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Top stories of 2006

Here are 2006's top 10 stories as chosen by US editors and news directors in the Associated Press's annual vote:

1. Iraq The war deteriorated into a dismayingly complex and savage struggle, with Iraqis by the thousands killed in sectarian reprisal attacks and the US military's death toll nearing 3,000.

2. US elections Unhappiness with events in Iraq was one of the driving forces behind the Democrats' surge in the Nov. 7 election. They took over the House with a large majority and gained a narrow edge in the Senate .

3. Nuclear standoffs The United States and its allies were frustrated in their efforts to rein in nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran.

4. Illegal immigration Congress tried to confront the influx of illegal immigrants from Latin America, but the effort collapsed amid deep divisions over whether to stress a crackdown or include provisions to help some illegal immigrants work toward citizenship.

5. Scandals in Congress Several GOP lawmakers were brought down by scandals: Mark Foley, Randy Cunningham, Tom DeLay, and Bob Ney.

6. Hussein trial Saddam Hussein was convicted in the slaying of 148 Shi'ite Muslims and was sentenced to death by hanging.

7. Mideast Israel and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia fought a monthlong war in the summer; more than 900 people were killed.

7. Rumsfeld A day after the midterm elections, President Bush announced the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

9. Airliner plot British authorities said they narrowly thwarted a terrorist plot to bomb several jets over the Atlantic.

10. Darfur Violence worsened in Sudan's Darfur region, where the fighting between rebels and government forces has killed more than 200,000 people.

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