Top 5: What our readers loved most in 2017
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Top 5: What our readers loved most in 2017

AS we look back to the year 2017, it’s safe to say that it was one filled with interesting developments and turn of events in the Asia Pacific’s political, social, and economic landscape.

The year kicked off with US President Donald Trump’s inauguration which saw a recalibration of the global superpower’s policy on the region and a slew uncertainties regarding its role in the months that followed.

Less than a month after Trump marked his presidency, the estranged brother of North Korea’s leader was killed in a cloak-and-dagger-styled murder in what has arguably become the most high-profile assassination of the year.

In the Philippines, war broke out between government forces and Islamic-state inspired militants in the country’s southern region in a conflict which stretched on for more than six months, while the Rohingya crisis in Burma continued to deteriorate with hundreds of thousands of stateless Muslims fleeing the country.

Meanwhile, China continued to spread its influence in Asia with its opaque Belt-and-road initiative that drove billions worth in investments in Asean countries, South Asia, and Eastern Europe, among others.

And before the year draws to a close, we have looked back at 2017 to see which stories resonated the most on our site, and we can only thank you, our readers, for your continued readership and support.

With that in mind, here is a list of your top five favourite stories of the year:

5. Indonesia: Governor Ahok gets rockstar treatment with flowers and trophies

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More than a thousand wreaths have been placed outside Jakarta city hall to thank outgoing governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama. Source: Twitter @raztheda

He and running partner Djarot Saiful Hidayat were defeated in the Indonesian capital’s gubernatorial election by Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno last Wednesday, after an election campaign defined by the country’s sensitive religious and racial divides.

But as Ahok arrived to work on Wednesday after the end of his long-running blasphemy trial, he was greeted by a huge group of well-wishers.

4. Thai king shot in the back with BB guns while cycling in Germany

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The Thai monarch has spent many years residing in Germany. Source: AP

Two teenagers – aged 14 and 13 – had reportedly taken aim at the monarch from a garden and also shot at his car with airsoft guns as it moved past them.

The king was cycling in the dark with a group of other cyclists when the teenagers shot at them. Local media said the monarch was hit on the back.

3. US supported mass killings of half a million Indonesians in 1965

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Islamist groups hold banners during an anti-communist protest outside parliament building in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sept 29, 2017. Source: Reuters/Beawiharta

Described by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as “one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century”, the 1965 massacre was sparked by an attempted coup in September of that year by a group of left-leaning generals and Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) leaders.

Documents published by George Washington University’s National Security Archive, in an “unprecedented collaboration” with the National Declassification Centre, show that the US government had “detailed knowledge” of the mass killings that targeted communists, leftists and ethnic Chinese across Indonesia in the wake of the failed, so-called Sept 30 movement.

2. ‘Disappointed’: Jokowi upset that Saudi invests in China more than Indonesia

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Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo. Source: Reuters/Beawiharta

When he learned that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had signed investment agreements for US$65 billion over to China, Jokowi lamented that his actions in honouring the king during his visit to Jakarta in March weren’t enough.

Jokowi said he was “surprised” at the investment in China, which amounted to nearly 10 times the IDR89 trillion (US$6.71 billion) pledged to Indonesia.

1. Waking up to World War III

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(File) North Korea marks the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People’s Army on Tuesday, a key anniversary that comes at the end of major winter military drills. Source: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

Recent military manoeuvring and chest beating from both the Trump administration and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un have set the world on edge and, for the first time in this generation, opened up the prospect of global warfare.

What was once the stuff of history books for most of the world’s population is now beginning to look an awful lot like a burgeoning reality and we all find ourselves holding our collective breath in anticipation of what tomorrow may bring.

Some are seeing the funny side. Memes from millennials in America poking fun at dodging the draft in the event of World War III have started flooding the Internet.

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