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Gulf oill spill tops national news list

Here are 2010's top 10 stories according to The Associated Press' annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors:

1. GULF OIL DISASTER: The April 20 explosion at a BP-leased rig killed 11 workers and unleashed a deep-sea spill that ultimately spewed at least 170 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

2. HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL: After bitter political wrangling, President Barack Obama was able to sign into law one of his major campaign promises ó a $1 trillion health care overhaul intended to expand coverage to more Americans.

3. U.S. ELECTIONS: President Obama called it a "shellacking" ó an election in which the Republicans surged to a majority in the House of Representatives, and gained more governor's offices and legislative majorities.

4. U.S. ECONOMY: Economists said the deepest recession since the Great Depression was over, and consumers began to spend more as the year neared a close. But the unemployment rate stayed well above 9 percent, and home prices were weighed down by foreclosures and sluggish demand.

5. HAITI EARTHQUAKE: Already the Western Hemisphere's most destitute nation, Haiti was shattered by an earthquake on Jan. 12 that killed at least 230,000 and left millions homeless.

6. TEA PARTY MOVEMENT: Though it lacked the trappings of traditional political organizations, the tea party movement had a profound impact on the 2010 election, influencing the stances of Republican leaders and enabling some maverick challengers to oust GOP establishment candidates in the primaries.

7. CHILE MINE RESCUE: Trapped nearly a half-mile underground for 69 days after an Aug. 5 mine collapse, 33 Chilean miners were freed one-by-one while an entranced global audience watched on television.

8. IRAQ: U.S. forces formally ended their combat role and looked ahead to planned withdrawal, while Iraqis endured months of bitter political haggling after an election that failed to heal Sunni-Shiite divisions.

9. WIKILEAKS: First came the online postings of a huge batch of U.S. military documents from Iraq and Afghanistan. Then WikiLeaks started releasing a cache of classified State Department diplomatic cables, creating embarrassment for Washington in its dealings with other nations.

10. AFGHANISTAN: After months of deliberation, President Obama ordered a troop surge in a major bid to turn the tide of the nearly 10-year-old war.

The Associated Press

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