December 2022 global news roundup: Human rights regression (and progress); Political reprisals and developments; Geopolitical events

St. Peter's Basilica at Vatican City (Photo by iam_os on Unsplash)

This roundup summarises the most important news stories around the world in the last month (December 2022).

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Human rights are under threat globally. In Afghanistan, women were barred from attending universities. In El Salvador, a state of emergency against gang violence was declared earlier this year, resulting in 100,000 people jailed so far. In Indonesia, as part of a sweeping overhaul of its criminal code, sex outside of marriage was outlawed and laws against blasphemy were expanded. And after months of anti-government protests, Iran abolished its morality police. However, state media also reported the first known execution of an individual involved in the protests.

Separately, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the first pope to resign from the job in 600 years, died at the age of 95. His stint as pope was marred by the handling of sexual abuse cases in the Catholic Church, and his past handling of cases has also been criticised.

Political reprisals and developments

With reprisals, in Argentina, the vice president was found guilty of a billion-dollar fraud scheme. And in Myanmar, ousted leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty in her final trial, and her prison sentence now totals 33 years.

With developments, in Israel, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the formation of a new coalition, which was then sworn in. And in Peru, in a move described as a coup attempt, the president dissolved congress and installed an emergency government to rule by decree. Lawmakers later voted to oust him. The new president declared a state of emergency and proposed for snap general elections in response to nationwide protests, many of whom supported her predecessor.

In Germany, about 25 people were arrested for their suspected involvement in a far-right terrorist group. In other news, an 80-foot-tall cylindrical aquarium in the centre of a hotel collapsed, after experiencing catastrophic failure.

Geopolitical events

A United Nations agreement to protect 30 per cent of Earth’s land and oceans by 2030 was approved by roughly 190 countries.

In China, some local governments have loosened up COVID-19 restrictions in major cities, which has led to a significant spike in cases and deaths. In Taiwan, from 2024, in responses to growing Chinese aggression, the country’s mandatory four-month military service would be extended to one year.

And in the United States (US), the founder of failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas for defrauding investors of billions of dollars. Relatedly, in the country, the family business of former president Donald Trump was convicted of criminal tax fraud in New York.

In other news

With man-made disasters, there were explosions and bombings (Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand), fires (Afghanistan, Cambodia, France, Russia, South Korea), gunfights and shootings (Australia, Canada, Israel and Palestine), prison attack (Mexico), and drownings (the United Kingdom).

And with natural disasters, there were floods (DR Congo, the Philippines, South Africa), landslides (DR Congo, Malaysia, the Philippines), and a deadly massive winter storm system (US).

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