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Last Updated: Friday, 30 December 2005, 01:10 GMT
Iraq war and tsunami top BBC poll
Saddam Hussein on trial in Baghdad, Iraq
The start of Saddam Hussein's trial was a landmark event in Iraq
The war in Iraq and the Asian tsunami were considered the most significant global events of 2005, an international survey for the BBC has suggested.

The US hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the Pope's death were the other most common unprompted answers in a poll of nearly 32,500 people in 27 countries.

"Global citizens see 2005 mainly as a year of natural and man-made disasters," said pollster Doug Miller.

Poll analysts noted similar views across countries.

Bar chart
Poll questioned 32,439 people in 27 countries
Survey conducted October, November and December 2005
Margin of error per country in range +/-2.5 to 4%

The survey, conducted for the BBC World Service by Canadian pollsters GlobeScan, asked: "In the future, when historians think about the year 2005, what event of global significance do you think will be seen as most important?"

The war in Iraq was the most significant event for 15% of those polled.

It came top among 43% of Iraqis questioned but it was mentioned by only 9% of respondents in the UK, which has troops there.

The 26 December 2004 tsunami was joint first, accounting for 15% of all respondents' answers.

It obtained particularly high scores in Asia-Pacific countries such as Sri Lanka (57%) and Indonesia (31%) but 28% of South Africans mention it as well.

Coming in third, the US hurricanes made up 9% of all answers.

The best thing to celebrate in the year 2005 is the human sprit, which has remained unshaken despite several natural disasters
Viresh Ananda, Mysore, India

However, it was not as high among American respondents (15%) as it was in other countries such as Afghanistan (18%) and Argentina (18%).

The death of Pope John Paul II and the inauguration of Pope Benedict was the fourth most widely cited event, with 6% of all answers.

Much of this came from several Catholic countries, where several large percentages mentioned it, especially Poland (48%) and Italy (17%). It also rated highly in the Congo (29%) and Kenya (10%).

The London bombings were seen as the most significant event of 2005 by 4% overall.


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It was mentioned by only 7% of UK respondents while it scored higher in other countries including Ghana (11%), Australia (8%) and Spain (8%).

Global warming featured prominently in the answers of 3% of those surveyed, scoring 13% in Mexico, 11% in Finland and 10% in the UK.

The largest groupings of responses were the year's various natural disasters, including the hurricanes, the Mumbai flooding and the South Asian quake, accounting for 19% of all answers.

A striking finding was how similar views were across countries, said Steven Krull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (Pipa), which was involved in conducting the survey with GlobeScan.

"The extent to which people in different countries perceive the same events as significant is a sign of how much the world has become globalised," he said.


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