CHICAGO, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The war in Iraq is the most important story of the year, say the current-affairs editors at Encyclopaedia Britannica, who have just issued their list of the top ten developments of 2004. The conflict between Iraqi insurgents and the U.S.-led coalition stands out among other stories for its many dramatic developments, including the prisoner-abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib, the establishment of an interim government and preparations for next year's elections. The globalization of terrorism, represented by attacks in Spain, Russia and elsewhere took second place on the editors' list. "There's a great deal of violence in the world right now," said Susana Darwin, editor of the Britannica Almanac. "There's no getting around it. At the same time, there is intense diplomatic, political and economic maneuvering under way, some of it very important." The entire top-ten list follows: 1. Iraq War 2. Globalization of terrorism 3. Nuclear danger -- Most notable was the growing crisis over weapons programs in Iran and North Korea. 4. Elections -- Elections took place in the U.S. and other countries, including Afghanistan, Spain and Ukraine. 5. Sudan -- Ethnic conflict in the Darfur region has caused a massive humanitarian crisis. 6. Israel and the Palestinians -- Developments included the death of Yasir Arafat, the Gaza pullout plan and construction of the West Bank security wall. 7. European Union Expansion -- The EU added ten new members this year and is now an economic superpower. 8. Violent storms -- Hurricanes, typhoons and other storms ravaged the southeastern U.S., Caribbean, and Asia. 9. Russia signs the Kyoto Accords. Russian ratification sets the stage for this treaty on greenhouse gases to go into effect next year. 10. Human health and well being -- Developments included the AIDS crisis, bird flu in Thailand, locusts in Africa and human embryo cloning from stem cells. Details are available at http://corporate.britannica.com/press/releases/2005news.html . The Encyclopaedia Britannica Almanac 2005 is available at bookstores and online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., based in Chicago, has been the leader in reference and education publishing since 1768. The company is known for the 32-volume Encyclopaedia Britannica and its pioneering work in electronic publishing. More information is at http://www.britannica.com .
SOURCE Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.