The year 2016 was a big one for the media as politics, pop culture, terror, sports, and natural disasters dominated the headlines.
From Donald Trump's presidential win and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, to Hurricane Matthew and the Orlando nightclub shooting, there was no shortage of stories for the never-ending news cycle.
Here are the 15 top news stories from 2016:
Presidential election: Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States in a surprise and unforeseen win, edging out Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and 16 other GOP competitors. The victory followed a fierce and highly publicized election in which Trump was scrutinized heavily by the media. Trump’s victory sparked protests — some violent — across the country. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Hillary’s emails: Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was haunted by the FBI's investigation into the former secretary of state's private email server. But the probe came to a close over the summer, when Director James Comey announced the agency would not be recommending criminal charges for Clinton. The case was briefly reopened just days before the election when new emails were discovered in the course of the FBI's investigation into former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is married to Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Again, no criminal charges were recommended. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Terror attacks: 2016 was tainted by a series of terrorist attacks across America and Europe linked to radical Islamic extremists and ISIS. The most deadly included three simultaneous bombings in Brussels, Belgium (35 killed); a shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, (50 killed); a bus that plowed into a parade in Nice, France (80+ killed); and a truck that ran through a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany (12 killed). A renewed and widespread fear of terror attacks produced questions about radicalization and the ease of immigration in Western countries. (Clockwise from top left: Orlando, Florida - Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images; Nice, France - David Ramos/Getty Images; Berlin, Germany - AP Photo/Markus Schreiber; Istanbul, Turkey - Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)
Brexit: On June 23, the U.K. voted by 52 percent to leave the European Union after tense debates between the “remain” and “leave” parties. Leave supporters voted out of concern over the U.K.’s surplus of monetary contributions to the EU, as well as apprehensions about immigration. Remain supporters wanted continued unrestricted trade and ease of immigration with European countries. Shortly after the “Brexit” vote, “remain” supporter Prime Minister David Cameron resigned and the Conservative Party’s Theresa May came to power. (Daniel Sorabji/AFP/Getty Images)
Final farewells: The year 2016 was a difficult one that saw the loss of dozens of celebrities from all realms, including pop culture, entertainment, politics, and pro sports. From music legends like David Bowie and Prince to acting powerhouses like Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, and Alan Thicke, it seemed no industry was spared.
National Anthem-gate: San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines this year when he chose to kneel during the National Anthem as an act of protest against police shootings of black men. Many other professional, collegiate, and even high school athletes followed suit and knelt during their sport's national anthems. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
What is Aleppo?: Aleppo became a buzzword in 2016 as public recognition of one of the most war-torn and pivotal cities in the Syrian Civil War grew. Mass rapes and murders caused an evacuation order for the entire city after it was taken over by government regime and factions of ISIS. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson was heavily scrutinized in the U.S. after he asked “What is Aleppo?” in a now-infamous television interview flub. The photo above, of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh sitting in an ambulance after being pulled out of a building hit by an airstrike, illustrates the horror of what happened in Aleppo this year. (Aleppo Media Center via AP)
Law and disorder: The police shootings of black men like Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, as well as the targeted murders of five police officers in Dallas, furthered the rift between police and the Black Lives Matter movement. Highly publicized protests drew the national spotlight this year after these events. (Jonathan Bachman/Reuters)
Honeymoon in Cuba?: President Barack Obama eased travel restrictions to Cuba and the 1963 Cold War-era trade embargo was lifted after more than 50 years. Flights resumed between the U.S. and Cuba and the number of leisure travel trips will gradually increase. (Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images)
Rio de Scary: The Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, commenced in August despite concerns over the instability of the country’s government and its environment. Leading up to the Olympics, Brazil impeached its president and fears over Zika virus gripped the nation. At the end of the competition, the United States once again earned the most placements of any country with 121 medals, including 46 golds.
Zika scare: The Zika virus outbreak continued into 2016, and the World Health Organization declared the outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in February. In January, the first baby in the U.S. was born in Hawaii with microcephaly, a debilitating head deformation that occurs when a pregnant woman is infected with the virus. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Natural disasters: Hurricane Matthew swept the Western Atlantic and caused catastrophic destruction to Haiti, Cuba, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas in late September and early October. A total of 1,600 people were killed, including 49 in the U.S. A month later, massive wildfires spread to the Appalachian town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The fire destroyed 2,400 structures and killed 14 people. (Clockwise from top left: Hurricane Matthew, Lumberton, North Carolina - AP Photo/Chuck Burton; Fire, Gatlinburg, Tennessee - AP Photo/Erik Schelzig; Fire, Gatlinburg, Tennessee - AP Photo/Erik Schelzig; Tornado, Kentucky - Tom Berry/The Messenger via AP)
Kim Kardashian's Paris robbery: Social media starlet and queen of publicity Kim Kardashian was bound in her Paris hotel room and robbed at gunpoint by masked burglars in October. The wife of controversial hip-hop artist Kanye West had more than $10 million in jewelry stolen, after which she took a hiatus from the limelight. The perpetrators have still not been identified. (Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images; Inset: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Go, Cubs, Go!: Lifelong Chicago fans were finally rewarded for their undying loyalty after the Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908 against the Cleveland Indians. The Cubs finally broke the 108-year "curse" in the highly anticipated game, as the Indians had also not won a World Series since 1948. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Brangelina split: The celebrity world was shocked when power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie announced their divorce after more than 10 years together. The two actors, known for their blended modern family comprised of three adopted children and three biological children, split in a public feud amid rumors of Pitt's alleged anger issues. (Yui Mok/PA Wire)
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