Among the smouldering homes, face masks, lockdowns and calls for political change, 2020 has produced momentous news stories that would – in any other climate – have been remembered for a generation.
The new decade started in flames with a once-in-a-lifetime disaster that scorched Australia.
Then, as the blazes began to die down and the focus turned to rebuilding, the entire world was shaken to its core by a life-changing and far-reaching virus pandemic.
So far COVID-19 has infected more than seven million and killed more than 400,000 people.
Adding to that, mass Black Lives Matter protests spread across the United States, sometimes flaring into violent riots that left cities on fire.
The anger at racial injustice spread globally, with waves of protestors defying pandemic restrictions to have their voices heard.
The year 2020 is already one that will fundamentally shift the way the world operates.
But, among the smoke of the smouldering homes, the face masks, lockdowns and calls for political change, the world also produced momentous news stories that would – in any other climate – have been remembered for a generation.
These are the stories you may have forgotten which also took place during the chaos and destruction of the year 2020.
January 3 – US killed Iran's top general
In an extraordinary move, US President Donald Trump ordered a military drone strike against General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.
He was known as the second most powerful man in Iran.
The 62-year-old was killed when his vehicle was struck by a US attack near the Baghdad Airport after months of tensions between Iran and the US.
A series of oil tanker seizures and attacks from both countries stemmed from Trump's May 2018 decision to withdraw the US from Iran's nuclear deal and ultimately resulted in a military retaliation from Iran after Soleimani's death.
Just five days after the US assassination, Iran hit back in a series of missiles strikes on a military base that housed American troops in Iraq.
While no Americans or Iraqis were harmed, satellite images appeared to show significant missile damage – including buildings that had been reduced to smouldering craters.
Trump played down the attack in a special address to the US from the White House a day later, saying Iran was "standing down".
"For far too long - all the way back to 1979 to be exact - nations have tolerated Iran's destructive and destabilising behaviour in the Middle East and beyond – those days are over," he said on January 9.
"Iran has been the leading sponsor of terrorism and their pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens the civilised world. We will never let that happen."
January 8 – Prince Harry and Meghan step back from royal duties
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex sent shockwaves around the world when they announced they would be stepping back from the Royal Family and seeking a more independent future.
Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, consulted neither Queen Elizabeth II or Prince Charles before their Instagram announcement.
An urgent family meeting was then called at Sandringham House.
Following that meeting, the Queen announced a 12-month "period of transition" with the couple looking to be financially independent and step back as senior royals by living in Canada and the UK.
By February, the couple had confirmed they would not be using the titles His and Her Royal Highness and had agreed that their new non-profit organisation would not include the word 'royal' in its name.
January 8 – Iran shoots down Ukrainian commercial plane, killing 176
In another international controversy involving Iran, armed forces fired two Russian anti-aircraft missiles at a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed after taking off from Tehran's main airport, killing all 176 people on board.
For days after the shoot-down, Iran denied it fired missiles at the aircraft, initially blaming a technical malfunction and engine fire for the crash.
The US and Canada blamed missile fire for the crash, which soon led to Iran's armed forces admitting anti-aircraft fire from the country's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard had downed the flight.
The tragedy sparked an international outpouring of grief for the 176 victims – including Iranian protesters who took to the streets of Tehran against their own government.
On January 15, after the upswelling of intense public pressure, Iran's national judiciary had confirmed arrests had been made over the incident and a special court was set up for a looming probe.
January 16 – Donald Trump's impeachment trial begins
In what was just the third such presidential trial in US history, Donald Trump's impeachment proceedings in the Senate began after months of debate and political mud-slinging.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the inquiry amid allegations the president withheld US security aid while pressuring Ukraine to investigate former vice-president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
What started as Trump's request for Ukraine to "do us a favour" spun into a far-reaching, 28,000-page report compiled by investigators accusing an American president of engaging in shadow diplomacy that threatened foreign relations. And all for what was claimed to be personal, political gain.
Throughout the entire process Trump claimed he did nothing wrong, decrying the impeachment as a "witch hunt" and "hoax".
The US President was acquitted on both impeachment charges against him, with the final tallies marking 52-48 favouring acquittal of abuse of power and 53-47 of obstruction of Congress' investigation.
January 17 – the Yellow Wiggle suffers cardiac arrest
Original Yellow Wiggle Greg Page came close to death in shocking scenes during a live bushfire relief performance at Sydney's Castle Hill RSL, falling to the ground and entering cardiac arrest.
Blue Wiggle Anthony Field told 9News Page came off the stage and collapsed within moments. He had no pulse.
A nurse in the audience and the Wiggles' drummer launched into action to perform CPR. They used a defibrillator to save Page's life.
The 48-year-old left the children's band in 2006 due to poor health and returned for a second stint in 2012.
In 2006 he revealed he was suffering from orthostatic intolerance, which caused problems with the function of his heart when standing.
January 26 – Kobe Bryant killed in horror helicopter crash
Basketball legend Kobe Bryant was killed when a helicopter he was travelling in to a girls' basketball tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy crashed in cloudy conditions near Los Angeles.
Veteran pilot Ara Zobayan attempted to fly out of the clouds, but crashed the aircraft into a hillside at more than 290km/h.
The force of the impact killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, two of her basketball teammates and five others.
The deaths shook the sporting world. Within hours, thousands had gathered outside Staples Centre, where Bryant starred for the Lakers.
A makeshift memorial soon became a massive display of flowers, candles, personal notes, basketballs and other mementos.
In the aftermath of the devastating incident, eight LA County Sheriff's deputies also faced administrative action after they allegedly shared graphic photos of the crash with people outside the investigation.
January 31 – Brexit finally happens
After a partnership lasting for almost half a century and four years of political turmoil, the United Kingdom officially split from the European Union and celebrated with jubilant parties in Westminster and an elaborate light show illuminating 10 Downing Street.
The historic move launched the UK into a new, independent era as a nation, but also one that would be defined by "bumps in the road" according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The UK currently remains in a "transition period" of negotiations with the EU, with many laws that stood before the split still in place until December 31.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the UK's number one priority post-Brexit was to secure some sort of trade deal with Europe that would secure the country's economic future – those talks are still ongoing.
Johnson has repeatedly declared the UK will completely cut ties with the EU by the end of 2020 with or without a deal, however if negotiations don't produce an answer the British people may face higher tariffs on imports and exports.
February 13 – Antarctica's temperature reaches record-high
In one of the most alarming signs of global warming's effects on the world, the World Meteorological Organisation verified a record-high temperature reading taken on Antarctica.
A heat record that had stood for just five years was broken when the temperature at an Argentina research base on the icy continent soared to 18.4C.
Randall Cerveny, who researches records for the organisation said the unusually high temperature was likely due, in the short term, to a rapid warming of air coming down from a mountain slope.
It came as the Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the globe, according to an annual report published in December last year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
February 19 - Hannah Clarke and children killed in tragedy
The deaths of Hannah Clarke and her three children - Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and three-year-old Trey - in horrific conditions shocked the nation.
Ms Clarke was driving the car on the daily school run, when her estranged husband Rowan Baxter doused the car containing his family in fuel and set it alight, before dying himself from self-inflicted wounds.
Witnesses reported hearing an explosion before the car crashed and Ms Clarke ran into the street where she was helped by Good Samaritans with garden hoses before paramedics arrived.
In the days after the horrendous crime, Queensland Detective Inspector Mark Thompson said both Ms Clarke and Baxter had been referred to support services in the lead-up to their deaths.
A court had granted at least one domestic violence order relating to the couple.
At the time, Kerry Carrington from the QUT School of Justice said the system had "most likely failed" the victims.
"It was preventable, it was predictable, but we didn't have the systems in place to do that," she said.
February 22 – Australian cities shut down by national climate change rallies
In the wake of bushfire devastation left across the country, capital cities came to a standstill to label Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government as arsonists and climate criminals for their handling of the crisis.
Thousands of protesters gridlocked major roads to voice their opposition to the Coalition's climate policy, joined by volunteer firefighters who had just months before been in the midst of the worst blazes in living memory.
"He's the one going to be the one dying of old age, but we're the ones going to be dying of climate change," a young protester told 9News.
"We're heading towards four degrees warming - sea levels are going to rise. It's going to get hotter and hotter. It's only one degree now," another Country Fire Authority member said in Melbourne.
February 24 – Harvey Weinstein guilty of rape and sex assault
After five days of deliberations, disgraced Hollywood producer and film mogul Harvey Weinstein was convicted by a jury of seven men and five women for sexually assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006 and third-degree rape of a woman in 2013.
He was found not guilty on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault, that could have resulted in a life sentence.
Nine's US Correspondent Alexis Daish told of the moment of disbelief that enveloped the New York court room when Weinstein was taken into custody and officially became a convicted rapist.
"Weinstein got up and hobbled out of the courtroom, flanked by two security guards… During those moments, silence fell over the room," she said.
"I think everyone sitting inside knew they were witnessing a moment in history."
On March 12, the 67-year-old was sentenced to 23 years in a US prison for his crimes.
He now also faces rape charges in California that could see him jailed for a further maximum of 28 years.
March 1 – US and Taliban sign historic peace agreement
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar made history in Qatar by signing a deal aimed at ending the Afghan War.
The agreement will see the US reduce its forces in the country from 13,000 to 8600 in coming months and completely withdraw by the middle of 2021, provided the Taliban continues to prevent terrorism.
Soon after, President Trump said he would meet Taliban leaders in the near future and rejected criticism surrounding the deal signed with the Islamist insurgents.
The US spent more than US$750 billion on the Afghan War, and on all sides it cost tens of thousands of lives.
Mr Pompeo said the US is "realistic" about the peace deal it signed, but is "seizing the best opportunity for peace in a generation".
March 16 – Global stocks' worst drop in 33 years
In the thick of the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Wall Street financial benchmarks sunk as much as 10 per cent in a day in what became the worst losses since 1987.
The economic volatility in the share market saw trading in New York halted on multiple days as financial confidence plummeted.
In Australia, shares plunged more than six per cent and the nation's major banks suffered huge daily losses while the Australian dollar bought 61.85 US cents before markets closed.
As it currently stands, markets have partially recovered as COVID-19 eased in some countries. However the Australian dollar is still weak – buying just 69.80 US cents at the time of writing.
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Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/brexit-megxit-kobe-bryant-death-trump-impeachment-worlds-biggest-news-stories-2020-you-may-have-forgot/1adcad8e-32d5-4a31-a700-edb7720c0145