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Your e-mails: Big stories of 2006

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(CNN) -- What were the big stories that affected your life in 2006? CNN.com readers sent us their thoughts. Here's a sampling of the responses, some of which have been edited.

Danny Little from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Surely everyone will choose gas prices, unless of course they have family in Iraq or Afghanistan. I have been kicking myself all year for buying a larger four-door sedan. My next car will be picked purely on gas consumption as I think we are beginning to see the future of gas prices that will make what we are paying now cheap in comparison.

Chris Traynor from Wayne, New Jersey
I know I can't be the first person to question the contents of your list of 2006's significant events, but I must do so anyway. We already have a society that places far too much value on the indisputably wrong things (I don't believe that's a selective opinion anymore). Why would you only add to the social confusion by placing the McCartney/Mills separation within your short list? We are far too celebrity-centric to even begin hoping for a grass-roots tidal wave of rising consciousness to spotlight the real worldwide issues and events. Can't you please fine-tune your role as a media leader and try as hard as you possibly can to place just one culturally redeeming brick in this shaky foundation of Julia Roberts-loving citizens? Be useful. Please do better.

Sammy Lee from Toronto, Ontario
There were a few big stories that affected the way I look at the world and politics -- the speeches made by the president of Venezuela and the Iranian president at the U.N. in 2006. I wouldn't say these stories have affected my life, but I have found these two "world leaders" very amusing and hilarious that they made me think every man could be politician and president. I do not understand why our world today is still being controlled and taken over by dictators and other greedy men.

Darin Kim from Fairfax, Virginia
The big story that comes to mind was the recent death of James Kim in the Oregon mountains. This story really touched my life: the suspense of the search, the willingness to survive through numerous days for the family and the emotions brought upon by all the rescuers and searchers for this family.

Harry Buscher from Riverside, New Jersey
Why isn't the price-gouging by the oil companies and the enormous profits and greed not a top story?

Sharlene Vogel from Bellevue, Nebraska
I think that the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan are the big stories of this year and the past few years. Unfortunately, the coverage is just not there. We hear more about Britney's divorce or models being too skinny when there are Americans dying everyday. All that is said is "Oh, five more soldiers killed today." Well, they are not just soldiers, they are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, friends. We need to focus more of our attention on them.

Karen from Newhall, California
Where is the ongoing story of global warming and how it is changing this world? I would consider the issue of global warming a major event that should be recognized in 2006. I am surprised that you may have missed this very important issue.

Lynn Foster from Houston, Texas
The biggest stories that affected my life in 2006 were being diagnosed with cancer for the second time and having to go through chemo, worrying about my son-in-law in Kuwait/Iraq, and the birth of my newest grandchild two days before Christmas. These affected me more than anything local, state or national.

Greg DeMario from Timonium, Maryland
The war in Iraq is and was by far the most critical event of this year. It continues to place America in the same no-win position as that of Vietnam. We can not win it and will not win it, so it's time to get out of it. Let the Iraqi people fight the fight, as it's their war now and we need to get out before more innocent blood is lost.

Susan Wood from Schenectady, New York
The thing that had the biggest effect on my life in 2006 was the price of fuel. I work 40 miles from my home. Commuting is not an option or a luxury, it is a necessity. So I paid the high prices, went to work, paid my bills and stayed home most of the year. My fuel costs went up for gas, fuel oil and electricity, so that is where most of my money goes. I wish a politician would address this issue with honesty! No one wants to talk about excise taxes on fuel, that is not a possibility, the price goes up, the politicians' revenue goes up and I get poorer. Thanks so much to the president, senators, congressman, governors and all politicians! There are none so blind as those who will not see!

Angela Gomez from San Jose, California
There were countless horrific acts and actions that took place in 2006 that made my heart ache for all those involved, particularly the innocent and helpless. But nothing -- bar none, nothing -- stopped my heart as quickly or surely as did the news of a sister being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Wanda LaCroix from Arlee, Montana
In answer to your question: The story that most affects my life will hopefully positively affect everyone's lives: The shifting of power from Republicans to Democrats. If the Democrats can wield power without the corruption that has so influenced the Republican Party, and if the Republicans will see the light and help, then all of our lives can be made better through universal health care, better wages, real improvements in education (not the unfunded mandate of the so-called No Child Left Behind lie) and especially ending the Iraq occupation. It's a big "if," though. The system is broken. The Republicans did us a big favor by showing us how broken it's become with their blatant misuse of power. I hope the Democrats will earn the trust we handed them to fix the mess.

Jeanne Saunders from Levittown, Pennsylvania
The midterm election was the most important event of the year. Intelligent American voters knew that the war, environmental issues such as global warming, our moral standing in the community of nations, etc. would be dead in the water if we did not change the leadership in our country. The only way we the people can achieve change of direction is to change the White House. Our vote spoke volumes for the awareness of issues. Let all pols know that we are not always easily led and are really more intelligent than given credit for. Hooray for us!

Brandan Fiedler from Chisholm, Minnesota
Hey! What about the death of former Minnesota Twins centerfielder Kirby Puckett at the age of 45? He was responsible for the two World Series championships that the Minnesota Twins won in 1987 and 1991. The Minnesota Twins dedicated their Central Division championship season in memory of Kirby Puckett when they wore the 34 patch on their shoulders on the jersey.

Charles Webster from Bennington, Vermont
My eighth grade students at Mt. Anthony Middle School selected the following as the top stories of 2006:
1. School shootings
2. Global warming
3. Iran and North Korea and nuclear weapons
4. War in Iraq

James Osbourne from Lebanon, Kentucky
Several issues affected my life this year. One huge one was the pope's speech in Regensburg, specifically his harsh remarks towards Islam. Also, the North Korea nuke tests gave me a scare and with Iran building its nuclear program and its president speaking ill of President Bush, I began to think that WWIII was not far ahead. The war between Israel and Hezbollah took most of my interest in the summer and has caused me to believe that their prisoners should be swapped, and it even made me consider the end of Zionism. Maybe the Arabs should have Israel back. Just look at all of the violence since, what, 1948? Finally, I found myself partial to Steve Irwin's death, a man who visibly loved what he did. This year was one for the history books indeed. Thank you.
P.S. - Why weren't there more articles about global warming? The world needs to know, and on a daily basis, how we can help reduce the levels of carbon dioxide that we produce.

Paul Laincz from Kutztown, Pennsylvania
Two events: I was deeply saddened by the bizarre and monstrous shooting of the Amish girls in Lancaster. I live amongst the Amish community. Seeing these very hard-working, conscientious people struck by a violent sociopath was almost unbearable. On the other side of the coin, I was elated by the strong victory shown by the Democratic candidates in the November 2006 election. I was especially heartened to see Rick Santorum soundly defeated by Bob Casey Jr.


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