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What went down in 2020 so far

It's been a long year, even though 2020 has barely just begun.

Now that the eventful January has come to a close, here's a rundown of the biggest headlines that sent shock waves around the world.


1. United States kills Iran's top military leader

Tensions further rose between the United States after Iran's top military commander was killed in one of the US' drone strikes on January 3.

According to the US, the strike was supposed to disrupt an imminent attack that would endanger the Americans in the Middle East.

After Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledged harsh for revenge Soleimani's assassination, Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two Iraqi bases that housed US soldiers on January 8.

READ: Top Iran commander Qassem Soleimani killed in US strike on Baghdad

2. Ukrainian plane crashes in Iran

On January 8, Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 crashed in Iran and killed all of its 176 passengers.

On January 11, Iran admitted that its military had shot down the Ukranian plane by mistake after the plane was misidentified as a cruise missile flying over Tehran.

READ: New footage shows Iranian missiles hitting Ukraine plane

3. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex step back from royal front line

Prince Harry and his wife, former actress and activist Meghan Markle, announced on January 8 that they will be stepping back as senior members of the Royal family.

The couple said they wanted to become financially independent and they plan to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America.

READ: Harry, Meghan quit royal front line in shock move

4. Bushfires rage in Australia

Millions of hectares of land in Australia have been consumed by devastating bushfires.

Over 33 people have died already, and over one billion animals have been killed in the fires that erupted starting September last year.

The Australian government has already declared a state of emergency for the capital city of Canberra as the strong winds and temperature could propel a large bushfire beyond control.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been heavily criticized by the opposition and environment groups for his stance on climate change.

READ: Australian fireman dies battling blazes, raising death toll to 28

5. Taal Volcano erupts

The Taal Volcano spewed ash and lava on January 12, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate.

The ashfall brought about by the eruption has affected both the CALABARZON region and Metro Manila. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, over 100,000 families have already been affected by the eruption.

More than three billion pesos worth of damages to agriculture has been reported in Batangas, Cavite and Laguna.

Fortunately, PHIVOLCS has downgraded the alert level raised over Taal volcano from alert level 4 to alert level 3 on January 26.

READ: Taal Volcano's magmatic activity persists —PHIVOLCS

6. Kobe Byrant dies in helicopter crash

NBA legend Kobe Bryant, along with his 13-year old daughter Gianna, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26.

The beloved father and basketball icon, who has inspired millions of people, was just 41.

Seven others on board perished with Kobe and Gianna.

Millions of people all over the world paid tribute in many different ways as they mourned the loss of a legend.

READ: Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash

7. Earthquake in Carribean

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 hit western Carribean on January 28.

This triggered evacuations in Cayman Islands, Jamaica and downtown Miami as buildings shook. Luckily, there were no reports of significant damage.

The epicenter of the quake was in the sea between Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba, at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers.

READ: Magnitude 7.7 quake strikes western Caribbean, triggers evacuations

8. 2019 novel coronavirus breaks out

On Friday, January 31, the World Health Organization declared the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus as a global emergency.

The outbreak, which started in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019, has already spread to 22 countries.

The first case of the 2019 nCoV in the Philippines was confirmed on Thursday. The infected patient, a 38-year old woman from Wuhan, is currently in isolation at a Manila hospital.

Currently, the death toll from China's viral epidemic has reached 258.

READ: China virus death toll rises to 258 with 45 new fatalities

—JCB, GMA News