The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) has selected the top ten events in the world in 2013 as follows

1. Tense disputes on sea and island sovereignty in Northeast Asia

The territorial sea sovereignty disputes between China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) became tenser after Beijing on November 23 unilaterally declared an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) which overlaps the territorial waters claimed by Japan and the RoK.

2. Political instability in several Southeast Asian nations

Thailand experienced seriously political crisis in late October due to profound party conflicts. To put an end to continuous rallies by anti-government demonstrators, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on December 9 announced the dissolution of the House of Representatives and affirmed that an ahead-of-time election will be held on February 2, 2014.

Political tension in Cambodia accelerated when the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party rejected the results of the July 28 general election according to which the ruling Cambodian People’s Party won 68 out of the 123 parliamentary seats.

3. New deals reached for Syria crisis and Iran ’s nuclear programme

Syria evaded a military attack after its President Bashar al-Assad, with the mediation by Russia , agreed to disarm its chemical arsenal in September.

After rounds of negotiations, Iran and the P5+1, including the UK, France, the US, Russia, China and Germany, on November 24 reached a historic deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme, paving the way for a comprehensive and long-term solution to this issue.

4. US world-shaking bugging scandal

The US’ former intelligence worker Edward Snowden on June 6 leaked the National Security Agency (NSA)’s global surveillance programme had bugged telephone conversations of many world leaders. Snowden’s revelations caused bad impact on the relationship between the US and many countries, including its allies in Europe .

5. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, former South African President Nelson Mandela pass away

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias, influential leader of the left-wing Fifth Republic Movement in Latin America, died on March 5 at the age of 58.

On December 6 (December 5 - local time), Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, passed away at the age of 95. He is an anti-apartheid icon and one of the most outstanding politicians in the 20 th century.

6. Recovery of European economy

The euro area (Eurozone) officially escaped from the longest-ever economic recession since it was established in 1999. The GDP positive growth rate of many countries, led by Germany , marked the start of the economic recovery in the Eurozone. However, the gloomy situation of employment market, the high rate of unemployment and public debt (equivalent to 92 percent of GDP) made the zone’s economic recovery momentum remain vulnerable.

7. US government shutdown for over two weeks

The contradiction on public debt ceiling between the Democrats who control the Upper House and the Republicans who dominate the Lower House forced the US government to cease its activity from October 1-16, 2013. The situation forced 250,000 state public servants out of work, deprived the country’s economy of 24 million USD and caused a serious impact on the global economy.

8. Bali agreement to facilitate WTO negotiation

The World Trade Organisation, for the first time since its founding in 1995, reached an agreement on reforming trade at its meeting in Bali, Indonesia, in December. The deal was considered as a breakthrough to promote the Doha negotiation round on the global trade liberalisation launched by WTO in 2001 but later deadlocked.

9. Storm Haiyan’s havoc in the Philippines

Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms in history, hit the Philippines on November 8, causing serious losses damage to the country. It took the lives of more than 5,500 people, left about 1,600 others missing and made millions homeless.

10. Successful cloning of human stem cells for the first time

After 15 years of research, US scientists were successful in cloning stem cells from existing human cells by a technology similar to those used to create the cloned Dolly sheep in 1996. The success ushered in a new prospect for curing fatal diseases such as Parkinson, heart disease and spinal cord lesions.-VNA