Major news events of 2011 _ January to June
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake shakes southern Chile, sending tens of thousands of people fearing a tsunami to higher ground.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announces he will cut $78 billion from the Defense Department budget over the next five years, an effort to trim fat in light of the nation's ballooning deficit.
Jan. 8 - U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is among 12 injured during Tucson, Ariz., shooting that kills six; prosecution suspended to allow suspect to undergo treatment for schizophrenia.
In an unprecedented popular uprising, Tunisian protesters enraged over soaring unemployment and corruption drive President Zine El Abdine Ben Ali from power after 23 years of iron-fisted rule.
The first director of the Peace Corps, R. Sargent Shriver, widower of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, dies at 95.
Chinese President Hu Jintao uses his White House visit to acknowledge "a lot still needs to be done" to improve human rights in his nation accused of repressing its people.
The collapse of another attempt at international outreach to Iran leaves world powers with few options except to hope that sanctions will persuade Tehran to reconsider its refusal to stop activities that could be harnessed to make nuclear weapons.
Fitness guru Jack LaLanne dies at 96.
During his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama outlines proposals for "winning the future."
In Egypt, thousands of anti-government protesters clash with police during a Tunisia-inspired demonstration to demand the end of President Hosni Mubarak's rule.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis demand that their president step down. Taking inspiration from Tunisians' revolt, they vow to continue until their U.S.-backed government falls.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announces color-coded terror alerts will be phased out by late April.
Chaos engulfs Egypt as protesters seize the streets of Cairo, battling police, burning down the ruling party's headquarters and defying a military curfew.
Obama issues a plea for restraint in Egypt after meeting with national security aides to assess the Cairo government's response to protests.
Egypt's military promises not to fire on peaceful protests and recognizes "the legitimacy of the people's demands," a sign army support for Mubarak may be unraveling.
Egypt's Mubarak says he will not run for a new term of office in September but rejects demands that he step down immediately; a quarter-million protesters call on him to go.
In Yemen, demonstrators march in cities and towns against its autocratic president.
Egypt's vice president meets with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups and offers sweeping concessions, including granting press freedom and rolling back police powers in the government's latest attempt to end two weeks of upheaval.
Green Bay Packers win Super Bowl, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25.
AOL Inc. announces $315 million purchase of news website The Huffington Post.
Southern Sudan is slated to become the world's newest country. Final referendum results show 98.8 percent of ballots cast were for secession from Sudan's north.
A Google executive who helped ignite Egypt's uprising energizes protesters after being released from detention. "We won't give up," he promises in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Egypt explodes with joy after pro-democracy protesters bring down Mubarak with a momentous march on his palaces and state TV. Resigning, Mubarak hands over power to the military.
Thousands of Algerians defy government warnings and dodge barricades in their capital, demanding democratic reforms. Demonstrations continue in Yemen.
Egypt's military leaders dissolve parliament, suspend the constitution and promise elections in moves cautiously welcomed by protesters.
Protesters take to the streets in Iran, Bahrain and Yemen.
Protesters swarm Wisconsin's capitol after Gov. Scott Walker proposes cutbacks in benefits and bargaining rights for public employees.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi faces trial on charges he paid a 17-year-old Moroccan girl for sex and then used his influence to cover it up.
Bookstore chain Borders declares bankruptcy; its last stores will close in September.
Huge crowds call for a political overhaul in Bahrain, and leaders appear to shift tactics after attempts to crush the uprising stoke rage. In Yemen and Libya, security forces lash back at rallies.
In Libya, Moammar Gadhafi's military unleashes heavy gunfire as thousands march in a rebelious eastern city, shooting mourners trying to bury victims in a cycle of violence that has killed more than 200.
A defiant Gadhafi vows to fight to his "last drop of blood" and roars at supporters to strike back against protesters.
Following an earthquake in New Zealand, troops, police and emergency workers search for signs of life in the rubble of Christchurch. At least 75 are dead and 300 missing.
Obama says Gadhafi has lost his legitimacy to rule and urges the Libyan leader to leave power immediately.
"The King's Speech" wins four Academy Awards, including best picture.
Actress and World War II pin-up bombshell Jane Russell dies at 89.
Arrests, killings and disappearances terrorize Tripoli, Libya, in a crackdown by Gadhafi; rebel fighters have wrested the eastern half of Libya from his control.
Obama approves the resumption of military trials at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ending a two-year ban.
Shuttle Discovery ends its career as the most flown U.S. spaceship, returning from orbit for the last time.
Magnitude-9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami strike Japan's northeastern coast, a combined disaster that will kill nearly 20,000 people and cause grave damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
Arab League asks the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone to protect Libyan rebels as Gadhafi's troops advance on the poorly equipped and loosely organized forces.
Radiation leaks from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant after a third reactor is rocked by an explosion and a fourth catches fire. The government warns anyone nearby to stay indoors to avoid exposure.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher dies at 85.
At a massive demonstration against Yemen's government, snipers fire on protesters from rooftops and police block an escape route. At least 46 people die, including children.
U.S. fires cruise missiles from the sea while French jets target Gadhafi's forces, launching a broad international effort in support of Libyan uprising that seemed near defeat.
Even as Japanese officials report progress toward gaining control of the stricken nuclear complex, officials discover more radiation-tainted vegetables and tap water, adding to public fears about contamination.
Syrians chanting "No more fear!" hold a defiant march after a deadly government crackdown failed to quash three days of mass protests in the southern city of Deraa.
Oscar-winning actress and AIDS research activist Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79.
A possible breach at Japan's Fukushima complex escalates the crisis anew, with indications that nuclear contamination may be worse than first thought.
More than 250,000 people take to London's streets to protest the toughest spending cuts since World War II; riot police clash with demonstrators and more than 200 people are arrested.
Former Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, first female major party nominee for the office, dies at 75.
Obama insists the U.S. was driven to intervene in Libya by the moral imperative to prevent a massacre of civilians, but as uprisings flare elsewhere, he calls the Libyan action "unique."
In politically gridlocked Washington, an 11th hour agreement on the federal budget, including tens of billions of dollars in spending cuts, averts a government shutdown.
Highly radioactive water leaks into the sea from a crack at Japan's stricken nuclear power plant; earthquake-tsunami survivors complain government is not paying enough heed to victims.
The Obama administration gives up on trying Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four alleged 9/11 co-conspirators in civilian courts in New York and will prosecute them before military commissions.
The Connecticut Huskies beat the Butler Bulldogs for the NCAA men's basketball title.
Portugal becomes the third debt-stressed European country to need a bailout, following Ireland and Greece; prime minister announces request.
Filmmaker Sidney Lumet dies at 86.
Mubarak, the ousted Egyptian president, and his two sons are detained for investigation of corruption, abuse of power and killing of protesters.
NASA releases a trove of data from its skymapping mission, allowing anyone with Internet access to peruse millions of galaxies, stars, asteroids.
Japan seals off a wide area around the radiation-spewing Fukushima power plant to prevent tens of thousands of residents from sneaking back to homes they quickly evacuated.
Syrian security forces fire at protesters, killing at least 75 people around the country in the bloodiest day of a month-long uprising.
Yemen's president agrees to step down and hand power to his deputy in exchange for immunity from prosecution, an about-face for the autocrat who has ruled for 32 years.
White House releases Obama's Hawaiian "long form" birth certificate amid claims of so-called "birthers" that he was not a "natural-born citizen," as the Constitution requires.
Powerful tornadoes rake the South and Midwest, killing more than 300; Tuscaloosa and other Alabama cities are especially hard-hit.
Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton marry at London's Westminster Abbey amid pomp, circumstance and elaborate hats.
Osama bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is killed in a firefight with elite American forces at his Pakistan compound, then is quickly buried at sea in a stunning finale to a furtive decade on the run.
Pakistan breaks its silence over the U.S. commando raid that killed bin Laden, acknowledging its own "shortcomings" in finding him but threatening to review cooperation with Washington if there is another similar violation of Pakistan's sovereignty.
Writer-director Arthur Laurents, who wrote "West Side Story," dies at 93.
Relations between Egypt's Muslims and Christians degenerate; riots leave 12 people dead and a church burned, adding to disorder in the post-revolution transition to democracy.
At New York's JFK airport, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund and potential candidate for president of France, is pulled from a plane and charged with sexually assaulting a Manhattan hotel maid. He resigns. Charges are later dropped.
Queen Elizabeth II becomes first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland.
Katie Couric, first solo anchorwoman of a network evening newscast, leaves "CBS Evening News" after five years.
Widely reported end-times prophecy by 89-year-old Christian broadcast group operator Harold Camping fails to be fulfilled.
Joplin, Mo., tornado causes more than 160 deaths; the monstrous storm, with winds up to 250 mph, damages or destroys about 8,000 homes and businesses.
Egyptian authorities order Mubarak tried on charges of corruption and conspiracy in the deadly shooting of protesters who drove him from power. Meanwhile, deaths in Syrian uprising pass 1,000.
After 25-year run, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" airs final broadcast.
In Wisconsin, a judge blocks a law scaling back bargaining rights of public employees, a subject of bitter protests.
Gen. Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb general suspected of leading the bloody massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Europe's worst massacre since World War II, is arrested after a 16-year manhunt.
Rich countries and international lenders aim to provide $40 billion in funding for Arab nations trying to establish democracy, starting with Egypt and Tunisia where uprisings overthrew longtime autocrats but scared away investors and tourists.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announces bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Scientists blame Europe's worst recorded food-poisoning outbreak on "super toxic" E. coli bacteria that may be new. At least 18 are dead as illness spreads to 10 European countries.
Doctor-assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian dies at 83.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is wounded when rebel rockets barrage his palace; he goes to Saudi Arabia for treatment.
Libya's Gadhafi stands defiant in the face of the most punishing NATO air strikes yet — at least 40 daylight attacks that include hits to his central Tripoli compound.
Outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warns that the future of the NATO military alliance is at risk because of European penny-pinching and a distaste for front-line combat.
Dallas Mavericks win first NBA title with 105-95 victory over the Miami Heat.
Obama makes four-hour visit to Puerto Rico, the first president since John F. Kennedy to make an official visit to the U.S. territory.
U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner announces resignation 10 days after admitting he'd sent lewd self-portraits to women online.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledges his government and the U.S. have held talks with Taliban emissaries in a bid to end the nation's nearly 10-year war.
Amid street protests, the Greek prime minister survives a confidence vote, keeping alive a government dedicated to austerity measures; aim is to avert a debt default that could lead to a financial maelstrom around the world.
James "Whitey" Bulger, the longtime fugitive Boston crime boss and fixture on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list, is arrested in Santa Monica, Calif.
Obama announces he is bringing home 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by next summer, withdrawing the "surge" of forces he had sent to rescue a flailing effort.
"Columbo" actor Peter Falk dies at 83.
New York becomes the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage.
International judges order the arrest of Libya's Gadhafi for murdering civilians.
Greece fends off a bankruptcy that would have threatened the future of the euro when lawmakers back austerity measures in the face of riots that leave more than 100 injured.