Politics

13 Of The Most Significant Moments Of The Year

Covid, riots and a Taliban takeover – 2021 could not exactly be described as a walk in a park.

It’s hard to believe so much could have happened in the last 12 months, so here’s a roundup of just some of the moments which helped shape the tumultuous year that was 2021.

January 6, Capitol riots

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Back in January when Donald Trump was still the US President, his supporters swarmed outside the Capitol building in Washington DC in a bid to stop lawmakers signing off on Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

It was supposed to be a routine process. Instead, rioters left people inside the building fearing for their lives. Five people died and the FBI chief called it an act of domestic terrorism.

January 20, first woman of colour sworn into White House

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In a historic moment for the US, the first woman and the first person of colour was sworn into the White House when Kamala Harris became the Vice President.

March 9, Meghan and Harry

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stunned people around the world when they revealed how miserable they had been as part of the royal family.

Speaking to Oprah Winfrey in their new home state of California, the couple accused the Firm of racism and of overlooking Meghan’s declining mental health.

It was their first joint interview since dramatically stepping down from their roles in the monarchy and saw the royal family’s popularity drop significantly.

March 13, Sarah Everard vigil

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The disappearance and death of Sarah Everard left women fearing for their lives in March. Kidnapped, raped and murdered by then police officer Wayne Couzens, outrage at Everard’s treatment triggered nationwide protests where people called for significant change within the police force.

The public outcry also culminated in a London vigil which turned violent when the police tried to shut it down on March 13.

With more than 500 people present, the police claimed it was against the Covid lockdown rules in place at the time. More backlash followed when critics pushed back over the Met’s handling of the serious crisis.

March 26, Suez Canal

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In a rare moment of light relief for 2021, a container ship called Ever Given got wedged in Egypt’s Suez Canal, one of the busiest shipping routes in the world.

For six days and seven hours, the internet erupted with memes and jokes about the ship’s unfortunate route while worldwide trade had to grapple with the brief holdup.

April 17, Prince Philip’s funeral

The Queen was pictured sitting alone alone in St. George’s Chapel during the funeral of her husband Prince Philip, the man who had been by her side for 73 years.

The longest-serving royal consort in British history, Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. The monarch’s isolation during the funeral was in line with Covid restrictions in place at the time, as none of the other attendees were inside her bubble, but still pulled at the nation’s heartstrings.

July 11, Euro 2020 final

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England’s football team were in with a chance of winning a tournament cup for the first time since 1966 in July until their dramatic defeat against Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

Even though the team’s success up until that match had wowed the nation, when three footballers failed to score in the penalty shootout, they found themselves at the centre of foul online racist abuse.

The reaction sparked further conversations about racism, especially in sport, and how the UK needs to do more to tackle this deep societal issue.

August 9, Greek wildfires

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A firefighter pictured using a water hose near a burning blaze trying to extinguish a fire in the village of Glatsona on Evia (Euboea) island.

The wildfires seen in 2021, particularly across Europe, were a stark reminder that the climate crisis is not going anywhere.

August 3, Simone Biles

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 03: Simone Biles of Team United States poses with the bronze medal during the Women’s Balance Beam Final medal ceremony on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on August 03, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 03: Simone Biles of Team United States poses with the bronze medal during the Women’s Balance Beam Final medal ceremony on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on August 03, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Simone Biles, an internationally renowned gymnast, stunned everyone when she stepped back from competing in parts of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

As the most decorated female gymnast of all time, Biles was expected to win gold medals in everything she competed in. Instead, she recognised that her mental health had taken a turn for the worst and stepped back. She did still manage to win a bronze medal but it was her decision to work on her wellbeing which was praised all over the world.

August 20, Afghanistan crisis

This harrowing photograph of a baby being passed to a US Marine over a barbed wire fence captured the desperation of the Afghans trying to escape the Taliban takeover.

The evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul created many heartbreaking scenes, as western forces withdrew from Afghanistan. Concerns over the subsequent humanitarian crisis in the country have continued as the Taliban secures its grip.

August 31, Hurricane Ida

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A Category 4 hurricane swept through southern states of the US in August, bringing flooding and intense wind damage along the Gulf Coast.

The deadly weather affected Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama before moving up to the north-eastern states. It left at least 46 dead.

“I’ve lost everything in my trailer because of the hurricane. I’ve lost everything, my family has lost everything and we’re now trying to find help. We all live in this area and now it’s all gone,” said Fusto Maldonado when asked about the storm’s effect by reporters.

November and December, Omicron

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The WHO identified a new highly transmissible Covid variant, Omicron, back in November – by December, it had already run through Europe.

At a time when most people were hoping Covid was fading from everyday life, Omicron was a reminder that the virus is still very much present all over the world.

But 2021 has also been a significant year for the global vaccine rollout. According to the New York Times, more than 4.53 billion people around the world have received a Covid jab which adds up to around 59.1% of the global population.

December 29, Ghislaine Maxwell

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Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend and longtime friend Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty on five counts related to the sex trafficking and grooming girls and young women for the disgraced financier.

It was seen as a huge victory for Epstein and Maxwell’s victims after a long and gruelling process. it remains to be seen how this might affect Prince Andrew’s upcoming civil case.




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