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Top 15 Business News Stories of 2011

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- From the wearisome European debt crisis to the implosion of MF Global, 2011 was a year filled with major business news stories and world events.

Apple's guru and co-founder Steve Jobs died in October after a long fight with pancreatic cancer, leaving Apple's millions of adherents without the spiritual presence of the mystical man in the black turtleneck.

Occupy Wall Street took the country by storm, in some ways literally, as anti-bank, anti-corporate, anti-greed protesters set up camps and clashed with police from coast to coast. The protesters' chant of "We are the 99 percent" became part of the national lexicon.

The U.S. saw its credit rating downgraded in August as Washington politicians bullheadedly bickered over ways not to address the multi-trillion dollar national debt.

An earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan exacted a massive human and economic toll that reverberated throughout the world.

Revolution and protest swept the Middle East, which led to the brutal death of Moammar Gaddafi and the ousting of Hosni Mubarak as Egypt's longtime ruler.

U.S. forces killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in an early-morning raid of his compound in Pakistan in May.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il died of a reported heart attack on Dec. 17, creating a climate of uncertainty on the Korean peninsula but also one of hope for reunification between the poor North Korea and economic powerhouse South Korea.

On a smaller scale, Bank of America underestimated the depth of the banking industry's image problems when it floated a monthly $5 debit card fee, only to be repulsed by vociferous public opposition.

Those are a few of the top stories of the year. Now let's take an in-depth look at those and other top business news stories of 2011, in no particular order. -- William Hennelly

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