Here’s What Happened Around The World In February 2023

Take a look back at some of the biggest stories that happened around the world in February 2023.

Here’s What Happened Around The World In February 2023

From devastating natural disasters to historic legal victories, the world has seen some major events this February.

Here are nine of the biggest stories that you might have missed this month.

1. A Magnitude 7.8 Earthquake Struck Turkey And Syria, Killing More Than 50,000 People

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on February 6, 4:17 a.m. local time in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep and was felt throughout northwest Syria.

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

Tens of thousands of people have been injured, and WHO officials said expect the number of casualties to rise by “eight fold”.

Aerial views show cities and villages completely destroyed.

“It was like the apocalypse,” a Syrian man told Reuters.

“There were 12 families under there. Not a single one came out. Not one,” another man from Aleppo, Syria, said.

Just two weeks after, another 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey.

It hit near the Turkish city of Antakya about 8:04 p.m. local time on Monday Feb. 20, killing at least six people and injuring 294 others, according to AP.

The Finnish parliament approved a new law making it easier for people to legally change their gender.

The new law will allow people over 18 to choose their legal gender on official documents without undergoing invasive medical and psychological procedures.

Individuals can now use a declaration to change their gender on official documents.

The new law includes a 30-day “reflection period” in which people can change their minds.

3. This Iranian Couple Was Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Dancing Together In Public

An Iranian influencer couple who posted a video of them dancing together in public on Instagram has been sentenced a total of 10 years in prison for “promoting indecency, threatening national security and creating propaganda against the regime.”

The video, posted in October, shows 21-year-old Astiazh Haqiqi and her 22-year-old fiancé, Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, dancing near the Azadi (Freedom) Tower in Iran’s capital, Tehran.

The influencers, who have a total of two million followers across their various accounts, were arrested shortly after posting the video, according to a source confirmed by BBC.

Additionally, the couple have been banned from social media and leaving the country for two years, according to HRANA.

4. This Kenyan Woman Politician Went To Parliament With A Period Stain As A Protest But Was Ejected

Gloria Orwoba, a nominated senator, went to parliament with what looked like a period stain on her trousers to protest period poverty and stigma.

She was then asked to leave the parliament after she arrived in white trousers stained with fake menstrual blood.

Orwoba is campaigning for a bill to help end both issues.

“Unfortunately I have been kicked out because I’m on my period and we are not supposed to show our period when we are on our period and that is the kind of period stigma girls and women are having outside,” Orwoba told journalists outside.

Period poverty is a serious issue in Kenya, with less than 65% of Kenyan women able to afford sanitary products, according to 2020 statistics from Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Instead of changing, she then visited a school to distribute sanitary pads.

5. The US Shot Down A Giant Chinese Spy Balloon That Had Been Hovering Over The Country For Days

The US shot down a giant Chinese spy balloon that had been hovering over the country for a week.

US security officials announced on Thursday Feb. 2 they had detected the surveillance balloon days before and was tracking it.

Officials said the balloon had traveled from China and arrived in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands on Saturday Jan. 28 before entering Canadian airspace.

It reentered US airspace through Idaho on Tuesday and hovered over Montana, home to key military sites, on Wednesday.

On Friday, China’s foreign ministry said the balloon was a “civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes” and that it had been blown off course and unintentionally entered US airspace.

However, the US military said on Friday that the balloon had changed course, demonstrating the ability to manuever, countering China’s claims it had “limited self-steering capability.”

White House officials said the spy balloon was not a military threat but a “violation of our sovereignty.”

The news sparked a diplomatic crisis, with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken canceling a trip beginning on Friday to Beijing, where he was supposed to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

6. This Czech Football Player Became The World’s First Active Player To Come Out As Gay

Jakub Jankto, a Czech football player, became the first active and highest-profile international male player to come out as gay.

The 27-year-old, who is on loan at Sparta Prague from Spanish club Getafe, shared a video on Twitter making the announcement on Monday Feb. 13.

“Like everybody else, I also want to live my life in freedom without fears, without prejudice, without violence, but with love,” Jankto said.

“I am homosexual, and I no longer want to hide myself,” he said.

7. Scotland’s First Woman Leader Nicola Sturgeon Announced She Is Resigning

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced her resignation on Wednesday Feb. 15, after eight years in office.

During her speech, Sturgeon said she had questioned whether remaining was the best choice for herself, the country, party, and the Scottish independence movement.

“In my head and in my heart I know that time is now. That it is right for me, for my party and for the country.”

As the longest serving Scottish first minister, she led Scotland through the pandemic, became the head of the independence movement and advocated for education and transgender rights.

8. This Same-Sex Couple Sued South Korea’s Health Insurance For Denying Them Partner Status And Won

South Korea’s supreme court has ruled that its national health insurance must cover same-sex partners, recognizing the rights of same-sex couples for the first time.

It comes after So Seong-wook and Kim Yong-min, a same-sex couple, brought forward a case when one partner was denied insurance cover as a dependent of his partner.

In South Korea, a spouse or partner can be considered a dependent under their partner’s health insurance plan and are not required to make separate payments if they meet certain criteria.

The couple filed a lawsuit at a lower court, which sided with the national health insurance, but they appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday Feb. 21, the high court ruled in favor of the couple, arguing that the decision to deny the benefit to same-sex couples could be considered discrimination, given that the national health insurance had previously granted the benefit to civil unions.

The decision has been hailed as a landmark one that will hopefully bring South Korea closer to marriage equality.

9. After Being Hit By The Worst Flood In A Century, New Zealand Was Hit By The Worst Storm In A Century

New Zealand experienced its worst storm in a century, which came just weeks after New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, was hit by its worst flood in modern history.

Cyclone Gabrielle brought torrential rain to the country’s north island starting Feb. 11, and is estimated to have affected five million residents, which is almost a third of New Zealand’s population.

175.8 millimeters of rain was recorded during a 24 hour period, which is three times the average amount seen in February.

Authorities have reported at least five people have died, including a child.

10,500 people have been displaced and around 225,000 people were left without power because of the storm.

The New Zealand government declared a state of emergency in six regions, the third time in the country’s history.

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