New Delhi: The people bid adieu to year 2012 which witnessed several political developments in the international arena. Barack Obama re-elected as the US President, while China went through leadership change with Xi Jinping replacing Hu Jintao as new general secretary of the ruling Communist Party. Huge violence was also reported in war-torn Syria throughout the year.

1: Obama re-elected as US President

Democratic candidate Barack Hussein Obama was re-elected as US President after defeating Republican Mitt Romney in a closely fought battle. Obama became the third consecutive US President to retain office after his predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The first African American President won 274 electoral votes, four more than what was needed to grab the top post. Soon after the historic win, Obama tweeted and thanked voters who extended their support to him- “This happened because of you. Thank you. Four more years”.  Mitt Romney, a businessman by profession gained momentum after the first phase of presidential debate in October but result came out in favour of Obama.

2. China’s leadership change after a decade, Xi Jinping New CPC Chief

The 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress was convened in Beijing from November 8 to November 14 for new leadership in China. The Congress, which had began on November 8, chosen 25-member Politburo CPC as well as the members of Politburo Standing Committee. Xi Jinping succeeded Hu Jintao as new general secretary of the ruling Communist Party after latter’s 10 year long stint. As per the constitution of party, leadership changes in every ten years.  Li Keqiang is all set to become new Chinese premier after Wen Jiabao. This leadership will continue for another ten years.

3. Israel-Palestine war erupts

Israeli air strikes on the Gaza city in November 2012 resulted in severe bloodshed on Hamas-Gaza strip. The violence got intensified and all the nations including India expressed their solidarity to Palestinians. India condemned the attack saying that disproportionate use of force by Israel Military is wrong. Giving a strong message to Israel, Palestinians fired a rocket towards Jerusalem for the first time in a decade.

After this, Israel got prepared for the possible Palestinian invasion. During the scuffle, Gaza militant groups fired hundreds of rockets including Iranian-made missiles aimed at Israel. Gazans displayed several bill boards and thanked Iran for its kind support.

Israel and Gaza militant groups had agreed to a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip after the intervention of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who held meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and other officials.

4. Russia becomes Official Member of WTO
After 18 years of negotiations, Russia officially became the 156th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on August 22. With the inclusion of Russia, the WTO now covers 98 percent of global trade. Russia ranks 11th in terms of GDP (nominal).
The trade organization said Russia's accession would help the country integrate into the global economy, create congenial atmosphere for trade and industry, and promote universal trade rules. The European Union hailed the move saying that Russia’s entry into WTO will boost the European countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin appreciated his country’s entry into the WTO.

5. United Nations approves Palestinian ‘observer state’ bid

The United Nations General Assembly on November 30 upgraded UN status for the Palestinian, despite intense opposition by US and Israel. UN recognized Palestinian as Observer State which was interpreted as diplomatic setback for US and Israel. India was among the 138 nations in 193-member assembly that voted in favour of the resolution. Forty one other countries abstained from voting.

The voting came on the same day when the UN observed the annual International Day for Solidarity with the Palestinians.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas hailed the decision and regarded it as a historic achievement for the Palestinian states. "The world said in a loud voice ‘yes’ to the state of Palestine, yes to Palestine's freedom, yes to Palestine's independence, no to aggression, no to settlements, no to occupation," Abbas told the ecstatic crowd.

6. Mars rover ‘Curiosity’ touches Red Planet

In August 2012, NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity, landed on the Martian surface to begin a two-year mission seeking evidence of ingredients for life on the Red Planet. Mars is the chief component of NASA's long-term deep space exploration plans.

Mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory cheered and applauded as rover successfully landed at the red planet. Moments later, when it received three images from the Martian surface, one of them showing vehicle, the controllers cheered again.

7. South Korea gets first woman President

Park Geun-hye was elected as first woman President of South Korea defeating her rival Moon Jae-In with huge margin. Her father, Park Chung-hee, also ruled South Korea for over 18 years. With more than 70 percent of the votes counted, Park led with 51.6 percent, while Moon Jae-In got 48 percent of votes according to the National Election Commission.

After the thumping victory she thanked her staff and supporters and said that her victory reflects that the economy will definitely recover. During the election, she convinced the people that the country is ready for a woman leader.

8. US elementary school shootout

In one of the deadliest incidents in the United States, at least 27 people killed including 18 children in a shootout at elementary school in New Town, Connecticut. US President Barack Obama condemned the incident and got misty-eyed while addressing the nation. He said, ‘Our hearts are broken today’. He vowed to tame gun violence by amending laws and consoled families of the victim.

The man, who gunned down blindly the innocent and the school staff, later shot himself and died. Obama set January deadline to check the gun violence. Obama formed a new group-led by Vice-President Joe Biden charged with developing "concrete proposals" for dealing with gun violence "no later than January."

9. Egypt’s Constitution in referendum approved

Egypt voters had approved Constitution drafted by President Mohammed Morsi in December 2012.

President Morsi who assumed office on 30th June 2012 struggled hard to get the Constitution approved as his leftist, liberal, secularist and Christian opponents had taken to the streets to protest saying the new constitution would dangerously mix politics with religion.

Electoral Commission in December announced that voters had given green signal to the Constitution. After this, Mohammed Morsi welcomed the new Constitution and appealed for unity. He endorsed Constitution as being ‘totally transparent’ and urged the Opposition to join him for a national dialogue to defuse tension.

10. Syria’s Anti-government revolt

Syria’s revolt got intensified after Syrian army in November this year had announced its battle to liberate ‘Damascus’. The move aggravated the fighting and it turned into a major conflict between government forces and armed rebels.

Syria's Opposition on November 11formed a new bloc called the National Coalition for the Opposition Forces, which was recognized by the United States. Many people died and several got severally injured in the conflict in Damascus that witnessed intense anti-government protests. It is commonly known as Syrian uprising.

11. Higgs Boson Particle

Scientists in July this year claimed that they proved the existence of Higgs boson particle - one of the longest and most expensive projects in the history of Science.

The particle may reveal the mysteries about the existence of life and diversity in the universe.

During a press meet at Switzerland, Scientists at CERN had announced that they found so called ‘God Particle’. Peter Higgs, the Edinburgh University emeritus professor of Physics was also present in the press conference.

12. Japan-China territorial dispute
In 2012, tensions ran highest between China and Japan over a group of uninhabited islands in the East Asian Sea that both countries claim. The islands are known as the Diaoyu in China and the Senkaku in Japan.

Despite China’s repeated opposition and anger, Japan in September had decided to purchase the disputed land that resulted in great tension and provoked an angry response from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

In December, Japan scrambled a Chinese aircraft which tried to enter the disputed territory. This was the first time an aircraft had involved in Japan-China dispute which had created huge tension. Days later, three Chinese ships entered the disputed waters of the East-China sea that intensified the territorial battle.

Nivedita Dixit/JPN

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