The Japan Times newsroom selected these international news stories as the most important of 2017.
1. Trump takes power: Donald Trump was inaugurated U.S. president on Jan. 20, ushering in a tumultuous period for the United States. Trump attempted to shake up much of what his predecessor, Barack Obama, had done during his term in office. Stoking controversy at nearly every turn, Trump still manages to maintain a firm bedrock of support despite an ongoing investigation into Russian vote-meddling that may have played a role in his election.
2. Pyongyang’s nuclear drive: North Korea conducted its largest nuclear test to date and lobbed a series of missiles — including advanced long-range weapons — in its bid to master a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking most of the continental United States. The regime sees such a weapon as a deterrent from invasion by the U.S. and its allies Japan and South Korea.
3. Rohingya refugees: Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim-minority refugees fled violence in Myanmar to neighboring countries in what the U.N. and U.S. say amounts to ethnic cleansing. Survivors fleeing to Bangladesh gave consistent accounts of mass executions, gang rapes and razed villages.
4. Kim Jong Nam assassination: Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was killed by the VX nerve agent in an assassination carried out by two apparent dupes at the main airport in the Malaysian capital. Authorities blame the regime in Pyongyang for orchestrating the murder.
5. Sexual misconduct: The #MeToo campaign and multiple accusations of sexual assault against prominent Hollywood figures sparked fresh debate about public attitudes toward sexual misconduct.
6. Las Vegas massacre: A retired auditor and real-estate businessman sprayed gunfire onto concertgoers in Las Vegas in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, leaving 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.
7. Expelling the Islamic State: Iraqi forces retook control of the country’s second-largest city, Mosul, after more than three years of brutal occupation by the extremist Islamic State group in a major victory for the country and its U.S. ally in the battle against the militants, but as the cost of thousands of civilian lives.
8. Manchester attack: A suicide bomber detonated a shrapnel-laden device inside a stadium at an Ariana Grande concert as fans were leaving the venue. The blast left 23 dead, including the attacker, and over 500 injured in the deadliest attack in Britain since the 2005 mass transport blasts.
9. Brexit bye-bye: The United Kingdom officially initiated its withdrawal from the EU, becoming the first and, thus far, only country to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union.
10. Xi increases power: China’s Communist Party reappointed President Xi Jinping as general secretary and wrote him into the party constitution alongside Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, cementing his status as China’s most powerful leader since Mao.
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