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Top 10 stories of 2009

"Top 10 stories of 2009" Continued...

8. Honduras: Triumph of Latin American democracy

What media and U.S. officials initially described as a coup turned out to be a lawful transfer of power following Honduran President Manuel Zelaya's attempts to secure an indefinite term of office. At the directive of Congress and the Supreme Court, Honduras' military arrested Zelaya and transferred him to Costa Rica in the middle of the night. A member of his own party, congressional leader Roberto Micheletti, became temporary head of state in his place. In the months following it became clear this was no ordinary "coup," as the government proceeded with elections on schedule, and Hondurans resoundingly turned away from the party of both Zelaya and Micheletti. And in the course of it turned aside authoritarian neighbors like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Raul Castro, who lobbied the court of world opinion for Zelaya's return to power. (See also "Surprises," Jan. 2, 2010.)

9. Creation of the ACNA

With long and deep rifts between the leadership of the Episcopal Church and its more conservative members over the ordination of practicing gay clergy, this year conservatives formally broke away from the Episcopal Church to form the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)-an Anglican province that now numbers 100,000 members in 28 dioceses and 700 parishes. Before the ACNA's formation, dissatisfied Anglicans sought refuge under the leadership of orthodox Anglicans overseas-in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South America. (See also "Winners," Jan. 2, 2010.)

10. U-turn for U.S. pro-life message overseas

On President Obama's third day in office, and coinciding with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, he began a rollback of U.S. pro-life policies-first, announcing the reversal of the "Mexico City Policy," which barred abortion advocacy and procedures by groups receiving U.S. funds for development work overseas. In February he undid a Bush-enacted federal regulation offering conscience protections to healthcare professionals (see "Speak now," April 9, 2009). In March, he lifted federal limits on stem-cell research and lifted a Bush executive order that prohibited funding of embryonic stem cells (see "Stem cell reversal," March 9, 2009). In March also he reinstated funding of the United Nations Population Fund. The U.S. now contributes $50 million a year to the UNFPA, and the UNFPA spends nearly $7 million in China, where the country continues to enforce its one-child policy (see "Government-sponsored coercion," Aug. 1, 2009). A 2009 investigation by the Population Research Institute found evidence of ongoing forced sterilizations and forced abortions in counties of China the UNFPA has designated "models" of family planning. (See also "Politics," Jan. 2, 2010.)

Favorite underdogs of the year:
Chesley Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who guided Flight 1549 into a safe landing, albeit in the Hudson River, against the best odds in January. (See "Winners," Jan. 2, 2010.)
Slumdog Millionaire, a movie made for $15 million using children from Mumbai's slums and handheld video cameras, won eight Oscars, include Best Picture, and has grossed nearly $400 million worldwide. (See "Phenoms," Jan. 2, 2010.)


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