2017 APD Yearender | List of top 10 world news



This year has witnessed the ever-changing political situation in the world, with world security politically and economically challenged by terrorism, extremism and separatism as well as protectionism. As 2017 comes to an end, APD has selected top 10 world news to review the past year.

Top 1 | China: 19th CPC National Congress opened in Beijing

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) opened on October 18 as socialism with Chinese characteristics enters a "new era."

Xi Jinping delivered a report titled "Secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era."

The theme of the congress was to "Remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind, hold high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, and work tirelessly to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation."

More than 2,200 delegates attended the high-profile event.

The CPC National Congress laid out a blueprint for the future of the Party and the country over the coming five years.

Top 2 | Donald Trump sworn in as 45th president of the United States

Donald Trump has pledged to put America first and lead a "great national effort" to rebuild the country after being sworn in as its 45th President on January 20.

The 70-year-old billionaire took the oath of office on the west steps of the US Capitol in Washington, bringing down the curtain on the presidency of Barack Obama.

The tycoon, who has never held public office before, is now the most powerful leader on the planet.

There has been unrest on the streets of Washington before and after the inauguration ceremony, with black-clad demonstrators smashing shop and car windows, setting fires in the street and police making more than 90 arrests.

Hundreds of thousands of people packed onto the National Mall to witness one of the most remarkable transfers of power in American history.

Top 3 | U.N. Security Council imposes new sanctions on DPRK over missile

The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on December 22 following its latest intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers abroad.

The resolution seeks to ban nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum product exports to DPRK by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and, in what diplomats said was a last-minute change, demands the repatriation of DPRK’s people working abroad within 24 months, instead of 12 months as first proposed.

DPRK on November 29 said it successfully tested a new ICBM in a “breakthrough” that puts the U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons whose warheads could withstand re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere.

Tensions have been rising over DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs, which it pursues in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.

Top 4 | Iraq formally declares end to fight against IS

Iraq declared on December 9the liberation of all Iraqi lands from Islamic State (IS) militants after seizing the whole border areas and desert in western Iraq.

The army forces and the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi brigades, backed by Iraqi helicopter gunships, managed to take control of the whole desert areas between the provinces of Nineveh and Anbar.

The slow and extremely bloody battle against IS began in the summer of 2014, soon after a few thousand of the group’s fighters stunned Iraq and the world by seizing Mosul. The Iraqi military fled the city, leaving their weapons and equipment to IS, and the city’s riches to bolster its coffers. For three years it was a financial and political hub for the extremists’ self-declared caliphate.

Top 5 | Russia announces the complete destruction of IS In Syria

In a historic moment, ignored by much of Western media, Russian military officials have announced the complete and utter defeat of IS in Syria. The Russian General Staff issued a statement on December 6, declaring that all territories previously under terrorist control were liberated in a final push by the Syrian Army, and with the support of Russian forces.

The announcement came during an annual briefing for foreign military attaches, and incidentally on the same day President Trump gave an extremely controversial televised address wherein he gave official US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, thus it could mean that the demise of one problem could give rise to another in an increasingly volatile and explosive Middle East environment.

The rapid collapse of IS - which once controlled an area the size of Britain stretching from the edges of Aleppo to Mosul in Iraq, and down to Ramadi and Fallujah - began in earnest in early September when the Syrian Army breached ISIS lines around Deir Ezzor city, after which the city was fully liberated by early November. As IS retreated in the Deir Ezzor countryside, it lost its previous Syrian capital of Raqqa in mid-October to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which also struck a deal to allow the quick exit of IS terrorists to other parts of Syria and region.

Top 6 | India, China agree to pull back troops to resolve tense border dispute

India and China have agreed to an "expeditious disengagement" of troops in a disputed border area where their soldiers have been locked in a stand-off for more than two months, India's foreign ministry said on August 28.

The decision comes ahead of a summit of the BRICS nations - a grouping that also includes Brazil, Russia and South Africa - in China in September, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend.

For the past two months, Indian and Chinese troops had faced off on a plateau in the Doklam area in the Himalayas after Indian troops moved in to prevent the Chinese military from building a road into territory claimed by India’s close ally, Bhutan.

On August 28, the two sides announced they had reached an agreement, with India saying its troops were disengaging and China saying it would redeploy forces in response. By the evening, India said both sides had almost completed their withdrawals.

Top 7 | Catalan leaders sign independence declaration but put it on hold

Catalan leaders signed a declaration of independence from Spain on October 10 but immediately put it on hold and called for talks with Madrid on the country's worst political crisis in decades.

As Spain headed into the unknown, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was to chair an emergency cabinet meeting early on October 11 to discuss the central government's response.

In a speech to regional lawmakers in Barcelona that drew both praise and criticism from separatists, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said he had accepted "the mandate of the people for Catalonia to become an independent republic" following a banned referendum on October 1.

Top 8 | U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, world reacts strongly

U.S. President Donald Trump on December 6 has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition to a move that would upend decades of U.S. policy and risk potentially violent protests.

Trump will instruct the State Department to begin the multiyear process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says in a statement that Israel is “profoundly grateful” and that Trump’s announcement is an “important step toward peace.”

An adviser to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says President Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem has “isolated the U.S. from any role in the peace process.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is speaking out against what he says are “unilateral measures” that jeopardize the prospect for peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

Top 9 | Google's AlphaGo AI can teach itself to master games like chess

Google's DeepMind team has already advanced its AlphaGo AI to dominate Go without human input, but now the system is clever enough to master other board games without intervention. Researchers have developed a more generalized system for AlphaGo Zero that can train itself to achieve "superhuman" skill in chess, Shogi (a Japanese classic) and other game types knowing only the rules, all within less than a day. It doesn't need example games or other references.

This doesn't mean that DeepMind has developed a truly general purpose, independent AI... yet. Chess and Shogi were relatively easy tests, as they're simpler than Go. It'll be another thing entirely to tackle complex video games like StarCraft II, let alone fuzzier concepts like walking or abstract thought. There's also the question of speed: less than 24 hours works for board games, but that's too slow for situations where AI needs to adapt on the spot.

Even so, this is a major step toward AI that can accomplish any task with only minimal instructions. Robots and self-driving cars in particular may need to learn how to navigate unfamiliar environments without the luxury of pre-supplied training material. If nothing else, chess champions have one more reason to be nervous.

Top 10 | Xi's speech injects new impetus into Belt and Road Initiative

On the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was held on May 14–15, 2017 in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the Belt and Road should be built into a road of peace, prosperity, opening up, innovation and connecting different civilizations.

He proposed the five guiding principles for the pursuit of the Belt and Road initiative while delivering a keynote speech at the opening of the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.He called for fostering the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and creating a security environment built and shared by all.

Xi called for establishing a multi-tiered mechanism for cultural and people-to-people exchanges, building more cooperation platforms and opening more cooperation channels.

The forum, the highest-level international meeting since Xi proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, gathers 29 foreign heads of state and government leaders as well as delegates from some 130 countries.

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