Important events of 2023:
“The gods must be crazy!”
Vita gazette – 2023 was a year of significant tensions at an international level; Here are the events that most marked the year that is about to end. We have chosen the most significant news for our future.
1. Palestine has become the new arena of global strategies
On October 7, 2023, the Palestinian extremist organisation Hamas launched an attack against Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking hundreds of civilians hostage. In the space of a few hours, Israel launched a military offensive by land, air and water against the Gaza Strip. In two and a half months, over 20 thousand people were killed, 40 per cent of them children. About half of the buildings in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed. The United Nations has spoken of the “risk of genocide of the Palestinian people”.
2. Global warming – The climate crisis
2023 is declared the hottest year ever
2023 has been declared “the warmest year in history” by the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) Copernicus Climate Change Service, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States. July 6, when the global average temperature was measured at 17.23 degrees, was the “hottest day on record.”
These temperatures have led to droughts, devastating fires and stronger hurricanes. Experts have defined sudden increases and decreases in temperatures as “natural disasters linked to the global climate crisis”.
The sixth IPCC climate report on our future
On March 20, the sixth report of the IPCC (AR6), the United Nations intergovernmental panel of climate experts, was published. The paper highlights that, at lower temperatures, the impacts are more substantial than previously believed. It also confirms that it is essential to act now and pursue the objective of limiting the growth of the average global temperature to a maximum of 1.5 degrees centigrade, compared to pre-industrial levels, as envisaged by the Paris Agreement.
James Hansen: “Global warming has accelerated”
James Hansen, the world’s leading climate scientist, has announced that global warming is underway. “The warming that we know about has accelerated; that is, the amount of annual warming that we know about today has increased one and a half times over the last ten years, and we will definitely reach the predicted warming of 1.5 degrees before 2030, and we will see 2 degrees in 2040, and even if today’s warming remains as it is. In theory, it has a range of up to 10 degrees.”
The result of COP28 in Dubai, the 2023 climate conference
On 13 December 2023, the twenty-eighth United Nations World Climate Conference, COP28, in Dubai led to a text that has an indisputable characteristic: it was decided to triple the capacity of renewable energy, bringing it to 11 thousand gigabytes worldwide and to double the annual increase in energy efficiency. Although all 198 countries participating in the summit signed the final declaration calling on nations to abandon fossil fuels, the statement did not include a proposal to phase out the use of these fuels.
Extreme fires in Canada, fueled by the climate crisis
C.anada experienced a historic wildfire season that burned more than 18 million hectares and displaced 200,000 people. Between July and August, Canada was devastated by hundreds and hundreds of gigantic fires, which burned millions of hectares for weeks. In some areas, firefighters could only extinguish fires for a short time. Thousands of people have been forced to abandon their homes. Drought and high temperatures have contributed to generating and growing the fires. Smoke blanketed the eastern coasts of North America and the United States. New York and the capital, Washington. For a time, New York was the most polluted city in the world.
Fire in Hawaii
Fires that broke out in Hawaii in August destroyed the resort town of Lahaina on the island of Maui, the oldest in Hawaii and known to its ancestors. Forest fires combined with hurricane-force wind from the ocean quickly destroyed 2,200 buildings. The death toll exceeds 100. And a culture has disappeared.
Fire in Greece
The largest fire ever recorded in the European Union broke out in the Greek region of Evros, killing at least 26 people.
Sea flooding in Izmir
Sea levels rose in Izmir on November 26, 2023. People began walking on the overflowing sea waters. Something similar to a kind of tsunami occurred.
Hurricane Daniel and floods
Hurricane Daniel caused massive flooding and hit Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria and Libya. The central regions of Greece and the Thessaly region were utterly transformed into a lake. The disaster devastated the fertile plains of Thessaly and killed 17 people. Severe flooding occurred in the Thrace region of Bulgaria and Türkiye. This system then moved south, causing the deadliest floods ever seen in Libya. It is estimated that the total number of deaths now exceeds four thousand four thousand five hundred, but including victims, it is around at least 13 thousand and, according to some information, between 18 and 20 thousand. Flood waters entirely submerged the city of Derne. Two large dams also collapsed. In November, there was a massive flood in Somalia that killed yet more than 100 people, and flooding has continued around the world.
Extreme floods in Emilia-Romagna cause damage
In May, severe. Floods hit Emilia-Romagna, which, for a few days, was transformed into a swamp. The disaster, unprecedented in scope and size, recorded 17 deaths, over 20 thousand displaced people and impressive figures. The damage calculated so far amounts to over 10 billion euros.
Sea water temperatures have broken records
The average surface temperature of the world’s seas is around 21 degrees, at least 1 degree warmer than usual. This is a very high level. But at the maximum, they exceeded 21 degrees, reaching 21.1. Temperatures, especially in the North Atlantic region, have risen to much higher levels, above 25 degrees. Additionally, sea ice around Antarctica has melted at a record level, melting never seen before. It has broken all records, and there is no telling what this will lead to in the coming years. Scientists say sea levels may rise by many meters due to what was previously predicted, and this will cause much greater destruction.
The most enormous iceberg in the world is drifting
At the end of November, the world’s most enormous iceberg moved away from Antarctica for the first time in more than three decades. Called A23a, it has a surface area of almost 4 thousand square kilometres, just under the surface area of the Italian region of Molise. Scientists are carefully monitoring the trajectory: it is plausible that it will end up in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and run aground in South Georgia.
The European map of Pfas, the “eternal pollutants.”
On March 15, a maximum investigation showed the map of Pfas in Europe and Italy: over 17 thousand sites are forever contaminated. Nonetheless, the lobby tries to avoid bans. Italy is also fully involved, not only in Veneto, such as the case of Spinetta Marengo. Pfas are substances used in almost all the objects we use every day despite being seriously harmful. And they are called “eternal pollutants” precisely because there is no way to eliminate them.
Japan begins pouring contaminated water from Fukushima into the ocean.
On July 4, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is part of the United Nations, approved Japan’s plan to release one million tons of water contaminated by radioactive material into the Pacific Ocean and now contained in the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The decision comes twelve years after the nuclear disaster caused by the tsunami that hit Japan.
The crime of ecocide is a reality in Europe.
On 17 November, after lengthy negotiations, the European Commission, the Council, and Parliament reached an agreement that effectively allows the concept of ecocide to be included in European law, even through a linguistic and legal stratagem. The text introduces an infringement defined as “qualified”, which aims to allow the most severe cases to be indicted.
3. Natural disasters
Earthquake in Türkiye and Syria
2023 was also a year marked by several natural disasters. On February 6, a strong earthquake measuring 7.8 magnitude was recorded in Turkey and Syria. The damage is devastating. The victims were over 50 thousand.
Earthquake in Morocco
On September 8, a strong earthquake, measuring seven on the Richter scale, hit the Marrakech region in Morocco, and over 3,000 people died.
Earthquake in Afghanistan
On 7 October, a strong earthquake also hit Afghanistan, with a death toll of almost 2 thousand. The western part of the country was mainly affected 35 kilometres northwest of Herat. The earthquake registered a magnitude 6.3 and was then followed by several aftershocks.
4. Wars – coups – rebellions – elections – organisations
Hamas commandos infiltrated southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7 and raided border towns and a music festival. On the Israeli side, approximately 1,200 people died; About 240 people were taken hostage. Tel Aviv has carried out intense bombing of Gaza. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, more than 13,000 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war, about two-thirds of whom were women and children. Due to the total siege imposed by Israel, there was a shortage of water, electricity, food and medicine in Gaza.
The war in Ukraine
No compromise has been reached, and peace seems distant. At times, Kyiv intensified its counteroffensive, and so did Moscow. Russian President Putin, meanwhile, signed a decree in December with which he increased the maximum size of the army by around 15%, adding 170 thousand soldiers.
On 19 September 2023, Azerbaijan launched a lightning military operation against Nagorno-Karabakh, a separatist state located in Azerbaijani territory but inhabited chiefly by ethnic Armenians. The local authorities surrendered, and the war that had been going on for 30 years, with a death toll of around 30 thousand, came to an end.
Finland has become the 31st member country of NATO.
On April 4, Finland became the 31st member of NATO, ending a regime of strict neutrality that had lasted since the end of the Second World War. Sweden would also like to join NATO but has yet to overcome the obstacle of Turkey, which does not look favourably on Stockholm’s entry because it believes that it supports groups recognised by Ankara as “terrorists”.
Coups d’état in Africa and the period of French “rejection”.
On July 27, a group of soldiers stormed Niger’s presidential palace, arresting President Mohamed Bazoum and taking control of the country. On July 31 in Sierra Leone, police arrested a group of senior army officers who were about to overthrow President Julius Maada Bio. On August 30 in Gabon, the military ousted the re-elected president, Ali Bongo Ondimba. Central-West Africa is a powder keg due to the fragility of its democratic institutions and economic difficulties, adding a growing anti-French sentiment in an anti-colonial key. Many countries, from Algeria to Burkina Faso, have decided to eliminate France from their countries. In August, Chad arrested some French soldiers wandering without permission along the border. The Macron administration has announced that it will take measures that will not cause conflict in the face of developments and intends to resolve problems through diplomacy. Finally, France had to withdraw its troops from Mali and the Central African Republic in 2022 and then from the other two former colonies, Burkina Faso and Niger, in 2023.
Globalisation of tension between the United States and China
The sighting of a Chinese surveillance balloon over the United States has caused the tension between the two countries to be watched worldwide. A US Air Force F-22 fighter plane shot down the balloon off the coast of South Carolina. Beijing insisted that the weather balloon veered off course while “watching the weather forecast”. The United States claimed that the balloon was used for military and industrial espionage. Washington has imposed further restrictions on trade with China. As both countries continue to dispute Taiwan, the Philippines and US military forces in Asia, the areas of power struggle and interests gradually expand.
Wagner’s Revolt in Moscow
On June 24, the rebel leader of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, marched towards Moscow with his warriors. Prigozhin, the leader of the group, who took a step back after President Vladimir Putin’s tough stance, announced that he had moved his troops to Belarus. 2 months after the rebellion, Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Wagner leaders with him died in a plane crash near Moscow.
The new president of Argentina
On December 10, Javier Milei took office as Argentina’s new president. Milei is a far-right economist who has announced an ultra-liberal revolution to fight the recession in the country. He proposes to close the central bank, adopt the dollar as legal tender and sharply cut public spending (hence his symbolic use of the chainsaw). And then suppress civil rights such as abortion. A few days after his inauguration, street protests have already begun.
The far-right wins the elections in the Netherlands
The latest name to join the caravan of populist leaders was the far-right Geert Wilders, who won the Dutch elections.
Trump, who has been impeached twice, became the first president in US history to have a criminal case brought against him and whose home was searched by the FBI, has become one of the most influential names in the presidential race. Trump’s mug shot, taken when he surrendered at Fulton Prison on August 25, left its mark in 2023. The former US president, accused of trying to change the results of the 2020 presidential election, managed to turn this photo into a symbol of the campaign. Trump’s mugshot was printed on T-shirts, mugs and hats and offered for sale.
Political assassination in Ecuador
Presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, known for his anti-corruption rhetoric, was shot dead during a rally in the capital Kito. The drug gang “Los Lobos” claimed responsibility for the assassination.
Protests in France over pension reform
2023 in the country was undoubtedly marked by numerous protests against the pension reform desired by President Macron. The demonstrations mainly involved the capital, Paris, and many other French cities. In April, despite protests, Macron promulgated the law, which includes – among other aspects – the postponement of the legal retirement age to 64.
5. Hollywood strike
Artificial intelligence is both promising and, according to some, very dangerous. American screenwriters and actors went on strike to demand better pay and a regulatory framework for artificial intelligence.
The strike, unprecedented in Hollywood since 1960, ended in September with a wage agreement and guarantees on using artificial intelligence. Concerned that studios might use this technology to clone their voices and images and infringe on their rights, the actors went to film in November. The strike ended with new restrictions on the use of artificial intelligence. The six-month strike cost the US economy at least $6 billion.
6. The inevitable rise of artificial intelligence
The Collins Dictionary has announced that 2023 is “Artificial Intelligence”, i.e. “AI”. The dictionary defines artificial intelligence as the “modelling of human mental functions using computer programs”. Artificial intelligence applications such as ChatGPT, released in November 2022, have led to different opinions on the use of the technology. Experts want several restrictions to be imposed on the applications of artificial intelligence.
Google presented its new artificial intelligence application, “Gemini”. Google’s artificial intelligence can detect and interpret photos, videos, sounds and texts. Solve complex math problems in a short time. According to the company, the application has analysis and troubleshooting capabilities beyond ChatGPT.
7. Twitter has become X
On July 24, Elon Musk announced that he had changed the name of his social media platform, Twitter. The bird logo identified with the platform has been replaced by the letter “X”.
8. Titanic tragedy
In June, the story of the Titan submarine gripped the world: what started as an exploration into the depths ended in tragedy, with the death of 5 people due to a “catastrophic implosion”. The Titan had dived to observe the wreckage of the Titanic but did not return. On board the British millionaire Hamish Harding, the Pakistani Shahzada Dawood with her son Suleman, the French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet and Stockton Rush, owner of OceanGate, the company that owns the submarine
9. The title of “world’s largest population” has shifted from China to India
In the last century, China had the largest population in the world. This situation ended in 2023. Now India is the most populous country with 1 billion 430 million people.
10. Travel to the moon
On August 23, India broke new ground by landing Chandrayaan-3 in an unexplored region near the Moon’s south pole. Before India, only the United States, the Soviet Union and China had managed a controlled moon landing.
11. Prince Harry’s ‘Spare’ book has set a record
Prince Harry’s memoir “Spare,” which includes his royal remarks, sold over 1 million copies on its first release day. The book sold 1.4 million copies in America, the United Kingdom and Canada. It is an autobiography, published in January 2023, in which the prince confesses burning truths about his life and family. And Prince Harry wins a historic phone hacking case against one of Britain’s biggest tabloids.
12. Barbie records
The Barbie movie has become the most talked about film of 2023. The film, released on July 21, has become the highest-grossing film 2023.
13. The coronation of King Charles III
In the United Kingdom, May 6 was the big day when King Charles III was officially crowned as sovereign in Westminster in a ceremony that lasted about two hours.