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IN THE NEWS - Virginia Tech Killings Voted Top News Story of 2007

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This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

On December twentieth, the editors and news directors of the Associated Press voted for the top ten news stories of two thousand seven.

On April 23, 2007, a moment of silence was observed for each of the 32 Virginia Tech shooting victims
On April 23, 2007, a moment of silence was observed for each of the 32 Virginia Tech shooting victims

They chose the tragic killings of thirty-two people at Virginia Tech, a university in Blacksburg, Virginia, as the top news story of the year. Twenty-three-year-old Seung-Hui Cho shot students and professors at his university on April sixteenth before taking his own life. It was the worst mass shooting in American history.

The United States home mortgage crisis was second on the list of top stories this year. Many homeowners have lost, or are in danger of losing, their homes because of rising payments. A sharp drop in housing prices also caused major losses in financial markets.

Major General Rick Lynch speaks with Sunni Sheik Emad Ghurtani, right, in Haswah, Iraq in October.
Major General Rick Lynch speaks with Sunni Sheik Emad Ghurtani, right, in Haswah, Iraq in October.

The war in Iraq was voted the third top story this year, down from last year, when it was the top news story. A major increase in American troops in Iraq is believed to have improved the nation's security situation. Still, thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of Americans were killed in violence in Iraq. Critics say the troop increase failed to meet what was supposed to be the main goal -- to give Iraqi leaders the chance to work for political unity.

Rising oil prices was next on the list. Oil prices hit record highs this year, reaching almost one hundred dollars a barrel. The increase in fuel costs pushed American lawmakers to pass a new energy bill. It requires cars and light trucks to use less gasoline by two thousand twenty.

Also among the top news stories was a series of recalled exports from China. These products included poisonous toothpaste, unsafe pet food and toys containing dangerous lead paint.

Another major issue this year was global warming. United Nations climate scientists warned about the danger of rising seas, severe dry weather and the disappearance of plants and animals. The U.N. scientists shared this year's Nobel Peace Prize with former American Vice President Al Gore.

The collapsed bridge over the Mississippi River near Minneapolis, Minnesota
The collapsed bridge over the Mississippi River near Minneapolis, Minnesota

In the American state of Minnesota, a large bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed on August first. Thirteen people were killed and about one hundred others were injured.

The American presidential campaign was also the subject of major new stories this year. Many candidates traveled around the country seeking support in the primary elections that will choose the nominees from the two major political parties.

Also in the United States, debate continued on immigration after a compromise plan failed in Congress because of Republican Party opposition. Illegal immigration is among the major presidential campaign issues.

And finally, the United States and several other countries continued to press Iran to stop enriching uranium. Iran said it never had a nuclear weapons program. But a recent American intelligence report said Iran did have a nuclear weapons program, but that it ended in two thousand three.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve Ember.

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