Biden’s US presidency chosen as best international story of 2021


The inauguration of US President Joe Biden has been selected by the editors of Kyodo News and its member or subscriber newspapers and broadcasters as the best international report of 2021.

(1) Biden inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States

Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, taking office with Kamala Harris, the country’s first black and Asian female Vice President. Declaring that democracy prevailed, Biden signed 17 documents to roll back the controversial policies of former President Donald Trump, including a document to join the Paris climate accord.

US President Joe Biden (center) is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington on January 20, 2021. (UPI / Kyodo)

(2) US troops withdraw from Afghanistan, Taliban regain control

The United States completed the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan on August 30, ending two decades of war sparked by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil. The Taliban took control of the capital Kabul on August 15, as President Ashraf Ghani fled the country before the full withdrawal. Tensions rose towards the end as an Islamic State suicide bombing near the airport killed scores of Afghans and 13 US servicemen.

A vehicle transports Taliban soldiers to Kabul, Afghanistan, August 19, 2021. (Kyodo)

(3) Two-way Star Shohei Ohtani Wins First MVP Unanimously

Two-way Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani became the first Japanese in 20 years to be named MVP in majors when he won the American League honor in a unanimous vote. Ohtani, who accomplished the rare feat of playing as both a hitter and pitcher all 2021 season, and Ichiro Suzuki are the only Japanese players to receive a Major League Baseball MVP award.

The combined photo shows Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani striking (left) on June 25, 2021 against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., And pitching on June 23 against the Giants in San Francisco to Anaheim, California. (Kyodo)

(4) COVID-19 deaths worldwide exceed 5 million

The cumulative global total of deaths from the novel coronavirus topped 5 million on November 1, with cases surpassing 250 million on November 8, according to data from Johns Hopkins University in the United States. With the progression of vaccinations in developed countries, infections fell sharply from the end of August but started to increase again in mid-October. Calls have been made to improve vaccine distribution in Africa and other areas where deployment has been delayed.

People walk in Times Square in New York City on March 31, 2021, amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Kyodo)

(5) The Burmese army organizes a coup

The Burmese military seized power in a coup on February 1 and declared a one-year state of emergency, claiming there had been widespread fraud in the country’s general election. last year. Aung San Suu Kyi and other government officials were arrested, while Senior General Min Aung Hlaing took control of the country. According to human rights groups, more than 1,300 people have been killed in protests since the takeover. On December 6, a special military court sentenced Suu Kyi to four years in prison for incitement, later reducing the sentence to two years, but she still faces more than 10 other charges.

People hold a rally in Yangon, Myanmar on February 22, 2021 to protest the February 1 military coup. (Kyodo)

(6) Hong Kong’s Apple Daily bends under pressure after 26 years

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Apple Daily withdrew under pressure from Chinese and Hong Kong authorities after the publication of its last print edition on June 24, ending its 26-year existence. Established in 1995 – two years before Hong Kong’s transfer to Chinese rule – the publication was considered the city’s only democratic-leaning newspaper and had a circulation of 500,000 copies at one time.

A Hong Kong resident holds up a copy of the latest print edition of the Apple Daily on June 24, 2021. The pro-democracy newspaper closed its doors under pressure from the authorities, ending its 26-year history. (Kyodo)

(7) Trump supporters storm Capitol to challenge election results

The U.S. Congress was in turmoil on Jan.6 in the process of certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory, as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to challenge the election results. The counting of the electoral votes was interrupted for hours due to the chaos, which left a police officer and four others dead. Trump had called at a rally in Washington earlier today to “come down to Capitol Hill” to demand that lawmakers reject the election result.

A crowd loyal to U.S. President Donald Trump marches toward the U.S. Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021. The move comes after Trump urged his supporters to descend on Washington to protest against impending Congressional certification of Joe Biden as winner of the November presidential election. (Kyodo)

(8) Chinese Communist Party issues crucial resolution, Xi seeks third term

On November 11, the ruling Communist Party in China passed a crucial resolution at the sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee, with solidifying expectations that President Xi Jinping will serve a controversial third term at the helm. The first such statement in 40 years, it highlighted the main historical achievements and experiences of the party in its 100-year history, highly appraising Xi’s policies on Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Combined photo shows (of L) Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Xi Jinping. (Kyodo)

(9) Matsuyama wins the Masters and becomes the 1st great male champion of Japan

Hideki Matsuyama won the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11 to become the first Japanese player to win a major men’s championship. The Masters triumph fulfilled Matsuyama’s long-standing goal of winning one of four annual majors, 10 years after his tournament debut as a 19-year-old amateur.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan celebrates with the champion’s green jacket after winning the Masters Tournament on April 11, 2021 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. (Kyodo)

(10) G-7 refers to situation in Taiwan in statement, adds fuel to US-China tensions

The leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized countries concluded their three-day talks on June 13 with a call for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. The reference to Taiwan in the leaders’ statement has fueled tensions between the United States and China, which views the democratic and self-governing island as a renegade province to be reunited with the mainland, by force, if necessary.

Foreign ministers including Yoshimasa Hayashi of Japan (far right) attend a meeting on the first day of the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Summit at the Museum of Liverpool on December 11, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Getty / Kyodo)


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