The first month of 2023 was nothing short of eventful.
From New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s tearful resignation and the attack on the Brazilian capitol, to devastating floods and Lunar New Year celebrations, here’s a look back at the biggest stories that kickstarted the new year.
1. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Resigned After Five And A Half Years In Office
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation as the country’s leader on Jan. 19, after five and a half years in the role.
“I believe that leading a country is the most privileged job anyone could ever have, but also one of the more challenging,” Ardern said.
“I know what this job takes, and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It is that simple,” she added.
Ardern will remain as a member of parliament until April, sparing the country a by-election. With no plans beyond April, Ardern is looking forward to spending time with her family.
In her resignation speech, she thanked New Zealanders for giving her the opportunity to serve and “to take on what has and will always be the greatest role in my life.”
“I hope in return I leave behind a belief that you can be kind, but strong. Empathetic, but decisive. Optimistic, but focused,” she said. “That you can be your own kind of leader, one that knows when it’s time to go.”
2. Thousands Of Supporters Of Brazil’s Far-Right Former President Attacked The Capitol, Destroying Buildings
Supporters of Brazil’s far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro have refused to accept his loss in the presidential election to Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva – also known as Lula.
Bolsonaro, who was defeated by Lula in the election on Oct. 30, has yet to concede defeat.
His supporters have refused to accept his loss and have been camped outside military bases in Brasília, calling for the military to intervene and stop Lula’s inauguration so Bolsonaro could remain in power.
At about 6pm on Sunday Jan. 8, Bolsonaro’s supporters broke through police barriers and invaded the Congress and Supreme Court buildings and surrounded the presidential office.
At least 1,500 people have been arrested, and authorities have launched an investigation into the riot.
3. Miss Universe Thailand Wore A Dress Made Of Used Soda Can Tabs As A Tribute To Her Garbage Collector Parents
Miss Universe Thailand Anna Sueangam-iam paid a meaningful tribute to her parents at the Miss Universe 2022 pageant by wearing an upcycled dress made from used pull tabs from soda cans.
The daughter of a garbage collector and street sweeper, Sueangam-iam grew up in a Bangkok garbage dump and has spoken openly about her childhood and the challenges she faced.
“This unique gown was purposefully tailored-made with discarded and recycled materials, namely the ‘Can Tab’ to present to the UNIVERSE that what’s considered worthless by many actually possesses its own value and beauty,” she wrote.
4. Sierra Leone Passed A New Law Ensuring Women Get Equal Pay And Hold 30% Of Public And Private Jobs
Sierra Leone’s president has approved a new law mandating women get equal pay and hold at least 30% of positions in government, as well as decision-making roles in both public and private jobs.
Despite ranking as one of the lowest in the world for gender equality, President Bio remains optimistic, stating, “The future of Sierra Leone is female,”, and “Empowering women is essential to the health and social development of families, communities and countries.”
5. New Zealand’s Biggest City Experienced Its Worst Flooding In Modern History And It Looks Unreal
Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, has completely flooded after receiving more than 75% of its annual summer rainfall in just 15 hours.
The torrential rainfall on Friday Jan. 27 led to the worst floods in the city’s modern history and the wettest day ever recorded.
A state of emergency has been declared as bridges were washed away, houses were inundated and thousands of people were left without power.
At least four people have died and thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes.
6. This Kenyan Fashion Designer And LGBTQ Activist Was Found Dead In A Metal Box And People Want Justice
Edwin Chiloba, a 25-year-old Kenyan fashion designer and LGBTQ activist, has been found dead, with his body stuffed in a metal box by the road, bringing attention to LGBTQ violence in Kenya.
Chiloba had been last seen on New Year’s Day after he returned home with friends.
Police have detained a friend of his as a suspect, but a motive has not yet been determined.
7. Peru Closed Machu Picchu Indefinitely After Tourists Got Trapped Due To Anti-Government Protests
Peru’s government has closed Machu Picchu and the Inca trail leading up to it indefinitely as anti-government protests continue to grow.
Prior to the closure on Saturday Jan. 21, hundreds of tourists had already been left stranded on Thursday at the famous tourist site after train services were suspended when protesters allegedly damaged the tracks.
Officials said ticket holders could get a refund or use them in a month after the protests end.
Peru has been rocked by mass anti-government protests since December, when the former president, Pedro Castillo, was impeached and arrested.
8. Pakistan Freed A Rapist After He Agreed To Marry His Victim Who Had His Baby And People Are Demanding Justice
A court in Pakistan has caused outrage after it freed a convicted rapist after he agreed to marry his victim.
The woman is deaf and ended up giving birth to his baby.
The court said the decision was “in the best interest of the child and his mother being a special person,” the Guardian reported.
The decision has been widely condemned for legitimizing violence against women.
9. A Zoo In China Did A Tiger-Rabbit Handover Ceremony For Lunar New Year And It Didn’t Go As Planned
The zookeepers in the Linfen Zoo in China’s Shanxi Province decided to perform a symbolic passing of the Chinese zodiac baton with a tiger and a rabbit on Jan. 20 to welcome the Lunar New Year, as 2022 was the year of the tiger and 2023 is the year of the rabbit.
The video, which was posted on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, shows zookeepers bringing the rabbit and tiger cub into close proximity, before the tiger cub stretches its head towards the rabbit’s neck and jumps towards it as if to bite it.
The staff can then be seen shouting and attempting to separate the two animals before the video cuts out.
The video then cuts to the staff standing apart and holding the two animals separately to conclude the ceremony.
According to Chinese news outlets, the zookeepers were able to separate both animals on time and no injuries were recorded.