Almanac – APR
The big picture <
An effigy representing Covid-19 waits to be burned in the Cementerio neighbourhood of Caracas on 17th April 2022. It is customary in Venezuela to burn an effigy of the biblical figure who supposedly betrayed Jesus on Easter Sunday, although in recent years the ‘Judas’ has often been a politician, a hated public figure or something more abstract, such as a pandemic which exacerbated the country’s severe humanitarian crisis. Since 2014, when the Venezuelan economy went into freefall, over 6.8 million people have left the country.
Photo by Yuri Cortez/AFP via Getty Images
Fri | 1st
UK > TV explorer and head scout Bear Grylls attracts criticism after opening a nudist barbecue in East Sussex specialising in exotic meat and small crustaceans. Bear Grylls’ Bare Thrillz Bear and Krill Bar ‘n’ Grill (Bexhill) is forced to shut two days later by an alliance of militant Catholic, vegan, animal rights and anti-gentrification protesters.
US > Workers at a New York warehouse vote to form the first US Amazon union.
‘The Amazon effect’
Sat | 2nd
SRI LANKA > President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declares a national state of emergency a day after hundreds of protesters attempted to storm his residence over severe food, fuel and medicine shortages. On 19th May, following further violent protests, the country defaults on its debts for the first time. In July, Rajapaksa flees the country and resigns as president after protesters occupy his residence in the capital, Colombo.
Sun | 3rd
HUNGARY > Viktor Orbán wins a fourth term as prime minister in the country’s elections. In a speech following his landslide victory over an opposition alliance, which saw his nationalist Fidesz party increase its parliamentary majority, Orbán describes Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky as an “opponent”.
Mon | 4th
CHINA > Health officials in the locked-down city of Shanghai defend the practice of separating Covid-positive children from their families. Unverified photos and videos of young children and crying babies quarantined at clinics without parents present had drawn criticism on social media, and on Wednesday 6th the city authorities backtrack and allow parents to accompany their children. The strict lockdown in the city of 25 million people ultimately lasts 65 days, ending on 1st June.
Tue | 5th
UK > Cambridge University announces that two notebooks belonging to Charles Darwin which went missing 22 years ago have been returned in good condition. The postcard-sized books, one of which contains Darwin’s famous 1837 ‘Tree of Life’ sketch, were left anonymously in a pink gift bag containing a plain brown envelope printed with the message: “Librarian, Happy Easter X.” The items, which were only reported as stolen in 2020 because staff had believed them to have been “misshelved”, go on public display in July.
Wed | 6th
UK > It emerges that the wealthy wife of chancellor Rishi Sunak claims non-domicile status, meaning she doesn’t have to pay UK tax on income earned abroad. Labour leader Keir Starmer says it would be “breathtaking hypocrisy” if Akshata Murty, an Indian citizen who reportedly receives around £11.5m annually in dividends from her stake in family business Infosys, had saved millions of pounds on taxes while her husband raised taxes for others. Two days later, as Murty says she will pay UK tax on future overseas earnings, Sunak draws criticism for admitting he held a US green card for a year after becoming chancellor.
US > The leg of a thescelosaurus found in North Dakota is presented by scientists, who believe the creature may have been killed by the giant asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Thu | 7th
TURKEY > The trial of 26 Saudis accused of killing Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018 is suspended by a Turkish court and transferred to Saudi Arabia. The judgement, which effectively annuls the trial, comes amid a thaw in relations between Ankara and Riyadh. On 28th April, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is believed by US intelligence to have ordered the murder of the dissident journalist, meets Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the first time since the killing.
US > A black female justice is confirmed to the Supreme Court for the first time. Three Republicans cross the aisle to seal the appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson, who replaces fellow liberal Stephen Breyer in June.
Fri | 8th
UK > The killer of primary school teacher Sabrina Nessa is jailed for a minimum of 36 years. The Old Bailey had heard how Koci Selamaj, who pled guilty to the murder, travelled from his home in Eastbourne on 17th September 2021 to kill the 28-year-old in a premeditated attack in Kidbrooke, east London.
Sat | 9th
Sun | 10th
PAKISTAN > Imran Khan is ousted as president after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership. The ballot took place after the supreme court ruled that the former cricket star had acted unconstitutionally by dissolving parliament and calling for fresh elections in an apparent effort to prevent the confidence vote from going ahead.
Mon | 11th
UK > A supporter of Islamic State is found guilty of the murder of Sir David Amess MP. Ali Harbi Ali, who stabbed the Southend West MP more than 20 times at a surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on 15th October 2021, is handed a rare whole-life sentence, meaning he will never be released from prison.
SOUTH AFRICA > Deadly floods and landslides hit the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape after heavy rainfall. The floods kill at least 453 people and displace more than 40,000 others.
Tue | 12th
UKRAINE > Two British men fighting alongside the Ukrainian army are captured by Russian forces in Mariupol. On 9th June, Aiden Aslin, who also holds Ukrainian citizenship, and Shaun Pinner are sentenced to death for “mercenary activities” by a Russia-controlled court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. UK foreign secretary Liz Truss calls the verdict a “sham judgement”. In September the men are released after Saudi Arabia brokers a deal between Ukraine and Russia.
Wed | 13th
UKRAINE > The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, describes Ukraine as a “crime scene” after visiting Bucha.
‘Picking up the pieces’
Thu | 14th
UKRAINE > Russia’s flagship Moskva cruiser sinks in the Black Sea. The Kremlin acknowledges the loss but blames it on an unexplained fire, while Ukraine says it hit the warship with Neptune anti-shipping missiles.
A week after the incident Russia says one crew member died and 27 were missing, but that most onboard had been safely evacuated.
Fri | 15th
US > An ex-British Islamic State member who beheaded American hostages in Syria is found guilty of terror offences by a Virginia court. El Shafee Elsheikh, who was captured by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in 2018 before being handed to authorities
in the US, was one of four militants from London nicknamed ‘the Beatles’ who were accused of the abduction, torture and murder of several hostages. On 29th April another member of the group, Alexanda Kotey, who like Elsheikh was stripped of his British citizenship in 2018, is sentenced to life in prison by a Virginia court. On 19th August, Elsheikh is sentenced to life in prison.
Sat | 16th
Sun | 17th
Mon | 18th
UKRAINE > President Volodymyr Zelensky says that Russia has launched a second phase of the war and is now focusing on taking control of the eastern Donbas region. The change in strategy comes three weeks after Moscow abandoned its efforts to seize Kyiv.
Tue | 19th
UK > Boris Johnson apologises six days after receiving a fixed-penalty notice for his role in the ‘Partygate’ scandal. The prime minister, as well as his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, were fined for attending a birthday gathering in Downing Street in June 2020, when the country was in a Covid-19 lockdown. By the time the Met police concludes its investigation into Partygate on 19th May, 83 individuals have been fined for attending events during lockdown in and around No. 10.
SOLOMON ISLANDS > The country enters a contentious security pact with China, according to Beijing.
‘Moment that mattered’
US > Netflix shares fall by 35 percent after the streaming service announces a loss of more than 200,000 subscribers globally in the first quarter of 2022, its first subscriber loss in more than a decade. The firm loses more than a million subscribers in the second quarter of 2022, and on 13th July announces the creation of an ad-supported membership tier.
Wed | 20th
Thu | 21st
SOUTH KOREA > The supreme court overturns a military court conviction of two gay soldiers for having sex while away from their base. The men had received suspended sentences for having sex in a private house while off-duty in 2016, but the supreme court ruled that the controversial military sodomy law should not apply to consensual sex away from a military setting. Following the ruling, Amnesty International calls for the South Korean government to repeal the military sodomy law to end “the pervasive stigmatisation faced by LGBTI people in the country”.
Fri | 22nd
US > Florida’s Republican governor signs a bill to dissolve Walt Disney World’s self-governing status in the state. Ron DeSantis’s move to disband the special district containing the theme park is viewed as retaliation for Disney condemning the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ education laws. Disney CEO Bob Chapek initially refused to comment on the new laws, which prohibit any discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity between kindergarten and third grade, but after a staff revolt he criticised the legislation and apologised to his workers, saying he should have been a “stronger ally”.
Sat | 23rd
Sun | 24th
FRANCE > Emmanuel Macron wins a second term as president after defeating far right candidate Marine Le Pen in an election run-off. Although Macron won 58.5 percent of the vote, his margin of victory was narrower than against Le Pen five years earlier.
Mon | 25th
US > Tesla CEO Elon Musk strikes a deal to buy Twitter for around $44 billion. To raise cash, Musk sells $8.5 billion worth of shares in Tesla, whose stock falls sharply after the Twitter announcement. On 8th July, after weeks of speculation over how the self-proclaimed ‘free speech absolutist’ might change the platform, Musk walks away from the deal. Twitter sues Musk in a bid to force him to complete the takeover, and on 5th August Musk countersues, accusing the firm of misleading investors by hiding the real number of fake accounts on the site.
Tue | 26th
UK > Tim Westwood is accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women in a joint investigation by the BBC and the Guardian. The 64-year-old DJ, who had a BBC radio show for almost 20 years, steps down from his post at Capital Xtra after the allegations are published. On 13th July, Westwood faces new allegations from a woman who claims that he had sex with her when she was 14. Westwood denies all the allegations.
Wed | 27th
UK > The chief whip of the Conservative party launches an investigation into allegations made by two women that they saw an MP watching pornography on his phone. Three days later Neil Parish resigns as MP for Tiverton and Honiton after admitting that he twice watched pornography in the Commons; on the first occasion he says he stumbled upon an adult site while researching tractors.
Thu | 28th
ISRAEL > An unexploded shell found in an American family’s luggage causes panic at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. A section of the airport is evacuated after the bombshell, which had been found in the occupied Golan Heights and kept as a souvenir, is discovered by airport staff, leading to panicked passengers running towards the exits. One man is hospitalised with injuries sustained while trying to jump over a baggage carousel.
Fri | 29th
UK > German former tennis star Boris Becker is sentenced to two and a half years in prison over bankruptcy charges. A London court had found the three-time Wimbledon champion, who was declared bankrupt in June 2017, concealed £2.5 million of assets and loans to avoid paying his debts.
Sat | 30th
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