This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
At the end of each year, editors and news directors of the Associated Press in the United States vote for the top ten news stories of the year.
They named the American economy as the top news story of two thousand nine. The government approved more than seven hundred eighty billion dollars to help the struggling economy. Yet the unemployment rate was over ten percent. Many banks failed. And the federal deficit reached a record one point four trillion dollars.<!-- IMAGE -->
Last year, the top news story was the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president of the United States. This year, Mister Obama's inauguration was voted the second top story.
The battle between Republicans and Democrats over health care reform was voted the third top story of the year. Reform of the country's health care system was one of President Obama's top goals.
The American auto industry was fourth on the list. Two of the big three American automakers filed for bankruptcy after suffering sharp drops in sales.
Next on the list was the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu. The virus affected tens of millions of people worldwide. Officials said swine flu sickened about fifty million Americans and killed ten thousand.<!-- IMAGE -->
The war in Afghanistan was also among the top news stories. Last month, President Obama decided to send thirty thousand more American troops to Afghanistan. Public opinion studies show that the war has grown increasingly unpopular with Americans.
The AP editors said the death of singer Michael Jackson in June was also among the top news stories. The fifty year old international star was just days from beginning a series of performances in London. Jackson's doctor became the subject of a police investigation after admitting he gave Jackson a powerful drug to help him sleep.
Another top story happened in November. Thirteen people were killed in a shooting at Fort Hood military base in Texas. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan is accused of the killings.<!-- IMAGE -->
Senator Edward Kennedy's death in August was also among the top news stories. Mister Kennedy was one of the nation's longest-serving and most respected senators.
And finally, the tenth news story of the year has been called the "Miracle on the Hudson." Pilot Chesley Sullenberger safely landed a US Airways passenger plane on New York's Hudson River after both its engines failed.
For the first time, the AP invited members of the public to name their top news stories. A separate vote was held on Facebook. More than one thousand four hundred people took part.
They chose President Obama's inauguration as the top story, followed by the economy. Eight stories appeared on both top ten lists.
And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. What do you think were the top news stories of two thousand nine? You can comment on our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.