Thursday, December 28, 2006
7 News Features: Seven's Top Seven: World
Civil wars, political wars, religious wars all dominated the world news this year. Throw in a couple of terrorist plots and some good old-fashioned name-calling and you have the top World stories of 2006. Here's Seven's Patrick Fraser with a look back.
WSVN -- When the news came in from around the world it was seldom fascinating, fun or uplifting.
And nowhere was it worse than the Middle East.
In March, a political earthquake in Palestine.
The radical group Hamas won a sweeping parliamentary victory. Their goal: Destroy Israel.
President Bush: "If your plan is the destruction of Israel, it means you're not a partner in peace, and we're interested in peace."
In July, three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah, which is centered in Lebanon.
Israel countered by bombing Lebanon.
"We are aiming to cripple Hezbollah in order to enable Lebanese government to take charge."
Hezbollah launched thousands of attacks on Israel.
"Of course they will fight the invading force of Israel if it comes inside."
By the time the United Nations negotiated a cease-fire, the month-long war claimed the lives of nearly 900 Lebanese and 130 Israelis. Southern Lebanon was in shambles and the militant Hezbollah cheered, claiming they were the winners.
"We are facing a strategic and historic victory and this is not exaggeration."
In many cases, terrorists failed -- 23 were arrested in Great Britain, days before their sickening plot was set to launch.
"We think this was an extraordinary serious plot, and we're confident that we prevented an attempt at mass murder on an unimaginable scale."
This group had planned to blow up airplanes en-route from London to the United States, using liquid explosives hidden in sports drink bottles.
As a result, the United States immediately banned liquids on flights.
"A terrible thing has happened."
In England, a former Russian spy died a horrible death -- someone poisoned Alexander Litvinenko with a rare and expensive radioactive material.
On his deathbed, Litvinenko claimed it was done by people working for Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Russia denied it.
From another nation another type of fear -- North Korea claiming to have tested nuclear weapons.
And it didn't always take actions to create trouble -- often it was words.
The sign read, "The Pope is Satan."
In London radical Muslims called for Pope Benedict to be murdered after he quoted an ancient emperor who called Islamic teachings evil and inhumane.
The Holy Pontiff apologized.
"I am deeply saddened at the reactions of some countries to a few words in my address, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims."
The apology was not accepted. Instead, radical Muslims burned Catholic churches and murdered a nun in retaliation. Her dying words to the killer, "I forgive you."
Americans were much more sensible and sane after the Venezuelan leader called President Bush a liar and the devil.
"Yesterday the devil came here."
Americans were offended but didn't riot and didn't murder anyone.
In Paris it just took a new employment law to send the French screaming ranting and tearing about Paris.
Also in France, a medical breakthrough -- the first ever face transplant.
"I immediately accepted the project of a face transplant, and it kept me up. But the hardest was to wait without knowing when the operation would happen."
She needed the operation after an animal ripped off part of her face. Her surgery was elective.
Ariel Sharon's was not -- the Israeli Prime Minister rushed to the hospital after a massive stroke last January.
He is in a coma with severe brain damage and not expected to survive much longer.
There is hope though for the world, people love to say that things can't get worse. We all know they can of course, let's just hope they don't.