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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: 23 Events That Shaped 2023

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This year’s BRICS Summit witnessed a new development stage as the group ratified its historic enlargement. The number of full members is to double in 2024, and to include Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. (Brazilian President Lula da Silva, Chinese Leader Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Indian PM Narendra Modi, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a photography session for BRICS heads of delegation in Johannesburg, South Africa).

1/23 / Go to the mediabank

This year’s BRICS Summit witnessed a new development stage as the group ratified its historic enlargement. The number of full members is to double in 2024, and to include Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. (Brazilian President Lula da Silva, Chinese Leader Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Indian PM Narendra Modi, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a photography session for BRICS heads of delegation in Johannesburg, South Africa).

© AFP 2023 / Vinay Gupta

2023 saw India overtake China as the world’s most populous nation, according to UN population estimates, marking a dramatic shift in the global demographic layout. (A massive traffic jam on the Delhi-Jaipur expressway in Gurgaon, April 25, 2023).

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2023 saw India overtake China as the world’s most populous nation, according to UN population estimates, marking a dramatic shift in the global demographic layout. (A massive traffic jam on the Delhi-Jaipur expressway in Gurgaon, April 25, 2023).

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A wave of coup d’etats swept across Africa. The continent experienced newfound uplift against the dreaded post-colonial status-quo. (Russian national flags are seen as supporters of Niger's National Council of Safeguard of the Homeland protest outside the Niger and French airbase in Niamey on September 2 to demand the permanent departure of the French army from the country).

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A wave of coup d’etats swept across Africa. The continent experienced newfound uplift against the dreaded post-colonial status-quo. (Russian national flags are seen as supporters of Niger's National Council of Safeguard of the Homeland protest outside the Niger and French airbase in Niamey on September 2 to demand the permanent departure of the French army from the country).

© AFP 2023 / Mohammed Abed

Full-scale missile attacks on Gaza launched by Israel in retaliation for the October 7 Hamas attack shook the world. The long-standing Palestine-Israel conflict officially entered a new acute phase. (A Palestinian man points to the Ahmed Yassin mosque, which was levelled by Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City early on October 9, 2023).

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Full-scale missile attacks on Gaza launched by Israel in retaliation for the October 7 Hamas attack shook the world. The long-standing Palestine-Israel conflict officially entered a new acute phase. (A Palestinian man points to the Ahmed Yassin mosque, which was levelled by Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City early on October 9, 2023).

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Kim Jong Un’s official visit to Russia in mid-September caused quite a stir in the media. New comprehensive multi-vector cooperation between the nations prompted a fresh chapter in the countries’ relationship. (Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un at the Vostochny Cosmodrome during his state visit to Russia on September 13, 2023).

5/23 / Go to the mediabank

Kim Jong Un’s official visit to Russia in mid-September caused quite a stir in the media. New comprehensive multi-vector cooperation between the nations prompted a fresh chapter in the countries’ relationship. (Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un at the Vostochny Cosmodrome during his state visit to Russia on September 13, 2023).

© AP Photo / Seth Wenig/Pool

As the US is steadily getting ready for the 2024 presidential elections, tempers surrounding former President Trump cannot seem to cool off. In 2023, Donald Trump underwent federal prosecution for his criminal cases. (Former President Donald Trump in the courtroom at New York Supreme Court, October 2, 2023. Trump made a rare voluntary court trip for the start of a civil trial in a lawsuit on his business frauds).

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As the US is steadily getting ready for the 2024 presidential elections, tempers surrounding former President Trump cannot seem to cool off. In 2023, Donald Trump underwent federal prosecution for his criminal cases. (Former President Donald Trump in the courtroom at New York Supreme Court, October 2, 2023. Trump made a rare voluntary court trip for the start of a civil trial in a lawsuit on his business frauds).

© Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich / Go to the mediabank

The second large-scale Russia-Africa Summit held in St. Petersburg sought to promote comprehensive and equal cooperation between Russia and African nations across all areas of society, including politics, security, economics, science and technology, and the cultural and humanitarian spheres. (Participants of the "Russia–Africa Economic and Humanitarian Form for peace, security and development", St. Petersburg, Russia, July 27-28, 2023).

7/23 / Go to the mediabank

The second large-scale Russia-Africa Summit held in St. Petersburg sought to promote comprehensive and equal cooperation between Russia and African nations across all areas of society, including politics, security, economics, science and technology, and the cultural and humanitarian spheres. (Participants of the "Russia–Africa Economic and Humanitarian Form for peace, security and development", St. Petersburg, Russia, July 27-28, 2023).

© AFP 2023 / Loic Venance

In early 2023, the French government introduced a new pension reform draft bill, raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 with a requirement that the retiree has at least 43 years of labor experience. The controversial law sparked a massive wave of national protests throughout the country, often resulting in brutal clashes with the police. (A protestor during clashes with the French police).

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In early 2023, the French government introduced a new pension reform draft bill, raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 with a requirement that the retiree has at least 43 years of labor experience. The controversial law sparked a massive wave of national protests throughout the country, often resulting in brutal clashes with the police. (A protestor during clashes with the French police).

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The much hyped-up Ukrainian counteroffensive, re-scheduled time and again, finally broke in early June of 2023. The botched attempt at breaking through tightly secured Russian defense lines failed completely. The controversial efforts resulted in the devastation of Ukrainian troops and countless decimated West-supplied military supplies. (Fighters from the Wagner Group moving through the city of Artemovsk (Bakhmut) in Donetsk People's Republic).

9/23 / Go to the mediabank

The much hyped-up Ukrainian counteroffensive, re-scheduled time and again, finally broke in early June of 2023. The botched attempt at breaking through tightly secured Russian defense lines failed completely. The controversial efforts resulted in the devastation of Ukrainian troops and countless decimated West-supplied military supplies. (Fighters from the Wagner Group moving through the city of Artemovsk (Bakhmut) in Donetsk People's Republic).

© AFP 2023 / Odd Andersen

The hawkish NATO block keeps expanding eastward thus undermining promises long ago and encircling Russia with US military bases. This year Finland became the 31st alliance member, with Sweden remaining a formal NATO candidate. (Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and France's Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) with Asia Pacific Partners during the NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 12, 2023).

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The hawkish NATO block keeps expanding eastward thus undermining promises long ago and encircling Russia with US military bases. This year Finland became the 31st alliance member, with Sweden remaining a formal NATO candidate. (Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and France's Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) with Asia Pacific Partners during the NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 12, 2023).

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Vladimir Putin’s widely successful Mideast tour in December of this year included the president’s state visits to the UAE and Saudi Arabia and marked a dramatic shift in the country’s foreign policy. (Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to meet with UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and discuss bilateral, regional, and international affairs).

11/23 / Go to the mediabank

Vladimir Putin’s widely successful Mideast tour in December of this year included the president’s state visits to the UAE and Saudi Arabia and marked a dramatic shift in the country’s foreign policy. (Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to meet with UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and discuss bilateral, regional, and international affairs).

© AP Photo / Noah Berger

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and X, former Twitter, made a series of controversial decisions when it comes to managing the social media platform that gained a lot of publicity. His takeover as the head of the company started with a massive wave of staff layoffs, dramatic policy alterations and even changing the company’s name. (Workers install lighting on the "X" sign atop the downtown San Francisco building that housed what was formally known as Twitter, now rebranded X by owner Elon Musk, July 28, 2023).

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Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and X, former Twitter, made a series of controversial decisions when it comes to managing the social media platform that gained a lot of publicity. His takeover as the head of the company started with a massive wave of staff layoffs, dramatic policy alterations and even changing the company’s name. (Workers install lighting on the "X" sign atop the downtown San Francisco building that housed what was formally known as Twitter, now rebranded X by owner Elon Musk, July 28, 2023).

© Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov / Go to the mediabank

This year’s G20 Summit, held in New Delhi tackled a number of pressing issues to do with global security, the current economic climate, labor conditions around the world, as well as climate change. (The third plenary session titled "One Future" that addressed matters of technological transformation, encryption, reform of multilateral institutions, and labor prospects, held at the G20 summit in New Delhi, India).

13/23 / Go to the mediabank

This year’s G20 Summit, held in New Delhi tackled a number of pressing issues to do with global security, the current economic climate, labor conditions around the world, as well as climate change. (The third plenary session titled "One Future" that addressed matters of technological transformation, encryption, reform of multilateral institutions, and labor prospects, held at the G20 summit in New Delhi, India).

© AFP 2023 / Jane Barlow/POOL

King Charles’s eventual ascension to the throne was widely discussed at home and abroad for decades. Last year’s death of Queen Elizabeth II put a new spin on the matter, opening the door for rumors and speculations on the very future of the British monarchy. The Scottish solemn ceremony marked the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. (Britain's King Charles III is presented with the Crown of Scotland during a National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication inside St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh on July 5, 2023).

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King Charles’s eventual ascension to the throne was widely discussed at home and abroad for decades. Last year’s death of Queen Elizabeth II put a new spin on the matter, opening the door for rumors and speculations on the very future of the British monarchy. The Scottish solemn ceremony marked the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. (Britain's King Charles III is presented with the Crown of Scotland during a National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication inside St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh on July 5, 2023).

© Sputnik / Grigoriy Pechorin / Go to the mediabank

The long-brewing Nagorno Karabakh ethnic and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan took a dramatic turn in September. The renewed military hostilities eventually led to territorial concessions, officially making the disputed strip of land part of the Azerbaijani territory. (Refugees from Nagorno Karabakh fleeing to the town of Goris in Armenia).

15/23 / Go to the mediabank

The long-brewing Nagorno Karabakh ethnic and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan took a dramatic turn in September. The renewed military hostilities eventually led to territorial concessions, officially making the disputed strip of land part of the Azerbaijani territory. (Refugees from Nagorno Karabakh fleeing to the town of Goris in Armenia).

© AFP 2023 / Adem Altan

In a high stakes Turkish presidential election, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a historic runoff election and took office for a third time in a row. (Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (center) and members of his new cabinet walk with servicemen carrying a wreath as they visit Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkish Republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, before their first cabinet meeting in Ankara, on June 6, 2023).

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In a high stakes Turkish presidential election, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a historic runoff election and took office for a third time in a row. (Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (center) and members of his new cabinet walk with servicemen carrying a wreath as they visit Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkish Republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, before their first cabinet meeting in Ankara, on June 6, 2023).

© Sputnik / Pavel Byrkin / Go to the mediabank

Moscow hosted widely successful Putin-Xi talks, following which the two leaders issued a joint statement on strengthening the comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction, thus marking a new era of the bilateral relations. (Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping after the end of the Russian-Chinese talks in Moscow).

17/23 / Go to the mediabank

Moscow hosted widely successful Putin-Xi talks, following which the two leaders issued a joint statement on strengthening the comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction, thus marking a new era of the bilateral relations. (Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping after the end of the Russian-Chinese talks in Moscow).

© AFP 2023 / Jack Guez

It was not just the Gaza crisis that put a massive strain on the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Earlier this year, the country saw an unprecedented civil unrest as a direct response to the widely unpopular judicial reform that shocked the very core of Israeli society. (Demonstrators unfurling a giant banner against Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu during a rally against the government's judicial overhaul plan in Tel Aviv, September 23, 2023.

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It was not just the Gaza crisis that put a massive strain on the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Earlier this year, the country saw an unprecedented civil unrest as a direct response to the widely unpopular judicial reform that shocked the very core of Israeli society. (Demonstrators unfurling a giant banner against Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu during a rally against the government's judicial overhaul plan in Tel Aviv, September 23, 2023.

© AP Photo / Ohad Zwigenberg

Few would disagree that the world cannot come back to the way it was prior to the October 7 Gaza incident. The large-scale Hamas missile attack launched against Israel left the world speechless. And the subsequent response by the Israeli government shocked it even further. (Cars caught on fire after being hit by rockets launched from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, Israel, October 7, 2023).

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Few would disagree that the world cannot come back to the way it was prior to the October 7 Gaza incident. The large-scale Hamas missile attack launched against Israel left the world speechless. And the subsequent response by the Israeli government shocked it even further. (Cars caught on fire after being hit by rockets launched from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, Israel, October 7, 2023).

© AP Photo / Aijaz Rahi

Turns out, the space race is not just a thing of the past. Both Russia and the US were back at it again this year. However, it was India that succeeded in the lofty and ambitious undertaking to land on the Moon. Thus, India became the fourth nation in history to touch the lunar surface. (Journalists film the live telecast of spacecraft Chandrayaan-3 landing on the Moon at ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network facility in Bengaluru, India, August 23, 2023).

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Turns out, the space race is not just a thing of the past. Both Russia and the US were back at it again this year. However, it was India that succeeded in the lofty and ambitious undertaking to land on the Moon. Thus, India became the fourth nation in history to touch the lunar surface. (Journalists film the live telecast of spacecraft Chandrayaan-3 landing on the Moon at ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network facility in Bengaluru, India, August 23, 2023).

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2023 saw a series of devastating earthquakes that swept across Turkiye, Syria, Morocco, Afghanistan and, most recently, China, leaving tens of thousands of dead and missing. (Removal of debris at the site of a building, destroyed by an earthquake of magnitude 7.4 in Antakya, Turkiye).

21/23 / Go to the mediabank

2023 saw a series of devastating earthquakes that swept across Turkiye, Syria, Morocco, Afghanistan and, most recently, China, leaving tens of thousands of dead and missing. (Removal of debris at the site of a building, destroyed by an earthquake of magnitude 7.4 in Antakya, Turkiye).

© AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein

Political tribulations in the US effectively concern the whole world. A lot media frenzy went along with volatile twists and turns that took place in the US Congress over the course of the year. (Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, leaves the House floor after being ousted as speaker of the House of Representatives at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., October 3, 2023).

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Political tribulations in the US effectively concern the whole world. A lot media frenzy went along with volatile twists and turns that took place in the US Congress over the course of the year. (Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, leaves the House floor after being ousted as speaker of the House of Representatives at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., October 3, 2023).

© AFP 2023 / Luis Robayo

In a dramatic turn of events, Argentina elected a new president, an unorthodox political player to say the least. Javier Milei, a right-leaning dark horse, took office after a somewhat theatrical campaign that got him many passionate supporters. (Argentine lawmakers and presidential pre-candidate for La Libertad Avanza Alliance Javier Milei cheer at supporters at the end of the closing of his campaign for primary elections, at the Movistar Arena in Buenos Aires, August 7, 2023).

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In a dramatic turn of events, Argentina elected a new president, an unorthodox political player to say the least. Javier Milei, a right-leaning dark horse, took office after a somewhat theatrical campaign that got him many passionate supporters. (Argentine lawmakers and presidential pre-candidate for La Libertad Avanza Alliance Javier Milei cheer at supporters at the end of the closing of his campaign for primary elections, at the Movistar Arena in Buenos Aires, August 7, 2023).

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