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12 events around the world that marked 2017

Saturday December 30 2017

Donald Trump

One of the key events of 2017 was the January 20 inauguration of Republican billionaire Donald Trump, 70, as US president who vowed: "America first." FILE PHOTO | MARK RALSTON | AFP 

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From the inauguration of US President Donald Trump to the exodus of Rohingyas from Myanmar, here are 12 events that marked 2017.

A YEAR OF TRUMP

On January 20 Republican billionaire Donald Trump, 70, is inaugurated as US president, vowing: "America first."

Suspicions of collusion between his election campaign and Russia dog the start of his term.

Trump progressively unpicks the achievements of his Democrat predecessor, Barack Obama. He pulls out of international agreements on climate, free trade, immigration and UNESCO.

On December 6, in another break with the previous administration, Trump creates shockwaves when he recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move largely rejected in a UN vote.

On December 20 he seals his first major reform, signing long-awaited tax cuts into law.

BREXIT UNDER WAY

On March 29 London launches the process to quit the European Union, as voted in a referendum nine months earlier.

In a snap general election on June 8 Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives suffer a major setback and lose their majority.

Brussels and London agree on divorce terms on December 8.

Brexit

Pro-EU, anti-Brexit demonstrators hold Union and EU flags outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on December 21, 2017. PHOTO | DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS | AFP

FRANCE: POLITICAL EARTHQUAKE

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

His new En Marche (One the Move) movement drives the two biggest parties — the Socialists and Republicans — from the Elysee Palace for the first time.

Emmanuel Macron

Pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron, 39, who won a resounding victory over far-right rival Marine Le Pen in France's presidential election on May 7, 2017. PHOTO | DENIS CHARLET | AFP

MIDDLE EAST: BOILING POINT

Saudi Arabia and its allies sever diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it supporting "terrorists" and of being too close to Iran.

Then on November 4 Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announces from the Saudi capital that he is resigning, citing Iran's "grip" on his country. He later backtracks.

Saudi Arabia also accuses rebels in Yemen of receiving support from Iran, which denies the accusation.

The UN describes Yemen's humanitarian situation as the worst in the world in 2017.

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 deadly protests against socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

With wide-ranging powers, it dismisses in early August Attorney General Luisa Ortega, one of Maduro's top critics.

It then takes over the opposition-dominated Congress.

Crippled by plummeting oil prices, the country is considered to be in "selective default" by ratings agencies.

Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro addresses the all-powerful pro-Maduro assembly in Caracas on August 10, 2017. PHOTO | RONALDO SCHEMIDT | AFP

NORTH KOREA: ESCALATION

The reclusive regime conducts its sixth and largest nuclear test on September 3.

On November 29 leader Kim Jong-Un says a "state nuclear force" has been completed 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".

On December 22 the UN Security Council imposes new sanctions against North Korea that restrict vital oil supplies.

Kim Jong-Un

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. PHOTO | KCNA via KNS | AFP

MYANMAR'S ROHINGYAS: 'GENOCIDE'

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

Nearly 655,000 Rohingyas find refuge in Bangladesh.

The United States denounces "ethnic cleansing" while the UN speaks of "elements of genocide".

Rohingya Muslim refugees

Rohingya Muslim refugees carrying an elderly woman along a road near Balukhali refugee camp near the Bangladeshi district of Ukhia in September 2017. PHOTO | DOMINIQUE FAGET | AFP

CATALONIA: AUTONOMY SUSPENDED

Spain's wealthy north-eastern Catalonia region holds a referendum for independence on October 1 that is deemed illegal by the central government.

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

Madrid dismisses Catalonia's government and suspends its autonomy, also calling regional elections. Deposed regional president Carles Puigdemont, charged with sedition and rebellion, takes refuge in Belgium.

On December 21 three pro-independence parties defeat the central government in the elections. However, the centrist, anti-independence Ciudadanos party gets the best individual result.

Catalonia referendum

A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Llado, on October 1, 2017 during a referendum on independence for Catalonia which was banned by Madrid. PHOTO | CESAR MANSO | AFP

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 decades.

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

ZIMBABWE: MUGABE FALLS

Zimbabwe's veteran President Robert Mugabe, 93, resigns on November 21 following 37 years of rule and after being abandoned by the military and his own party.

Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe speaks at his first election rally on April 7, 2000. Mugabe resigned on November 21, 2017 following 37 years of rule. FILE PHOTO / PAUL CADENHEAD | AFP

IS DEFEATED, NOT WIPED OUT

Iraq on December 9 declares victory in its war to expel the Islamic State group but experts warn that jihadists remain a threat. They have also lost most of their territory in Syria.

Numerous deadly attacks around the world over the year, including in Afghanistan, Britain, Egypt and Somalia, are claimed by or blamed on the group or others linked to Al-Qaeda.

CLIMATE: RECORD DISASTERS

The year in which Trump decides, on June 1, to leave the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord is marked by a series of natural disasters, including record-breaking hurricanes, earthquakes and devastating fires that affect several countries.

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