The Japan Times newsroom selected these world news stories as the most important of 2016.
1. The rise of Donald Trump: On Nov. 8, Republican Party candidate Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidential election. The 70-year-old was seen as a long shot at the start of his candidacy, but he built support among voters who felt they were being ignored by Washington politicians and among anti-immigrant fringe groups.
2. Brexit: In a stunning referendum, the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union amid rising anger over immigration and a surge in right-wing populism.
3. Inspired by IS: Bombings in Brussels leave 32 dead, a mass shooting at a Florida nightclub kills 49, and 86 die when a truck plows into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. In December, 12 die as a similar truck attack hits Berlin. Investigators in all four incidents conclude the suspects are taking their cues from the Islamic State group.
4. The fall of Park Geun-hye: Weeks of massive protests in South Korea over President Park Geun-hye’s alleged ties to an influence-peddling scandal lead to her impeachment by lawmakers in the National Assembly in November.
5. Nukes in the north: North Korea kicked off a year of provocations in February with a long-range rocket launch, followed by two nuclear tests — including its most powerful to date — and a spate of more than 20 missile tests.
6. The Syrian civil war: A complex power struggle continues in Syria that involves the government of President Bashar Assad, the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic State group, Russia, Iran and the United States. Much of the focus is on the devastated city of Aleppo.
7. Fidel Castro dies: To some he was a champion and to others he was a tyrant. Before longtime former Cuban leader Fidel Castro died on Nov. 25 at 90 years old, though, he was able to witness a historic visit in March by U.S. President Barack Obama.
8. Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs: After being elected president of the Philippines in June, Rodrigo Duterte set out on a radical war on drugs that appeared to encourage extrajudicial killings of drug dealers and users. More than 6,000 people have been killed as a result.
9. Zika hits South America: The Zika virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, is found to be the cause of birth defects appearing in Brazilian newborns. The virus can be carried in adults with minimal signs of symptoms, and it spread as far as Singapore and Florida in 2016.
10. Trouble in Turkey: The December assassination of the Russian ambassador in an art gallery is only the latest violent incident in Turkey that began with a failed coup d’etat on July 15 and 16 and saw an intense crackdown on the opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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