Global Twitter Trends of the Week, Vol 86

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There are over 300 million tweets sent from around the world every day. Because Twitter has become such a major source for global news and conversations, we pull weekly trends to discover what the world is talking about. Here are some of the highlights:

Top Overall Twitter Trend of the Week: Pope Francis is Time’s Person of the Year

Time named Pope Francis its person of the year Wednesday, nine months into his papacy. Pope Francis has received praise from reformers, raised fears among conservatives, and drawn worldwide applause for being a man-of-the-people. “He’s changed the focus of the church from being focused on doctrine to becoming more about service. And he’s changed the tone in which the church speaks to one of compassion. It’s all about the poor. This is the church as it used to be in its — arguably its best period in the past. And Francis seems to be bringing that back” says Time Magazine’s International Editor, Bobby Ghosh.

Twitter lit up with tweets from around the world praising the Pope, but also questioning Time Magazine’s decision. Other possible candidates who were considered for Person of the Year include NSA leaker Edward Snowden, gay rights activist Edith Windsor, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Top News: Fake Sign Language Interpreter

A fake sign language interpreter made meaningless hand signals as President Barack Obama and other heads of state spoke during a mass memorial for anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela this week.  The South African man later explained that he was suffering from a schizophrenic episode during the event, the root cause of acting out gibberish before a global audience of millions.

“There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation. I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry. It’s the situation I found myself in,” the interpreter, 34-year-old Thamsanqa Jantjie, told Johannesburg’s Star. This however, didn’t stop outrage from around the world showing up on Twitter feeds.

Top Politics: Ukraine

Ukrainian officials are heading to Brussels for talks with the European Union, as the foreign policy chief said President Viktor Yanukovych “intends to sign” at some point, a trade and co-operation agreement he rejected last month. Protestors are angry over the President’s decision to shelve the agreement, and will be watching the meeting closely. They are extremely worried that the leader will sign an agreement to join a Russia-led customs union when he and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet next week.

Many of these protesters are taking to Twitter and other social media networks to share photos, stories, and to support one another. There were injuries on both sides this week, as an overnight crackdown by authorities produced major clashes with protestors. Take a look at these amazing protest photos posted to Twitter:

Top Sports: Napoli 2-0 Arsenal

The Gunners qualified for the last -16 this week, despite losing 2-0 to Napoli. Arsenal finished second in Group F to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages for the 11th season in a row, though with a tie or a win they would have ended up in first. They will be tested in another tough match this weekend when they take on Premier League title favourites, Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Football fans discussed the match on Twitter, expressing their disappointment and thoughts of the future:

Interested in what happened in the United States this week on Twitter? Check out our USA Top Twitter Trends of the Week.