Major news events of 2011 _ July to December

AP News
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Posted: Dec 15, 2011 4:33 PM
Major news events of 2011 _ July to December

JULY

July 1

Six weeks after ex-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed he fathered a child with a member of his household staff, Maria Shriver files divorce papers seeking to end their 25-year marriage.

July 1

In Minnesota, state government shuts down after legislators cannot agree on a budget. The shutdown lasts nearly three weeks.

July 5

Orlando, Fla., jury finds Casey Anthony, 25, not guilty of murder, manslaughter and child abuse in the 2008 disappearance and death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

July 7

Rupert Murdoch's media empire unexpectedly jettisons News of the World, Britain's best-selling Sunday newspaper, after a public backlash over claims it used phone hacking and other illegal tactics to expose the rich and famous, royals and ordinary citizens.

July 7

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," the final movie based on the wizard fantasy books, debuts in London on way to becoming year's top-grossing movie.

July 8

Former first lady Betty Ford dies at 93.

July 10

German health officials link contaminated vegetable sprouts from a farm near Hamburg to the world's deadliest E. coli bacteria outbreak, which eventually kills more than 50.

July 17

After a tied 2-2 Women's World Cup soccer match, Japan outscores the U.S. 4-1 in a penalty shootout to win the championship.

July 17

A voicemail hacking and police bribery scandal escalates with the arrest of Murdoch's former British newspaper chief and the resignation of London's police commissioner. Prime Minister David Cameron calls a special session of Parliament to address the scandal; Murdoch will testify that he's humbled but accepts no responsibility.

July 21

The 30-year-old space shuttle program ends as Atlantis lands at Cape Canaveral, Fla., after the 135th shuttle flight.

July 21

Eurozone leaders agree to a sweeping deal that will grant Greece a massive new bailout and radically reshape the currency union's rescue fund.

July 22

Gunman in Norway massacres 69 people at an island youth retreat after detonating a bomb in nearby Oslo that kills eight others, the nation's worst violence since World War II.

July 23

Singer Amy Winehouse, 27, is found dead from accidental alcohol poisoning following drinking binge after weeks of abstinence.

July 30

NATO jets bomb three Libyan state TV satellite transmitters in Tripoli, targeting a propaganda tool in Gadhafi's fight against rebels.

July 31

Syrian security forces backed by tanks launch an assault on defiant cities and towns, killing at least 70 as the regime races to crush dissent ahead of Ramadan.

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AUGUST

Aug. 1

A last-minute deal in the U.S. Congress ends a stalemate over raising the federal debt ceiling that had threatened to lead to government default. Deal included provision for a "supercommittee" to agree on deep spending cuts by a November deadline. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returns for first time since her January shooting, to vote.

Aug. 3

An ashen-faced Mubarak, denying all charges from a bed in a courtroom defendant's cage, went on trial for alleged corruption and complicity in the deaths of protesters who helped drive him from power.

Aug. 5

Citing a "gulf between the political parties," credit rating agency Standard & Poor's downgrades U.S. debt for the first time since assigning the nation's AAA rating in 1917.

Aug. 5

Federal jury convicts three New Orleans police officers, a former officer and a retired sergeant of civil rights violations in the 2005 shooting deaths of a teenager and a mentally disabled man crossing a bridge following Hurricane Katrina.

Aug. 6

Afghan insurgents down a U.S. military helicopter, killing 30 Americans and eight Afghan commandos, the deadliest single loss for U.S. forces in the decade-old war.

Aug. 7

The European Central Bank says it will "actively implement" a bond-purchase program that could boost Spanish and Italian bonds and drive down interest yields that threaten those countries with financial disaster.

Aug. 8

Violence flares across London and beyond as shops are looted and authorities struggle to contain a third night of unrest in Britain's capital, which will host next summer's Olympic Games. It's the worst rioting in London in decades.

Aug. 13

In the Republican presidential race, Rep. Michelle Bachmann wins the Iowa straw poll; Texas Gov. Rick Perry officially declares his candidacy.

Aug. 13

Wind gust topples Indiana State Fair stage before concert, killing seven.

Aug. 21

Euphoric Libyan rebels race into Tripoli and take control of the center with little resistance as Gadhafi's defenses collapse and his four-decade regime appears crumbling.

Aug. 23

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia, the strongest on the East Coast since 1944, causes cracks in the Washington Monument and damages the National Cathedral.

Aug. 23

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is freed in New York after prosecutors question the credibility of the hotel maid who accused the ex-IMF leader of attempting to assault her in May.

Aug. 27

Hurricane Irene, after striking Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, pushes up the U.S east coast, prompting evacuations in New York City and leaving major flood damage in Vermont.

Aug. 30

Libyan rebels say they are closing in on Gadhafi and issue an ultimatum to loyalists in his hometown of Sirte, his main remaining bastion: Surrender or face an attack.

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SEPTEMBER

Sept. 1

Leaders and envoys from 60 countries and the U.N. meet in Paris for talks with Libya's rebel-led National Transitional Council to map the country's future. They vow to free billions of dollars in frozen assets and to help Libya rebuild.

Sept. 4

Actor Jerry Lewis is absent from Muscular Dystrophy Association's 46th annual Labor Day weekend telethon that he hosted the previous 45 years.

Sept. 7

Latest in a series of Republican presidential debates brings together Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum.

Sept. 8

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev calls for changes in the air transport industry as the country mourns a crash that killed 43 people, among them most of a top hockey team.

Sept. 10

Oscar- and Emmy-winning actor Cliff Robertson dies at 88.

Sept. 11

As the U.S. and the world mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a memorial plaza at ground zero opens.

Sept. 14

A Colorado company recalls cantaloupes potentially contaminated with listeria, the bacteria eventually tied to deaths of at least 29 people and sickening of at least 110 in 28 states.

Sept. 16

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will ask the U.N. Security Council next week to endorse his people's decades-long quest for statehood but emphasizes that he does not seek to isolate or delegitimize Israel.

Sept. 16

World War II-era fighter plane plunges into spectators during air races in Reno, Nev., killing 74-year-old Florida stunt pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 others.

Sept. 17

A demonstration calling itself Occupy Wall Street begins in New York, within weeks prompting similar protests around the U.S. and the world. Perceived economic unfairness is behind the frequent chant, "We are the 99 percent."

Sept. 18

An earthquake shakes northeastern India and Nepal, killing at least 16 people.

Sept. 18

For a second year, Emmy Awards for drama and comedy go to "Mad Men" and "Modern Family."

Sept. 20

Repeal of U.S. military's 18-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" compromise takes effect, allowing gay and lesbian service members to serve openly.

Sept. 21

Iran frees two Americans detained by border guards during a July 2009 hike, a month after convicting the two as spies; a third hiker had been freed previously.

Sept. 23

Abbas takes the quest for independence to the Security Council, seeking U.N. recognition of Palestine and sidestepping negotiations that have been inconclusive for nearly two decades.

Sept. 23

Soap opera "All My Children," canceled after 41 years, broadcasts final episode on ABC.

Sept 24

Vladimir Putin's decision to reclaim the Russian presidency next year foreshadows a continuation of the strongman rule that many in the West call a retreat from democracy.

Sept. 25:

In the GOP race, Romney wins the Michigan straw poll; businessman Herman Cain gets a surprise victory in the Florida straw poll.

Sept. 25

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah decrees that women will for the first time have the right to vote and run in local elections due in 2015.

Sept. 26

Again, last-minute congressional action approves a spending deal and avoids a government shutdown.

Sept. 30

U.S. drone airstrike in Yemen kills two American members of al-Qaida, cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and recruiting magazine editor Samir Khan.

___

OCTOBER

Oct. 1

Campaigning begins in Tunisia for the first elections born of the revolts that swept the Middle East.

Oct. 3

An Italian appeals court frees Amanda Knox of Seattle after four years in prison, tossing murder convictions against Knox and an ex-boyfriend in the stabbing of their British roommate.

Oct. 5

Apple Inc. cofounder Steve Jobs _ entrepreneur, inventor, self-made billionaire _ dies of cancer at 56.

Oct. 7

The Nobel Peace Prize goes to three women: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman, who has long pushed for change in Yemen.

Oct. 11

U.S. officials accuse agents of the Iranian government of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., with help from a purported member of a Mexican drug cartel.

Oct. 12

During the second day of trial, Nigerian al-Qaida operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab pleads guilty in a 2009 attempt to bring down a jetliner with a bomb in his underwear.

Oct. 16

In Washington, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is dedicated.

Oct. 18

Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit emerges from five years in captivity, as Hamas militants hand him over to Egyptian mediators in an exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Oct. 19

Hundreds of youths riot in Athens, clashing with police during an anti-government rally against painful new austerity measures that won initial parliamentary approval.

Oct. 20

Gadhafi, Libya's dictator for 42 years, is killed as revolutionary fighters overwhelm his hometown of Sirte and capture the last major bastion of resistance two months after his regime fell.

Oct. 23

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake strikes eastern Turkey, killing more than 400 people.

Oct. 27

European leaders clinch a deal they hope will mark a turning point in their two-year debt crisis, agreeing to have banks take bigger losses on Greece's debts and to boost the region's weapons against market turmoil.

Oct. 28

Monks and soldiers pile sandbags outside Bangkok's most treasured temples and palaces amid Thailand's worst floods in decades.

Oct. 28

St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Texas Rangers in Game 7 of the World Series.

Oct. 29 - A "white Halloween" storm with record-setting snowfalls brings down trees across the northeastern U.S., knocking out power to millions; 39 deaths blamed on storm.

Oct. 31

Palestine wins its greatest international endorsement yet, full membership in UNESCO; but the move prompts the U.S. to cut off payments to the Paris-based cultural agency.

Oct. 31

United Nations marks world population surpassing 7 billion.

___

NOVEMBER

Nov. 4

A Syrian peace plan brokered just days earlier by the Arab League unravels as security forces, opening fire on thousands of protesters, kill 15 people.

Nov. 4

"60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney, 92, dies a month after his farewell segment on the show.

Nov. 6

Greece's prime minister and main opposition leader agree to form an interim government to ensure the country's new European debt deal, capping a week of turmoil that saw Greece face a catastrophic default, which roiled international markets.

Nov. 7

Los Angeles jury convicts Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, of involuntary manslaughter for supplying an anesthetic implicated in the entertainer's 2009 death.

Nov. 7

Former heavyweight champion boxer Joe Frazier dies at 67.

Nov. 9

After 46 seasons as Penn State's head football coach and a record 409 victories, Joe Paterno is fired, along with the university president, over their handling of child sex abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky; two top university officials step down following grand jury indictments.

Nov. 12

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi resigns, ending a political era and setting in motion a transition aimed at bringing the country back from the brink of economic crisis.

Nov. 15

Following arrests of Occupy Wall Street protesters during a police sweep of New York's Zuccotti Park, a judge says the city may enforce a rule against overnight camping. In other cities, authorities move to dismantle encampments, some moving to college campuses.

Nov. 20

Spain's opposition conservatives sweep into power as voters dump the Socialists _ the third time in as many weeks Europe's debt crisis has claimed a government.

Nov. 21:

In Washington, Congress' bipartisan deficit reduction "supercommittee," appointed to find $1.2 trillion in cuts over a decade, fails, triggering automatic cuts agreed to under the summer's debt ceiling deal. But they don't take effect until 2013.

Nov. 23

Yemeni president Saleh agrees to step down amid a fierce uprising to oust him after 33 years in power.

Nov. 27

In an unprecedented move, the Arab League approves economic sanctions on Syria, to pressure Damascus to end its deadly suppression of an 8-month-old uprising against Assad.

Nov. 28

Egyptians, despite a recent wave of unrest, wait peacefully in long lines to vote in the first parliamentary elections since Mubarak's ouster. Islamist parties win big.

___

DECEMBER

Dec. 1

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on a ground-breaking visit to Myanmar challenges the nation's leaders to expand upon recent reforms.

Dec. 2

U.S. Labor Department announces unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent in November, lowest since March 2009.

Dec. 3

One-time GOP frontrunner Herman Cain suspends his campaign amid allegations of sexual improprieties, which he denies.

Dec. 4

Russian Prime Minister Putin's party struggles to hang onto its majority in parliamentary election.

Dec. 7

"M-A-S-H" actor Harry Morgan dies at 96.

Dec. 9

The European Union says that 26 of its 27 member countries are open to joining a new treaty tying their finances together to solve the euro crisis. Britain remains opposed.

Dec. 10

Tens of thousands hold the largest anti-government protests that post-Soviet Russia has seen, criticizing electoral fraud and demanding an end to Putin's rule.

Dec. 11

A U.N. climate conference reaches agreement on a far-reaching program meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change.

Dec. 13

In Penn State scandal, ex-assistant coach Sandusky waives a preliminary hearing on child sex abuse charges, which he denies.

Dec. 13

Physicists announce they are closing in on an elusive subatomic particle, the Higgs boson, that, if found, would confirm a long-held understanding about how the universe's fundamental building blocks behave.

Dec. 15

The flag used by U.S. forces in Iraq was lowered in a Baghdad airport ceremony marking the end of a war that left 4,500 Americans and 110,000 Iraqis dead and cost more than $800 billion.