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  • The world in 2018.

    The world in 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 December 2018
Opinion

From the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to Gaza's March of Return to the yellow vest protests, teleSUR summarizes the top 10 world news of 2018.

2018 was a year of great political shock, important progressive victories, and untiring resistance. Here we summarize the top 10 news of the year. For our 10 top stories in Latin America click here.

1) The U.S. Imprisons Thousands of Migrant Children

A New York Times report in September revealed that 12,800 migrant children were being detained by the United States' government.

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US Authorities Blame Parents For Migrant Kids’ Deaths

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) attributed the increase to policies blocking children from living with relatives or sponsors while their court cases progressed, and not to an increase in the number of children entering the U.S.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned of the negative effects of child detention.

U.S. authorities came under scrutiny again when two Guatemalan migrant children died under its custody in December.

Rather than recognizing U.S. responsibility and correcting the methods used to deal with migrants who have the right under international law to seek asylum, the government of President Donald Trump shifted the burden onto migrant parents who “bring their children on a dangerous and illegal journey.”

2) Palestinians Defy the Israeli Occupation: Gaza’s March of Return

Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip planned a 46-day tent city protest near the Israeli "border" fence to demand their right as refugees to return to the towns and cities Israel claimed in 1948.

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Israel Seizes More Land Speeding Division of Occupied Palestine

It began on March 30, "Land Day," which commemorates the murder of six Palestinians during demonstrations in 1976 over land theft. It was supposed to end on May 15, the Day of the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” when Palestinians remember the forced displacement of over 700,000 people as a result of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

The march turned bloody when Israeli snipers started shooting Palestinians. Seven months after it was scheduled to end, protests in Gaza remain strong.

Over 250 Palestinians have been killed and over 20,000 injured. Many survivors have lost their limbs after being shot by Israeli soldiers. Human rights organizations have condemned Israel’s “shot-to-kill-or-maim” policy.

Gaza has been under Israeli blockade since 2007, plunging over two million Palestinian refugees into a humanitarian crisis.

3) South Africa Approved Land Expropriation to End Apartheid’s Legacy

South Africa’s National Assembly voted on Dec. 4, voted to amend Section 25 of the constitution which stipulates land can only be expropriated with compensation, paving the way for expropriating land without compensation.

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South Africa: Parliament Votes in Favor of Land Expropriation Without Compensation.

Millions in the Black-majority country were dispossessed of their land by a white minority during the apartheid regime, which legalized racial segreagation and institutionalized white dominance.

Since the end of apartheid in the early 1990s, no more than 10 percent of the white-owned land has been transferred back to Black South Africans. Most of South Africa's arable land remains controlled by white farmers.

The land expropriation without compensation plan seeks to take back lands from white Afrikaners and redistribute them to Black citizens.

4) Decriminalization of Sexual Diversity in India

On Sept. 6, a five-judge constitution bench in India arrived at a unanimous decision on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalized consensual same-sex relations. They ruled it violated the constitutional right to equality and dignity.

ANALYSIS:

The History and Activism of the LGBTQ Community in India

Section 377 was a remnant of Great Britain’s Buggery Act of 1533, which prohibited “the detestable and abominable offense” of buggery (anal intercourse) committed with mankind or beast.”

The LGBTI community celebrated when the Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexuality in 2009. But the Supreme Court reversed the judgment on Dec. 11, 2013.

Homosexuals were considered criminals after the 2013 Supreme Court judgment and witnessed an upsurge of activism in India.

Since the 2009 ruling was overturned, activists filed several petitions challenging the order. After India witnessed increasing protests, the draconian law was scrapped in 2018.

5) U.S. Midterms and the Rise of Democratic Socialists

The United States midterm elections marked a definitive moment in President Donald Trump’s term in office as people targeted by Trump and his supporters scored important victories.

ANALYSIS:

7 Progressive Takeaways From the US Midterm Elections

For the first time in U.S. history more than 100 women, women of color, LGBT, and Native Americans were elected to Congress and the Senate.

Furthermore, three members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Julia Salazar, and Rashida Tlaib won their races in New York and Michigan.

Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman elected to Congress in the country’s history.

Rashida Tlaib, daughter to Palestinian immigrants, made history by becoming the first female Muslim to serve in Congress.

Democratic congressman from Colorado, Jared Polis, became the first openly gay man elected governor.

Sharice Davids, became the first Native American woman to become a congresswoman. 

6) Koreas Talk in Decades

In a historical move, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in met with his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un three times this year after decades of silence.

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North Korean Officials Attend Peace Forum in South Korea

During their meetings, apart from critical denuclearization talks, both leaders vowed to bring an end to the Korean War. The 1950-1953 war ended in a ceasefire but was never finalized with a peace treaty.

In October, as a result of their meetings, North and South Korea started the process of removing landmines from the 248-kilometer Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which separates the two countries.  

Both nations committed to extracting the explosive devices as well as removing a dozen guard posts.

7) Ahed Tamimi: Teen Becomes Symbol of Palestinian Resistance

Ahed Tamimi, a young girl, became a symbol of Palestinian resistance after she was arrested on Dec.19, 2017, days after being filmed –with her cousin Nour Tamimi– slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers who had invaded her home near Ramallah.

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‘We Inherited Revolution’ Says Ahed Tamimi

The 17-year-old  garnered international attention and major support from high-profile artists, actors, academics, and athletes across the globe.

The young activist from the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank and her mother Nariman were released from Israeli prison in late July.

After being released, Ahed started a European tour highlighting the plight of occupation.

According to her, revolution is the only way to denounce the  Israeli occupation.


8) Khashoggi Murder Overshadows Murder of Over 50,000 in Yemen

Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident journalist from Saudi Arabia and Washington Post columnist went into a self-imposed exile to the United States one year ago, when the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman started his widespread crackdown on dissenters.

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Western Powers Decline to Cut Ties With Saudi Arabia Despite Outcry Over Khashoggi’s Murder

He went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to get papers for his marriage and never returned. Turkey maintained that the kingdom’s officials killed him inside the consulate.

After three weeks of denial, the kingdom accepted Khashoggi was killed in the consulate but claimed the crown prince had no knowledge of the "rogue operation."

The Central Intelligence Agency concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination.

The death of Khashoggi shook the world, caused a diplomatic crisis and drew condemnation from various countries.

The murder of over 56,000 people in the Saudi-led war on Yemen did not warrant the same response. The Saudi-led intervention began in March 2015. On Dec. 12, the U.S Senate voted to cut U.S. military support for the Saudi Arabia-led war on Yemen. This push to vote came after an uproar over the killing of Khashoggi.


9) Yellow Vest Protests

French people wearing yellow vests took over streets and roads to protest against an elitist government and pro-elite policies of the President Emmanuel Macron.

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Despite Police Repression, France's 'Yellow Vests' Continues as Leftist Parties, Student Movements Join Forces

After three weeks of intense protests, President Macron bowed down to protesters and announced on Dec. 4 the suspension of fuel tax for at least six months. He later scrapped the fuel tax from the 2019 budget.

This mobilization, which originated from social network messages calling for protest, was initially focused on the rejection of fuel taxes. However, the social mobilization quickly expanded to other demands such as the increase in purchasing power of the middle and lower classes and the resignation of President Macron.

According to French officials, 10 people have died since mid-November, mostly in car accidents. Throughout France 200 roundabouts remain occupied by yellow vest protesters.

The protests extended to other countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Greece, and Italy.


10) U.S. Moves Embassy in Israel to Occupied Jerusalem:

The United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city of Jerusalem on May 14 fulfilling a controversial pledge by U.S. President Donald Trump who recognized the holy city as the Israeli capital.

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Israel Loses UN Diplomatic Battle, Must Leave Golan Heights

Israel took over the eastern part of Jerusalem during the 1967 war, when it also took over the West Bank, previously under Jordanian control. In 1980, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and declared the whole city as its capital, a move that was rejected by most countries in the world.

The western side of the city is part of the widely-accepted territory of the state of Israel, which was founded in 1948. The Palestinian leadership and most of the international community consider East Jerusalem as occupied territory and the future capital of a sovereign Palestinian state.

Palestine filed a complaint against the U.S. at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in late September.

Since the U.S. decision, other countries like Guatemala have also moved their embassies and South American giant, Brazil, has promised to follow suit.

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