Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Saturday, December 29, 2001
Top 10 World News Events of 2001
The following are the top 10 world news events of 2001 selected by Xinhua. The top 10 world news includes those cocerning the important issues and events in politics, economy, sci-tech, sports, etc. The events are arranged in chronological order:
1. 20,000 People Die in Violent Earthquake in India
A wild earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richer scale jolted Gujarat of India on January 26, killing at least 20,000 people and injuring 167,000 others. The earthquake severely destroyed the infrastructure of the disaster area, demolished lots of villages and towns and caused a total economic loss of more than 2.1 billion U.S. dollars. This is the strongest quake in India since the 8-magnitude earthquake in 1950.
The human genome sequence and the preliminary analysis result were revealed on February 12 jointly by scientists from China, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, and the United States, and Celera Genomics, a U.S. company. The human genome was proved to contain some 30,000 to 40,000 genes consisting of 3.2 billion alkali base pairs. This was another major step in exploring the mystery inside the human being. It was estimated that the work of mapping the entire human genome can be finished by the year 2003.
Since Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took office on March 7, his government has pursued a series of tough policies which have aroused intense resentment from the Palestinians. Some radical Palestinian military factions carried out bombing attacks at Israelis. In retaliation, Israel resorted to force by launching targeted killings, bombing Palestinian security offices, and invading Palestinian-ruled cities. The conflict has escalated to a situation unprecedented in the past decade. On December 3, the Israeli cabinet accused the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) led by Yasser Arafat as an entity supporting terrorism and then cut relations with Arafat. The Middle East peace process is currently going through a crucial period.
The 37th summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) held in Lusaka, Zambia, on July 9-11 ratified the transformation of the 38-year-old OAU into the African Union (AU). The 53-member AU is expected to be more capable of resolving major political, economic and social issues faced by the African continent, and of coping with globalization. This was the last meeting of leaders from the OAU members, which marked the start of the one-year transitional period from the OAU to the AU.
5. September 11 Terror Attacks in the United States
On September 11, two hijacked American airliners plowed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York which collapsed successively, and one crashed into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. Relevant U.S. authorities announced that more than 3,200 people were killed or missing as a result of the terror attacks, and that the economic loss, direct or indirect, reached hundreds of billions of dollars. The September 11 terror attacks have been the most carefully planned in the world and aroused shock and strong condemnation by the international community.
Maintaining that Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, then sheltered in Afghanistan and protected by the Taliban, masterminded the September 11 terror attacks, the U.S. government launched large-scale military strikes on Afghanistan as of October 7. Meanwhile, the Afghan Northern Alliance launched counteroffensive against the Taliban militia. The Taliban gave up resistance completely in early December. Representatives of four Afghan groups reached an agreement in Bonn, Germany, on December 5 to establish an interim administration. The interim government headed by Hamid Karzai was sworn in on December 22.
On October 21-22, the ninth informal meeting of leaders from the 21 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members was successfully held in Shanghai, China. Chinese President Jiang Zemin chaired the meeting, delivered an important speech and had meetings with leaders present at the conference. During the meeting, leaders of APEC members, focusing on "Meeting new challenges in the new century; Achieving common prosperity through participation and cooperation," had an in-depth exchange of views on the current world economic situation, human capacity building and future development of APEC, reached a broad consensus and issued a declaration and the Shanghai Accord.
The legal document on China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was unanimously adopted on November 10 during the fourth WTO ministerial meeting in Doha, Qatar. On December 11, China officially became the 143rd full member of the organization.
During the meeting, representatives of the 142 WTO members, after negotiations on the topics and objectives of a new round of trade talks, passed a ministerial declaration and agreed to start a new round of multilateral trade talks.
9. The United States Unilaterally Withdraws from the Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty
U.S. President George W. Bush announced on December 13 the decision to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty, which immediately met strong criticism from the international community. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Bush's decision was "a mistake." Many other leaders and international analysts held that the withdrawal cleared the way for the United States to deploy the National Missile Defense System and further established the U.S. as the biggest nuclear power. However, it undermined the process of international disarmament and would lead to a new round of arms race. The U.S. withdrawal from the ABM also severely damages the foundation of international security and strategic stability, and will bring unexpected effect on the future world order.
Since the beginning of this year, a most serious economic slowdown in 20 years has occurred in most areas of the world. The U.S. economy started recession in March; affected by the U.S. economic fallout, the 15-member European Union underwent a sharp economic contraction; the Japanese economy experienced a further deterioration; the Asian economy, which was on recovery from the 1996 financial crisis, also slowed its pace of growth; and Latin American economy plunged into difficulty, with political disturbance breaking out in Argentina owing to the country's economic crisis at the end of the year. The September 11 attacks not only dealt a blow on the U.S. economy, but also severely affected the economies in other parts of the world. The International Monetary Fund estimated that the world economy would grow by only 2.4 percent this year, 2.3 percentage points lower than last year.