the first Agong in Malaysia’s history to abdicate the throne, in a move rumoured to be linked to his marriage to Russian former beauty queen – and now ex-wife – Oksana Voevodina.

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Malaysia’s unique revolving monarchy was passed on December 13 2018 to the sultan of Kelantan state in a ceremony which comes just once every five years. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP)

3 February

In a historic moment for interreligious relations, Pope Francis arrived in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, becoming the first pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula. The three-day visitcame as part of the Pope’s efforts to improve relations with the Muslim world and encourage Catholic migrants in the Emirates.

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Pope Francis (L) leads mass for an estimated 170,000 Catholics at the Zayed Sports City Stadium on February 5, 2019. (Photo by Karim Sahib / AFP)

15 March

Tragedy struck New Zealand when a white supremacist gunman rampaged across the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, killing 51 people and injuring 49 in an attack streamed on Facebook Live. The deadliest terrorist attack in the nation’s history, it prompted a hard look at social media regulations and the wave of conservatism sweeping the globe.

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The flower wall in the botanical gardens with tributes to those lost in the shootings in Christchurch on March 23, 2019, eight days after the mosque shootings that claimed 50 lives in Christchurch. (Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP)

21 April

In its first major terrorist attack since the violence of its civil war ended in 2009, Sri Lanka saw bombs explode on Easter Sunday, 21 April, across eight locations, which included churches and hotels. The bombings killed 259 people, including 45 foreigners and injured over 500, crushing the island’s tourism industry.

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Security personnel inspect the interior of St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo on April 22, 2019, a day after the church was hit in series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka.(Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

26 April

The film industry monster that is Marvel cemented its place in cinematic history with the release of Avengers: Endgame, a star-studded spectacle that generated US$2.798 billion in the box office worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time.

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Chris Hemsworth attends the Los Angeles World Premiere of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame. (Photo: AFP)

17 May

The Asian LGBT+ movement won a monumental victory when Taiwan’s parliament became the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage, a move celebrated instantly in pride marches across Taiwan and other countries.

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Thousands including members of the LGBT community on October 26 took part in the first gay pride parade held after Taiwan earlier this year legalised same-sex marriages, the culmination of a three-decade fight for equality. (Photo by Sam YEH / AFP)

9 June

Over a million people marched through the city in protest against a proposed extradition law that they say will erode the “one country, two systems” arrangement between Hong Kong and China, a particularly sore point for the city’s sizeable pro-democracy movement. Protests and riots have continued since then, increasing in violence and intensity.

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Protesters attend a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal in Hong Kong on June 9, 2019. – The city’s pro-Beijing government is pushing a bill through the legislature that would allow extraditions to any jurisdiction with which it doesn’t already have a treaty — including mainland China for the first time. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)

30 June

United States President Donald Trump added to hisgrowing list of self-styled accomplishments, becomingthe first sitting US president tocross the Korean Demilitarised Zone and enter North Korea from the South during a trilateral gathering between the US andthe two Koreas.

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North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un walks to greet US President Donald Trump at the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

24 July

Tory Brexiteer Boris Johnson, almost as equally known as the head of state across the pond for his incautious tongue and many controversies, defeated Jeremy Hunt on 24 July in a contest for party leader, becoming prime minister of the United Kingdom.

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Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures after giving a speech outside 10 Downing Street in London on July 24, 2019 on the day he was formally appointed British prime minister. (Photo: AFP)

21 August

The world sat up in shock as Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research reported that the world’s biggest rainforest – responsible for 20% of the world’s oxygen supply – was burning at a record rate, with smoke reaching São Paulo more than 2,700km away. While Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro faced controversy over his response to the wildfires, world leaders rushed to discuss the crisis and have been arranging for aid to put out the wildfires.

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Aerial picture showing a fire raging in the Amazon rainforest about 65 km from Porto Velho, in the state of Rondonia, in northern Brazil, on August 23, 2019. (Photo by Carl DE SOUZA / AFP)

27 September

Teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg led a climate change protest in Canada, with half a million people in attendance, after calling out major corporations and governments on their complacency and complicity in accelerating the global ecological crisis. About four million people around the world went on strike the same day in solidarity with the 16-year-old.

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An activist holds up placard depicting the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. Photo: AFP

25 October

What began as a coordinated fare evasion campaign by students in protest over a raise in subway fares exploded into the worst civil unrest Chile has seen since the end of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship in 1990. The riots, centred on the country’s rampant wealth inequality and increasing cost of living, disabled the capital’s entire metro network and saw 19 deaths, almost 2,500 injured and 2,840 arrested as the government announced a state of emergency.

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People demonstrate in Santiago, on October 25, 2019, a week after violent protests started. (Photo by Pablo VERA / AFP)

2 November

South Africa made world rugby history when the Springboks crushed England to win their third Rugby World Cup championship – with the most racially diverse team to represent the nation at a World Cup, and led by Siya Kolisi, the nation’s first-ever black captain. South Africa’s 32-12 win over England is culturally significant, with the potential to unite the historically fractured country across racial boundaries.

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South Africa’s flanker Siya Kolisi (C) lifts the Webb Ellis Cup as they celebrate winning the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on November 2, 2019. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

10 November

A spate of intense bushfires raged in Australia,ripping across New South Wales and Queensland. The fires were officially categorised as “catastrophic”, the highest point on Australia’s six-point fire danger scale, as hundreds of homes were razed.

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Firefighters in eastern Australia were assessing damage from ferocious bushfires that have devastated communities. (Photo: AFP)

19 December

Donald Trump became the third president in United States history to be impeached, after the House of Representatives voted to impeach him for high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump is accused of “betraying the country for his own political benefit and recommending the Senate remove him from office.” Here is ‘What You Need To Know About The Trump Impeachment.’

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The impeachment vote capped off a three-month investigation into the president’s actions in regard to the Ukraine. (Photo: AFP)

This article is an excerpt from UNRESERVED’s December 2019 issue from the article 2019 a Visual Review.

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