13 Stories That Changed The World In 2023

Here’s a look back at the major events that defined 2023.

13 Stories That Changed The World In 2023

There was no shortage of major events that happened around the world in 2023.

Here are just 13 of the many big stories that changed the world last year.

1. Israel declared war on Hamas after it launched a surprise attack and killed about 1,200 Israelis.

Since then, Israeli airstrikes and a ground offensive have killed more than 20,000 Palestinians in Gaza.

2. A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria and killed more than 59,000 people

More than 59,000 people died after an earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck at 4:17 a.m local time in the south-eastern Turkish city of Gaziantep and felt throughout northwest Syria.

A second earthquake and multiple aftershocks were felt throughout the day and endangered rescue missions.

The disaster comes as Syria continues to face a humanitarian crisis from an ongoing civil war.

3. People in Thailand voted out the military government and elected a young, progressive politician to lead

In a stunning moment on May 14, Move Forward, a young and progressive opposition party, secured 36.23% of the votes, the most out of any party in the general elections.

Thailand has been ruled by a military government since it ousted the democratically elected government in a coup in 2014.

Frontrunner Pheu Thai, Thailand’s largest opposition party – founded by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in another coup in 2006 – came second with 27.66% of the votes.

Former junta leader and incumbent prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s military United Thai Nation party secured only 11.90% of the votes.

Voter turn out was a record 75.20%.

Move Forward, led by 42-year-old Pita Limjaroenrat, had run on a campaign of promoting democracy, removing the military’s influence on politics and revising the lèse-majest law, which jails people for criticizing the monarchy.

In Thailand, the lèse-majesté law makes it illegal to insult, defame or threaten the king, the queen and other members of the royal family, and sentences range from three to 15 years in prison.

However, Pita was subsequently blocked from becoming prime minister by the country’s military-backed senate.

Eventually, Thailand’s parliament approved Srettha Thavisin, a real estate developer, as its prime minister, even though his party did not win the most votes in the general election.

4. Spain’s football president kissed this woman player on the lips after Spain’s Women’s World Cup win and caused a huge controversy

People are furious after the president of the Spanish football federation kissed Spanish soccer player, Jennifer Hermoso, on the lips after Spain won the Women’s World Cup.

On Sunday Aug. 20, Spain beat England 1-0 to win the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Sydney, Australia, a first for the country.

Following the win, the players, including Hermoso, went up to receive their medals and congratulations.

In a video of the moment, Spanish Soccer Federation President Rubiales can be seen hugging Hermoso, before grabbing her head and kissing her on the mouth.

He then lets her go with a pat on the back and Hermoso walks away.

Later, in an Instagram Live video in the team’s locker room, Hermoso is heard saying, “Hey, I didn’t like that [the kiss].”

“But what am I supposed to do?” she added.

His actions triggered a debate about toxic masculinity in Spain, as well as the sexism and lack of respect for women’s sports and athletes.

Rubiales was eventually suspended and resigned two months later after facing public pressure.

5. Videos of people sabotaging conveyor belt sushi restaurants in Japan are going viral and people were furious

The pranksters targeted famous Japanese sushi chain stores —Hamazushi, Akindo Sushiro and Kura Sushi— and posted their pranks on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter throughout January 2023.

Several videos showed people laughing as they returned or stole sushi from the conveyor belt.

One of the most criticized videos shows a young man drinking from a public soy sauce bottle, licking a cup and using his finger to touch the sushi passing by on the conveyor belt.

Customers have now expressed concern about eating at conveyor belt sushi restaurants because someone else’s saliva could be on their food.

Some of the perpetrators later came forth and apologized for their actions, but other have not been identified, according to Japanese media.

The sushi stores say they were working with the police officers to take legal action.

6. Charles And Camilla were officially crowned as the king and queen of the UK

The two-hour coronation on Saturday May 6 in Westminster Abbey in London was the UK’s first in 70 years.

Charles assumed the throne in September 2022 after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96.

The event was attended by 90 heads of states, according to the UK’s Foreign Office.

Following the coronation service, the King and Queen appeared from the Buckingham Palace balcony alongside members of the royal family and waved to the crowds.

7. Iran reintroduced “morality” police after they were mostly suspended after the death of Mahsa Amini

Iran reintroduced the “morality” police after they were largely shut down following the death of Mahsa Amini.

Amini died in September 2022 after she was arrested by the so-called “morality police” for allegedly breaking Iran’s mandatory hijab law.

Her death sparked outrage, leading to huge, anti-government protests that went on for months.

In response, the government was forced to pulled back the “morality” police, who were created in 1979 to enforce the hijab law and other “moral” restrictions on women.

These include banning women from attending mixed-gender gatherings without a male chaperone and drinking alcohol.

On Sunday July 16, authorities announced that the “morality” police would resume patrols and force women to wear hijabs.

Authorities said officers will first give women warnings, and those who “insist on breaking the norms” may face legal action, according to CNN.

8. People in Poland voted out its right-wing government after eight years

People in Poland have voted out the right-wing government after eight years.

Since it came to power in 2015, the ruling Law and Justice party has eroded democracy and attacked human rights by taking away the independence of the country’s top court.

The constitutional court is supposed to be an independent branch of the government that ensures laws passed by the government are consistent with the country’s constitution.

But the Law and Justice party has replaced the panel of judges with those who are loyal to them, making it easier for the party to pass laws that attack democracy, press freedom, as well as women’s and LGBTQ rights.

The government has now banned abortion in almost all cases and supported more than 90 regions in becoming “LGBT-free” zones – areas that are unwelcoming of “LGBTQ ideology”.

Since 2015, numerous protests have broken out against the various rulings and changes.

In June, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Warsaw in a huge, unprecedented protest against the government.

And on Oct. 15, a record 74% of voters turned out to vote in the elections.

Although the Law and Justice party still received the most votes at 35%, it is unlikely to find a coalition partner and form a government.

The opposition groups, led by former prime minister and European Council president Donald Tusk, then requested the president allow them to form a government.

9. The five rich men who went missing on the submersible to see the Titanic died after it imploded

The five people who went missing after they embarked on a trip in a submersible vessel – a mini submarine – to see the wreckage of the Titanic have died.

The company operating the submersible, Oceangate, said in a statement on June 22 that they believe the five men had “sadly been lost” after they went missing on June 18.

On June 16, the expedition left Newfoundland in Canada to the Titanic wreckage site as part of a eight-day trip, which cost US$250,000 per person.

The five passengers included British billionaire, Hamish Harding; a member of Pakistan’s richest families, Shahzada Dawood, and his teenage son; French maritime expert, Paul-Henri Nargeolet; and the founder and CEO of Oceangate, Stockton Rush.

The dive was supposed to only take two and a half hours, but the submersible lost contact one hour and 45 minutes after departure.

The vessel contained only approximately four days worth of emergency oxygen.

On Thursday, the US Coast Guard reported finding debris pertaining to the submarine, which they said had undergone a “catastrophic implosion.”

Search officials said they hope the announcement brings some solace to the families and will continue to investigate why it happened.

The media attention around the story had ignited conversations about how migrants go missing on the ocean all the time and receive little attention.

10. Sudan’s military forces have been fighting for power and more than 180 people have been killed

Sudan’s army and paramilitary forces are fighting over control of the country, and more than 180 people have been killed.

Sudan has been ruled by the military since a coup in 2021, when the army seized power from a power-sharing government made of military and civilian leaders that was established after the country’s long-time dictator, Omar al-Bashir, was overthrown by an uprising in 2019.

After taking power in 2021, the military promised elections in July 2023, but key generals have since started disagreeing on the future of the country.

The two rival factions of the military include General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan’s de factor ruler since the 2021 coup, and his deputy, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemeti, who runs the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group.

Fighting broke out on Saturday April 15, as the two groups vied for control over important infrastructure such as the presidential palace, state television, army headquarters, airports, and sea ports, according to the BBC.

Much of the fighting has happened in urban areas where many civilians are, including the capital Khartoum.

At least 185 people have been killed, more than 1,800 have been injured, and the death toll is still expected to rise.

Civilians are reporting food and water shortages, and humanitarian groups say it is nearly impossible to get aid into Khartoum.

11. An armed mutiny broke out in Russia, almost reached Moscow but was abruptly stopped

In a stunning 36 hours, an armed mutiny broke out in Russia, got within 200 kilometers of Moscow and was abruptly stopped.

On Friday June 23, the leader of the Wagner private military group, which has been fighting alongside Russia, filmed a video where he questioned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying it was based on lies.

Yevgeny Prigozhin said that the Russian government had tried to deceive the public by saying that there was “crazy aggression from Ukraine” and that it was trying to attack Russia “with the whole of NATO.”

He also said that Russian forces had launched an airstrike that killed a “huge” number of Wagner forces and vowed to stop the “the evil that Russia’s military leadership brings.”

Following Prigozhin’s announcement, Russia ordered his arrest on charges of armed rebellion.

At the same time, the Wagner group withdrew from Ukraine, occupied the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and started heading for Moscow.

The next morning on Saturday June 24, Russian president Vladimir Putin made a nationwide address, where he called the armed rebellion “treason” and “a knife in the back of Russia and its people”, adding that those who betrayed Russia would pay.

By this point, the Wagner group was more than half way to Moscow.

Suddenly, at 8:30pm on Saturday, Belarus’ president Aleksander Lukashenko announced that he had brokered a deal with Prigozhin to stop the uprising.

Prigozhin said his forces had come within 200 kilometers of Moscow but was turning back to “prevent bloodshed”.

Wagner forces then started withdrawing from Rostov-on-Don.

The Kremlin said Prigozhin will move to Belarus as part of the deal, and all charges against him will be dropped.

Wagner troops who participated in the rebellion will also receive amnesty, and other Wagner troops will be offered contracts to join the Russian military.

The mutiny has been widely described as a hit to Putin’s strongman image and the biggest challenge to his 23-year rule.

Two months later, Prigozhin died in a plane crash, according to Russian officials.

12. Niger’s military seized power in a coup

On July 26, Niger’s presidential guard launched a coup and detained Mohamed Bazoum, the democratically elected president.

Abdourahamane Tchiani, the former chief of the presidential guard, has been declared as the head of a new transitional military government.

Led by Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, the group announced the coup via televised broadcast on July 27, claiming to have overthrown the government, despite Bazoum refusal to resign.

However, Bazoum, the first democratically elected president in Niger after it gained independence from France in 1960, refused to resign.

After being elected in 2021, he has actively worked on promoting education for girls, reducing the country’s birthrate – which is the highest in the world – and growing the economy.

The coup leaders said they decided to “put an end to [Bazoum’s] regime” to avoid “the gradual and inevitable demise” of the country, NBC News reported, adding that Bazoum had failed to deal with the Islamist insurgency.

However, research indicates Islamist militant attacks have actually dropped in Niger last year, compared to nearby Mali and Burkina Faso.

The string of coups has led to the region being called a “coup belt” with the countries making a chain stretching from the east to west coast of Africa.

If Niger falls, it would be the last country to connect the “belt”, which would destabilize the region and create an opening for Islamic militant extremists to expand their presence, according to the New York Times.

13. Gabon’s military also seized power in a coup after the president was re-elected for a third term

Gabon’s military has seized power in a coup after the president was re-elected for a third term in a contested election.

The coup happened in the early morning of Wednesday Aug. 30, minutes after the country’s electoral commission announced that Ali Bongo Ondimba – known as Ali Bongo – had been re-elected for a third term with 64.27% of the vote.

Gunshots were heard in the capital of Libreville, and then the military appeared on TV, saying that it was annulling the results of the election, dissolving the government and closing the country’s borders until further notice.

It said it had placed 64-year-old Bongo and his eldest son, who is also his advisor, under house arrest and that they were with family and doctors.

After it gained independence from France in 1960, Gabon has primarily been ruled by the Bongo family.

Bongo took over after his father died in 2009 after ruling for 41 years since 1967.

Gabon is one of Africa’s major producers of oil and a member of OPEC, an organization made up of the world’s leading oil-producing countries.

However, the oil wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, and people say the Bongo family has done little to share it among the population of 2.3 million, according to AP.

A third of the population lives below the poverty line, and nearly 40% of people in Gabon aged 15 to 24 were out of work in 2020, according to the World Bank.

The military later named the head of the presidential guard, General Brice Oligui, as interim president.

Oligui told Le Monde later in the day that the military staged the coup because the country was discontent with Bongo, his rule and decision to run for a third term.

The coup was met with some celebrations in the country, with people hoping for a transition to a civilian government.

However, Oligui added that the military was not in a rush to hold elections.

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