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The 10 Most Significant World Events in 2016

The 10 Most Significant World Events in 2016
EventSignificant world events.Description
1Colombia Strikes a Peace DealSantos, who was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the agreement, proceeded to hammer out a new deal. Unveiled on November 24, 2016, it toughened some of the provisions on FARC members. But the biggest change was dropping the requirement for a national referendum. With no need for the public to vote, the Colombian Congress approved the deal a week later. Colombians now hope the deal works; the conflict with the FARC has killed nearly a quarter million people.
2Brazil and South Korea Impeach Their PresidentsIn December, the South Korean National Assembly acted on the people’s wishes. She is now suspended from the presidency while South Korea’s Constitutional Court reviews the National Assembly’s decision.The jury is still out on whether and how fast Brazil and South Korea will respond to their political upheavals. The stakes are high. Brazil and South Korea are the ninth and eleventh-largest economies in the world, respectively, and South Korea sits across a major geopolitical fault line.
3Eastern Aleppo FallsAleppo’s fall does not end the Syrian civil war, which has killed as many as half-a-million people and forced another 11 million people from their homes. Much of the eastern part of Syria remains in rebel hands. Even as Aleppo fell, the Islamic State recaptured the historic city of Palmyra from Syrian and Russian troops. The tragedy continues.
4The Coup in Turkey FailsSocial media can be a powerful tool. Case in point: the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey. Erdogan launched a massive purge of suspected “Gulenists” that subsequently spread to target government critics of any stripe. More than 100,000 officials have been arrested or fired, an array of media outlets have been closed or punished, and prominent Kurdish politicians have been arrested. Erdogan emerged from the coup far stronger politically. Turkey’s democracy emerged far weaker.
5Rodrigo Duterte Becomes President of the PhilippinesForeign policy seldom shapes elections, but elections certainly shape foreign policy. Rodrigo Duterte won the Philippines presidency in May with 39 percent of the vote, and quickly changed how Manila does business. A man of bluster and bravado with a strong anti-American streak, he distanced the Philippines from Washington, a country that Filipinos overwhelmingly like and that has a treaty of alliance with the Philippines.The main beneficiary of Duterte’s anti-Americanism has been China, a country that many Filipinos dislike.
6The Trans-Pacific Partnership FlopsIt can be a quick ride from the penthouse to the outhouse. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) began in 2016 with considerable fanfare. The deal, which took seven years to negotiate, was the largest regional trade deal in history and a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s rebalance to Asia. But the deal came under fierce attack from both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. The Obama administration held out hope that Congress might pass the TPP in a lame-duck session of Congress.
7North Korea Conducts Missile and Nuclear TestsIn January, it conducted its fourth nuclear test since 2006, and followed that up with a series of ballistic missile tests. Then on September 9, it conducted its fifth nuclear test, producing an explosive yield of 10 kilotons, the highest recorded so far. North Korea can already strike Japan and South Korea. In July, Washington and Seoul agreed to deploy the THAAD advanced missile defense system in South Korea. Washington also worked with Beijing on a tougher UN Security Council resolution that capped exports of North Korean coal, the country’s main source of hard currency. But so far Pyongyang hasn’t changed its tune.
8Britain Votes to Leave the European UnionTreat poll results with a grain of salt. That’s one of the lessons of Britain’s June referendum on leaving the EU.Polls all showed a narrow victory for “Remain.” Instead, Britons voted 52 to 48 percent for “Leave.” The vote highlighted Britain’s fundamental divisions: Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain, as did younger, more educated, and more urban voters, while England, Wales, and older, less educated, and rural voters opted for Leave.
9Russia Interferes in the U.S. Presidential ElectionThe Internet was supposed to improve the quality of American democracy. It may be our Achilles heel.The U.S. intelligence community agrees that Russian operatives hacked email systems belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and John Podesta, the chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. They then passed along what they stole to WikiLeaks to release. The hacking was carried out by groups nicknamed “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear,” both of which appear to work for the GRU, Russia’s intelligence agency.
10Donald Trump Wins the U.S. Presidencyon November 8, Americans elected him the 45th president of the United States. He now belongs to a select group: he is one of just five presidents to win the office while losing the popular vote. He is also the first president with no prior experience either in government or the U.S. military.In all, the odds are good that President Trump’s foreign policy decisions will dominate the news in 2017, and possibly redefine America’s relations with the world.
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