The following are the top 10 world news events of the year 2002, selected by the People's Daily and China Radio International. The events are arranged in chronological order:
Euro begins official circulation in 12 European countries, EU seeing its biggest expansion
On January 1st the euro became the legal tender, marking 12 of the European Union's 15 member states entering the "euro era" with the European single currency. This event is of major significance to removal of exchange rate fluctuations within the euro area, stabilization of the monetary market and forming of an international currency system. Besides, it will exert far-reaching influence on the political unity of the European countries. When approaching the end of the year, the EU witnessed its biggest ever expansion by completing negotiation with 10 countries----Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Cyprus and Malta, which are due to join the Union in 2004.
Argentina is caught in a crisis, Latin America affected
Argentina's parliament passed a reform scheme on abandoning the present economic mode and exercising currency devaluation on January 6. Within three months, the exchange rate of piaster to US dollar dropped to the lowest point at 4:1, the gross domestic product fell by 13 percent, and the unemployment rate was as high as 25 percent. Argentina at that time was stuck in turbulence and intranquility, coupled with a leaping poverty population. Not only did the economic crisis lasting the whole 2002 put Argentina in the most serious depression in history, but also it spread into the Latin American world, triggering the slump in stock and exchange markets, and raising the financial risks index. Ural and Brazil suffered from a turbulent monetary market, while the economic development in Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile was thereby severely affected. Latin America becomes the only region that sees a negative economic growth rate in 2002.
US companies commit accounting fraud, stocks and exchanges slumping
As tens of senators, over 400 representatives and several senior government officials were charged with relating to the Enron accounting fraud case, US Department of Justice began a thorough criminal investigation on January 9. Following Enron's bankruptcy announcement, scandals concerning Andersen, MLIF, WorldCom, Xerox and other big companies committing accounting fraud and corruption broke in the wake of another. Due to accounting fraud worth billions of US dollars, investors lost confidence, stock index down to the lowest point in the past four years, the exchange rate of US dollar also fell by a big margin, while foreign investments were withdrawn in succession. All these have a negative bearing on the slow progressing of the world economic recovery.
Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalates, the peace progress derailed
In response to a series of suicide bombings committed by Palestinian militants, Israeli troops launched retaliatory activities, after March 29, attacking and occupying Palestine-controlled areas, and even besieging Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah several times. Mediators were sent to the Middle East by the United States, EU and Russia, yet bearing little fruit. Under the pressure at home and abroad, Palestine reshuffled the cabinet, but the Israeli coalition collapsed.
AU is founded, the continent's situation trending stabilized
On July 9, the African Union (AU) was officially founded, and the "African Development New Partnership Plan" came into implementation, which signaled a new era embraced by the African continent. On April 4, Angola delivered a ceasefire agreement, ending the 27-year civil war; in October, the last batch of Zimbabwean and Rwandan military force were withdrawn from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and all parties of DRC signed the peaceful agreement on December 17. Thus, the "hot region" was tending towards stability, and the continent's economy is estimated to maintain a growth rate of 3.5 percent.
World is challenged by rampant international terrorist attacks, several countries hit by unexpected calamities
In 2002, terrorism indulged in wanton massacre worldwide, bringing about heavy casualties and posing a grave threat on people's safety. Meanwhile, the anti-terrorists campaign further appears internationalized.
On Oct. 23, a gang of Chechen gunmen about 800 people hostage. Russian special forces stormed the theater on Oct. 26, freeing most of the hostages and killing 32 hostage-takers. A total of 128 hostages died during the rescue operation. In the same year, a series of terrorist attacks took place around the world, such as explosion of the French oil supertanker off the coast of Yemen, blast of Indonesian tourist resort----Bali island, car bomb attack on a hotel in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, and a narrow escape from missiles fire at an Israeli airliner in Mombasa.
UN Security Council passes new resolution, arms inspection in Iraq resumed
On Nov. 8, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1441, intensifying inspection of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and setting specific demands on Iraq to accept and cooperate in arms inspections. In the meantime, the resolution required to "respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, Kuwait and their neighboring states". Later, the UN arms inspectors began to enter Iraq, resuming the arms inspection after a four-year break.
CPC's 16th National Congress is convened, world opinion highly appraising
On Nov. 8-14, the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was held in Beijing. The congress, which put forward the objective of building a well-off society in an all-round way in China and realized a smooth handover of leadership from the old to the young, was highly appraised by the world opinion. More than 50 heads of state and government, and some 300 political parties and organizations in 140 nations sent over 700 congratulatory telegrams and letters. Over 200 radio and television stations live telecasted or broadcasted the opening ceremony of the congress, while all mainstream media in the world covered the congress. The international opinion spoke highly of achievements in the reform and opening-up cause as well as the modernization drive under the leadership of CPC, holding the congress would produce profound and positive impacts on China's sustainable development in the coming 20 years and even the world's peace and development.
US withdraws from the anti-missile treaty, missile defense system deployed
On December 17, US President Bush issued a statement that he gave the military orders to deploy the initial missile defense system in a bid to prevent weapons of mass destruction from causing disastrous casualties. This statement indicated that the controversial missile defense system would be formally put into force, which increased the uncertainty of global strategic stability. Early on June 13, the U.S. officially withdrew from the anti-missile treaty signed with the former Soviet Union in 1972.
The DPRK nuclear issue remains bewildering, the peninsula's situation frozen
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) issued a news gazette on December 22, announcing Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) had started reactivating frozen nuclear facilities and removing monitoring cameras from its nuclear facilities for the normal operation to produce electricity. Hence, the DPRK nuclear issue once again riveted wide attention of the international community. Following the US special envoy James Kelly paying a visit to DPRK, the US announced suddenly that DPRK had admitted its possession of the nuclear program. Later, the US declared the halt of heavy oil supply to DPRK, and then a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman said on December 12 that his country would revitalize nuclear facilities frozen under the 1994 DPRK-US Agreed Framework. The situation in the Korean peninsula, which once tended towards d��|tente, was strained again.