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  • Two-year old twins Hevedar and Heve (R) of Iraq pose in front of a Christmas tree at a refugee shelter in Oberhausen, Germany, Dec. 22, 2015. Europe
    In Depth
    28 December 2015

    Two-year old twins Hevedar and Heve (R) of Iraq pose in front of a Christmas tree at a refugee shelter in Oberhausen, Germany, Dec. 22, 2015. Europe's refugee and migrant crisis has been one of the most important stories of the year and will surely mark generations of people to come.

teleSUR picks the top 10 news stories in world, Latin America, culture and sport, as well as paying tribute to women in sport and the world’s biggest bigots.

Top 10 Latin America and the Caribbean

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What a year for Latin America. Some truly groundbreaking things happened in teleSUR’s region this year. Extremely exciting to watch develop has been the ongoing Colombian peace process between FARC guerrillas and the Colombian government, which reached landmark agreements this year, bringing the country closer to bringing an end to more than 50 years of armed internal conflict.

WATCH: teleSUR’s Colombia correspondent gives a roundup of the highlights of the Colombian peace process in 2015

Historic too has been the process of normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba after decades of frozen relations. The U.S.’s tentative reconciliation with Cuba does not mean its meddling in the region has stopped. A highly classified document in the Snowden files revealed this year that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA in concert with the U.S. Embassy in Caracas and gathered sensitive information intended to be use to spy on top company officials.

In spite of the U.S. actions toward Latin America, tens of thousands of Central American migrants continued to make the perilous journey northward this year, many fleeing violence, crime, poverty, and systemic inequality. In October and November alone, more than 10,000 unaccompanied, undocumented children crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, up more than 100 percent compared to the same two month period in 2014.

ANALYSIS: The Latin American Left: Challenges for 2016 and Beyond

The year also marked the first visit to the region by Latin America’s first pontiff, Pope Francis who expressed support for many efforts of progressive governments and social movements during his historic visit this year.

Top 10 World

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While the world has, at times, felt like it was all going wrong this year, with the worst global refugee crisis since World War II, ongoing war in Syria and Yemen, the U.S. bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan, deadly Islamic State group attacks in Lebanon, France, Egypt, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey, there has been a lot of change for the better.

Progressive drug legislation was introduced throughout the Americas in 2015, while across the pond, Ireland has also indicated that it could revamp drug policy, decriminalizing the possession of hard drugs for personal use.

Meanwhile, mainstream politics got a little more progressive, with openly socialist political candidates coming out of hiding, rewarded with overwhelming popular support. Promising developments in Europe included the rise of Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K. and Podemos in Spain; and the staying power of the HDP, Turkey’s progressive pro-Kurdish party, amid a climate of war and repression. In Asia, Nepal elected its first female president (also a communist) and India’s Bihar state rejected neoliberalism and voted in more leftist parliamentarians; in North America, Canada voted out its Conservative prime minister, while the United States saw the unexpected rise of the self-proclaimed ‘Democratic Socialist’ candidate, Bernie Sanders.

IN DEPTH: The Rise of the New European Left

Top 10 Culture

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Possibly now more than ever, marginalized groups are more likely to see aspects of themselves reflected on screen. When flat, one-dimensional characters that stereotype people of color and sexual and gender minorities are tradition, there’s reason to celebrate that shows like “Empire,” “Jane the Virgin,” and “Transparent” offer more complex representations of those very communities struggling for dignity and the survival of their differences.

IN DEPTH: Outstanding Latin American Films 2014-2015

However, the struggle for equality and non-racist representation is far from over. From fashion designers copying sacred Inuit clothing and stereotypes of Indigenous people in cinema to Coca-Cola accidentally revealing Mexico’s “White Savior” problem, these stories cut to the heart of racism, sexism and other social prejudices.

Top 10 Sport

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After lengthy consideration and heated discussion we chose our top 10 favorite sporting moments of 2015. From record breaking goals by Chicharito and Cristiano Ronaldo, and unbelievable speed by Usain Bolt, to crime and corruption via FIFA this has been a big year for sports. In Latin America, Chile won the Copa America on home soil, while Cuban baseball stepped up in the world, announcing their teams will play against sides from the U.S., Canada and Japan in the Can-Am league.

Traditionally excluded groups got a foot in the door in sport this year, with Brazil hosting the first World Indigenous Games and glass-ceiling-breaker Dr. Jennifer Welter became the first female NFL coach. Women's Sports Week saw a big push in the U.K. for greater recognition for women and girls in the sport world.

ANALYSIS: Gender Inequality and a Tribute to Women in Sports in 2015

Top 10 Uplifting Stories

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Despite much horror and suffering, 2015 will also be remembered for some pretty groundbreaking achievements and feelgood human victories.

In Latin America, Cuba eradicated mother-to-child HIV transmission, Venezuela’s government marked the landmark of over 850,000 social homes completed via its housing mission for low-income families, a toucan in Costa Rica received a prosthetic beak, Ecuador’s migration laws were overhauled, leading to a declaration by President Correa that “no one is illegal,” as well as huge breakthroughs, mentioned above, in Cuba with the United States and in Colombia, which after 50 years of civil war finally seems on the road to peace.

In the news in the rest of the world, the people of Kobane in Syria fought off a ruthless Islamic State group seige, inspiring the world; while progressive politicians in Spain ended decades of bipartisan politics and like-minded politicians Bernie Sanders in the United States and Jeremy Corbyn in the United Kingdom also challenged corporatism and the taboo over the word socialism, opening up political debate for the better.

IN DEPTH: Kurdish Struggle

7 Biggest Bigots

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Was 2015 the year bigotry returned to the mainstream? From Donald Trump's presidential bid in the United States, to the European right wing's backlash against refugees, it's hard not to believe bigotry isn't back in fashion.

ANALYSIS: The Top 12 Most Racist Countries in the World

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