December 2021 Current Events: World News

Updated January 2, 2022 | Infoplease Staff

US News | Science & Technology News | Disaster News

The world is a very busy place, and it's hard to stay on top of everything. Infoplease has got you covered. Here are the world news events you need to know so far for December 2021:

  1. Violence and Tragedies Continue into the Last Week of 2021
  2. Coronavirus Updates (5)
  3. Tragedies and Violence Continue into the Fourth Week of December
  4. Coronavirus Updates (4)
  5. Big Political Moves as 2021 Comes to a Close
  6. Tragedies Continue Into the Third Week of December
  7. Coronavirus Updates (3)
  8. More Elections Occur Around the World
  9. Protests and Killings Continue Around the World
  10. Coronavirus Updates (2)
  11. Violence and Tragedies Continue into December
  12. Coronavirus Updates

Violence and Tragedies Continue into the Last Week of 2021

Desmond Tutu

Photo Source: AP Photo/Jerome Delay

On Saturday, December 25, the UN released a report that at least 30 people, including women and children, were killed in Myanmar. There are also still two people missing from the international humanitarian group Save the Children. The report alleges that junta troops went into a village, attacking people and destroying their property in what is being called a Christmas massacre. The military has been in control since a coup back in February.[1] On Sunday, December 26, it was reported that Desmond Tutu died at the age of 90. The famous Archbishop and anti-apartheid leader had been in ill health for years. Despite his death, Tutu’s influence on South Africa remains very apparent.[2] On Monday, December 27, the Taliban announced that it is banning road trips for solo women in Afghanistan. Women now must have a male accompanying them if they are traveling farther than 45 miles. The Taliban has also banned playing music in vehicles. This comes as another blow to women’s rights, after the Taliban imposed restrictions last month.[3] On Tuesday, December 28, it was confirmed that the two Save the Children workers died in the attack on the Myanmar civilians.[4] On Friday, December 31, despite a ban in Europe, fireworks killed at least 3 people and injured scores more. A few arrests have been made. Both the Netherlands and Germany had high reports of illegal fireworks.[5] On Friday, December 31, only 874 cars were scorched in France, a figure much lower than previous years. The old tradition was yet another event that face Covid restrictions as the new year came.[6]
Source: [1]CNN [2]CNN [3]BBC [4]CNN [5]BBC [6]CNN

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Coronavirus Updates (5)

Flight Cancellations

Photo Source: AP Photo/LM Otero

On Monday, December 27, another 2,000 flights were cancelled as crew members continued to test positive or be sent into isolation. At least 700 of the flights were meant to go into, around, our out of the US. It appears that the US and China have been hit hardest by these cancellations and delays. The US is also facing similar issues with cruise ships, as many are seeing a spike in cases and are denied entry into some countries.[1] On Monday, December 27, Israel announced it will be rolling out a fourth wave of vaccines. Those 60 and older who have received the third dose over four months ago will be eligible for the fourth dose. Experts have admitted to not fully knowing whether the fourth dose will help, but hoping that they are getting ahead of the curve based on previous data.[2] On Tuesday, December 28, protests in Germany turned violent as demonstrators protested against the newest Covid-19 restrictions. The group has been gathering since restrictions were announced on Sunday night. The demonstrations saw at least 500 people marching, with many throwing objects and shouting insults at police. At least 23 people were criminally charged and hundreds more were hit with misdemeanors.[3] On Wednesday, December 29, it was reported that many Latin American countries have reached higher vaccination rates than Europe and North America. This news is surprising since just six months ago, these countries were struggling to obtain vaccines.[4] On Friday, December 31, it was reported that an Antarctic outpost was hit by a Covid-19 outbreak. The Belgian research center is surprised by the outbreak as it is in a remote location and all staff are fully vaccinated. Luckily, the cases remain mild.[5] On Friday, December 31, the daily number of Covid cases in India rose by 22,775. This rise comes after the country managed to keep cases under 10,000 for some time.[6] On Friday, December 31, Hong Kong reported its first Omicron outbreak. The area had a long streak of 0 cases, but now fears a larger outbreak is on the horizon. Two local cases were discovered and a case of someone coming from the US.[7]
Source: [1]CNN [2]CNN [3]CNN [4]CNN [5]BBC [6]CNN [7]CNN

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Tragedies and Violence Continue into the Fourth Week of December

Bangladesh Fire

Photo Source: AP Photo

On Sunday, December 19, the death toll in the tragic bouncy castle incident in Australia rose to 6. A few days earlier, a school event in Australia turned ugly after the bouncy castle blew into the air while children were on it. Nine children fell 32 feet from the air, with 6 of them succumbing to their injuries. The victims were between 11 and 12 years old.[1] On Friday, December 24, at least 38 people were killed in a Bangladesh ferry fire. The fire is believed to have started from the engine room. More than 50 people have been admitted to the hospital, and officials believe the death toll will rise in the coming days.[2] On Saturday, December 25, officers in Sudan fired tear gas into a crowd of pro-democracy protesters. This is the second time the demonstrators have converged on the presidential palace in Khartoum in the past week, except this time, they were met with heavy security. The military government had restricted internet and cellphone access earlier in the day. More than 100 people have been injured in clashes with the police.[3] On Saturday, December 25, officials reported that an armed suspect had been arrested at the Windsor Castle, where Queen Elizabeth II and some family members were celebrating Christmas. Security forces were able to stop the threat before the 19-year-old suspect was able to enter the building.[4] On Saturday, December 25, at least 16 people died after a boat overturned off the Greek island of Paros. Many of the ship’s occupants are thought to have been migrants. This is the third tragedy involving migrants in the last few months. Rescue missions have been ongoing.[5]
Source: [1]CNN [2]CNN [3]BBC [4]CNN [5]CNN

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Coronavirus Updates (4)

Hockey Covid

Photo Source: AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

On Wednesday, December 21, Spain announced new measures which will require masks outdoors as Covid cases continue to soar. The rule, which was dropped only six months ago, was reinstated after the country saw a record 49,823 cases on Tuesday. The Omicron variant is suspected to be contributed to over half the cases.[1] On Wednesday, December 21, Xi’an, China announced another stay-at-home order after the city saw a record 143 cases in 24 hours. Only one person per household is allowed to leave for essential goods every two days. The ruling follows China’s strict zero-Covid policy.[2] On Wednesday, December 20, Canada announced plans to extend its economic support program after it announced another shutdown due to the Omicron variant. Canada saw 11,300 new cases the previous day. Government officials have also been testing positive recently.[3] On Wednesday, December 20, the NHL announced that it will not send players to the Winter Olympics. China still plans to move forward with the Olympics in February. The decision comes after the NHL put games on hold for a while as Covid cases continue to surge throughout the league.[4] On Friday, December 24, thousands of Christmas flights were cancelled as the Omicron variant forced many countries to reimpose restrictions. Italy and Greece joined Spain in the new outdoor mask mandate. Catalonia has imposed a strict curfew, and the Netherlands is on a full lockdown once again. Though scientists believe the Omicron variant to be more mild, it is resulting in more cases overall.[5] On Friday, December 24, President Biden announced that the US will be lifting travel restrictions placed on Southern African countries. The restrictions will officially be lifted on December 31.[6]
Source: [1]BBC [2]BBC [3]BBC [4]BBC [5]BBC [6]CNN

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Big Political Moves as 2021 Comes to a Close

Jacob Zuma

Photo Source: AP Photo/Jerome Delay, Pool

On Tuesday, December 14, Malta became the first country in Europe to legalize cannabis for recreational use. The bill is expected to be signed into effect by the president later this week.[1] On Wednesday, December 15, South Africa’s High Court ordered that former President Jacob Zuma be returned to jail. He was released on medical parole, The 79-year-old is serving a 15 month sentence for contempt of court. The court also denied Zuma’s request to overturn his conviction.[2] On Friday, December 17, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala's new center-right government took office, already facing high inflation and energy costs, as well as rising Covid cases. The new government has secured the majority in the 200 member lower-house.[3]
Source: [1] CNN [2]CNN [3]CNN

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Tragedies Continue Into the Third Week of December

Japan Fire

Photo Source: AP Photo/Chisato Tanaka

On Monday, December 13, a suspected gas explosion killed at least 7 people in Sicily, Italy. At least 4 residential buildings collapsed as a result of the explosion. More than 100 people were able to evacuate, but rescuers are still searching for two missing people.[1] On Wednesday, December 15, at least nine people were killed after a private jet crashed in the Dominican Republic. One of the victims, Jose A. Hernandez (Flow La Movie) was a well known Puerto Rican music producer. His wife and children also died aboard. Little other information has been released.[2] On Wednesday, December 15, a gas tanker exploded in Haiti’s second-largest city, killing at least 71 people. Officials have been asking the public for blood donations to help the dire situation in Cap-Haitien. The truck exploded after it began leaking gas. Not only are the deaths devastating, but Haiti has been facing a major fuel shortage, as well.[3] On Friday, December 17, Haiti’s justice minister announced that the remaining 12 hostages kidnapped by a gang two months ago have been released. The group, which was released and found the day before, have already been flown back to the US. The ransom was reportedly paid, but not by the US government.[4] On Friday, December 17, at least 27 people are feared dead after a fire broke out in a building in Japan. Police are still investigating whether it was an accident or a case of arson.[5]
Source: [1]BBC [2]CNN [3]CNN [4]CNN [5]CNN

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Coronavirus Updates (2)

Germany Covid

Photo Source: Photo/Michael Probst

On Monday, December 13, the CDC announced that it is adding Italy, Greenland, and Mauritius to the high-risk category for Covid-19. The call to move Italy up comes just a few days after the CDC made the call for its neighbor, France. Europe has seen quite the rise in Covid cases with the Omicron variant.[1] On Monday, December 13, South Africa announced that its president, Cyril Ramaphosa has tested positive for Covid-19. Luckily, Ramaphosa has only mild symptoms at the moment. The president is currently receiving treatment for his mild symptoms.[2] On Wednesday, December 15, it was reported that German officials have stopped a murder plot developed by far-right anti-vaxxers. The plot detailed weapons such as arrows and crossbows and was targeting Governor Michael Kretschmer, who is pro-vaccine. Others in the Saxony state government were also on the hit list. Politicians and media outlets have reportedly received packages with threats in the last few weeks, as well.[3] On Saturday, December 18, officials warned that the Omicron variant is spreading like wildfire in France. Experts believe it will be the dominate variant here soon.[4] On Saturday, December 18, it was reported that hospital admissions in England are up to 3,000 a day. Experts are urging the country to impose restrictions before the numbers get worse. Many of the hospitalizations are thought to be the Omicron variant, which is spreading rapidly in even countries with high immunity.[5]
Source: [1]CNN [2]CNN [3]CNN [4]BBC [5]BBC

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More Elections Occur Around the World

Germany Election

Photo Source: Photo/Markus Schreiber

On Monday, December 6, Adama Barrow was declared the presidential election winner in Gambia. President Barrow won re-election by gaining 53% of the vote. Barrow’s rival, Ousainou Darboe and his team have claimed they will not accept the results. This happened last year after Barrow beat out Yahya Jammeh, ending his 22 year rule. Though Jammeh has been exiled, he still remains influential and Barrow’s reelection is a testament to the newfound democracy of the country.[1] On Monday, December 6, Eric Zemmour, a far-right, French presidential candidate was grabbed and attacked at his first campaign rally. As Zemmour walked through the crowd, a man briefly grabbed him by the neck before being stopped by security. Many other violent clashes plagued the event.[2] On Wednesday, December 8, Olaf Scholz was officially sworn in to replace Merkel as Chancellor of Germany. As the leader of the Social Democratic Party, Scholz was the projected winner of the secret Parliament vote. He will end Merkel’s four terms.[3] On Friday, December 10, Nicaragua announced that it is ending relations with Taiwan and embracing Beijing. This new vote is a major win for China.[4]
Source: [1]BBC [2]BBC [3]CNN [4]CNN

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Protests and Killings Continue Around the World

Mexico Bus Crash

Photo Source: AP Photo/Felix Marquez

On Monday, December 6, the US and other allied countries called for the Taliban to stop killing Afghan security forces. The call comes after a report of potential killings and missing persons was released. The US is asking the Taliban to agree to leave former government officials and security forces alone. There have been at least 100 reported cases of disappearances and executions.[1] On Monday, December 6, the former leader of Colombia’s Farc Rebels was ambushed and killed in Venezuela. The Colombian army has not verified the death of Hernán Darío Velásquez, nicknamed El Paisa and has stated it knows nothing of the killing. The investigation is ongoing.[2] On Monday, December 6, ousted Myanmar leader AungSan Suu Kyi was sentenced to 4 years in prison. Suu Kyi faces a total of 11 charges, which once added up, could result in life in prison. The current charge Suu Kyi faced was inciting dissent and breaking Covid restrictions.[3] On Monday, December 6, protests erupted in Pakistan and Sri Lanka after a Sri Lankan man accused of blasphemy was killed in a brutal mob killing in Pakistan. More than 100 people have been arrested so far in relation to the attack. Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka have had multiple vigils to honor the man brutally killed.[4] On Tuesday, December 7, a police officer in Kenya went on a rampage, killing 6 people before shooting himself. Police believe the incident began with his wife in his home. The incident is still under investigation.[5] On Wednesday, December 8, India’s top military commander, Bipin Rawat was killed, along with his wife and 11 other people, in a helicopter crash. At least one person survived the crash. The Indian Air Force has opened an investigation.[6] On Friday, December 10, at least 55 people were killed and another 100 injured after a truck carrying over 100 migrants crashed in Mexico. Witnesses claim the truck was speeding before it crashed, but an investigation is still ongoing.[7] On Friday, December 10, the Pakistani Taliban declared an end to its ceasefire with Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban is a separate entity than the Afghan Taliban, but the two sometimes work together.[8]
Source: [1]BBC [2]BBC [3]BBC [4]BBC [5]CNN [6]BBC [7]CNN [8]CNN

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Coronavirus Updates (2)

Austria Protest

Photo Source: AP Photo/Florian Schroetter

On Sunday, December 5, police clashed with protesters in Belgium over new Covid restrictions. The new measures include a mask mandate for children over the age of 6 and early closure of kindergarten and primary schools. Video footage shows police using water cannons to quell protesters attempting to kick down barricades.[1] On Monday, December 6, a Norway Christmas party, deemed a “superspreader” event, led to at least 13 people testing positive for the Omicron variant. This is the largest outbreak outside of South Africa, and officials believe there could be up to 60 cases.[2] On Monday, December 6, CNN reported that South Africa is going into overdrive to try to stop the spread of the Omicron variant. Many churches have closed and graduations and celebrations have been canceled. Many schools now have at least one positive case, as well.[3] On Wednesday, December 8, Germany recorded its highest number of Covid daily deaths since February 2019. Nearly 70,000 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours and at least 527 people died during the 24 hour period. The country has recorded over 100,000 deaths since the pandemic began.[4] On Saturday, December 11, tens of thousands of people protested new Covid measures in Austria. Vienna reimposed a lockdown for those who are vaccinated, making it one of the first European countries to do so. Though the lockdown ends for vaccinated tomorrow, it will continue for those who are unvaccinated. While the government is not forcing vaccinations, it is imposing fines up to $4,000 for those who refuse to get the jab. Only about 69% of Austria’s population is vaccinated, making it one of the lowest rates in Europe.[5] On Saturday, December 11, Brazil announced plans to require all visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19. A Supreme Court judge in Brazil passed a law requiring proof of vaccination for foreigners. This ruling goes in direct opposition to President Bolsonaro’s beliefs.[6]
Source: [1]CNN [2]CNN [3]CNN [4]CNN [5]BBC [6]BBC

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Violence and Tragedies Continue into December

Kenya Bus Crash

Photo Source: AP Photo/Alphonce Garibaldi's

On Saturday, December 4, local authorities announced that Mali militants killed at least 31 people. The militants shot at a bus ferrying people to local markets. The armed men slashed the tires of the bus before firing at people in central Mali. Security forces quickly entered the scene.[1] On Saturday, December 4, at least 23 choir members drowned after a bus crashed into a flooded river in Kenya. The passengers were headed to a wedding. Reporters stated that at least 12 people had been rescued. Kenya has experienced unusual levels of rain this year.[2]
Source: [1]CNN [2]BBC

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Coronavirus Updates

Omicron Variant

Photo Source: AP Photo/Bob Edme

On Wednesday, December 1, Nigeria recorded its first three cases of the Omicron variant. As a result, Nigeria has tightened restrictions, requiring negative Covid tests 2 days before people enter the country.[1] On Thursday, December 2, it was reported that cases in South Africa are rapidly increasing with the new Omicron variant. Over 11,000 new cases were reported in just 24 hours.[2] On Thursday, December 2, Germany announced a nationwide lockdown for those who are unvaccinated. Unvaccinated people will be barred from entering all but absolutely essential businesses, which include pharmacies and supermarkets. Under these restrictions, unvaccinated people will also only be allowed to meet with two people from other households, as Germany continues to push for higher vaccination rates.[3] On Saturday, December 4, Brazil’s Supreme Court announced that it was opening an inquiry into comments made by President Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro allegedly linked the Covid-19 vaccine to higher chances of contracting aids. The comments, which were made in a livestream, led to Bolsonaro’s temporary suspension from Facebook and YouTube under their new privacy laws.[4] On Saturday, December 4, it was announced that two hippos with runny noses in a Belgian zoo later tested positive for Covid-19. The two hippos have been placed under quarantine.[5]
Source: [1]CNN [2]BBC [3]CNN [4]BBC [5]BBC

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