As 2018 has come to an end, here is a peek into the important events that took place this year.
January 20: Turkey, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, announces the beginning of a military offensive to capture a portion of northern Syria from Kurdish forces, amidst the ongoing Kurdish–Turkish conflict.
January 31: A total lunar eclipse happened. The Moon appears as a supermoon, with perigee being on January 30. It is also the first blue moon eclipse since 1983. It was also referred to as the super blue blood moon.
February 11: Saratov Airlines Flight 703 crashes shortly after take-off from Moscow, killing 71 people on board.
February 14: Jacob Zuma resigns as President of South Africa after nine years in power.
March 9: President of the United States Donald Trump accepts an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a meeting in May to discuss the denuclearization of North Korea.
March 11: People’s Republic of China’s government approves a constitutional change that removes term limits for its leaders, granting Xi Jinping the status of “President for Life”.
March 18: In the Russian presidential election, Vladimir Putin is elected for a fourth term. Putin assumed the office in January 2000.
March 26: More than 100 Russian diplomats are expelled by more than 20 countries in the wake of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
March 28: North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un meets Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping, leaving the country for the first time since assuming office in 2011.
April 14: Syrian Civil War: The United States, the United Kingdom and France order the bombing of Syrian military bases in response to the sarin attack allegedly by the Bashar al-Assad regime on civilians in Ghouta.
April 18: Cinemas open in Saudi Arabia for the first time since 1983 with the American film Black Panther chosen as the first to be screened.
- Miguel Díaz-Canel is sworn in as President of Cuba, marking the first time since 1959 that Cuba has had a president other than Fidel or Raúl Castro.
- Swaziland changes its English name, officially becoming the Kingdom of Eswatini.
April 27: Kim Jong-Un crosses into South Korea to meet with President Moon Jae-In, becoming the first North Korean leader to cross the Demilitarized Zone since its creation in 1953.
May 8: US President Donald Trump announces his intention to withdraw the United States from the Iranian nuclear agreement. In a statement, former US President Barack Obama calls the move “a serious mistake”.
May 9: The opposition-led Pakatan Harapan coalition, led by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, secures a parliamentary majority in the Malaysian Parliament, ending the 61-year rule of the Barisan Nasional coalition since independence in 1957.
May 24: Foreign journalists report that tunnels in the Punggye-ri nuclear test site have been destroyed by the North Korean government in a move to reduce regional tensions.
June 24: In a historic move, Saudi Arabia allows women to drive.
July 6: US tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods come into effect, as President Trump suggests the final total could reach $550bn. China accuses the US of starting the “largest trade war in economic history” and announces immediate retaliatory tariffs.
July 25: Scientists report the presence of a subglacial lake on Mars, 1.5 km (0.93 mi) below the southern polar ice cap and extending sideways about 20 km (12 mi), the first known body of water on the planet.
July 27: The longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century occurs and Mars makes its closest approach to Earth since 2003.
August 2: American tech giant Apple Inc. becomes the world’s first public company to achieve a market capitalization of $1 trillion.
August 7: The United States reimposes sanctions on Iran.
September 6: The Supreme Court of India decriminalises homosexuality.
September 28: A magnitude 7.5 earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia, causing a tsunami that kills at least 2,256 people and injures more than 10,679 others.
October 2: Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, triggering a diplomatic crisis for Saudi Arabia.
October 19: At least 59 people are killed and at least 100 injured when a train runs through a crowd at a Hindu festival in Punjab, India.
- 700,000 people march through central London demanding a second referendum on the final Brexit deal. The event is the second most attended protest of the 21st century in the United Kingdom after the “Stop the War” anti-Iraq War march in 2003.
- President Trump announces that the US will “terminate” the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty over alleged Russian violations.
October 23: The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge, the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge, is opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
October 29: Indonesian airline Lion Air’s scheduled domestic flight ‘Flight 610’ crashes off the coast of Java, with 189 passengers on board.
November 28: Chinese scientist He Jiankui, at a public conference in Hong Kong, announces that he has altered the DNA of twin human girls born earlier in the month to try to make them resistant to infection with the HIV virus; he also reveals the possible second pregnancy of another gene-modified baby.
December 1-8: France experiences its worst civil unrest since the protests of 1968 due to the yellow vests movement. Protests in Paris morph into riots, with hundreds of people injured and thousands arrested; over 100 cars are burned, the Arc de Triomphe is vandalized and numerous other tourist sites are closed, both in the capital and elsewhere in the country.