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Events to Shake, or Gently Rattle, the World in 2023

“War, what is it good for?” belted out Edwin Starr in 1970.


The answer is the same today as it was more than 50 years ago: “Absolutely nothing!” But in February 2022, seemingly expecting an easy victory, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked invasion into Ukraine that is now estimated to have killed more than 40,000 civilians and displaced up to 30 million more. As the war grinds on into the winter, Russia has adopted the tactic of striking key Ukrainian infrastructure facilities, leaving millions without power, heat or water for extended periods. But Mr. Putin can’t escape history, and within Russia, internal divisions and a declining population show that, as far as the confidence and unity of his own people goes, he may have already lost.



Outside of Russia’s war, 2022 offered little by way of consolation: In June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion in the United States; in August, flooding devastated hundreds of villages in Pakistan, killing around 1,500 people and affecting more than 33 million; then in September, Queen Elizabeth II, the most steadfast and drama-free member of the House of Windsor, died, and the British pound hit a historic low against the U.S. dollar. As the year drew to a close, central banks around the world hiked interest rates to curb inflation and warned of the likelihood of a global recession.


Now, 2023 has us in its sights. From the launch of the largest offshore wind farm in Japan to the 100th birthdays of The Walt Disney Company and Warner Brothers to a celebration of dogs in Nepal — read on to find examples of perseverance and ingenuity in action.




CROATIA, Jan. 1: Nearly a decade after joining the European Union, Croatia adopts the euro and becomes part of the Schengen visa-free travel area. Undeterred by a looming recession in the eurozone, the Balkan nation hopes to reap the rewards of membership by attracting tourists to its Adriatic coastline.


ITALY, Jan. 16: Venice enacts a “day-trippers” fee for visitors who come to the city for a few hours but don’t stay the night. City officials have been working on the measure, designed to limit transient travelers who strain the city’s fragile infrastructure, since before the Covid-19 pandemic. The fee will range from 3 to 10 euros, depending on how crowded the city is on a given day.


UNITED STATES, Jan. 23 and April 4: Two Tinseltown titans turn 100: Warner Brothers and Disney, of course! Both studios are planning elaborate celebrations involving their extended families of theme parks, video games, television channels and streaming services throughout the year.




AUSTRALIA, Feb. 17–March 5: Grab your rainbow flag and pop the champagne: WorldPride is coming to Sydney. More than 500,000 people are expected to attend the 17-day festival. Not all members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community feel welcome, however. Some commentators have called the events “elitist,” given the ticket prices. For example, the three-day human rights conference costs $1,497 for general admission, and tickets for the Bondi Beach party start at $179.


UNITED STATES, Feb. 12: Nearly five years after her last performance at the 2018 Grammy Awards, Rihanna — who dominated the Billboard charts from the 2000s until her last album, “Anti,” in 2016 — returns to the stage to perform in what is always one of the world’s most-watched musical events: the Super Bowl halftime show. The impressive get is seen as a power play by Apple Music, which takes over from Pepsi as the lead sponsor of the show.

美国,2月12日:距离她在2018年格莱美颁奖礼上最后一次表演已经过去了近5年,蕾哈娜重返舞台,在全球最受关注的音乐盛事之一超级碗中场秀奉献表演。从2000年代开始到2016年她最后一张专辑《Anti》,她一直是Billboard排行榜的霸榜歌手。她能获此良机被认为是Apple Music影响力攻势的结果,它取代百事成为了中场秀的主要赞助商。



UNITED STATES, March 12: Clocks in the United States spring forward one hour, perhaps for the last time. The Sunshine Protection Act, which the Senate passed in March 2022, will make daylight saving time permanent in the United States. Proponents of the bill include Senator Marco A. Rubio, Republican of Florida, who says that more daylight hours would lower the number of car crashes and accidents, reduce robberies by 27 percent and cut energy usage.




FRANCE, SPAIN and the UNITED STATES, April 8: To mark the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death, museums around the world will participate in “Picasso Celebration 1973-2023,” organized by the Musée National Picasso-Paris and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, the artist’s grandson. The featured historiographical exhibits include “Picasso 1969-72: the End of the Beginning” at the Musée Picasso in Antibes (April 8-June 25); “Young Picasso in Paris” at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (May 12-Aug. 7) and “Picasso vs. Velázquez” at the Casa de Velázquez in Madrid (September-November).




UNITED KINGDOM, May 6: Charles III, who once described the prospect of being king as a “ghastly inexorable” experience, will be crowned in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey. Buckingham Palace has indicated that Charles’s coronation will be short — just over an hour — and less extravagant than his mother’s, which lasted nearly three hours and featured a congregation of 8,000 dignitaries.




EGYPT, June 30: The first phase of construction of Egypt’s new administrative capital, a $30 billion project east of Cairo, is scheduled for completion. The new capital promises practical solutions in the form of jobs and housing for residents in overcrowded Cairo, as well as more ambitious plans like the Olympic City, the second-largest sports complex in Africa, which Egypt hopes to use in its bid to host the 2036 Olympics.




LITHUANIA, July 11–12: NATO holds a summit of its 30 member countries in Vilnius, a mere 138 miles from the Russian border. It will be one of the largest summits ever hosted by the Baltic nation and will cost around 30 million euros.


JAMAICA, July 24–28: The International Seabed Authority issues international rules on deep-sea mining. The burgeoning industry will target the extraction of minerals like nickel, which is a vital component in the batteries used in many electric cars. An alliance of Pacific nations, scientists and organizations like Greenpeace have accused the I.S.A. of drafting the rules too hastily and are calling for a moratorium on the industry, claiming deep-sea mining will destroy some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems.




WORLD: Four Airbnb judges choose the 100 quirkiest home ideas from around the world. Sponsored by Airbnb’s OMG! Fund, the contest gives 100 people $100,000 to build the “craziest places on earth.” Winners so far have included a potato hotel in Idaho and a retro ’60s camping bus in Portugal.


FINLAND, Aug. 23–25: Champions of regional air guitar competitions around the world gather in Oulu to compete in the Air Guitar World Championships. The competition has been held since 1996 and last year attracted an audience of more than 3,500 spectators. What other international sporting competitions does Finland host? So glad you asked: the Swamp Soccer World Championships, the Mobile Phone Throwing Championships and the Hobby-Horsing Championships, to name a few.




UNITED STATES: Thanks to a gift from the Roy Lichtenstein estate, students in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program for artists, historians and curators will begin their studies in a remarkable classroom: the three-story, 9,000-square-foot Greenwich Village studio where the artist lived and worked until his death in 1997.


UNITED STATES, Sept. 24: OSIRIS-REX, the first NASA mission to collect samples from an asteroid, returns to Earth. Scientists at the Utah Test and Training Range hope the dust and pebbles OSIRIS-REX gathered from the surface of the asteroid Bennu will provide insights into the formation of the early solar system, as well as how asteroids could impact Earth in the future.




SOUTH AFRICA, Oct. 18–30: Endurance athletes head to Kouga in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province to participate in the Adventure Racing World Championship — the first time the series is held in Africa. Participants compete in mountain biking, trail running, river kayaking and navigation challenges while negotiating varying climates and wildlife — which, in Kouga, will include lions, leopards and rhinos. The winner takes home $50,000 in prize money and gets a free entry into next year’s race.




UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Nov. 6–17: The world’s first hydrogen-powered hydrofoil makes its inaugural “flight” (or is it sail?) at the U.N. Climate Change Conference. The vessel, called The Jet, can carry up to 12 passengers and produces zero emissions. The Swiss-based startup behind The Jet plans to launch commercially in Dubai for private clients and hotels later in the year.


NEPAL: The Nepalese Tihar festival is a multiday celebration of good over evil akin to Diwali, the Indian festival of lights. The second day of celebration — Kukur Tihar — is dedicated to dogs, who are considered to be sacred messengers of Yarma, the god of the dead. On that day, across Nepal, domestic and stray dogs are given baths, treats and rewarded with marigold garlands placed around their necks.




UGANDA, Dec. 7-10: The Nyege Nyege electronic music festival lives to see another day. Held annually on the banks of the Nile River, the celebration was canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of Covid-19. Then the Ugandan parliament banned the 2022 event, claiming it promoted immorality. Eventually the festival was allowed to go ahead after the Ugandan ethics and integrity minister met with organizers to establish rules, including age limits for entry and dress code restrictions.

乌干达,12月7日至10日:Nyege Nyege电子音乐节得以继续举办。由于新冠疫情,每年都在尼罗河畔举行的该活动在2020年和2021年取消。随后,乌干达议会禁止2022年活动的举办,称其助长了不道德行为。乌干达道德与诚信部长同音乐节组织者会面,制定了包括年龄和着装限制在内的规定,音乐节才获准继续举办。

JAPAN: Japan’s largest combined offshore wind and power storage facility becomes operational off the coast of Ishikari Bay in Hokkaido. More than 15 years in the making, the Ishikari offshore wind farm is one of several dozen being built in the country to exploit Japan’s strong winds. The country’s scramble to secure alternative energy sources comes after its first energy shortage warning last summer amid a heat wave and soaring fuel prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.




FRANCE: Get your fill of Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” and Yves Klein’s “Blue Monochrome” now, because the Centre Pompidou in Paris will close in 2023 for several years of maintenance before reopening for its 50th anniversary in 2027.


NEW ZEALAND: Can you have your cigarette and put it out forever, too? New Zealand attempts to achieve both with a novel law that allows existing smokers to continue the habit while preventing young people from taking it up. Beginning in 2023, the legal age limit to buy cigarettes will increase every year, effectively prohibiting anyone 14 and under from purchasing cigarettes in their lifetime.


WALES: The Royal Mint with Excir, a Canadian clean tech startup, will open a plant to recover 99 percent of gold from electronic waste contained in the circuit boards of discarded laptops and mobile phones. The value of precious metals contained in electronics worldwide is estimated to be $57 billion.


NIGERIA: The Nigerian National Petroleum Company will decide whether to invest $25 billion in a pipeline to transport gas from Nigeria to Morocco and onward to Italy and Spain. If approved, the project will enable Nigeria to help reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy — but not anytime soon. According to estimates, it will take at least 25 years for the pipeline to become operational.

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