The world saw several dramatic transitions of power, where the status quo was upended. It was a year of political upheaval, where several longstanding leaders bowed out, albeit not always gracefully. In Myanmar, the country's military showed the world a textbook example of a coup d'etat. A little farther from Southeast Asia, at the crossroads of Central and South Asia, the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan after failed negotiations with the US that also saw the US-led forces ending their 20-year military campaign abruptly. In Africa, too, it was all chaos and conflict: From Mali and Guinea, to Sudan and Tunisia, and a deadly civil war in Ethiopia. But it was the standoff at the Poland-Belarus border that caught the world's attention. As the world enters a new year, many will be hoping for the same thing as last year - an end to the coronavirus pandemic. 2021 saw a vaccination rollout unprecedent in modern times. But COVID-19 refused to go away, as the emergence of new variants jeopardized vaccine immunity.