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2016 Year in Review: Looking back at the year’s events

A month-by-month look at the biggest news events of the past year.

January

2  | Protesters, led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, take over a wildlife refuge in Oregon and begin a weekslong standoff that ends with one dead and eight arrested.

6 | North Korea claims it successfully detonated its first hydrogen bomb.

11 | Aid convoys reach three besieged Syrian towns including Madaya, where 40,000 residents had been trapped for months. … Alabama defeats Clemson 45-40 to win the NCAA College Football Playoff National Championship.

13 | Iran releases 10 U.S. sailors after detaining them when their Navy vessels veered into Iranian waters.

14 | ISIS claims responsibility for a terror attack in Jakarta, Indonesia—the first known ISIS attack in Southeast Asia.

15 | Al-Qaeda militants storm a café and hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, killing 30 persons.

16 | President Obama declares a state of emergency in Flint, Mich., due to contaminated water. … ISIS attacks the city of Deir al-Zour, beheading at least 150 persons and kidnapping 400 civilians.

17 | A day after the United States lifts sanctions against Iran, Iran releases four detained Americans.

19 | A UN report reveals ISIS has killed nearly 19,000 civilians in Iraq over 21 months.

22 | The annual March for Life proceeds in Washington, D.C., as -winter storm Jonas begins dumping record amounts of snow on New York, Baltimore, and other cities.

26 | Pope Francis meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Vatican.

Council of Europe
Council of Europe adopts resolution, Jan. 27, condemning atrocities in Middle East as genocide
Council of Europe Palais de l’Europe aerial view. Photo by Council of Europe | Wikimedia Commons


February

1 | Hillary Clinton claims victory in the Iowa Caucus over Bernie Sanders, while Ted Cruz leads a crowded field of Republican candidates. … The World Health Organization declares the Zika virus a global emergency. … Chinese officials arrest Pastor Gu Yuese, the leader of China’s largest state-sanctioned church.

2 | The average price of gasoline falls to less than $1.80 per gallon.

6 | Thousands of people march across 14 European countries protesting the influx of migrants. … An earthquake causes a 17-story apartment complex in Taiwan to collapse, trapping hundreds and killing more than 100.

7 | The Denver Broncos score a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

9 | President Obama delivers a $4.1 trillion budget to Congress.

12 | Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill meet in Cuba, the first such meeting in nearly 1,000 years between leaders of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches.

13 | Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies while on a hunting trip in Texas.

16 | The South Dakota Senate passes a bill requiring transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their biological sex, but Gov. Dennis Daugaard later vetoes it.

21  |  “Risen,” a film that tells of Jesus’ resurrection from the eyes of an unsaved soldier who participated in His crucifixion, opened in first place at the box office.

22 | After receiving millions of dollars in ransom, ISIS releases the last 40 of 230 Assyrian Christians kidnapped a year ago in Syria.

23 |  President Obama outlines his plan to shut down Guantánamo Bay.

Risen the movie
Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) leads his Roman soldiers during the zealot battle in ‘Risen.’ Photo by Rosie Collins, TriStar Pictures


March

1 | Astronaut Scott Kelly returns to Earth after 340 days aboard the International Space Station, a record for a U.S. astronaut.

2 | The UN Security Council votes to impose new sanctions against North Korea for its recent nuclear and missile tests.

4 | Gunmen kidnap a priest and kill 16 persons, including four nuns, at a convent and nursing home in Yemen.

10 | South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signs a 20-week abortion ban, making South Dakota the 13th state to pass such legislation since 2010.

13 | President Obama signs a disaster declaration for Louisiana after flooding damages homes and prompts evacuations. Flooding in August will cause more devastation.

15 | As peace talks begin in Geneva, Russian forces begin withdrawing from Syria after months of fighting rebel groups. … The Obama administration reverses itself and blocks oil drilling off the Atlantic Coast.

17 | Days after the House of Representatives unanimously votes to label ISIS attacks on Christians as genocide, Secretary of State John Kerry says the State Department has reached the same conclusion.

18 | In a deal reached with the European Union to curb the flood of refugees, Greece may now send back migrants fleeing from Turkey.

20 | President Obama visits Cuba, the first time in more than 80 years a sitting U.S. president has visited the country.

22 | ISIS claims responsibility for a Brussels terror attack at a subway station and airport that killed more than 30 persons and injured hundreds.

23 | North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signs a bill mandating -students use bathrooms corresponding with the sex on their birth certificate. The decision sparks a backlash from big businesses, including numerous event cancellations.

27 | A suicide bomber attacks a park in Lahore, Pakistan, killing more than 70 persons and injuring hundreds.

28 | The FBI cracks the encryption on the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, ending its court battle with Apple over access to the device.

Brussels
A street memorial to victims of Tuesday’s (March 22) bombings in Brussels, Belguim, March 24, 2016. Reuters|Christian Hartmann


April

4 | California and New York become the first states to enact plans to raise the minimum wage to $15. … The Supreme Court upholds a Texas law that counts everyone, not just eligible voters, in deciding how to draw legislative districts. … Villanova defeats North Carolina 77-74 in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game.

5 | The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team defeats Syracuse 82-51, ending the season with a 38-0 record and securing its fourth consecutive championship. … Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signs a religious freedom bill that protects those who withhold services based on religious objections.

7 | The television show American Idol concludes its 15-year run.

8 | U.S. Naval officer Lt. Edward Lin faces charges of espionage for allegedly passing military secrets to China or Taiwan.

16 | A magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastates coastal Ecuador — killing more than 650 persons and injuring thousands more.

20 | The Treasury Department says Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. … The U.S. Supreme Court rules families of terror victims may collect a nearly $2 billion judgment against Iran’s central bank.

25 | President Obama authorizes the deployment of up to 250 special operations troops to support Syria and the fight against ISIS.

27 | A federal court sentences former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to 15 months in prison for a bank fraud case linked to sexual abuse allegations.

Ecuador quake
Red Cross members, military and police officers work at a collapsed area after an earthquake struck off Ecuador’s Pacific coast. Photo by Guillermo Granja | Reuters


May

2 | Puerto Rico officially defaults on its $422 million debt.

3 | Wildfires force the evacuation of 80,000 persons in the Canadian oil city of Fort McMurray.

9 | North Carolina files suit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) to defend its “bathroom bill.” The DOJ files a federal civil rights lawsuit to bar the bill’s implementation.

10 | NASA announces the discovery of 1,284 new exoplanets.

12 | A federal judge strikes down a portion of Obamacare, ruling President Obama does not have authority to spend money on subsidies to health insurers without congressional appropriation.

15 | The U.S. Supreme Court hands a victory to the Little Sisters of the Poor (and fellow petitioners), telling the lower courts to find an alternative accommodation to the HHS contraceptive mandate.

19 | EgyptAir Flight 804 disappears from radar, plunging into the Mediterranean Sea, killing all 66 persons aboard.

20 | Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen takes office as Taiwan’s first female president.

22 | The Iraqi army launches an offensive on ISIS-controlled Fallujah and liberates the besieged city by the end of June.

23 | The U.S. government lifts a decadeslong ban on arms sales to Vietnam.

24 | A judge rules Bill Cosby, 79, will stand trial next year on sexual assault charges stemming from a 2004 incident.

25 | Eleven states file suit against the Obama administration over its demand that public schools allow students to use the restroom and locker room facilities of their choice.

27 | President Obama becomes the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima, Japan.

28 | Cincinnati Zoo officials shoot and kill a gorilla after a 3-year-old boy falls into the enclosure.

gender netural
A gender-neutral restroom sign at the White House. (Flickr/Creative Commons)


June

2 | Former Stanford University student Brock Turner receives a six-month jail sentence for a 2015 sexual assault of an unconscious woman—sparking public outrage for what many call a lenient punishment.

9 | California’s End of Life Option Act goes into effect, giving physicians permission to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients.

12 | Islamic terrorist Omar Mateen opens fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., killing 49 and injuring dozens more—the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. … The Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Game 6 to capture the NHL’s Stanley Cup.

14 | An alligator drags 2-year-old Lane Graves into a lake near Disney’s Grand Floridian, killing the boy.

19 | The Cleveland Cavaliers become NBA champions by defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7.

20 | Four gun control measures fail to pass in the Senate.

23 | The U.S. Supreme Court votes to uphold affirmative action but, in a deadlocked decision, thwarts President Obama’s immigration plan. … A Baltimore judge acquits Caesar Goodson, the only police officer charged with murder in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray. … The United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union. Prime Minister David Cameron resigns the next day, and Theresa May takes over in July.

25 | President Obama signs a disaster declaration after record flooding in West Virginia claims the lives of 26 persons and devastates 44 of the state’s 55 counties.

27 | The Supreme Court strikes down as unconstitutional two provisions of a Texas law regulating abortion centers, and the next day rejects the appeal of Washington state pharmacists who objected to selling abortifacients.

28 | Three terrorists attack Turkey’s Istanbul Ataturk Airport, killing 41 persons and injuring more than 200.

30 | The Obama administration lifts a ban on openly transgender military service members.

Search boats in the Seven Seas Lagoon, located near the Grand Floridian, as police hunted for signs of a 2-year-old boy who was dragged by an alligator into the lagoon at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida, U.S., June 15, 2016. Reuters/Adrees Latif


July

1 | ISIS claims responsibility for an attack on a Bangladesh restaurant that left more than 20 persons dead.

5 | A police officer shoots and kills Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and the next day an officer in St. Paul, Minn., shoots and kills Philando Castile. Both incidents spark protests.

6 | The Justice Department closes its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. The State Department reopens its investigation the next day. … Nintendo sparks a craze with the release of its augmented reality game, Pokémon Go.

7 | Micah Xavier Johnson opens fire on Dallas police officers during a protest, killing five officers and wounding seven others.

14 | Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drives a truck into a crowd of people gathered for Bastille Day in Nice, France, killing at least 84 persons and injuring hundreds.

15 | An attempted coup of Turkey’s government fails but leaves more than 230 persons dead, over 1,000 wounded, and thousands under arrest.

17 | Gavin Long shoots and kills three police officers and wounds three others in Baton Rouge, La.

22 | Fires, fueled by high temperatures and a yearslong drought, rage in California. … Ali Sonboly, 18, shoots and kills nine people and wounds 16 others at a Munich shopping mall.

24 | Briton Chris Froome wins his third Tour de France.

25 | The FBI says it is investigating the hacking and leaking of Democratic National Committee emails.

29 | Florida confirms four cases of locally acquired Zika.

30 | A hot air balloon crashes in central Texas, killing all 16 persons on board—the deadliest such accident in U.S. history.

Katrina Aherns sits with son Magnus Aherns
Katrina Aherns sits with son Magnus Aherns during the funeral of her husband, slain Dallas police officer Lorne Ahrens following the multiple police shootings in Dallas, Texas, U.S., July 13, 2016. Reuters/Carlo Allegri


August

5 | The 2016 Summer Olympics open in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. By close on Aug. 21, the United States walks away with the most golds and medals overall.

8 | A six-hour system shutdown grounds Delta planes and strands passengers around the world.

13 | Violent riots erupt in Milwaukee, Wis., after a police officer shoots and kills 23-year-old Sylville Smith.

16 | More than 82,000 persons flee the raging Blue Cut wildfire in San Bernardino County, Calif. … Russia launches airstrikes on Syria from an air base in Iran—the first time a major world power has used the Islamic Republic to stage military attacks since the 1979 revolution.

17 | Media outlets circulate a picture of a dazed and bloodied Syrian boy after an airstrike in Aleppo.

18 | The Obama administration admits a $400 million cash payment to Iran related to a 1970s military equipment deal was “contingent” on the release of four American citizens.

21 | A Texas judge blocks the Obama administration from allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex.

24 | A magnitude 6.2 earthquake rips through central Italy, leaving more than 240 persons dead and destroying historic homes, churches, and shops.

29 | After weathering intense criticism over its EpiPen price hike, drugmaker Mylan says it will sell a generic version for half the price.

30 | The Associated Press documents 72 mass graves in Iraq and 17 in Syria that could contain as many as 15,000 victims of ISIS. … An airstrike kills ISIS spokesman Mohammad al-Adnani in northern Syria.

31 | A year of social and economic instability culminates with the Brazilian Senate voting to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office.

Amatrice, Italy
Firefighters attend a funeral service for victims of the earthquake that levelled the town in Amatrice, central Italy, August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Emiliano Grillotti


September

4 | Pope Francis canonizes Mother Teresa, making her Saint Teresa in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church.

6 | ITT Technical Institute closes all campuses after the Department of Education cuts off federal financial aid for new students. … Fox News agrees to pay former Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson $20 million to settle sexual harassment claims against former chairman Roger Ailes, who stepped down in July.

7 | Physicians in Aleppo, Syria, say they treated victims of a chlorine gas attack.

8 | North Korea claims it detonated another nuclear bomb. The blast causes an earthquake near the test site.

9 | A major leak shuts down an Alabama gasoline line. A few weeks later an explosion along the same pipeline kills one worker and injures five others.

17 | Police in New York and New Jersey investigate pipe bomb blasts that went off hours apart. The blast in Manhattan injures 29 persons. … ISIS claims the man who stabbed nine persons at a Minnesota mall was an ISIS soldier.

18 | Vladimir Putin’s party wins parliamentary elections, paving the way for him to run for a fourth term as Russia’s president.

20 | Violent protests erupt in Charlotte, N.C., after a police -officer shoots and kills Keith Lamont Scott.

22 | Yahoo reveals a “state-sponsored actor” stole personal information from 500 million Yahoo accounts in late 2014.

25 | Britain, France, and the United States walk out of a UN Security Council emergency session, accusing Russia of committing war crimes in supporting Bashar al-Assad’s bombing of Aleppo.

28 | Congress overrides President Obama’s veto of a bill allowing 9/11 victims’ families to sue Saudi Arabia for backing some of the terrorists. The vote was the first veto override of Obama’s presidency. … Jesse Osborne, 14, allegedly kills his father before opening fire at a Townville, S.C., elementary school, shooting three. Jacob Hall, 6, later dies from his injuries.

30 | Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, President Obama, and former President Clinton join Israelis at the funeral of former Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres.

Charlotte shooting
Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team deployed to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Wednesday to offer emotional and spiritual care in the aftermath of civil unrest. Photo from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team.


October

2 | Colombians narrowly defeat a peace deal to end decades of civil war with the rebel FARC group.

3 | The United States cuts off diplomatic contacts with Russia over Syria, and Russia withdraws from a nuclear pact.

4 | Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti, killing at least 1,000 persons. The Category 4 storm then causes havoc in the Bahamas, Cuba, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

13 | Boko Haram releases 21 Chibok girls two years after kidnapping 276 of them.

17 | The Iraqi government launches an offensive to take back Mosul, the last major Iraqi city under ISIS control.

18 | Ecuador restricts WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet access at its London embassy after the site publishes damaging emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

21 | A massive cyberattack against Dyn, an internet routing company, blocks access to popular websites like Netflix, Spotify, and Etsy.

24 | The Obama administration acknowledges that premiums on government healthcare exchanges will see double-digit increases.

27 | North Dakota police in riot gear arrest 141 protesters from private land in the path of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

30 | FBI Director James Comey tells Congress the agency is renewing its inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s server after more emails are uncovered—a development Clinton later blames for her election defeat. … A magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattens historic buildings, including the centuries-old Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia, Italy.

Chibok school girls
Some of the 21 Chibok school girls released are seen during a meeting with Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja, Nigeria. (Photo from Thomson Reuters)


November

3 | At least 240 migrants die in shipwrecks off Libya’s coast in the Mediterranean Sea, bringing the number of migrant deaths in 2016 to at least 4,220. … In a Game 7, 10-inning thriller, the Chicago Cubs defeat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 and win their first World Series since 1908. … Federal officials fine Penn State University $2.4 million for numerous violations of a campus safety law.

6 | Geologists say underground injection of wastewater from oil and gas production caused a magnitude 5.0 earthquake in Cushing, Okla.

8 | Donald Trump surprisingly wins the U.S. presidential election, defeating Hillary Clinton.

10 | A prolonged drought in the Southeast fuels wildfires in the Appalachian Mountains.

14 | A magnitude 7.8 earthquake rocks New Zealand, stranding tourists and residents in a remote coastal town.

26 | People pour into the streets of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood to celebrate the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

28 | Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan drives his car into a crowd of pedestrians at Ohio State University before jumping out of his car and stabbing bystanders. … A plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team crashes in Colombia, killing more than 70 persons.

29 | Drought conditions fuel wildfires throughout the South, igniting the Great Smoky Mountains and ravaging Gatlinburg, Tenn., where 14,000 persons flee homes and tourist spots.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump gestures as Vice President-elect Mike Pence applauds (L) at their election night rally in Manhattan, New York. Photo by Mike Segar | Reuters


December

2 | A fire during a party at an Oakland, Calif., warehouse claims the lives of at least 36 persons.

6 | Ohio lawmakers pass a ban on abortion after a baby’s heart begins beating. On Dec. 13, Gov. John Kasich vetoes the bill but signs a less extensive pro-life measure.

7 | A federal judge halts the hand recount of 4.8 million presidential ballots cast in Michigan. … A 6.5 magnitude earth-quake rocks Indonesia’s Aceh province, killing at least 100 persons. … A Pakistani airplane crashes near Abbottabad, killing all 48 aboard.

7  |  2ndVote confirms Macy’s Inc. has discontinued contributions to Planned Parenthood after customers complained of the chain’s support of the abortion provider.

9 | South Korean lawmakers vote to impeach President Park Geun-hye amid reports of extortion, abuse of power, and bribery. … President Obama orders an investigation into Russian hacking during U.S. election cycles.

10 | Sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson of the University of Louisville wins the Heisman Trophy, with 51 touchdowns and 4,928 total yards this year. … Two bomb blasts outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul kill 38 persons and wound more than 160. … A church roof collapses in southern Nigeria, reportedly killing 160 persons gathered for the ordination of a bishop.

11 | A bomb blast during Mass kills 25 persons and wounds 49 at a Coptic chapel in Cairo.

19 | The Electoral College voted 304 to 227 to elect Donald Trump president of the United States over Hillary Clinton. Seven electors voted for alternative candidates. … A man driving a truck slammed into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 and injuring 48. Police apprehended a 23-year-old refugee they identified as Naved B.

Macy's Department Store
The 34th Street and Broadway facades of Macy’s Department Store at Herald Square in New York City. Photo by RightFramePhotoVideo | Dreamstime.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— by Kristin Chapman

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