Masala’s official recap of the year so far.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
- Due to tennis player Novak Djokovic’s refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine, his Australian visa was cancelled and he was deported from the country right before the 2022 Australia Open.
- The new COVID-19 variant Omicron, first reported in November 2021 as a variant of concern in South Africa, was confirmed in 149 countries, and was determined to be more infectious than previous variants.
- After Prince Andrew’s disastrous interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a judge ruled that a sexual abuse lawsuit against the prince could succeed, and he was promptly stripped of his military and royal titles.
- The Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial, which had been burning for 50 years at the India Gate in commemoration of the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, was merged with the eternal flame at the National War Memorial.
- Known as the ‘Nightingale of India’ and the ‘Queen of Melody,’ singer Lata Mangeshkar dies at age 92.
- The Indian Central Bureau of Investigation booked a case against ABG Shipyard, one of India’s largest private ship building companies, for carrying out the biggest ever bank fraud in Indian history, having defrauded 28 banks for loans worth more than 22,000 crores.
- A massive information leak at Credit Suisse revealed accounts linked to over 30,000 clients, including the details of individuals involved in drug and human trafficking, corruption, torture, money laundering, and a host of other crimes.
- Russia launched a military invasion of Ukraine, ostensibly to stop the country’s “demilitarisation and denazification”. In the months that followed, countries around the world condemned the invasion, with the UN suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council, and numerous companies boycotting operations in Russia. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky emerged as a compelling leader and voice of opposition against the ongoing invasion, famously saying “I need anti-tank ammo, not a ride” when he was offered the chance to flee the country.
- Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Academy Awards after the latter made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith‘s shaved head due to alopecia. This led to Will Smith being banned from Academy events for 10 years.
- Anonymous hacked Russian state TV channels to air footage of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
- The livestreamed Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation trial kicked off, leading to weeks of avidly-watched footage worldwide. Both parties were found liable for defamation (Amber had to pay significantly more in damages), but Johnny Depp won in the court of public appeal.
- Elon Musk announced his intention to buy Twitter for more than USD 40 billion, setting off a chain of events that many predict will lead to Twitter’s demise.
- Maria Alyokhina, member of feminist band Pussy Riot, known for their controversial and memorable protests, escaped Russia dressed as a food courier after her criticism of President Putin.
- Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen beat Thailand’s Jitpong Jutamas, securing the gold medal in the 52kg category at the 2022 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships.
- A consultant for gas juggernaut Shell quit and in a tell-all LinkedIn post, admitted that the company causes “extreme harm” to the planet.
- Seemingly overnight, the University of Hong Kong demolished a monument commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre amid pressure from Beijing.
- The public hearings for the January 6 United States Capitol Attack began, with the House Select Committee presenting evidence about Donald Trump’s involvement.
- Thailand held its first-ever official gay pride parade, a landmark occasion for the LGBTQ+ community in a country that has still not legalised same-sex marriage.
- Thailand removed cannabis from the Category 5 narcotics list, allowing the possession, cultivation, distribution, consumption, and sales of the plant for recreational use, and its cultivation in private residences.
- Gustavo Petro was elected as President of Colombia, marking the country’s first progressive president since the 1930s.
- Italy’s longest river, Po River, started drying up, with a certain section revealing a medieval town long-submerged underwater.
- Worldwide phenomenon and K-pop band BTS announced an indefinite hiatus.
- In a blow against women’s rights in the US, Roe v Wade was overturned by the US Supreme Court, denying abortion access to millions of women in a growing number of states.
- R&B singer R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison after he was convicted of sex trafficking and federal racketeering.
- A mass of used wet wipes about the size of two tennis courts formed in the Thames River in London, changing the course of the iconic river.
- After mounting criticism due to ‘partygate’ and the UK’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Boris Johnson resigned as Prime Minister of the UK.
- Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated in broad daylight while he was delivering a campaign speech; shot by a homemade gun.
- The euro and US dollar reached parity for the first time in 20 years.
- Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned via email after fleeing to Singapore in the wake of increasingly-violent anti-government protests.
- Continental Europe and the UK suffered from deadly heatwaves linked to climate change, with the highest recorded temperature of 47°C in Portugal, and temperatures over 40ºC recorded in the UK for the first time.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announces that, after their most recent tiger assessment, there are actually 40 percent more tigers in the world than previously estimated.
- The first 100,000kg was removed from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which contains plastics over 50 years old.
- Droupadi Murmu was sworn in as the 15th President of India, the second woman and first from a tribal community to hold the office.
- 42 people died in Botad, Gujarat (a dry state) by consuming bootleg moonshine, which accidentally contained a deadly chemical.
- The FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, and seized over 13,000 government documents.
- Pakistan declared a State of Emergency due to ongoing floods that have, so far, killed over 1,700 people and caused over USD 40 billion in property damage.
- South Korea surpassed its own record for the world’s lowest fertility rates, thus announcing a plan to triple baby payments; eligible families will now receive 1 million won per month.
- Central Group and Silva Holding officially completed the acquisition of Selfridges Group, one of the most iconic luxury retailers in the world.
- Queen Elizabeth II died aged 96, and was succeeded by now-King Charles III.
- Mahsa Amini was killed in Iran by Guidance Patrol officers for dressing ‘immodestly.’ This sparked a series of ongoing women’s rights protests against the mandatory hijab law, with over 16,000 detained and 370 protestors killed so far, 57 of them underage youth.
- In honour of Narendra Modi’s birthday, eight cheetahs were reintroduced to India from Namibia.
- 36 people, 24 of them children, were killed in a horrific mass shooting in Northeastern Thailand; the deadliest such incident in the country’s history. Correspondents from CNN illegally entered the area to cover the news, later apologising after public outcry.
- Kanye West was locked out of Twitter after an anti-Semitic tweet, the latest in a string of increasingly bizarre actions after his divorce from Kim Kardashian.
- US inflation rose to a 41-year high.
- Layoffs in the big tech space gained traction this month, with Microsoft laying off 1,000 employees, and continuing with Twitter, Meta, Salesforce, Amazon, Google, and more.
- Liz Truss resigned as PM, an office she infamously held for shorter than the lifespan of a head of lettuce; Rishi Sunak became the first Indian-origin PM of the UK.
- Jair Bolsonaro lost the Brazilian presidential election to former-president Lula da Silva, a result that could have hopeful implications for the Amazon Rainforest.
- After a protracted saga and lawsuit threats, Elon Musk officially acquired Twitter and then fired key C-suite executives as well as a large percentage of Twitter’s employees. He sold the platform’s ‘blue tick’ verification for USD 8 a month, prompting users to impersonate big corporations, to the latter’s dismay and the public’s amusement.
- A stampede in Seoul, South Korea during Halloween celebrations tragically killed at least 149 people, many of whom were young adults and teens.
- FTX, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, dramatically collapsed after a deal with Binance fell through, revealing a Ponzi scheme and a history of fraud and corruption that many have compared to the fall of the Lehman Brothers.
- In Delhi, a man strangled and killed his girlfriend, chopping the body up into 35 pieces; a killing that outraged and shocked the country.
- The Vikram-S rocket, India’s first privately-made rocket, was successfully launched, marking what PM Modi called a “new era” for the private space sector in India.
- The global population reached 8 billion people, and India is expected to surpass China as the country with the most people in the world.
- The US Senate passed a bill protecting same-sex marriage, pending approval from the US House of Representatives (update: the House has now passed the bill, and it’s heading to Biden’s desk to be signed!)
Other notable deaths:
Takeoff, Lee Jihan, Leslie Jordan, Robbie Coltrane, Angela Lansbury, Coolio, Anne Heche, Olivia Newton-John, Ray Liotta, Ivana Trump, Bob Saget, Sidney Poitier, Bappi Lahiri, Pandit Birju Maharaj, KK, Sidhu Moosewala, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Raju Srivastav, Joan Copeland, Gaspard Ulliel, Meat Loaf, Traci Braxton, William Hurt, Taylor Hawkins, Gilbert Gottfried, Kevin Conroy