Looking back upon 2020, we all bear the scars of a devastating year; none so much as girls and boys around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted education for over 1.6 billion children and youth globally and continues to do so. It has also deepened socio-economic inequities and heightened insecurities around the world, further impacting the lives of girls and boys everywhere. Ongoing, protracted conflicts, forced displacement and the worsening climate crisis were no less forgiving.
Located in Jonglei state, one of the most underdeveloped regions of South Sudan, Likuangole is a town badly hit by floods and often battered by conflict. Despite the lack of secondary schools and industry, its residents aspire to transform their lives. But real investment is needed to spur development.
Dealing with COVID-19-related city lockdowns has been exceptionally stressful, particularly for those parents who have had to balance work, personal life, children and elderly, providing home schooling or facilitating virtual learning, managing infection control within the home, and more, all while being disconnected from support services.
A deadly pandemic to control. An urgent nationwide vaccination programme to roll out. An economic crisis to navigate. Political divisions and distrust deep enough to spark mob violence and terrorism.
Many of us around the world breathed a sigh of relief yesterday (Jan 20) as the ‘nuclear football
’ (the briefcase with nuclear weapons codes and communication links for the President to launch a nuclear attack) was passed from Mr Trump to President Biden, as the new president was inaugurated.
Impeachment or no impeachment, Trump is out of the White House. Trump goes with an approval rating of 34%
, far behind his predecessor Barack Obama’s 60%. A majority, 54%, said Trump ought to be removed from office before January 20, according to a new CNN poll
, for his role in the January 6 events, when Trump incited his supporters to storm the US Capitol.
On the first day, hours after inauguration of the new Biden-Harris administration
, President Biden signed an Executive Order-rejoining the United States in the Paris Climate Accord
What for Donald Trump was an insult, for Joe Biden is an acknowledgment: the new president of the United States is the establishment in its purest form. No other similar case is remembered of having reached the presidency with a better preparation. For almost half a century he has been "inside the beltway." It is the sector occupied by the District of Columbia, which claims to be recognized as a state, surrounded by a huge highway. Biden would be perfectly accepted as a traffic guard, without passing the exam.
COVID-19 is like a rainstorm, a thunderous and powerful rainstorm all over the world. If we didn’t know before, we certainly know now just where the holes are in our roofs, or where there are no roofs. We see ever more clearly who is getting drenched and who is dying, and who remains dry.
When the Doha talks were launched in September, the Afghan people's hopes for an end of war and violence were high. So far, many have been disappointed as the negotiations have not done much to improve the security situation.
Two events generated significant interest and global solidarity in the final days of December 2020. A court in Saudi Arabia handed down a five years and eight months sentence to activist Loujain Al-Hathloul
for publicly supporting women’s right to drive. Nicholas Opiyo, Ugandan human rights lawyer and defender of persecuted members of the LGBTQI community and political opponents of the president was arbitrarily detained on trumped up charges of ‘money laundering.’ Nicholas Opiyo was granted bail
on 30 December following an outpouring of global support for his activism for justice. In handing out the verdict to Loujain Al-Hathloul, the court partly suspended her sentence raising hope that she might be released from prison in a couple of months due to time already served.
According to the mainstream narrative, President Trump’s incitement of his supporters during the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory led to the ‘insurrection
’ at the US Capitol on January 6, resulting in the banning of Trump’s social media accounts and his second impeachment
Covid-19 infection and death rates in the Western world and many developing countries in Asia and Latin America have long overtaken East Asia since the second quarter of 2020. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering prevailing Western accounts of the Asian financial crises, there have been no serious efforts to draw policy lessons from East Asian contagion containment.
A year into the COVID-19 crisis, countries across the globe continue to face alarming levels of pressure on their health and social services. Education and other essential rights, such as water and sanitation, have been severely compromised.
Countries are moving fast toward creating digital currencies. Or, so we hear from various surveys
showing an increasing number of central banks making substantial progress towards having an official digital currency.
Democracy is fragile. It is more fragile that the window panes of the Congress that were smashed by the mob unleashed by President Donald Trump. It is the ultimate symbol of the desecration of American democracy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity and disrupted food systems and food supply chains in developed and developing countries alike. In the United States, millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table
. Around the world, according to the United Nations over 270 million are hungry
, and this is expected to continue to increase.
African countries opened their markets on 1st January under the continental free trade agreement and duty-free trading of goods and services across borders is now underway despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other teething problems.
When the “year in which we lived dangerously” has ended, let’s ask about a “new era”, once the defeat of Donald Trump has been confirmed.
In December 2020, Fiji was pounded by Pacific Cyclone Yasa
, the years’ second category 5 storm
which destroyed hundreds of buildings and caused about $1.4 billion in damage to health facilities, homes, schools, agriculture and infrastructure