Year in review: Major news events of 2011

Published: Thursday, Dec. 29 2011 3:00 p.m. MST

In this March 11, 2011 file photo, earthquake-triggered tsumanis sweep shores along Iwanuma in northern. The magnitude 8.9 earthquake slammed Japan's eastern coast, unleashing a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland.

Anonymous, Associated Press

JANUARY

Jan. 2

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake shakes southern Chile, sending tens of thousands of people fearing a tsunami to higher ground.

Jan. 6

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.

Jan. 14

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.

Jan. 18

The first director of the Peace Corps, R. Sargent Shriver, widower of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, dies at 95.

Jan. 19

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.

Jan. 22

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.

Jan. 23

Fitness guru Jack LaLanne dies at 96.

Jan. 25

During his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama outlines proposals for "winning the future."

Jan. 25

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.

Jan. 27

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.

Jan. 27

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announces color-coded terror alerts will be phased out by late April.

Jan. 28

Chaos engulfs Egypt as protesters seize the streets of Cairo, battling police, burning down the ruling party's headquarters and defying a military curfew.

Jan. 29

Obama issues a plea for restraint in Egypt after meeting with national security aides to assess the Cairo government's response to protests.

Jan. 31

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.

FEBRUARY

Feb. 1

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