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From a deadly pandemic to a global movement for racial justice, the year 2020 certainly experienced its fair share of world-shifting events.
Here is a list — and timeline — of the major events that happened last year:
The country faced one of its most devastating wildfire seasons as the blazes continued from December 2019 into the new year and burned a record 47 million acres, displaced thousands of people and killed at least 34 people.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shocked both sides of the pond on Jan. 8 when they announced they were stepping down as “senior” royals.
The World Health Organization announced Jan. 9 that a deadly coronavirus had emerged in Wuhan, China. In a matter of months, the virus has spread across the globe to more than 20 million people, resulting in at least 751,000 deaths.
The legendary Los Angeles Lakers player was killled along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26.
The president faced an impeachment trial in January on charges that he asked Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. He was ultimately acquitted by the Senate on Feb. 5.
Bong Joon Ho’s film took home the most awards, landing Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film on Feb. 9. It marked the first time a non-English-language movie won Best Picture.
The disgraced Hollywood kingmaker was convicted Feb. 24 of raping an aspiring actress and sexually abusing a TV and film production assistant. The verdict was celebrated by his dozens of accusers and their supporters as a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement.
The coronavirus pandemic triggered a global recession as numerous countries went into lockdown. The Dow Jones industrial average suffered its worst single-day point drop ever on March 9.
The police-involved killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor this year sparked a wave of peaceful — and sometimes violent — demonstrations and riots across the world to demand an end to police brutality and racial injustice.
More protests erupted in August when 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, cop and paralyzed from the waist down.
The North Korean supreme leader fueled speculation that he was either gravely ill or dead after he missed events commemorating his grandfather Kim Il-sung on April 15. He reemerged 20 days later in photos released by state media at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The despot, however, faced a new wave of skepticism over his health in August when a South Korean official claimed all of the appearances were faked and he was in a vegetative state.
The former veep clinched the party’s nomination in June despite a crowded primary field. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg were also among the more than two dozen Democratic hopefuls in the race.
A group allegedly spearheaded by a Florida teen took over the Twitter accounts of prominent business and political figures — including Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Kanye West — in a bitcoin scam.
Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam was nabbed July 2 on sex-trafficking charges while holed up in a luxury home on a 156-acre estate in New Hampshire.
The invasive insect, known as the Asian giant hornet, was spotted for the first time stateside when they invaded Washington state. Measuring up to two inches, the hornets can wipe out entire bee colonies within hours.
A massive explosion at a Beirut port, sparked Aug. 4 by the accidental detonation of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, killed at least 190 people and injured thousands of others.
Biden announced Aug. 11 that he selected the California senator as his running mate, making her the first black woman and the first Asian woman on a major party’s presidential ticket.
“Black Panther” actor Chadwick Boseman died at age 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. His death on Aug. 28 shocked fans, since he had completed several blockbuster films while keeping his diagnosis private.
Deadly wildfires erupted from California to Washington state, burning millions of acres and displacing hundreds of thousands of people since mid-August.
The Supreme Court Justice and unrelenting trailblazer for gender equality died Sept. 18 at the age of 87. She was the second-ever woman appointed to the high court.
President Trump announced Oct. 2 that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus. He was hospitalized for three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before he was discharged to continue his recovery at the White House.
Rock legend Eddie Van Halen, 65, died following a decades-long battle with cancer on Oct. 6. The iconic guitarist, known for hits such as “Jump” and “Hot for Teacher,” had been first diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2000.
Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States on Nov. 7, defeating President Trump with a critical assist from his birth state, Pennsylvania, which delivered the votes to propel him to victory and end one of the most contentious elections in recent memory.
“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek died Nov. 8 following his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Trebek educated and entertained millions on the beloved quiz show as its host for 36 years.
The first Americans were vaccinated against the coronavirus Dec. 14 after the US Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot on Dec. 11. The country’s second inoculation, developed by Moderna, was then given FDA approval a week later on Dec. 18 — with states receiving the jab Dec. 21. The arrival of the two vaccines, which were developed in less than a year, was touted as one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in US history.
After months of deadlock, Congress finally passed a $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief and government funding bill — including $600 checks — just in time for the new year.
But the peace was short-lived — as President Trump quickly demanded the payments be increased to $2,000, finding rare support from progressive icons Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The fight continued well into New Year’s Eve, with the Republican-controlled Senate holding a rare session.
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