Greta Thunberg named 'Time' Person of the Year

Greta Thunberg tops poll in shortlist including US President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Hong Kong Protesters

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Climate activist Greta Thunberg was named Time magazine's Person of the Year pipping US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, US President Donald Trump, Hong Kong's protesters, and a CIA whistle-blower to the accolade.

The Swedish 16-year-old, who described the news as "unbelievable" is the youngest recipient of the award, in which Time editors consider the person or persons who most influenced the world in the past year.

Time said that "for sounding the alarm about humanity's predatory relationship with the only home we have, for bringing to a fragmented world a voice that transcends backgrounds and borders, for showing us all what it might look like when a new generation leads, Greta Thunberg is Time's 2019 Person of the Year".

"Thunberg stands on the shoulders - and at the side - of hundreds of thousands of others who've been blockading the streets and settling the science, many of them since before she was born," Time wrote.

It said Ms Thunberg's age was a sign that "new kinds of influence" are taking hold.

"It is wielded by people like Thunberg, leaders with a cause and a phone who don't fit the old rubrics but who connect with us in ways that institutions can't and perhaps never could," Time said.

At 15, Ms Thunberg skipped school to demonstrate outside Sweden's parliament over the climate crisis. Her grassroots campaign, where she has routinely slammed world leaders for their environmental policies, soon attracted the support of millions who took to the streets to support her cause.

She famously refuses to fly and sailed across the Atlantic earlier this year to attend the UN General Assembly.

Time has made the designation every year since 1927. Last year, Time editors selected "The Guardians and the War on Truth," a group of four journalists and one news organisation whose work landed them in jail or cost them their lives.

In 2017, magazine editors selected "The Silence Breakers", the people who spoke up and sparked a national reckoning over the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault.

US President Donald Trump, who had just become president-elect after his stunning White House victory, won in 2016.

In 2011, "The Protester" was named the Time Person of the Year to represent global protest movements such as the Arab uprisings and the Occupy Movement or in Greece and Russia.

Who else was on 'Time' 2019 shortlist?

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been a central figure in the impeachment proceedings involving the question of whether Mr Trump and his administration withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for Ukrainian officials investigating Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden. In September, she said the House of Representatives was launching an impeachment inquiry and has asked House committees to draft articles of impeachment against Mr Trump.

US President Donald Trump

This is the fourth consecutive year that Mr Trump has been on the list, which includes being named Time Person of the Year in 2016 when he became the 45th president of the United States.

He may become the third US leader to be impeached if the House of Representatives moves forward with the articles of impeachment. No president has ever been removed from office under this method. Mr Trump has called the inquiry "completely baseless".

The Whistle-blower

An anonymous CIA officer shook up the US government by triggering the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump by reporting the contents of a phone call Mr Trump shared with the president of Ukraine. He submitted a nine-page memo, outlining evidence that he believed showed Mr Trump had used the power of his office to manipulate Ukraine into investigating political rival Joe Biden to help with the Trump re-election campaign.

The whistle-blower's account may ultimately lead to the House of Representatives filing articles of impeachment against Trump, who has regularly attacked the anonymous person. Congressional Republicans have also called for the whistle-blower to be publicly identified.

The Hong Kong Protesters

Waves of demonstrations have swept across the special administrative region of China in response to proposed amendments to Hong Kong's extradition law. The change would allow the Hong Kong government to extradite people to mainland China, something deliberately blocked by the legal framework of the 'one country, two systems' model to protect Hong Kong's judicial system.

The bill was originally submitted due to a Hong Kong's Chan Tong-kai being suspected of murdering of his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan before fleeing back to Hong Kong. Hong Kong and Taiwan do not have an extradition treaty, and his case was cited when the Hong Kong legislature proposed amending the law. Taiwan wanted to accept Chan under a specific agreement where Taiwan would be seen as a sovereign entity and not the renegade province that Beijing says it is.

Mainland China saw the bill as a way to apprehend criminals that fled from the mainland into Hong Kong but protesters in the city saw the bill as a threat to their identity, and an erosion of the 'one country, two systems' model.

Joshua Wong, a key figure in the movement, congratulated Ms Thunberg and said she inspired him.

The protests began in earnest in June, when perhaps more than a million people protested against the bill in front of Hong Kong's legislature, with police firing rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd. The bill was reluctantly withdrawn by Chief Executive Carrie Lam after months of her issuing ambiguous language about its suspension.

Pro-democracy protests have continued for months, including a transportation strike and demonstrators taking over the Hong Kong airport, sieges on universities, violent confrontations between city residents and also between protesters and Hong Kong police including shooting of protesters, immolation of residents, and prominent stabbing.

Protesters also have demanded amnesty for the nearly 5,000 protesters who have been arrested, an independent inquiry into police violence, for protesters not to be labelled as rioters as well as universal suffrage for Hong Kong citizens. None of these demands have been met.