The year 2018 witnessed several events that ruled the TV screens or newspapers across the globe. Some events like lifting of driving ban on woman in Saudi Arabia and the meeting between North Korean premier Kim Jong Un and his South Korean counterpart raised hopes of a better future. While the events like withdrawl of US from Iran-nuclear deal and political crisis in Sri Lanka shook the world to the core, presenting a grim picture of the future. Let's have a look at ten international events that grabbed the headline.
Saudi Arabia lifted driving ban on women
Women in Saudi Arabia are finally able to drive legally after a long-standing ban was lifted by a royal decree. It was the only country left in the world where women could not drive and families had to hire private chauffeurs for female relatives. Dozens of women were arrested for driving in Riyadh in 1990 and some Saudi women began posting videos of themselves at the wheel in 2008, and between 2011 and 2014. In the weeks before the ban was lifted, a number of female driving activists were arrested in Saudi Arabia, casting some doubt on the government’s resolve in relaxing the social control on women.
Trump and Kim Jong Un meeting in Singapore
The unprecedented and surreal talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un culminated with fulsome declarations of a new friendship but just vague pledges of nuclear disarmament.For Trump, that amounted to a triumphant outcome in his extraordinary gamble with the rogue kingdom's despotic leader. But there were scant details on what new commitments had been secured from Kim, even as Trump announced he would end the regular military exercises the US conducts with South Korea.Whether nuclear disarmament is indeed the final outcome of summit won't be known for years, if not decades. But the dramatic act of extending his hand to one of America's longtime adversaries will forever illustrate Trump's gut-driven, norm-shattering tenure.
The 2018 wildfire season is the most destructive and deadly wildfire season on record in California, with a total of 8,527 fires burning an area of 1,893,913 acres (766,439 ha), the largest amount of burned acreage recorded in a fire season, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) and the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), as of December 21. The fires have caused more than $3.5 billion (2018 USD) in damages, including $1.792 billion in fire suppression costs. Through the end of August 2018, Cal Fire alone spent $432 million on operations. The Mendocino Complex Fire burned more than 459,000 acres (186,000 ha), becoming the largest complex fire in the state's history, with the complex's Ranch Fire surpassing the Thomas Fire and the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889 to become California's single-largest recorded wildfire.
Saudi journalist's killing
Jamal Khashoggi, a well-known journalist and critic of the Saudi government, walked into the country's consulate in Istanbul, where he was murdered.
Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor said Khashoggi was killed inside the building on the orders of a rogue intelligence officer.Turkish officials however say they have evidence, including gruesome audio recordings, that the journalist was killed by a team of Saudi agents on orders that came from the highest levels. His body has not yet been found.The steady stream of disturbing allegations, along with the complex diplomatic situation, means that it can be difficult to keep track of the full story.
Imran Khan became Pak PM
Former cricket star Imran Khan was elected prime minister of Pakistan in a vote at the country's National Assembly.His PTI party won the most seats in July's elections - setting up Mr Khan to become PM with the help of small parties, more than two decades after he first entered politics. He ran on an anti-corruption platform that pledged to improve the lives of the country's poor with an "Islamic welfare state".
US withdrawl from Iran-nuclear deal
Donald Trump, at times, framed his opposition to the Iran deal on very personal terms. He has repeatedly mocked former Secretary of State John Kerry, one of the architects of the agreement, including cracks about a bicycle accident that left him with a broken leg. According to one report, Mr Kerry's efforts to reach out to Iranians in recent days helped push the president further toward abandoning the deal. His shift to a more vehemently anti-deal view tracks closely with Trump's full-throated support of Benjamin Netanyahu and the hard-line Israeli side of Middle East peace negotiations, after earlier suggesting he could be a impartial "deal-maker" in the region.
Presidential elections were held in the Maldives on 23 September 2018. Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen of the Progressive Party of Maldives was seeking re-election for a second five-year term. His only challenger was Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party, who was nominated as the joint candidate of a coalition of opposition parties.The result was a surprise victory for Solih, who received over 58% of the vote and was elected as the seventh President of the Maldives. He assumed office on 17 November 2018. Solih is the country's third democratically-elected president since Mohamed Nasheed's victory over Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in the 2008 elections which ended a 30-year incumbency.
Kim Jong UN and Moon Jae-in meeting
The leaders of North and South Korea, Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in, met for a historic summit in Pyongyang — and it began as a deeply emotional event. It’s the first time South Korea’s president traveled to Pyongyang, and there’s good reason for Moon to have made the trip. Talks between North Korea and the United States over how to dismantle Kim’s nuclear arsenal have stalled, so Moon traveled north in part to get negotiations back on track. But he’s also there to discuss sensitive matters in the Seoul-Pyongyang relationship, mainly how to live in peace despite the threat of nuclear war — and even possibly the reunification of the two countries that have remained formally split since 1945.
Sri Lanka political crisis
A constitutional crisis began in Sri Lanka when President Maithripala Sirisena appointed former president and member of parliament Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister on 26 October 2018 before formally dismissing the incumbent Ranil Wickremesinghe, resulting in two concurrent prime ministers. Wickremesinghe and the United National Party (UNP) viewed the appointment as illegal, and he refused to resign.
Tsunami in Indonesia
The deadly tsunami in Indonesia was triggered by a chunk of the Anak Krakatau volcano slipping into the ocean, amid calls for a new early warning system that can detect volcanic eruptions.At least 373 people were killed and many buildings were heavily damaged when the tsunami struck, almost without warning, along the rim of the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands.