By LISA HOFFMAN
Scripps Howard News Service
December 23, 2005
In the 12 months that followed, terror attacks, historic elections and global health threats made headlines, as did moves toward peace and war in a world made weary by catastrophe and conflict.
Here is a look at the top 10 international stories of 2005:
1. Iraq elected its first permanent government and adopted a constitution, but the insurgency continued to rage, pushing the death toll for U.S. troops past 2,100 and that of Iraqi civilians to 30,000.
2. A beloved and charismatic pontiff, Pope John Paul II died after a 26-year tenure that included historic travel and improved relations with other faiths. He was replaced by Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, a conservative theologian from Germany who took the name Pope Benedict XVI.
3. Avian flu emerged in Asia and spread rapidly across the world, raising fears of a possible human flu pandemic if the virus mutates into a form that can be transmitted from person to person.
4. Four extremist Islamic suicide bombers attacked three London subway trains and a bus, killing 56 and injuring 700 in the deadliest bombing in the city since World War II.
5. A 7.6-magnitude earthquake centered in the disputed Kashmir region of Pakistan killed 87,000 and left an estimated 3.5 million people homeless.
6. Angry youths from poor Arab and African communities across France rioted for three weeks, protesting racism and unemployment in disturbances that began in low-income suburbs of Paris and spread to more than 300 French cities and towns.
7. Palestinians overwhelmingly elected moderate Mahmoud Abbas to replace Palestinian Authority President Yassar Arafat, an iconic leader who died in 2004. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed to a truce between the bitter opposing sides, which held for most of the year, leading Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip it had occupied since 1967.
8. Iran and North Korea accelerated their efforts to become the world's next nuclear powers, thumbing their noses at pressure from the European Union, United Nations and United States to abandon their efforts to build atomic weapons.
9. France and the Netherlands rejected the European Union's first constitution, sending the 25-member bloc into a tailspin and leaving its future in doubt.
10. Revelations that a South Korean scientific team had successfully cloned several lines of human stem cells galvanized the field, and even with the credibility of the work in doubt by the end of the year, the flurry illustrated that creation of new human tissue and organs, if not whole humans, is moving closer to reality.
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