2021 YEAR IN REVIEW

We've wrapped up the biggest stories from each month, pulled out your most clicked items in the Squiz Today email, and picked a pic and podcast to note. You're welcome... So let's take a look back on the year that was 2021.

January

The Big Stories

COVID gives us a hint of what’s to come in 2021 - Yep. We started the year with state and territory borders being closed again as an outbreak on Sydney’s Northern Beaches spreads beyond NSW.

• There were the wild scenes in Washington DC - A rally of Trump supporters led to the first breaching of the US Capitol since the British attacked in 1814. And despite Trump’s efforts to cling to the presidency, incoming prez Joe Biden’s inauguration went off without a hitch - sans Trump.

• China quashes the opposition in Hong Kong - The arrest of 55 politicians and pro-democracy activists under China’s new security law was condemned by Australia, the US, the UK and Canada. Many of them have since been sentenced to stints in prison

The Most Clicked

These images from that incredible 6 January in Washington.

Image Of The Month

Well, this iconic image of agents drawing their guns to stop a pro-Trump mob from breaking into the House of Representatives chamber…

FILE - U.S. Capitol Police agents aim their guns as a pro-Trump mob tries to break into the House of Representatives chamber trying to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's electoral college win, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, in blue shirt, talks to one of the rioters. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, FILE)

Shortcut Of The Month

The national anthem was pretty topical, with the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing that there would be a tweak to the lyrics.

February

The Big Stories

Sexual assault claims rock Federal Parliament, and many around the nation - Allegations by former Liberal Party staffer Brittany Higgins that she was raped by a colleague in a Parliament House office resulted on 4 investigations. And Higgins made a formal complaint to police.

• Facebook removes news for Aussie users - 17 million Aussie Facebook users - including the nation’s big and small media outlets - were blocked from sharing or posting news content to the mega social media platform. It was about the Morrison Government’s plans for a mandatory bargaining code that would see Facebook and Google pay for Australian news content - and eventually a deal was struck. 

• A coup in Myanmar - The nation’s military booted out the elected government led by de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi claiming voter fraud in 2020’s national election. Critics say it’s about Suu Kyi’s incredible popularity - she and senior party officials remain in detention.

The Most Clicked
Nine News gave former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian a startling glimpse of herself

Image Of The Month

The PM Scott Morrison and bird-flippin’ Jane Malysiak received the nation’s first COVID vaccination shots.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison gestures alongside Aged care resident Jane Malysiak (left) as she receives the first Codid-19 vaccine in Australia during a visit to Castle Hill Medical Centre to preview the COVID-19 vaccination program on Sunday, February 21, 2021. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

Shortcut Of The Month

The coup in Myanmar was the latest flex of military muscle in a nation that is 70 years into a fight for democracy. This catches you up.

March

The Big Stories

Attorney-General Christian Porter is accused - It was claimed he sexually assaulted a teenager in 1988 - claims he vehemently denies. Porter later launched (and dropped) defamation proceedings against the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan. And later he says he will not contest the next election. 

• Aged Care Royal Commission reports - If we’re going to adequately look after older Aussies, massive reform of the aged care system is required, and 148 recommendations were made. And it was rarely spoken about again… 

• And Harry and Meghan spilt their guts to Oprah - It’s hard to know how to summarise it in a sentence except to say the couple was hurt by their time as a senior royal couple. As for Buckingham Palace, the Queen was said to be “saddened” by the claims made. 

The Most Clicked
We bought this under-eye/dark circles concealer from Woolies on a whim, and it’s better than any high-end brand we’ve tried. You’re welcome…

Image Of The Month

The poor old Ever Given - she was stuck in the Suez Canal. So humiliating…

07 July 2021, Egypt, Ismailia: The Panama-flagged 'Ever Given' container ship sails through Suez Canal. The massive Ever Given container ship, which blocked the Suez Canal and disrupted global trade earlier this year, has started sailing from the Suez Canal where it had been held for several months, following an out-of-court settlement deal struck by representatives of the Suez Canal Authority and the vessel's Japanese owners. Photo: Mahmoud El-khawas/dpa (Photo by Mahmoud El-khawas/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Shortcut Of The Month

The erosion of democracy in Hong Kong continued throughout 2021. This'll get you across the complicated history between China and Hong Kong.

April

The Big Stories

Vale Prince Philip - The Duke of Edinburgh, consort of Queen Elizabeth for 73 years, and “the world’s most experienced plaque unveiler” died at 99yo. He refused a state funeral - instead there was a service at St George's Chapel with 30 people in attendance due to COVID restrictions. 

• And there goes the vaccine rollout… - The experts said adults aged under 50yo who had not already received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine should be given the Pfizer vaccine over concerns about a rare/severe clotting condition. That put pressure on the vaccination rollout - and PM Scott Morrison - as more Pfizer doses needed to be sourced. 

• Concerns flared about COVID in India - Faster than you could say “hello, Delta”, all flights from India to Australia were suspended as the crisis deepened across the subcontinent. The official COVID death toll in India is almost 480,000, but experts say it’s more likely x10 that number.

The Most Clicked
This compelling image won the World Press Photo of the Year. Hugs all around…

Image Of The Month

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off carrying 4 astronauts to the International Space Station. It was a breakthrough because it was the first time a rocket had been reused for a crewed flight.

In this long exposure photo, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station, on Friday, April 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Shortcut Of The Month

Prince Philip died just a couple of months short of his 100th birthday. He was described by his wife Queen Elizabeth as “my strength and stay”.

May

The Big Stories

Tensions in the Middle East explode - Several events lined up to create the cluster disaster that saw Israel and Hamas fighters in Gaza go head-to-head. But after heavy international pressure, a ceasefire was agreed upon. The 11-day conflict saw about 260 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives lost.

• Belarus ‘hijacks’ a passenger plane - Europe gasped when a Ryanair flight travelling from Athens to Lithuania was forced to land in Belarus and outspoken journalist Roman Protasevich was arrested. Air traffic control said the plane was the target of a bomb threat, but critics said President Alexander Lukashenko was behind a ruse to detain the dissident journo. 

• And Naomi Osaka exits the French Open - The Japanese tennis star clashed with officials over her refusal to speak to the media during the tournament for mental health reasons. High profile sporting types said it was a watershed moment.

The Most Clicked
There were plenty of reviews of the Federal Budget, but none as harsh as the one from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s 4yo son.

Image Of The Month

The super flower blood moon was the first total lunar eclipse in more than 2 years.

Full moon is seen before a total lunar eclipse from Sydney, Australia on May 26, 2021. (Photo by Izhar Khan/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Shortcut Of The Month

Oh, cryptocurrency... Probably our most requested Shortcut for the year.

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June

The Big Stories

Hello lockdown my old friend… - An outbreak of the Delta strain in Sydney’s Bondi kicked off a raft of new restrictions in Greater Sydney. And by the end of June, about half of Australia’s population - 12 million people - were locked down

• The Nationals' leadership hoedown - “It’s called democracy,” outgoing Deputy PM Michael McCormack said after his Nationals colleagues voted him out as their leader, reinstalling his predecessor Barnaby Joyce.

• Benjamin Netanyahu ousted in Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year grip on power came to an end in favour of a new coalition government led by Naftali Bennett. The deal ended a 2-year political stalemate after 4 inconclusive elections.

The Most Clicked

“The Auslan interpreter's take on the naked deer-startled sun-bakers is worth all the replays” tweeted the ABC’s Siobhan Heanue.

Image Of The Month

The #FreeBritney crowd were out in force in Los Angeles as pop star Britney Spears delivered a devastating account of her life under a conservatorship arrangement controlled by her father.

Los Angeles, CA - June 23: Supporters of Britney Spears rally as hearing on the Britney Spears conservatorship case takes place Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Shortcut Of The Month

Mouse plague. They’re chilling words… For parts of Australia, it’s been the reality as communities battled millions of 'em.

July

The Big Stories

The Chinese Communist Party celebrated its centenary - There were "grand celebrations"... And in a warning to the West, President Xi Jinping said foreign forces trying to bully China will “have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.” Yikes… 

• Vax rollout picks up a bit of pace - Massive lockdowns will do that… In July, more Pfizer doses started arriving, and PM Scott Morrison came under pressure to apologise for delays. He expressed frustration over the limited use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

• An epic murder-mystery as the Haitian president is assassinated - Jovenel Moïse was killed and his wife Martine was injured in an attack on their private residence in Port-au-Prince, the nation's capital. And if Haiti hadn’t been through enough, a 7.2-magnitude quake struck the west in August, leaving at least 2,250 dead.

The Most Clicked

Longtime staple skinny jeans are a thing of the past. The new craze - straight leg jeans - raised many questions, so this had Squizers sorted.

Image Of The Month

Dylan Alcott kisses the winner's trophy after winning the final of the Quad Wheelchair Singles at Wimbledon. He went on to win a Golden Slam - all 4 majors + a Paralympics gold medal.

Image source: Getty

Shortcut Of The Month

No, no, don't go. Getting across your super is important, and this is as pain-free as it gets.

August

The Big Stories

Afghanistan’s government falls - The Taliban shocked the world when it seized control of capital Kabul on 15 August after the collapse of the government. Cue the hustle by Oz, the US, the UK and others to get their troops, citizens and visa holders out by the 31 August deadline… Today, aid organisations say the nation is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster. 

• Afterpay inks biggest corporate deal in Australian history - It’s being acquired by US business hardware/software business Square for a cool $39 billion. Not bad for a company that's never made a profit..

• And the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were awesome - Spanning July-September, they went ahead, sans spectators. Australia ended up 6th on the medal tally with 17 gold, 7 silver and 22 bronze medals in the Olympics - an equal-best performance in terms of gold medals won. And in the Paras, Australia finished 8th on the medal tally with 21 gold, 29 silver and 30 bronze medals. Nice work, team. 

The Most Clicked

A picture of a leafy seadragon hiding from predators has won the 2021 Australian Geographic nature photographer of the year competition. Silly sausage, her eyes are too bright…

Image Of The Month

At the Tokyo Games, international attention was on US gymnast Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from several events to focus on her mental health.

TOPSHOT - USA's Simone Biles gestures during the artistic gymnastics women's team final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Loic VENANCE / AFP) (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)

Shortcut Of The Month

Nothing more topical than the vaccine rollout, so it was time to step back and take a look at each vaccine that would be available to Australians.

September

The Big Stories

A ruckus about AUKUS - In one of the biggest developments in defence and strategic direction in decades, Australia, the UK, and the US made a new security pact. We also get the instruction book for nuclear-powered submarines, ending our $90 billion sub-building contract with France. French President Emmanuel Macron was delighted, as was China… 

• Home prices on the up - We knew the market was hot, but the latest stats showed national housing prices rose 18.4% in the year to September - the fastest increase since July 1989. Hobart led the way with 24.5% annual growth, and regional home prices were up 21.6%. 

• An earthquake shakes Victoria - Oh c'mon, universe... After COVID lockdowns, protests, and taking away the AFL grand final for 2 years, an earthquake detected near Mansfield seemed like overkill. Meanwhile, across the border near Bathurst, a tornado caused a line of damage extending almost 30km.

The Most Clicked

Duck boobs. ‘Nuff said…

Image Of The Month

Norwegian Terje Kolaas won the Drone Photo Awards for this majestic snap of some Pink-footed geese.

September - geese

Shortcut Of The Month

We were watching a lot of Vigil, and a little thing called AUKUS suddenly had us all talking about submarines.

October

The Big Stories

Berejiklian gawn - NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s shock resignation came after the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) announced it was investigating her. She was replaced by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet. That all happened as NSW became the first state to hit the vaccination target of 70% triggering an end to lockdowns. 

• The buck stops with Zuck - Former Facebook employee/whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked thousands of internal documents and said "as long as Facebook is operating in the dark, it is accountable to no one, and it will continue to make choices that go against the common good." Cue the cynics when the company changed its corporate name to Meta… 

• My name is Cleo - Shock turned to elation when 4yo Cleo Smith was found in Carnarvon in Western Oz. She was abducted from her family’s tent at a nearby holiday spot, but she was tracked down safe and sound. A 36yo Carnarvon man has been charged.  

The Most Clicked

Our favourite all-round t-shirt* won the month.

* Buy using this link and The Squiz might receive a little commission

Image Of The Month

Actor/producer Alec Baldwin was snapped leaving the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office after he was questioned about a shooting on the set of the film Rust that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. 

October - Alec Baldwin

Shortcut Of The Month

In Japan's Imperial Family only men can inherit the throne, and they're running out of them. The marriage of Princess Mako, the Emperor's niece, to a commoner meant she was out of the family, so we took a look at the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world.

November

The Big Stories

COP26 won’t get us there - The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow was billed as the last chance to keep the 1.5C global warming target within reach. PM Morrison committed Oz to net zero emissions by 2050, but the 2030 target set in 2015 remains. After 2 weeks of talks, a tally of all the commitments made will limit global warming to 2.4C, so there’s more work to do…   

• Travis Scott crowd crush - Ten people died and 300 were injured when a 50,000-strong crowd surged towards the stage at the start of a Travis Scott performance in Houston. Music editors said Scott’s performances are known for being high-energy/a bit loose.

• The Aussie men win the T20 World Cup -Australia was too much for New Zealand's Black Caps, taking out our first men's T20 World Cup. Meanwhile, Australian Test cricket captain/wicket-keeper Tim Paine tearfully stepped down after details of a sexting scandal came to light. He was replaced by bowler Pat Cummins.

The Most Clicked

If you’re getting into mango season as much as we are, this cutting technique is intriguing. Let’s just say it divided Squiz HQ…

Image Of The Month

The search for missing 3yo William Tyrrell was back on at his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall, NSW. It’s now been called off, and it’s unclear if any new evidence was found.

Forensic services use luminol and a blue light to look for blood traces at the front garden of the former home of William Tyrrell’s foster grandmother in Kendall, mid north coast of NSW, Tuesday, November 16, 2021. Detectives are launching a new search for the remains of missing boy William Tyrrell, seven years after he disappeared on the NSW mid-north coast. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

Shortcut Of The Month

The disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai left us with a lot of questions… After all, she’s not the first high-profile person to have seemingly vanished after criticising the Chinese government. So we took a look at what’s been called China’s cultural crackdown.

December

The Big Stories

OMG Omicron - The Great Cancellation kicked off a couple of weeks before Christmas, just as restrictions started to ease in many states as vaccination rates exceeded 80%. And with COVID numbers on the rise, PM Scott Morrison advised Aussies to “stay calm, get your booster, follow common-sense measures”.

• A tragedy in Tassie - Six Grade 5/6 students at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport died when a jumping castle they were on was launched 10m into the air leaving them to fall to the ground. They were attending an end-of-year fun day. “How do we go on without you?” asked Georgie Gardam, the mother of 12yo victim Zane Mellor. 

• And a boycott, diplomatically speaking - Australian officials and politicians won’t attend the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February joining the US, UK and Canada. Athletes are good to go, but officials will hang back in protest against China’s record of human rights abuses.

The Most Clicked

London’s Trafalgar Square Christmas tree - let’s just say it looks like it lost a battle with the hedge clippers...

Image Of The Month

Queensland’s border reopened to those in NSW, Victoria and the ACT, and there were a lot of feelings. We’re not teary you are…

Rebecca Underhill hugs her father Paul Gimpel after she arrived from Sydney to be reunited with family at Brisbane Domestic Airport, Brisbane, Monday, December 13, 2021. More than 140 days after locking out most of the country, Queensland reopened its border to people who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and had a negative PCR test after the state hit its 80 per cent double jab target. (AAP Image/Jono Searle) NO ARCHIVING

Shortcut Of The Month

It's summer, it's cricket. The team from the Sport Today podcast guest-host this episode on one of Australia's greatest sporting rivalries.

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