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Key events in 2017 around the world

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

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PARIS, France (AFP) —From the inauguration of US President Donald Trump to record-breaking hurricanes, here are the 12 key events which marked 2017:

A YEAR OF TRUMP

On January 20, Republican billionaire Donald Trump, 70, is inaugurated as the 45th US president, vowing to follow a policy based on “America first”. Suspicions of collusion between his election campaign and Russia, however, plague the start of his term.

Through early morning tweets, Trump reverses the achievements of his Democrat predecessor, Barack Obama. He pulls out of several international agreements: on climate, free trade, immigration and UNESCO.

On December 6, in another break with his predecessors, Trump creates shock waves around the world when he recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS

On March 29, London launches the process to leave the European Union, nine months after British voters opted to leave in a referendum.

On June 8 Britain votes in a snap general election called by Prime Minister Theresa May in a bid to increase her slender parliamentary majority. But her Conservatives instead suffer a major setback and lose their majority.

After months of negotiations, on December 8, Brussels and London reach a deal on Brexit divorce terms, opening the way to talks on their future relationship.

FRANCE: POLITICAL EARTHQUAKE

On May 7, pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron, 39, wins a resounding victory over far-right rival Marine Le Pen in France's presidential election.

His new En Marche movement drives the two biggest parties — the Socialists and Republicans — out of the Elysee Palace for the first time.

MIDDLE EAST: BOILING POINT

On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies sever diplomatic ties with Qatar.

In the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the region in years, they accuse Doha of supporting “terrorists” and of being too close to Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival.

Then, on November 4, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announces from Saudi Arabia that he is resigning —before later doing a U-turn — citing Iran's “grip” on Lebanon.

In Yemen, Huthi rebels are also accused by Riyadh of receiving support from Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

VENEZUELA: ECONOMIC DISASTER

On July 30, Venezuela's Constituent Assembly — whose legitimacy is disputed by the Opposition and abroad — is elected after four months of protests against socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Enjoying wide-ranging powers, in early August it dismisses Attorney General Luisa Ortega — who has become one of Maduro's top critics — then it takes over the Opposition-dominated congress.

The country, devastated by plummeting oil prices, is considered as being in “selective default” by ratings agencies.

NORTH KOREA: ESCALATION

On September 3, North Korea, which has upped its missile strikes, conducts its sixth and largest nuclear test.

On November 29 North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un says that his reclusive country has completed its “State nuclear force” with the test of a long-range missile able to deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in the United States.

Washington threatens to “utterly destroy” the regime “if war comes”.

MYANMAR'S ROHINGYAS: GENOCIDE

On August 25, the military in Buddhist-majority Myanmar launches a crackdown on Rohingyas in the westernmost state Rakhine, after militants from the stateless Muslim minority ambush security forces there.

Nearly 650,000 Rohingyas find refuge in Bangladesh.

The UN and US denounce “ethnic cleansing”, while the UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein speaks of “elements of genocide”.

CATALONIA: AUTONOMY SUSPENDED

On October 1, an independence referendum is held in Spain's wealthy north-eastern Catalonia region. The poll is deemed illegal by the central government.

Madrid moves to assert control, but Catalan lawmakers vote on October 27 to declare independence from Spain.

Madrid reacts by calling new regional elections, while dismissing Catalonia's Government and suspending the region's autonomy. Deposed regional President Carles Puigdemont, who has been charged with sedition and rebellion, takes refuge in Belgium.

THE WEINSTEIN SCANDAL

On October 5, the New York Times publishes a bombshell investigative report accusing Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, 65, of sexual harassment over several decades.

Allegations of sexual misconduct have since been levelled at a long list of personalities in film, television, journalism and politics around the world.

ZIMBABWE: MUGABE FALLS

On November 21, Zimbabwe's veteran President Robert Mugabe, 93, resigns following a 37-year rule, after being abandoned by the military and his own party.

He is driven out following a military takeover, regarding his sacking of Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice-president, who goes on to succeed him.

ISLAMIC STATE DEFEATED, NOT WIPED OUT

Iraq on December 9 declares victory in its war to expel the Islamic State, but experts warn that jihadists remain a threat. In Syria, the group has also lost most of the territory it had conquered.

Around the world numerous deadly attacks, from Britain to Egypt, have been claimed or blamed on the group this year.

CLIMATE: RECORD DISASTERS

The year, marked by Trump's decision on June 1 to leave the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord, sees a series of natural disasters, including record-breaking hurricanes, earthquakes and devastating fires.

The year is set to be one of the three warmest years ever recorded.

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