This is the VOA Special English Economics Report, from http://voaspecialenglish.com | http://facebook.com/voalearningenglish Today we look back at some of the top stories of twenty-eleven. In Europe, the debt crisis that started in two thousand ten in Greece and Ireland spread to other countries. Portugal needed a financial rescue, and Italy needed a new prime minister. Silvio Berlusconi lost his job over Italy's debt problems. Former European Union official Mario Monti replaced him in November.Pressures on Europe's financial system called into question the future of the euro. European finance officials called for greater cooperation and new rules. World Bank President Robert Zoellick said Europe would have to find its own answers to its debt problems. "Europe has to rescue Europe, OK? And it's very important. If there's any message when I'm asked, "Well, what can the U.S. do and what can China do?" The best thing they can do is clean up their act at home, be a source of growth at home."Mr. Zoellick also said it was important for other big economies to deal with their own budget imbalances. "The downgrade of America from triple A didn't affect the finances today, but it may be one of those events people look back on ten years from now and say, 'Did they get the warning?'" In August, a credit rating agency cut the United States' credit rating from the highest level, triple A, to double A-plus. Also in August, Steve Jobs stepped down as chief at Apple because of his failing health. He died of cancer in October at the age of fifty-six. He brought the world the iPod, iPhone and iPad, and helped make Apple into one of the world's most valuable companies. Twenty-eleven will be remembered as a year of protests. Revolutions for political freedom swept North Africa and the Middle East in the Arab Spring. But protests over budget cuts and jobs were heard around the world. In the United States, activists in hundreds of cities protested economic inequality and joblessness. Protesters were angry that banks got rescued with taxpayers' money during the financial crisis nearly four years ago. But many Americans continue to face hardship. Anger over government budget cuts led to protests in Greece, Britain and elsewhere. And in southeastern China, villagers in Wukan rebelled against local officials they accused of illegally taking land. For VOA Special English, I'm Alex Villarreal. If your New Year's resolution is to learn English, we can help. Find out more at voaspecialenglish.com and on Facebook, Twitter and iTunes at VOA Learning English. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 30Dec2011)
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