Shine 2011: The Year in News

The news stories that gripped Shine readers in 2011.The news stories that gripped Shine readers in 2011.2011 was a big news year. Protest movements galvanized nations and birthed change. Osama bin Laden was captured and killed, Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi was eliminated, and North Korea's Kim Jong-Il died. There was an increased focus on women's health issues, the fight against childhood obesity, and support for military families. Here's a look at some of the news stories that hit home with readers on Yahoo! Shine this year:

In January, the shooting of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shooting sparked discussions about the language of violence and the nature of courage. Her remarkable recovery and dedication to her work made her Shine's 2011 Woman of the Year; when she returned to the House of Representative to vote on the debt-ceiling compromise in August, she earned a standing ovation and applause from both sides of the aisle. Also in January, the autism-vaccine link was definitively debunked when an independent investigation found that Dr. Andrew Wakefield had based the link on research that was not only faulty, but fraudulent.

February was a busy month in Washington, D.C. The House of Representatives voted to strip Planned Parenthood of Title X funding, even though the women's health provider was already prohibited from using federal money to fund abortions. The Senate voted down a repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law. And the Obama administration launched an initiative to boost women-owned small businesses. Overseas, CBS journalist Lara Logan was brutally attacked while covering the protests in Cairo, Egypt; she was saved by an anonymous group of women and soldiers.

In honor of Women's History Month in March, the government released its "Women in America: Indicators of Economic and Social Well-Being" report, the first comprehensive look at life for women in the United States since 1963. Disaster struck in Japan, as a massive earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami, the effects of which are still being felt as nuclear radiation from affected power plants spreads. And the world bid farewell to actress, AIDS activist, and style icon Elizabeth Taylor.

In April, The entire planet tuned in to watch Prince William marry Catherine Middleton in a royal wedding to remember. First lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched "Joining Forces," a White House-backed initiative to support military families.

May brought a milestone in the War on Terror, when a team of Navy Seals captured and killed Osama Bin Laden. In the United States, people weren't that surprised to hear that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver's marriage ended, but were stunned to learn of Schwarzenegger's decade-long affair with a staffer and their 10-year-old love child. The much-anticipated date for the Rapture came and went. And parents were outraged by reports of a mom who injected her 8-year-old beauty-contestant daughter with Botox, even though the story turned out to be a hoax.

Hockey fans rioted in June, and Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned over his sexting and Twitter scandal. Diet-soda lovers were upset to learn that their zero-calorie drinks may actually be making them fat, and the USDA replaced the food pyramid with a new plate icon.

In July, Casey Anthony was found not guilty of the murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. A valedictorian sued her school for racial discrimination. Studies found that middle-age women are the most stressed-out people in the country and linked second-hand smoke to higher rates of ADD among children. Anders Behring Breivik targeted his own countrymen when he killed more than 70 people in Norway. Singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment, a victim of alcohol poisoning, and the country also mourned for recovery advocate and former first lady Betty Ford.

Congress debated the deficit and the debt ceiling, coming to a resolution just before the August 2 deadline (but not in time to stop the U.S.'s credit rating from being downgraded). Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc in some parts of the country, killing 18 and forcing New York City to shut down its subway system for the first time ever. And The U.S. department of Health and Human services announced that certain health services for women, including prescription birth control and domestic violence counseling, would be considered preventive care and covered by health insurance companies without charging a co-payment.

In September, the country came together to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Women in Saudi Arabia earned the right to vote, though they have yet to be allowed to legally drive there. And the Obama administration officially repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell before announcing that most of the troops stationed in Iraq would be coming home for the holidays.

By October, the Occupy Wall Street movement was in full swing, with more than 700 arrests. In the political arena, House republicans passed the Protect Life Act and President Obama moved to ease student loan debt. In health news, the CDC recommended the controversial HPV vaccine for pre-teen boys as well as girls and healthy eating and exercise were linked to early menopause. And parents held their breath as the search for missing baby Lisa Irwin began.

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain dropped out of the race for the White House in November after a 13-year-long extramarital affair and several allegations of sexual harassment came to light. Congress decided that two tablespoons or so of tomato sauce was enough to make pizza a vegetable as far as school lunches are concerned, and football fans rioted after longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno was fired for his role in the Jerry Sandusky sexual assault scandal.

In December, Time magazine acknowledged the changes brought by protesters around the world by naming The Protester as its person of the year. As promised, the colors were cased in Iraq, and U.S. troops made their way home as the occupation ended.

Also on Shine:

2011's strokes of genius: Inventions, emails, tweets, and ideas that blew our minds
The biggest sex scandals of 2011
The year in bans: Baggy jeans, burquas, babies, and more
Best and worst dressed of 2011
Best and worst celebrity baby names of 2011
Shine's 2011 Woman of the Year