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The world in 2013: Yolanda one of top stories

Body bags containing the remains of typhoon victims are pictured on the premises of a health center in San Isidro, Tacloban, Leyte. More than a thousand bodies are unburied, seven weeks after the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda. Joining Yolanda as the world’s top news stories in 2013 are (below, from left) the death of South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, the election of Pope Francis and the Boston Marathon bombing. FREEMAN/AP

NEW YORK – The strongest storm to ever make landfall, the Boston Marathon bombing and the dramatic papal changeover at the Vatican were among the top news stories of 2013, according to the Associated Press’ annual poll of editors and news directors.

The first AP top-stories poll was conducted in 1936, when editors chose the abdication of Britain’s King Edward VIII.

The following is a list of  2013’s top stories.

Philippine typhoon: The toll wreaked by Super Typhoon Yolanda aka Haiyan was stunning in its scope after it struck Nov. 8. More than 6,000 people died; hundreds remain missing. The typhoon damaged or destroyed the homes of more than 16 million people, with rebuilding expected to take years.

Marathon bombing: In seconds, celebration transformed into carnage, as two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April. Three people were killed and more than 260 injured. Authorities soon identified two suspects - Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who died in a shootout with police, and his brother, Dzhokhar, 20, who faces multiple charges.

Vatican changeover: Pope Benedict XVI stunned Catholics around the world with his announcement in February that he would resign. The cardinal elected to succeed him, soon known as Pope Francis of Argentina, proceeded to captivate Catholics and non-Catholics alike with a tone of openness, modesty, and tolerance.

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Nelson Mandela: With the South African leader’s death at 95, his compatriots, world leaders, and countless other admirers mourned the loss of a one-of-a-kind hero.

Divided Congress: Polls showed Congress with historically low ratings, and the key reason was partisan conflict. Among the consequences were the automatic spending curbs known as sequestration and October’s government shutdown.

Health-care overhaul: The White House had hoped the Oct. 1 launch of open enrollment would be a showcase. Instead, the website became a symbol of dysfunction. The site improved, but a wave of cancellation notices from insurers undercut Obama’s oft-repeated pledge that people who liked their existing coverage could keep it.

Syria: The death toll rose past 120,000 as Syria’s nearly three-year-old civil warfare raged on with no signs of resolution.

NSA spying: The ripples continue months after the world learned of Edward Snowden, the former NSA analyst who leaked troves of documents detailing NSA surveillance operations.

Gay marriage: The gay-rights movement won a huge victory in June with two Supreme Court decisions. One cleared the way for ending a ban on same-sex marriages in California. The other struck a 1996 law passed by Congress that banned federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Other states soon followed.

Missing women found: A call for help came May 6, and the revelations that followed were grim. A former bus driver, Ariel Castro, had abducted three females from the streets of Cleveland from 2002 to 2004 when they were 14, 16, and 20. He kept them chained and raped and assaulted them until their escape. He pleaded guilty to multiple charges, and in September, faced with life in prison, hanged himself in his cell.

 

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