This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
Each December the editors and news directors of the Associated Press vote for the top ten news stories of the year.
They chose the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States as the top news story of two thousand eight. President-elect Obama is the first black man to be elected president of the United States. His decisive victory over Republican Senator John McCain brought down the last racial barrier in American politics. His campaign for the White House lasted twenty-one months.
The American economic crisis was second on the list of top stories last year. Wall Street investment banks and other financial companies collapsed. The stock market suffered huge losses. Two thousand eight was considered the worst economic year since the nineteen thirties.
The price of oil was voted the third top story of the year. Less than six months ago, oil traded at a record one hundred forty-seven dollars a barrel. Now, oil is trading for less than forty dollars a barrel. At the root of the sharp price decrease is reduced demand because of the economic downturn.
The war in Iraq was fourth on the list. The American troop surge helped reduce violence in Iraq. But bombings and kidnappings continued. A recent security agreement between Iraq and the United States sets a plan for American troop withdrawal by two thousand twelve.
The Beijing Olympic Games were next on the list. After seven years of preparations, the Summer Olympic Games were held in China for the first time. American swimmer Michael Phelps won eight old medals, breaking the record for the most gold medals won at a single Olympics.
Also among the top news stories was the huge earthquake that struck China in May. Seventy thousand people were killed in Sichuan province. Another five million lost their homes.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin also made the list of major news stories. She became well-known after Republican presidential candidate John McCain chose her as his vice presidential running mate. She was the first female vice presidential candidate of the Republic Party.
In November, ten terrorists attacked India's financial center, Mumbai. More than one hundred sixty people were killed during two and a half days of violence.
Hillary Clinton's candidacy for president was also among the top news stories. She came closer than any other woman in American history to becoming a major party's presidential candidate. Barack Obama nominated her to become the next secretary of state.
And finally, the tenth news story of the year was the five-day war between Russia and Georgia. The war was the worst violence since South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia in nineteen ninety-two.
And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. You can find other reports from the past year on our web site at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.