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Top 10 international news stories of 2016, selected by People's Daily and CRI
2016/12/31

In 2016, the world underwent profound changes.

With Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the world witnessed two "black swan" events. The rise of far-right parties and populism in Europe are posing an unprecedented challenge to globalization. Meanwhile, the threat of terrorism shows no sign of abating, indicating that the world needs a new approach to counter-terrorism. Security in northern Asia, which is veering away from the path of peaceful development, has attracted concern from the international community. All the while, China has been steadily moving forward by tackling hard issues and embracing reform.

Amid these often disturbing developments, China has boosted the world's economy by hosting the G20 summit, made essential contributions to activating the Paris Agreement, upped its participation in global financial governance by the inclusion of RMB in the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Right (SDR) basket, and won support in opposing the invalid South China Sea arbitration.

The universe always moves along its own path, and history will never stop marching forward, despite temporary disturbances. Time will flush away fear and tears; peace, justice and inclusiveness are the laws of nature. Looking ahead, the year 2017 is full of hope.

1. Gravitational waves detected, "voice of space" heard by humans for first time

On Feb. 11, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the detection of gravitational waves. In June, scientists declared again that they had clearly detected gravitational waves -- a significant physics milestone.

2. Refugee crisis in Europe continued, populism rose

The huge influx of refugees has caused social issues in a number of European countries, prompting members of the EU to tighten refugee policies. In May, the EU Council allowed some countries within the Schengen Area to extend internal border control, and the European Commission proposed extending the measure. In December, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after a major constitutional referendum failed. Meanwhile, populist parties such as the National Front in France and the Alternative for Germany are gaining popularity around Europe.

3. Britain voted to leave EU

Over half of British voters voiced their preference to leave the EU in a June referendum, and Britain's prime minister resigned shortly thereafter. The country will officially start working toward Brexit before March 2017. Brexit has left other European countries anxious in the face of economic depression, the refugee crisis and terrorist attacks. This growing anxiety and desire for change is challenging the unified identity of Europe.

4. South Korea, the U.S., North Korea and Japan made momentous decisions, adding to security concerns in northeast Asia

In July, South Korea announced plans to deploy THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense). Before and after that, North Korea conducted two nuclear tests. Since March, Japan has implemented new security laws and passed a new version of the Defense White Paper to boost the operational and geographical scope of Japan's forces oversea, which means Japan has abandoned its pacifist constitution.

5. China resolutely safeguarded international rule of law, South China Sea arbitration farce came to an end

From the beginning, China always opposed the South China Sea arbitration launched by the Philippines. China's stance won understanding and support from nearly 120 countries and 240 political parties. During Phillippines President Duterte's visit to China in October, the two countries reached a consensus to solve the South China Sea dispute through negotiation.

6. Fresh global terrorist attacks raised concerns

On July 14, at least 84 people were killed in a terrorist attack in Nice, France. On Dec. 19, the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated. Terrorist attacks have plagued many countries this year, including Belgium, Turkey and Egypt. At the same time, anti-extremism wars are ongoing in Iraq and Syria. In many ways, terrorism has globalized, becoming more fragmented and widespread. China's proposition to consolidate the role of the UN in coordinating counter-terrorism efforts has been widely recognized.

7. G20 summit a success in Hangzhou, China contributed to global governance

The Group of 20 (G20) summit was held in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou from Sept. 4-5. At the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the establishment of an innovative, open, interconnected and inclusive world economy, clearly enumerating China's view on global economic governance. The G20 summit facilitated pioneering achievements in economic innovation and financial governance, promoting international trade and investment and pushing forward development.

8. RMB included in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket by IMF, ascending to heart of global finance

On Oct. 1, the RMB officially joined the SDR basket for the first time, in a landmark recognition of China's increased role in the global economy. The milestone demonstrates major progress in the evolution of the international financial system.

9. Paris Agreement took effect, offering legal basis for global climate governance

The Paris Agreement, which officially took effect on Nov. 4, is seen as a new chapter in the fight to tackle climate change. The agreement provides a firm legal basis for global actions aimed at solving climate issues. China's efforts in pushing forward the agreement were highly praised by the international community at the November UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Moroco.

10. Donald Trump elected next U.S. president, polarizing citizens

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump beat his rival, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, to claim the 45th U.S. presidency. Trump's campaign exacerbated political divisions, which reflected the plight of social segregation in American politics.

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