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Yearender: Xinhua's top 10 world news events in 2011

12-29-2011 13:16 BJT

BEIJING, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- The following were the top 10 news events around the world in 2011 as selected by Xinhua (in chronological order):

1. STRONG TURBULENCE IN WESTERN ASIA, NORTHERN AFRICA

On Jan. 14, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia's president for more than 23 years, fled to Saudi Arabia after massive protests erupted across the country.

On Jan. 14, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia's president for more than 23 years,
fled to Saudi Arabia after massive protests erupted across the country.

Ben Ali's fall was followed by unrest in some countries in the region, including Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan and Algeria.

On Feb. 11, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, ending his 30-year rule.

On March 14, troops of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and some other countries sent troops to Bahrain to help stabilize the situation there.

On March 19, NATO launched airstrikes on Libya to impose a no-fly zone under a UN Security Council resolution. And on Oct. 20, Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed as his hometown of Sirte fell to the former rebels.

On Nov. 23, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a power transfer deal under which he agreed to step down after 33 years in power.

And currently, political uncertainties remain in the unrest-hit Syria.

For the countries in the region that encountered turbulence in 2011, there was a tough road ahead for political transition.

2. CHINA BECOMES WORLD'S NO.2 ECONOMY

 China has surpassed Japan in annual gross domestic product (GDP) for 2010 and become the world's No. 2 economy, while the United States remains the world's No. 1.

China has surpassed Japan in annual gross domestic product (GDP) for 2010 and become
the world's No. 2 economy.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). In the past 10 years, China has continued efforts to seek a win-win situation with the rest of the world, where economic patterns have changed profoundly in recent years as developing countries, especially some emerging economies, have raised their international status and are making increasingly important contributions to global economic growth.

On April 14, the 3rd summit of the BRICS, which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, opened in Sanya, Hainan province in China. South Africa attended the summit as a new member, marking the first expansion of the group and demonstrating the general trend of the rise of emerging economies.

 3. DEBT CRISES IN EUROPE, U.S. HIT WORLD ECONOMY

On March 7, the American credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service downgraded the credit rating of Greek sovereign debt to B1, marking the start of the European sovereign debt crisis and worsening the economic situation in the eurozone. The crisis sparked changes of government in the worst-hit countries, including Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Italy and Spain.

The Standard and Poor's building in New York, August 2, 2011. The U.S. Treasury hit
back against a Standard and Poor's downgrade of U.S. top-notch credit rating, saying
that the agency's judgment was flawed.

In August, the U.S.-based financial services company Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit rating of American long-term sovereign debt to AA+. It was the first time the United States lost its AAA credit rating.

With the world economy staggering under the European and U.S. debt crises, the Occupy Wall Street movement was launched on Sept. 17 protesting corruption and greed in the financial sector. The movement later spread to many cities and towns in the United States and other Western countries, and has triggered social crises in these countries.

 4. TSUNAMI, NUCLEAR LEAK AFTER POWERFUL EARTHQUAKE IN JAPAN

On March 11, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck Japan's northeastern coast and triggered a huge tsunami, killing 15,645 people and leaving 4,984 others missing.

On March 11, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck Japan's northeastern coast and
triggered a huge tsunami, killing 15,645 people and leaving 4,984 others missing.

The crisis also caused radioactive leaks from several reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The accident was rated by the Japanese authorities as level seven, the most serious on an international scale, the same as the 1986 Chernobyl accident.

Experts estimate the radiation contamination from the Fukushima accident will not be eliminated for the next 70 years.

The accident also caused strong concern internationally over nuclear safety.

 5. OSAMA BIN LADEN KILLED BY U.S.

On May 1, the U.S. Navy commandos killed al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden in a cross-border helicopter-borne raid at Abbotabad, a mountainous town located some 60 km north of Pakistan's capital of Islamabad, in what was seen as a heavy blow to the terrorist group.

The United States believed that Bin Laden, widely seen as the kingpin of global terrorism, was the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which killed more than 3,000 people in the United States.

On May 1, the U.S. Navy commandos killed al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden in a cross-
border helicopter-borne raid at Abbotabad, a mountainous town located some 60 km
north of Pakistan's capital of Islamabad.


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