Lloyd Jones, AAP World Bureau Chief
(Australian Associated Press)
TOP INTERNATIONAL STORIES OF 2019
Peaceful rallies in Hong Kong in June against a proposed law to allow extradition of suspects to mainland China for trial turn violent.
Soon police are firing tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets and the odd live round at masked protesters hurling bricks and petrol bombs.
A nightly cat and mouse game ensues as protesters clash with police then melt away. Public buildings, banks and shops are vandalised and protests at times close train lines, major roads and the airport.
Hundreds are injured, including police, one student dies after falling from a carpark during a protest and thousands are arrested.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam withdraws the proposed extradition law but protesters continue to demand her resignation, democratic reforms and a probe into police brutality.
The protests pose a challenge to China’s President Xi Jinping but authorities, wary of another Tiananmen Square, hold off sending in troops.
In November a siege begins of the Polytechnic University where students stockpile petrol bombs and use a makeshift giant slingshot against police. Many slip past officers to escape, leaving behind a wrecked campus.
On November 25, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy candidates win a symbolic landslide in district council elections but the rallies continue.
Other protests flare across the world in 2019, including in Chile, Bolivia, Iraq and Iran where clashes with security forces leave many dead.
US President Donald Trump keeps tweeting, sending stock markets up or down with a few finger taps, mainly over the US-China trade dispute and its on-again, off-again negotiations.
After imposing or threatening tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods, the US and China in December reach a “phase one” trade deal to reduce US tariffs in exchange for China buying more US farm and other products.
Trump wants a trade win ahead of the 2020 presidential election and his impending impeachment by a Democrat-led House of Representatives.
In March, US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election finds no evidence Trump committed a crime, though it doesn’t exonerate him of obstructing justice.
In September, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces an impeachment inquiry over reports Trump pressured Ukraine to help smear Democratic rival Joe Biden by withholding defence aid money.
Trump faces articles of impeachment laid by the House in December. A trial is expected in January 2020 in the Republican-led Senate, which is highly unlikely to find him guilty.
The drawn-out Brexit saga defeats British Prime Minister Theresa May, who three times fails to gain parliamentary backing for her exit deal with the European Union.
In May she tearfully announces she’s stepping down in June, and in July, Boris Johnson wins the leadership of the Conservatives to become PM.
Johnson too loses parliamentary votes on Brexit, is found