7 Big Stories That Broke in 2020 That You May Have Missed and Should Know About
The year's newsworthy stories that didn't make major headlines.
It was hard to escape the news in 2020. Between the coronavirus pandemic, political upheaval and civil rights movements, once-in-a-lifetime news was being made every single day. And yet, there were moments that occurred this year that in any other year, would have been considered big news. Below are seven big stories that broke in 2020 that you may have missed and will want to know about.
1. Is the U.S. Finally Talking About UFOs?
Flying objects and bright lights in the air might not be airplanes or shooting stars, the government has said, reasserting the mystifying phenomenon that extraterrestrial life is among us, according to a report by The New York Times. In April, the Department of Defense released three Navy videos revealing “unidentified aerial phenomena'' –– shedding light on the existence of alien life. The videos, which show objects careening through the sky and rotating in the wind, are real, the government confirmed, although they aren’t quite sure what to make of it, the Times reported.
Since then, Pentagon officials have remained quiet, despite a new program that was outlined in a Senate committee report from June, which details the classified briefings from a decade-long hidden program called the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force. This program, tucked inside the Office of Naval Intelligence, studies the encounters between military pilots and aerial vehicles, the Times reported. The Pentagon hopes to report some of its findings to the public within 180 days after the passage of the Intelligence Authorization Act. The program hopes to obtain any evidence to find out who's responsible for unusual aircraft flying over American military bases–– and it is very possible that the answer may be “boring," said Senator Marco Rubio, who is the acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee of Intelligence.
2. Indian Farmers Strike
India was the site of a massive strike when hundreds of thousands of Indian workers and farmers from nearby states swarmed New Delhi in December to protest what they say are crippling labor laws and the crumbling economy, according to CNN. Not only has the country experienced a massive economic fallout due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s repeal of price protections over crops has devastated farmers' livelihoods and left them poverty-stricken, they said. Farmers are outraged by the reforms passed in September, and have claimed that they will be worse off than before and vulnerable to exploitation by corporations, the outlet reported. Modi says that the reforms will grant farmers more price autonomy and the ability to sell directly to private businesses including supermarket chains, the outlet reported.
3. Mass Disenfranchisement of Some Formerly Incarcerated Felons in Florida
About 900,000 Floridians were barred from voting in this year’s election, according to a report cited by the Daytona Beach News-Journal. These nearly 1 million individuals had recently completed their terms of incarceration and supervision but because of a law that disenfranchised returning citizens, former felons were removed from voter rolls in October –– just as more than 2 million people already voted, Politico reported.
The Division of Elections Director announced in an email to the sunshine state’s 67 local election supervisors that they would “begin to see” files on registered voters “whose potential ineligibility is based on not having satisfied the legal financial obligations of their sentence,” according to the outlet.
In 2018, Florida voters were able to approve Amendment 4, which ended a lifetime voting ban for the majority of felons, but state legislators returned the next year to limit that right to people who have paid off their order-ordered debts. Across the country, an estimated 5.2 million Americans weren’t able to vote this year due to their felony convictions, according to a report from the Sentencing Project.
4. Los Angeles Experiences Significant Smog From Fires
Forest fires ravaged California in 2020, which marks the state’s smoggiest year in decades, the Los Angeles Times reported. Ozone pollution reportedly spiked to 185 parts per billion in downtown Los Angeles in early September, marking the highest hourly reading in Southern California in 26 years. Poor air quality in the area has been attributed to intense heat with stagnant weather conditions and weak winds, unable to push away pollution, the outlet reported. As the climate continues to climb, wildfires are projected to become increasingly more intense and destructive, resulting in more smog-forming pollutants in the air.
5. The Teenager Who Is Allegedly The Mastermind Behind the Twitter Attacks
The accused mastermind behind a massive Twitter hack that involved tapping into the accounts of high-profile celebrities and politicians to scam people around the world out of bitcoin currency, led to the FBI on a chase for a suspect earlier this year ––shocking them when they say they discovered the alleged hacker was a 17-year-old from Florida, The New York Times reported. Graham Ivan Clark pleaded not guilty in August to 17 counts of communications fraud, 11 counts of fraudulent use of personal information, and one count each of organized fraud of more than $5,000 and accessing computers or electronic devices without authority, The New York Post reported.
He is accused of immobilizing President Donald Trump’s account, compromising the accounts of former President Barack Obama, President-elect Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian-West, the Post reported. Two others were also charged in the attack.
6. Michigan 'Militia' Members Attempted to Kidnap Michigan Governor
In an unexpected array of events, 13 men were arrested and charged in October with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home in an attempt to instigate a civil war or a “boogaloo,” an extremist ideology, Inside Edition Digital previously reported. The group allegedly performed firearm training and tactical drills during “field training exercises,” according to an affidavit. In their alleged plot, authorities say the men sought to “storm” the Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan, including the Governor, Inside Edition Digital reported. Six men are facing federal felony domestic terrorism charges and seven others, who are linked to a group known as the “Wolverine Watchmen” are facing state felony charges. Most recently, six of the men involved were indicted on Dec. 16 and they all pleaded not guilty, according to a federal document.
“Their anger at the Michigan governor was about her response to COVID-19, like shutting down gyms. And they really wanted to take action," Seth Jones, a professor of counterterrorism at Johns Hopkins University, told Inside Edition Digital in an interview this fall. "What we see here is COVID-19 and the response to it, which has created anger against the government,” Jones said. “COVID-19 is just adding to the long list of grievances that some small fringe groups have against the U.S. government.”
7. Clashes Between Armenia and Azerbaijan Reemerge
The tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, two countries with a long history of conflict, started and ended in 2020. The countries disputed, for the second time, over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous territory that has internationally been recognized as part of Azerbaijan despite being claimed and governed by ethnic Armenians, Vox reported. The six-week conflict came to an end on Nov. 9, after between 1,000 to 5,000 people were killed, when Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that he signed a peace deal with Russia and Azerbaijan to end the war.
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