2021 was an unexpected year— to say the least!
Right from multiple COVID-19 Variants in a single year, to Taliban capture of Afghanistan to a drama filled aftermath of the US Presidential election— 2021 was a rollercoaster!
The pandemic toppled plans of yet another year for the world. With a deadlier Delta variant of the novel coronavirus spreading through the masses, people spent another year cooped indoors even after vaccines were rolled out for public inoculation.
The COVID-19 Outbreak was not the only news that made headlines this year. Here are some of the key global developments that happened in 2021 that shaped the history of the world.
Even though inflation was biting off the global wallets, investments and retirement portfolios were doing quite nicely. In fact, 2021 saw record highs in the U.S. stock markets.
This increase may be due to the rise in inflation, but the corporate earnings also saw a boost from the pent-up consumer demand that was unleashed in 2021.
After an initial drastic sell-off in March of 2020 when COVID-19 first hit, stocks rebounded through 2020 and into 2021.
By November of 2021, the S&P 500 reached a record all-time high of $4,7436 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) soared to ATH $36,565.7.
The tech-supported NASDAQ, too, saw a sky high record of $16,212 in that month, as work-from-home, online ordering, and teleconferencing became the norm.
On March 23, a 400-metre-long cargo ship lost control due to hefty winds and got stuck horizontally between the two banks of the canal.
Ever Given, a large 2000 TEU container ship, blocked the southern section of the channel and caused heavy congestion.
The obstruction caused a trade loss of worth $9.6 billion in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
After prolonged efforts, Ever Given was partially moved and the services in the canal resumed from March 29.
Angela Merkel has been one of the longest-serving senior politicians of Germany. In 2021, she ended her career after 16 years as the Chancellor of Germany.
She was succeeded by new Chancellor Olaf Scholz who took up power on 8 December 2021.
He is a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and previously served as Vice Chancellor of Germany under Angela Merkel and as Federal Minister of Finance from 2018 to 2021.
It was revealed that Pegasus spyware was used by the governments to target 50,000 phone numbers.
In India, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking a court-monitored enquiry of the claims.
The pro-Trump crowd undertook a “Save America March” to the Capitol and matters got heated and the protesters breached police security to storm the building.
The violence caused five deaths and a lot of government property destruction.
On January 13, Trump was impeached for the second time by the House of Representatives, for his “abuse of power”.
Joseph Biden assumed responsibility as the 46th President of the United States of America on January 20, 2021, with Kamala Harris serving as the Vice President.
The crypto market also touched novel records in 2021, with the total value of cryptocurrencies touching $3 trillion in November.
Bitcoin, like the past few years, remained the most coveted of all cryptocurrencies, occupying more than 40% of that total market cap in 2021. After retreating from a high of over $64,000 in April 2021, BTC prices touched $68,500 in November, before pulling back once more.
November of 2021 also witnessed Ether, the token of the Ethereum blockchain, hit a record $4,850, dominating more than one-fifth of the crypto market capitalization.
Several other cryptocurrencies, altcoins, and tokens also broke records in 2021, specifically meme-coins like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, along with more established contemporaries like Ripple’s XRP, Binance Coin, Solana, and Cardano.
Read about other key financial events of 2021 here.
With Afghanistan being in a tumultuous state throughout the year, the world anticipated that the Taliban would take over power in Kabul as soon as the US troops withdrew. But reality struck sooner than expected.
The Taliban forces began their operation from May 1 (while the US troops were still leaving their stations) to overthrow the Ashraf Ghani government and take back control of the country.
By August 15, the Taliban had captured all major capital cities and their forces entered Kabul without significant opposition from the Afghan government held by former President Ghani.
Soon enough, the Taliban took back control and transferred power onto their hands as Ghani fled the country.
The Taliban immediately imposed fundamentalist ideologies and even changed the name of the country to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Fresh outbreaks have been reported in many countries worldwide, with several European countries including the UK reporting a rocketing increase in cases.
The Omicron variant was first isolated in a lab in Botswana and South Africa on November 22 and was notified to the World Health Organization on November 24.
Fast forward a month, the fast-spreading virus has almost gripped the entire world, with WHO claiming it spreads several times faster than the previous Delta strain.
While initially claimed that people tested positive for the new strain were showing mild to moderate symptoms only, WHO has cautioned that there is no conclusive evidence yet to prove it.
“A code red for humanity.” That’s how UN Secretary General António Guterres’ described the August 2021 UN report. The report concluded that humanity faces devastating climate change unless the emission of heat-trapping gases is reduced considerably.
Extreme weather dominated the news in 2021. Record-shattering drought broke out in the American southwest. Unprecedented flooding tore through parts of Belgium and western Germany. Catastrophic wildfires destroyed Greece. Late season monsoons caused flooding in India and Nepal.
While the world became a hotter place, climate change warriors found some specks of good news. President Biden committed the United States to re-implementing the Paris Climate Agreement on his first day in office. China agreed in September to stop financing coal-fired power plants overseas, and Iceland opened a facility to reduce carbon dioxide out of the air.
At the COP-26 meeting in Glasgow in November countries pledged to take actions to address climate change, including slashing methane emissions.
But pledges aren’t the final feat.
Carbon emissions soared in 2021 as the global economy growled back to life.
These were some of the important headlines of the year 2021. As the pandemic slowly eases and the world comes back to normalcy, we wish you a prosperous year ahead!
Hoping and wishing that the New Year of 2022 will be a healthy, wealthy and safe year for you and your family.
Happy New Year 2022 from XFlow Family!
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