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2022: a year of living dangerously

PARIS — From the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the overturning of abortion laws in the United States, here is a roundup of the biggest events to mark 2022.

Members of Uyghur communities take part in a protest against China, near the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, on Dec 4, 2022.

Members of Uyghur communities take part in a protest against China, near the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, on Dec 4, 2022.

PARIS — From the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the overturning of abortion laws in the United States (US), here is a roundup of the biggest events to mark 2022.



A building burns after shelling in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on Dec 4, 2022, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin launches the biggest invasion in Europe since World War II when he sends troops into Ukraine on February 24 to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" the country, causing millions of Ukrainians to flee abroad.

The West imposes unprecedented sanctions on Moscow and sends billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, which repels Putin's bid to capture the capital, Kyiv, and topple the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

In the south, however, Russian forces capture most of Ukraine's Black Sea coastline, including the port of Mariupol, which is destroyed in a three-month siege.

In April, Russian forces are accused of massacring scores of civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.

By September, Ukrainian forces are regaining ground in the northeast and south. Mr Putin hastily annexes four Russian-controlled regions, a move condemned as illegal by the United Nations.

In November, Ukrainian forces chalk up their biggest victory yet when Russian forces retreat from the southern port of Kherson, ending an eight-month occupation. 


Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak waves as he exits 10 Downing Street in London on Nov 23, 2022.

Britain gets its fifth conservative prime minister in six years. 

Mr Rishi Sunak takes office in October after his tax-cutting predecessor Ms Liz Truss self-combusts in just 44 days  — the shortest-ever tenure for a British leader.

Ms Truss's lightning fall from grace, sparked by a disastrous mini budget, caps a tumultuous 2022 in Britain. The year is marked by the death of its longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, at the age of 96 and the forced resignation of Brexiteer premier Boris Johnson after a series of scandals.


Abortion-rights activists gather to protest at Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse on Dec 1, 2022 in New York.

The US Supreme Court causes global shockwaves in June when it overturns its landmark 1973 "Roe v Wade" decision enshrining access to abortions nationwide.

Following the ruling, abortion bans are brought in by Republicans in 16 US states, home to 26.5 million women.

The issue impacts November's midterms. 

There are smaller than expected gains for Mr Donald Trump loyalists in the Republican camp, as US voters in several states side with candidates advocating access to abortion. Mr Trump nonetheless announces he will stand again for president in 2024.


A security official stands guard in front of a picture showing Chinese President Xi Jinping on Oct 12, 2022.

President Xi Jinping cements his control at the helm of China after winning a historic third term in November as leader the world's second-largest economy.

But the Chinese lose patience with the snap lockdowns, mass testing and curbs on movement occasioned by his signature zero-Covid strategy. 

Thousands of people take part in several days of protests against the restrictions in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Urumqi, Wuhan and other cities. Some even dare to call for Mr Xi's resignation.

Mr Xi's increasingly unchecked power also causes alarm in Taiwan, after China stages massive military exercises around the island.



People cool off along the ocean at Santa Monica beach amid an intense heat wave in Southern California on Sept 4, 2022 in Santa Monica, California.

Europe swelters through the hottest summer in its recorded history, with the mercury topping 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time in Britain. 

Parts of the Arctic and Antarctic, China and the US also experience record temperatures.

Extreme weather events linked to climate change continue to wreak havoc in developing countries.

Flooding in Pakistan affects vast swathes of the country, Nigeria suffers its worst floods in a decade and parts of drought-hit Somalia face the threat of famine.

At the United Nations climate summit in Egypt (COP27), developing nations finally succeed in getting wealthy polluters to agree to pay into a "loss and damage" fund to compensate poorer countries for climate damage. 


A woman waits to get food in front of the Aluche neighborhood association local in Madrid on Nov 19, 2022.

The invasion of Ukraine and resulting sanctions on Russia create an energy crisis of a magnitude unseen in half a century, with costs for gas and electricity soaring globally.

Britain sees its energy bills double over the space of a year. Soaring energy prices are also a factor in Sri Lanka's cost-of-living crisis, which in August forces then-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee abroad.

Inflation soars globally, prompting central banks to aggressively hike interest rates, raising fears of another major debt crisis.


The far-right makes unprecedented gains in Europe. 

Voters in Italy elect their most right-wing leader since World War II in post-Fascist firebrand Mr Giorgia Meloni.

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats are the big winners of a general election that brings conservatives to power in that country.

In France, a surge by both the far right and hard left strips centre-right President Emmanuel Macron of his parliamentary majority.

But in Latin America, the right is in decline. 

Veteran left-winger Mr Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva makes a stunning comeback in Brazil, ousting far-right incumbent Mr Jair Bolsonaro. Left-wing leaders also come to power in Colombia and Honduras.


A protester holds a portrait of Mahsa Amini during a demonstration in support of her.

In Iran, the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her arrest for alleged violations of the country's Islamic dress code sparks the biggest protests in years. 

On the street and on social media women and girls defiantly remove their headscarves in an unprecedented challenge to the country's clerical leadership.

Iran seeks to quell the protests by sentencing some of the protesters to death.

Over 300 people have been killed in the unrest, the authorities said on November 29.


After two years of conflict that have killed untold numbers of civilians and led to near-famine conditions in Tigray, Ethiopia's government and Tigrayan rebels agree on a landmark peace deal.

The agreement allows critical humanitarian aid to resume to the northern region.


Japan supporters wait for the starts of the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Japan and Croatia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on Dec 5, 2022.

Controversy mars the run-up to the Middle East's first football World Cup.

Some fans boycott the tournament in Qatar over concerns about human rights and the high number of deaths among migrant workers involved in constructing eight new stadiums.

The decision by the conservative Islamic kingdom to ban alcohol from the stadiums also leaves a bitter taste but as the tournament progresses, the attention shifts to the on-pitch drama. AFP

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