World News

The pandemic isn't the only thing that shook the world this year

It's hard to remember a time when the word coronavirus was not part of our day-to-day vocabulary.

Posted Updated

Saba Hamedy
CNN — It's hard to remember a time when the word coronavirus was not part of our day-to-day vocabulary.

But the pandemic hit the world hard, and fast -- making it easy for us to forget that it wasn't the only thing that rattled 2020. If you watched or participated in the protests calling for justice in the death of George Floyd, you'd know it wasn't even the only thing to rattle this weekend.

Now that it's June, six months into the year, here's a look at some of the events we may have forgotten about -- or ones that felt like they happened years ago -- that will likely still be included in future history books.


Ah yes, the "I" word. It was tossed around long before 2020, but it became a real possibility in September 2019, when House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

House Democratic leaders unveiled their articles of impeachment into Trump on December 10, 2019. A majority of House lawmakers voted to approve two articles of impeachment against the President that same month.

The Republican-led Senate trial kicked off in January. In February, the Senate acquitted Trump on both articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

It was the third presidential impeachment trial in US history.

In case you want to reminisce, CNN tracked all the subpoenas, hearings and key votes.

US-Iran tension

Back in January, people were concerned the US was on the brink of war with Iran.

Tensions between the US and Iran hit a boiling point after the US government killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

Trump tweeted a warning to Iran on January 4, saying if they retaliated the US had targeted 52 Iranian sites "and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!"

Some people feared that the military action could lead to full-scale war, which sparked "No New War" protests across the US.

A few days later, on January 7, Iran fired missiles at Iraqi bases housing US troops. No lives were lost, and Trump responded by saying he will issue more sanctions.

Hours after Iran fired its missiles, the country mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, attributing it to a fear of US aggression. All 176 people on board (82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, and 11 Ukrainians) died. Thousands of Iranian protesters hit streets condemning leaders over the downed plane.

Trump tweeted a message of support in English and Farsi to demonstrators in Iran.

Australian bushfires

Devastating wildfires burned across Australia last year and into 2020.

The fires were among the worst in the country's history. They killed at least 28 people, destroyed thousands of homes and affected an estimated 1 billion animals (including the koala population, which now faces an immediate threat of extinction).

A study released in March found that the Australia's fires were made far more likely and intense by the climate crisis.

The death of Kobe Bryant

Bryant, an NBA legend, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26. His 13-year-old daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant and seven others were also victims of the crash.

The news left Los Angeles -- where the beloved athlete played for the Lakers his entire 20-year career -- and the rest of the world in mourning.

Known as the Black Mamba, Bryant was a five-time NBA champion and won the league's Most Valuable Player award in 2008. In 2018, he won an Oscar for best animated short for "Dear Basketball." He was passionate about empowering the next generation of athletes, including Gianna, who had WNBA aspirations.

Around the world, people paid their respects, with memorials and murals. Thousands, including a handful of celebrities, packed the Staples Center in Los Angeles to honor Bryant in a celebration of his life.

Iowa caucus chaos

Reminder: It's still an election year in the US. And before the pandemic, caucuses were in full swing, with voters gearing up to pick their preferred Democratic presidential candidate.

At the beginning of the year, it was a crowded field. And on February 3, all eyes were on Iowa, the first state to caucus.

But the caucus turned out to be more chaotic than expected, after a new app used by the state Democratic Party caused confusion and resulted in concluding the night without a winner.

Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders both requested that the party conduct a recount of select caucus sites, after requesting a partial recanvass of the state's caucus precinct results. Nearly a month after Iowans caucused, the Iowa Democratic Party certified the results, and Buttigieg narrowly won.

Riots in New Delhi

Deadly protests erupted across India after the government officially approved the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill in December 2019. The bill gives Indian citizenship to asylum seekers from three neighboring countries -- but not if they are Muslim.

A number of people died as a result of ongoing clashes. In February -- at the same time Trump was visiting India -- a violent protest in parts of New Delhi left 24 people dead and at least 188 injured.

Harvey Weinstein found guilty

Harvey Weinstein, 67, was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape on February 24. He was sentenced in March to 23 years in prison, culminating a case that fueled the global #MeToo movement. He is serving his sentence in a maximum-security prison in upstate New York.

More than 80 women have publicly accused Weinstein of a range of actions, from unwanted sexual advances to rape. The charges were based on testimony by Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann, who both spoke at the sentencing.

The Time's Up Foundation, which formed two years ago amid Hollywood's reckoning with prevalent sexual harassment, applauded the jury's decision in February.

The trial "marks a new era of justice ... for all survivors of harassment, abuse, and assault at work," Tina Tchen, president and CEO of the Time's Up Foundation, said in a statement.

Weinstein still faces criminal charges of sexual assault in Los Angeles, and he has previously denied the allegations.

More protests in Hong Kong

Hong Kong was filled with anti-government protests for most of 2019, with demonstrators calling for greater democracy and more autonomy from mainland China.

With the pandemic slowing in Hong Kong (in May, the city successfully contained multiple waves of the virus), protesters headed back to the streets.

This time, to oppose the Chinese government's controversial national security law, which threatens the city's autonomy and civil liberties. Several thousand people marched, chanting slogans, including "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times" and "Hong Kong independence, the only way out."

Copyright 2023 by Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.