Key events around the world in 2017

From the inauguration of US President Donald Trump to the exodus of Rohingyas from Myanmar, here are 12 events that marked 2017.

A year of Trump

On January 20 Republican billionaire Donald Trump, 70, was inaugurated as US president, vowing: “America first.”

Suspicions of collusion between his election campaign and Russia dogged the start of his term.

Trump progressively unpicked the achievements of his Democrat predecessor, Barack Obama. He also pulled out of international agreements on climate, free trade, immigration and UNESCO.

On December 6, in another break with the previous administration, Trump created shockwaves when he recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move largely rejected in a UN vote.

READ MORE: Donald Trump upends White House in first chaotic year

On December 20 he sealed his first major reform, signing long-awaited tax cuts into law.

Brexit under way

On March 29 London launched the process to quit the European Union, as voted in a referendum nine months earlier.

READ MORE: Brexit mooted as catalyst that makes or breaks EU alliance

In a snap general election on June 8 Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives suffered a major setback and lose their majority.

Brussels and London agreed on divorce terms on December 8.

France: Political earthquake

Pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron, 39, won a resounding victory over far-right rival Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election on May 7.

READ MORE: French ‘falling out of love’ with Macron after 100 days

His new En Marche (One the Move) movement drove the two biggest parties — the Socialists and Republicans — from the Elysee Palace for the first time.

Middle East: Boiling point

Saudi Arabia and its allies severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it supporting “terrorists” and of being too close to Iran.

Then on November 4 Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced from the Saudi capital that he is resigning, citing Iran’s “grip” on his country. He later backtracked.

READ MORE: A month after Hariri saga, Saudi’s Lebanon gambit backfires

Saudi Arabia also accused rebels in Yemen of receiving support from Iran, which denies the accusation.

The UN described Yemen’s humanitarian situation as the worst in the world in 2017.

Venezuela: Economic disaster

On July 30 Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly — whose legitimacy was disputed by the opposition and abroad — was elected after four months of deadly protests against socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

With wide-ranging powers, it dismisses in early August Attorney General Luisa Ortega, one of Maduro’s top critics.

It then took over the opposition-dominated Congress.

Crippled by plummeting oil prices, the country was considered to be in “selective default” by ratings agencies.

North Korea: Escalation

The reclusive regime conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on September 3.

On November 29 leader Kim Jong-Un said a “state nuclear force” had been completed with the test of a long-range missile able to deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in the United States.

READ MORE: North Korea weapons ‘sprint’ revives spectre of nuclear exchange

Washington threatened to “utterly destroy” the regime “if war comes”.

On December 22 the UN Security Council imposed new sanctions against North Korea that restrict vital oil supplies.

Myanmar’s Rohingyas: ‘Genocide’

On August 25 the military in Buddhist-majority Myanmar launched a crackdown on Rohingyas after militants from the stateless Muslim minority ambush security forces.

Nearly 655 000 Rohingyas found refuge in Bangladesh.

READ MORE: Rohingya crisis: This is what genocide looks like

The United States denounced it as “ethnic cleansing” while the UN spoke of “elements of genocide”.

Catalonia: autonomy suspended

Spain’s wealthy northeastern Catalonia region held a referendum for independence on October 1 that is deemed illegal by the central government.

Madrid moved to assert control but Catalan lawmakers vote on October 27 to declare independence.

READ MORE: Spaniards don’t want Catalonia to leave so they marched in protest

Madrid dismissed Catalonia’s government and suspends its autonomy, also calling regional elections. Deposed regional president Carles Puigdemont, charged with sedition and rebellion, took refuge in Belgium.

On December 21 three pro-independence parties defeated the central government in the elections. However, the centrist, anti-independence Ciudadanos party received the best individual result.

The Weinstein scandal

On October 5 the New York Times published a bombshell investigative report accusing Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, 65, of sexual harassment over decades.

READ MORE: Celebrity campaigns and rape culture: The pluses and the pitfalls

Similar allegations have since been levelled at a long list of personalities in film, television, journalism and politics around the world.

Zimbabwe: Mugabe falls

Zimbabwe’s veteran President Robert Mugabe, 93, resigned on November 21 following 37 years of rule and after being abandoned by the military and his own party.

READ MORE: Mugabe’s final offer: ‘I’ll trade Grace for power’

IS defeated, not wiped out

Iraq on December 9 declared victory in its war to expel the Islamic State group but experts warn that jihadists remain a threat. They have also lost most of their territory in Syria.

Numerous deadly attacks around the world over the year, including in Afghanistan, Britain, Egypt and Somalia, are claimed by or blamed on the group or others linked to Al-Qaeda.

Climate: Record disasters

The year in which Trump decided, on June 1, to leave the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord is marked by a series of natural disasters, including record-breaking hurricanes, earthquakes and devastating fires that affect several countries.

READ MORE: Climate change evident in Cape storm and Knysna fires

It is set to be one of the three warmest years ever recorded.

READ MORE: Hurricanes, heat waves, fires ravaged planet in 2017

© Agence France-Presse

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