Biggest Moments of 2011 [Yahoo!] Top News Stories of 2011 [CNN] May 2 Osama bin Laden, then head of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan on Monday, May 2, 2011, shortly after 1 a.m. local time by a United States special forces military unit. The operation, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, was ordered by United States President Barack Obama and carried out in a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operation by a team of United States Navy SEALs from the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (also known as SEAL Team Six) of the Joint Special Operations Command, with support from CIA operatives on the ground. The raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan was launched from Afghanistan. After the raid, U.S. forces took bin Laden's body to Afghanistan for identification, then buried it at sea within 24 hours of his death. President Obama remembered the victims of the September 11 attacks. He praised the ten-year-old war against al-Qaeda, which he said had disrupted terrorist plots, strengthened homeland defenses, removed the Taliban government, and captured or killed scores of al-Qaeda operatives. April 29 The wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine Middleton took place on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London. Prince William, the eldest son of Charles, Prince of Wales, first met Catherine "Kate" Middleton in 2001, when both were studying at the University of St Andrews. Their engagement on 20 October 2010 was announced on 16 November 2010. The build-up to the wedding and the occasion itself attracted much media attention, with the service being broadcast live around the world, and being compared and contrasted in many ways with the 1981 marriage of William's parents, Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. Much of the attention focused on Kate Middleton's status as a commoner (i.e. not a part of the aristocracy) marrying into royalty. October 20 Muammar Gaddafi was the dictator leader of Libya from 1969- 2011. Civil War between those loyal to Gaddafi and The Rebels trying to overthrow him occurred from February through October 2011 with the UN and the US supporting the Rebels. Gaddafi insisted that his people loved him and refused to step down. He was caught and shot on October 20th and paraded through Tripoli. January 8 On January 8, 2011, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people were shot during a public meeting held in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, near Tucson, Arizona. Six of those shot died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll, one of Rep. Giffords' staffers, and a nine-year-old child. Giffords was holding a constituent meeting called "Congress on Your Corner" in the parking lot of a Safeway store when Jared Lee Loughner drew a pistol and shot her in the head, subsequently firing on other people. One additional person was injured in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. News reports identified the target of the attack as Giffords, a Democrat representing Arizona's 8th congressional district. She was shot through the head at point-blank range, and her medical condition was initially described as "critical". March 11 The 9.0- magnitude (MW) undersea megathrust earthquake occurred on 11 March 2011 at 14:46 JST (05:46 UTC) in the north-western Pacific Ocean at a relatively shallow depth of 32 km (19.9 mi), with its epicenter approximately 72 km (45 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku, Japan, lasting approximately six minutes. The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 metres (133 ft) in Miyako in Tōhoku's Iwate Prefecture, and which, in the Sendai area, travelled up to 10 km (6 mi) inland Casualties 15,844 deaths, 5,890 injured, 3,451 people missing January 14 The Tunisian revolution is an intensive campaign of civil resistance, including a series of street demonstrations taking place in Tunisia. The events began in December 2010 and led to the ousting of longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. Street demonstrations and other unrest have continued to the present day. February 11 Following the uprising in Tunisia and prior to his entry as a central figure in Egyptian politics, potential presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei warned of a 'Tunisia-style explosion' in Egypt. Protests in Egypt began on 25 January and ran for 18 days. Beginning around midnight on 28 January, the Egyptian government attempted, somewhat successfully, to eliminate the nation's Internet access, in order to inhibit the protesters' ability to organize through social media. Later that day, as tens of thousands protested on the streets of Egypt's major cities, President Mubarak dismissed his government, later appointing a new cabinet. Mubarak also appointed the first Vice President in almost 30 years. On 10 February, Mubarak ceded all presidential power to Vice President Omar Suleiman, but soon thereafter announced that he would remain as President until the end of his term. However, protests continued the next day, and Suleiman quickly announced that Mubarak had resigned from the presidency and transferred power to the Armed Forces of Egypt. The military immediately dissolved the Egyptian Parliament, suspended the Constitution of Egypt, and promised to lift the nation's thirty-year "emergency laws". It further promised to hold free, open elections within the next six months, or by the end of the year at the latest. September 17 Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is a protest movement which began September 17, 2011 in Zuccotti Park, located in New York City's Wall Street financial district, initiated by the Canadian activist group Adbusters. The protests are against social and economic inequality, high unemployment, greed, as well as corruption, and the undue influence of corporations—particularly from the financial services sector—on government. The protesters' slogan We are the 99% refers to the growing income and wealth inequality in the U.S. between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population. The protests in New York City have sparked similar Occupy protests and movements around the world. October 5 Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American businessman and inventor widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution. He was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. Jobs was co-founder and previously served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios; he became a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, following the acquisition of Pixar by Disney. Jobs was named Apple advisor in 1996, interim CEO in 1997, and CEO from 2000 until his resignation. He oversaw the development of the iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, and iPad and the company's Apple Retail Stores.[ August 23 The 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred on August 23, 2011, at 1:51 pm EDT (17:51 UTC) in the Piedmont region of the U.S. state of Virginia. The epicenter, in Louisa County, was 38 miles (61 km) northwest of Richmond and 5 miles (8.0 km) south-southwest of the town of Mineral. It was an intraplate earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 and a maximum perceived intensity of VII (very strong) on the Mercalli intensity scale. Several aftershocks, ranging up to 4.5 Mw in magnitude occurred after the main tremor. July 8 The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons. Major missions included launching numerous satellites and interplanetary probes, conducting space science experiments, and 37 missions constructing and servicing the International Space Station. A major international contribution was the Spacelab payload suite, from the ESA. July 5 Caylee Marie Anthony (August 9, 2005 – ca. June 2008) was an American two-year-old girl who was reported missing in Orlando, Florida, in July 2008, and whose remains were found in a wooded area near her home in December 2008. Her then 22-year-old mother, Casey Marie Anthony, was tried for the first degree murder of Caylee but was acquitted. She was, however, convicted of misdemeanor counts of providing false information to police officers. May 22 The 2011 Joplin tornado was a catastrophic EF5 multiple-vortex tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri in the late afternoon of Sunday, May 22, 2011. It was part of a larger lateMay tornado outbreak sequence and reached a maximum width of in excess of 1 mile (1.6 km) during its path through the southern part of the city. It rapidly intensified and tracked eastward across the city, and then continued eastward across Interstate 44 into rural portions of Jasper County and Newton County. This was the third tornado to strike Joplin since May 1971. August 28 Hurricane Irene was a large and powerful Atlantic hurricane that left extensive flood and wind damage along its path through the Caribbean, the United States East Coast and as far north as Atlantic Canada in 2011. The ninth named storm, first hurricane and first major hurricane of the annual hurricane season, Irene originated from a welldefined Atlantic tropical wave that began showing signs of organization east of the Lesser Antilles. It developed atmospheric convection and a closed cyclonic circulation center, prompting the National Hurricane Center to initiate public advisories late on August 20, 2011. Irene improved in organization as it passed the Leeward Islands, and by August 21, it had moved closer to Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The next day, Irene made landfall at Category 1 hurricane strength in Puerto Rico, where severe flooding resulted in significant property damage and the death of one person. Throughout its path, Irene caused widespread destruction and at least 56 deaths; monetary losses in the Caribbean were estimated to be as high as US$3.1 billion. Damage estimates throughout the United States are estimated near $7 billion, which remains an uncertain estimate. November 7 Gerald Arthur "Jerry" Sandusky (born January 26, 1944) is a retired American football coach. Sandusky served as an assistant coach for his entire career, mostly at Pennsylvania State University under Joe Paterno, and was one of the most notable major college football coaches never to have held a head coaching position. He received Assistant Coach of the Year awards in 1986 and 1999. In November 2011, he was arrested and charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15-year period.