As 2015 draws to a close, we look back at the highs and lows; the memorable images and moments of the past year.
Fireworks light up the London skyline and Big Ben just after midnight on Jan. 1, 2015. For the first time thousands of people bought tickets to stand on the banks of the River Thames near Parliament to celebrate the start of 2015.
By CBSNews.com Senior Photo Editor Radhika Chalasani
Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Caskets containing the remains of AirAsia QZ8501 passengers recovered from the sea are carried to a military transport plane before being transported to Surabaya, where the flight originated, at the airport in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, Jan. 2.
Ships and aircraft criss-crossed the seas off Borneo hunting for the wreck of the Indonesia AirAsia passenger jet with bad weather hindering the search for the plane and the black box flight recorders.
The plane crashed into the Java Sea December 28, 2014, killing all 162 passengers and crew. The search for victims ended with 113 bodies recovered. It was the second-deadliest crash in 2014, highlighting concerns about aviation safety of the region's airlines.
Credit: Darren Whiteside/Reuters
Demonstrators make their way along Boulevrd Voltaire on Jan. 11 in a unity rally in Paris following Jan. 7 terrorist attacks in the city.
An estimated one million people converged in central Paris for the Unity March joining in solidarity with the 17 victims of terrorist attacks in the country. The terrorist atrocities started Jan. 7 with the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12, and ended January 9 with sieges at a printing company in Dammartin en Goele and a Kosher supermarket in Paris with four hostages and three suspects killed. A fourth suspect, Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, wanted in connection with the murder of a policewoman, escaped.
Credit: Christopher Furlon/Getty Images
Auschwitz death camp survivor Jadwiga Bogucka (maiden name Regulska), 89, registered with camp number 86356, holds a picture of herself from 1944 in Warsaw, Jan. 12.
The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz took place on January 27. About 1.5 million people, most of them Jews, were killed at the Nazi camp which became a symbol of the horrors of the Holocaust and World War Two.
The camp was liberated by Soviet Red Army troops on January 27, 1945 and about 200,000 camp inmates survived.
Credit: Kacper Pempe/Reuters
Liberia - Ebola survivor
Ebola survivor and nurse's aid Benetha Coleman comforts an infant girl with Ebola symptoms in the high-risk area of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU), on Jan. 26 in Paynesville, Liberia.
Ebola survivors have immunity to the strain of the disease which infected them. The baby's blood test later came out negative. After a widespread epidemic in 2014, Ebola faded from the headlines. The virus continues to take lives in West Africa however with sporadic outbreaks.
Credit: John Moore/Getty Images
Musa, a 25-year-old Kurdish marksman, stands atop a building as he looks at the destroyed Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, Jan. 30.
Kurdish forces recaptured the town at the Turkish frontier on Jan 26, in a symbolic blow to the jihadists who have seized large swathes of territory in their onslaught across Syria and Iraq. Eighty percent of the buildings and infrastructure was destroyed. In June, ISIS fighters snuck into Kobani killing more than 250 people.
Credit: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images
Frozen New York
Ice floes are viewed along the Hudson River in Manhattan on a frigidly cold day in New York City, Feb. 20.
New York, much of the East Coast and Western United States experienced unusually cold weather with temperatures in the teens and the wind chill factor making it feel well below zero.
Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Oscars - Eddie Redmayne
Actor Eddie Redmayne reacts as he takes the stage to accept the Oscar for best actor for his role in "The Theory of Everything" during the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Feb. 22.
Credit: Mike Blake/Reuters
Shop manager Debbie Armstrong adjusts a two tone Roman Originals dress in a window display at a Roman Originals shop in Lichfield, England, Feb. 27.
Over the course of a few days, the spirited debate over whether the dress sold by Roman Originals, a U.K. clothing-store chain, was blue and black or white and gold stirred social networks and led to a frenzy that extended to traditional media. It racked up more than 20 million views on Buzzfeed, became the number one trend on Twitter and drew a deep divide in some relationships -- even celebrities joined in. Taylor Swift was on team black and blue while Anna Kendrick had allegiance was with the white and gold.
Sales of "The Dress" rose 600 percent.
Credit: Rui Vieira/AP
Ivory stockpiles burned
People stand near a burning pile of 15 tons of elephant ivory seized in Kenya in Nairobi National Park on Mar. 3. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta set fire to a giant pile of elephant ivory, vowing to destroy the country's entire stockpile of illegal tusks by the year's end.
The 15 tons destroyed was worth some $30 million (over 26 million euros) on the black market and represented up to 1,500 slaughtered elephants -- and dwarfed the ivory burned by previous Kenyan leaders.
Credit: Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images
Obama in Selma
President Barack Obama (5th L, in white shirt) participates in a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, Mar. 7. Also pictured are Obama's mother-in-law Marian Robinson (from L), his daughter Sasha, first lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA).
With a nod to ongoing U.S. racial tension and threats to voting rights, Obama declared the work of the Civil Rights Movement advanced but unfinished during a visit to the bridge that spawned a landmark voting law on the 50th anniversary of civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery in support of voting rights.
Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Barricade in Syria
A young boy walks past a makeshift barricade made of wreckages of buses to obstruct the view of regime snipers and to keep people safe, on Mar. 14, in the rebel-held side of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.
Syria's conflict entered its fifth year on Mar. 15, with the regime emboldened by shifting international attention and a growing humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the rise of the Islamic State group.
Credit: Karam Al-Masri/AFP/Getty Images
A total solar eclipse is seen in Longyearbyen on Svalbard Mar. 20.
A partial eclipse was visible the first day of northern spring, across parts of Africa, Europe and Asia. The total eclipse of the sun was only visible in the Faroe Islands and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean.
Credit: Jon Olav Nesvold/NTB scanpix/Reuters
Wreckage of the Germanwings Airbus A320 is seen at the site of the crash, near Seyne-les-Alpes in the French Alps on Mar. 26.
A young German co-pilot, on the flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, locked himself alone in the cockpit of flight 9525 and set it on a course of rapid descent to crash into an Alpine mountain, killing all 150 people on board including himself. French prosecutors offered no motive for why 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz apparently took the controls of the Airbus A320, locked the captain out of the cockpit and deliberately set it veering down from cruising altitude at 3,000 feet per minute. According to a prosecutor, Lubitz feared losing his sight and suffered from depression. It was reported that he was declared by one doctor as "unfit to work."
Credit: Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters
Walter Scott's funeral
Mourners look on as the casket of Walter Scott is removed from a hearse for his funeral at W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center in Summerville, South Carolina, Apr. 11.
Scott, an African American, was killed by a white North Charleston police officer after a traffic stop on April 4. The officer, Michael Thomas Slager, was fired and charged with murder.
Credit: David Goldman -Pool/Getty Images
View from Puerto Montt, southern Chile, of a high column of ash and lava spewing from the Calbuco volcano on Apr. 22.
Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano, the second in southern Chile to have a substantial eruption since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava.
Credit: Diego Main/AFP/Getty Images
Emergency rescue workers carry a victim on a stretcher after Dharara tower collapsed in Kathmandu, Apr. 25.
The death toll topped 8,000 and tens of thousands were impacted by the devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal.
Credit: Omar Havana/Getty Images
Victims of the April 25 earthquake rest inside an Indian Air Force helicopter as they are evacuated from Trishuli Bazar to the airport in Kathmandu, Apr. 27.
The death toll topped 8,000 and tens of thousands were impacted by the devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake.
Credit: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters
Riots after Freddie Gray funeral
Demonstrators jump on a damaged Baltimore police department vehicle during clashes in Baltimore, Apr. 27.
Riots erupted in the city following the funeral service for Freddie Gray, a black man, who died the previous week after an injury sustained while in Baltimore Police custody. Several Baltimore police officers were injured in violent clashes. Six officers were indictedMay 21 by a grand jury in the death of Freddie Gray. The judge declared a mistrial for the first officer, William Porter, to be tried in the case on December 21.
Credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
Sumo wrestlers from Onoe stable hold up crying babies during a "Baby-cry Sumo" event at the Yukigaya Hachiman shrine in Tokyo on Apr. 29.
Some 100 babies aged under one took part in the annual baby crying contest. Japanese parents believe that sumo wrestlers can help make babies cry out a wish to grow up with good health.
Credit: Toshifumi KitamuraI/AFP/Getty Images
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge depart the Lindo Wing with their newborn daughter, Princess Charlotte at St Mary's Hospital in London, May 2.
The Duchess delivered Princess Charlotte, fourth in line to the throne, at 8:34am, weighing 8 lbs 3 oz.
Credit: John Stillwell/WPA Pool/Getty Images
Floyd "Money" Mayweather, left, hits Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, during their welterweight title fight on Saturday, May 2 in Las Vegas.
"The Fight of the Century," which many thought may never happen drew millions of global spectators and a sellout crowd in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with the cheapest seats going for $1,500. Considered the richest bout ever, the match was said to bring in as much as $400 million in revenue. Mayweather beat his rival by decision, in what many thought was a fight that didn't live up to the hype.
Credit: Isaac Brekken/AP
A policeman holds a water bottle with a yellow-crested cockatoo put inside for illegal trade, at the customs office of Tanjung Perak port in Surabaya, East Java province, Indonesia, May 4.
Police arrested one man traveling by ship from Makassar, Sulawesi with 22 of the endangered cockatoos held inside water bottles.
Credit: Antara Foto/Risyal Hidayat/Reuters
A field of dead almond trees is seen in Coalinga in the Central Valley, California as a catastrophic drought in the state continued for a fourth year, May 6.
The state's massive agricultural sector, which the Public Policy Institute of California says uses 80 percent of human-related consumption, was exempt from California's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use. Almonds, a major component of farming in California, use up some 10 percent of the state's water reserves according to some estimates.
Credit: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
"Giselle" in Johannesburg
Ballerinas take a break during a dress rehearsal for "Giselle" as the St. Petersburg Ballet Theater kicks off the South African leg of their global season tour on May 6.
Credit: Mujahid Safodien/AFP/Getty Images
Jean Claude Niyonzima, a suspected member of the ruling party's Imbonerakure youth militia, pleads with soldiers to protect him from a mob of demonstrators after he emerged from hiding in a sewer in the Cibitoke district of Bujumbura, Burundi, May 7.
Niyonzima fled from his house into a sewer under a hail of stones thrown by a mob protesting against President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term in office. At least one protester died in clashes with the widely feared Imbonerakure militias and police, sending scores to the streets seeking revenge. Jean Claude Niyonzima managed to flee from his house under a hail of stones into a covered sewer, where he remained till the army fired shots into the air to disperse the crowd.
Credit: Jerome Delay/AP
Ultra-Orthodox Jews gather near a bonfire as they celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba'Omer in Bnei Brak, Israel, May 6, 2015.
The holiday, which marks the end of a plague in the Middle Ages that killed thousands of disciples of a revered rabbi in the holy land, is celebrated by lighting bonfires across the country.
Credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters
A protester uses grass and leaves to obscure his identity during a protest against President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in Bujumbura, Burundi, May 11.
The east African country plunged into violence. Nkurunziza won the election which the opposition boycotted and was marred by violence.
Credit: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
Illegal Bangladeshi migrants wait at the police headquarters in Langkawi on May 11, after landing up on the Malaysian shores earlier in the day.
Nearly 2,000 boat people from Myanmar and Bangladesh, many thought to be Rohingya, were rescued off the coasts of Indonesia and Malaysia since May 10. The boat people brought world attention to the persecution of Rohingya in Burma, also known as Myanmar.
Credit: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images
Death of B.B. King
People walk by the marquee outside B.B. King Blues Club & Grill at Times Square in New York on May 15.
Blues legend B.B. King, who took his music from rural juke joints to the mainstream and inspired a generation of guitarists from Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughan, died in Las Vegas. He was 89.
Credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
David Letterman signs off
David Letterman and Paul Shaffer after the final taping of the Late Show with David Letterman at the Ed Sullivan Theater for CBS, May 20.
After 33 years in late night television, 6,028 broadcasts, nearly 20,000 total guest appearances, 16 Emmy Awards and more than 4,600 career Top Ten Lists, David Letterman said goodbye to late night television audiences.
Credit: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS
On May 23, County Common Pleas Court Judge John O'Donnell points to mannequins marked with the gunshot wounds that the two motorists suffered in Cleveland at the hands of Patrolman Michael Brelo.
Brelo, charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects during a 137-shot barrage of gunfire, was acquitted in a case that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights.
Credit: Tony Dejak/AP
Queen Elizabeth opens parliament
Queen Elizabeth II is accompanied by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as they proceed through the Royal Gallery before the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords, at the Palace of Westminster in London, May 27.
The Queen, who succeeded her father to the throne on Jun. 2, 1953, became the longest-reigning British monarch on September 9th.
Credit: Suzanne Plunkett /WPA Pool/Getty Images
Fellow marines pay their respects to members of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, who were killed in the crash of their military helicopter while coming to the aid of earthquake victims in Nepal, during a memorial service at Camp Pendleton, California, June 3.
Credit: Mike Blake/Reuters
Obama & Biden
U.S. President Obama kisses Vice President Biden on the cheek after delivering the eulogy at the funeral of Biden's son former Delaware Attorney General, Joseph, "Beau" Biden III, June 6.
Beau Biden, the vice president's eldest son and an Iraq war veteran, died May 30 at the age of 46 from brain cancer. "Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known," the vice president wrote in a statement. An outpouring of support and sympathy came from across the country and from both sides of the political aisle.
Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Victor Espinoza, celebrates atop American Pharaoh, after winning the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York on June 6.
With the win, American Pharaoh became the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years and only the 12th horse ever to gain that distinction.
Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images
Capsized Eastern Star
Rescue workers stand on the river bank as the capsized cruise ship Eastern Star is pulled out of the Yangtze against sunset, in Jianli, Hubei province, China, June 5, 2015.
Only 14 survivors, one of them the captain, were found after the ship carrying 456 overturned in a freak tornado on Jun 1. A total of 103 bodies were found.
Credit: China Daily/Reuters
Merkel and Obama
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with President Obama outside the Elmau castle in Kruen near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany at a summit of the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) industrial nations, June 8.
Merkel was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for her strong leadership including her role in dealing with the Syrian refugee problem and the Greek debt crisis.
Credit: Michael Kappeler/Reuters
Egyptian defendants react behind bars after the verdict in their retrial over a 2012 stadium riot in the canal city of Port Said that left 74 people dead, on June 9 in a court in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
The court upheld death sentences against 11 football fans over the riot which broke out when fans of home team Al-Masry and Cairo's Al-Ahly clashed after a premier league match between the two clubs
Credit: Ahmed Gamil/AFP/Getty Images
Syrian refugees at border crossing
Syrian refugees wait for transportation after crossing into Turkey from the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, near Akcakale in Sanliurfa province, on June 10.
Thousands of people crossed from Syria into Turkey to flee a battle pitting Islamist insurgents against Kurdish and opposition forces for the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad.
Credit: Str/AFP/Getty Images
Syrian rescue workers and citizens evacuate people from a building following a reported barrel bomb attack by Syrian government forces on the central al-Fardous rebel held neighborhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on June 9.
Credit: Karam Al-Masri/AFP/Getty Images
Tbilisi - Escaped zoo animals
A hippopotamus walks along a flooded street in Tbilisi on June 14.
Tigers, lions, jaguars, bears and wolves escaped from flooded zoo enclosures in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. Some of the animals were captured by police while others were shot dead.
Credit: Beso Gulashvili/AFP/Getty Images
Dylann Roof appears at a bond hearing court in North Charleston, S.C., June 19, 2015. Roof is accused of killing nine people inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17.
Credit: Grace Beahm/The Post And Courier/Pool via AP
Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump holds up his financial statement showing his net worth as he formally announced his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York City, June 16.
Trump declared, "I'm really rich."
Credit: Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Mers in South Korea
South Korean workers wearing protective gear fumigate a theater at the Sejong Culture Center in Seoul on June 16.
South Korea reported 31 fatalities from the MERS outbreak with a total of 181 infected. The outbreak created international concern and impacted the country's economy, including the tourism industry.
Credit: Jung Yeon-JE/AFP/Getty Images
Brandon Risher, left, is pulled away by a friend as he cries over the casket of his grandmother, Ethel Lance, following her burial service in Charleston, June 25.
Ethel Lance was one of the nine people killed in the racially-motivated shooting at Emanuel AME Church the previous week.
Credit: David Goldman/AP
#LoveWins - Supreme Court
Same-sex marriage supporter Ryan Aquilina, of Washington, D.C., holds a sign near the Supreme Court, Apr. 28.
The Supreme Court announced their landmark ruling Jun. 26 that same-sex marriage have a constitutional right to marry.
Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Escaped prisoner caught
Police stand over David Sweat after he was shot and captured near the Canadian border in Constable, New York, June 28.
Sweat is the second of two convicted murderers who staged a brazen three week escape from a maximum-security prison in northern New York. His capture came two days after his escape partner, Richard Matt, was shot and killed by authorities.
Greek debt crisis
Pensioners, waiting outside a closed National Bank branch and hoping to get their pensions, argue with a bank employee in Iraklio on the island of Crete, Greece on June 29.
The Greek debt crisis, which began in late 2009, culminated in Greece shutting banks down for six days after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for a referendum on whether to accept a bailout offer from Greece's creditors. The country became the first developed country to default on an IMF loan repayment on Jun. 30.
The country was offered a third bailout in July conditional on certain reforms. Fears of a 'Grexit,' Greece leaving the Eurozone, had been high during the crisis.
Credit: Stefanos Rapanis/Reuters
A flamingo, which had its leg amputated, is pictured with its new prosthesis at Sorocaba Zoo in Sorocaba, Brazil, July 1.
The Chilean flamingo was given a specially-made prosthesis after a fracture in the left leg resulted in the bottom portion of the leg needing to be amputated to prevent an infection.
Credit: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters
The U.S. women's national soccer team and 2015 World Cup champions are showered in confetti, following a ticker-tape parade through the Canyon of Heroes, in a ceremony at New York City Hall in which they were handed keys to the city, July 10, 2015.
Team USA captured their third World Cup title on July 5 and became the first women's sports team to be feted with a parade in New York City.
The sport world said goodbye to Abby Wambach when she retired on Dec. 16 after an exhibition game in New Orleans with China.
Credit: Radhika Chalasani/CBS News
Dalai Lama turns 80
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama meditates whilst sitting for a portrait by British artist Chris Levine during a visit to the UK ahead of his his 80th birthday.
His Holiness, who rarely sits for portraits, celebrated his birthday on July 6 by posing for charity so all proceeds from limited edition prints would go to groups working with communities affected by the recent earthquakes in Nepal.
Credit: Chris Levine/@HIMALAYAPRAYER/HO/Getty Images
Revelers enjoy the atmosphere during the opening day or 'Chupinazo' of the San Fermin Running of the Bulls fiesta in Pamplona, Spain, July 6.
The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemingway entitled 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the daily running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona to the bull ring.
Credit: David Ramos/Getty Images
Serena Williams reacts during her match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 7.
Williams attempted to achieve tennis history with a calendar Grand Slam -- which would have made her one of only six singles players in tennis history to do so -- captured the attention of the sports world in 2015. After winning the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the French Open her streak ended in an upset loss to Italy's Roberta Vinci in their semi-final match at the U.S. Open.
She was named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine on Dec. 14 for achievements both on and off the court with the publication calling her a "difference-maker" when it came to issues such as race and body shaming, transcending sports to be a powerful symbol.
Credit: Toby Melville/Reuters
Confederate flag comes down
An honor guard from the South Carolina Highway patrol removes the Confederate battle flag from the Capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina, ending its 54-year presence there, July 10.
The death of nine Charleston residents, all African-Americans, renewed debate regarding the use and symbolism of the Confederate flag across the country.
Credit: John Bazemore/AP
A woman stands in front of the Memorial Center, on the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, during a reburial ceremony of 136 newly identified victims in Potocari, near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 11.
Abandoned by their U.N. protectors toward the end of a 1992-95 war, 8,000 Muslim men and boys were executed by Bosnian Serb forces over five July days, their bodies dumped in pits then dug up months later and scattered in smaller graves in a systematic effort to conceal the crime. More than 1,000 victims have yet to be found.
Credit: Antonio Bronic/Reuters
El Chapo's escape
Credit: Cortesia/Agencia Reforma
New Horizons captured dramatic views of Pluto during its July 14 flyby, showing dark, heavily cratered terrain and a broad, relatively smooth plain known as Sputnik Planum that appears to have been resurfaced in the geologically recent past.
Honoree Caitlyn Jenner accepts the Arthur Ashe Courage Award onstage during The 2015 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 15 in Los Angeles.
The Olympic-champ-turned-reality-star, formely known as Bruce Jenner, embarked on a new public path as Caitlyn Jenner with the first photo shoot and exclusive interview in the July issue of Vanity Fair magazine. Jenner brought new attention to the transgender community and made an emotional please during the award ceremony for "accepting people for who they are."
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Indonesian fire breather
An Indonesian Muslim man breathes fire during a game of fire football, known as 'bola api', ahead of Eid Al-Fitr celebrations in Yogyakarta, July 16.
Credit: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images
FIFA President Sepp Blatter is showered in fake banknotes by British comedian known as Lee Nelson (unseen) as he arrives for a news conference after the Extraordinary FIFA Executive Committee Meeting at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, July 20.
World football's troubled governing body FIFA suspended Blatter and other top officials on October 8, amid an ongoing corruption investigation that has engulfed FIFA since the U.S. Department of Justice indicted several top executives. The scandal began in May with a raid on a luxury hotel in Zurich which led to the arrest of seven FIFA executives and the indictment of 14 current and former officials. Sixteen more officials were indicted in December. FIFA's Ethics Committee banned Blatter and Michel Platini from all football-related activities for eight years on December 21.
Credit: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters
Sandra Bland case
The Waller County jail cell where Sandra Bland was found dead is seen in Hempstead, Texas, July 22.
Bland was arrested and taken to the jail about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. On December 21, a grand jury decided not to indict anyone in the case.
Credit: Pat Sullivan/AP
Cecil the lion
Piper Hoppe, 10, from Minnetonka, Minnesota, holds a sign at the doorway of Walter Palmer's River Bluff Dental clinic in Bloomington, Minnesota on July 29 protesting the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.
In Dec., the Obama administration placed the lions under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, classifying lions from central and West Africa as endangered and lions from southern and East Africa as threatened. The killing of Cecil galvanized attention on the species and big game hunting.
Credit: Eric Miller/Reuters
Double hand transplant
Double hand transplant recipient, 8-year-old Zion Harvey, smiles during a news conference on July 28 at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Surgeons said Harvey, who lost his limbs to a serious infection, became the youngest patient to receive a double-hand transplant.
Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke
A policeman and a gendarme stand next to a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion, in the east of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on July 29.
The two-meter-long debris, which appeared to be a piece of a wing, was found by employees of an association cleaning the area and handed over to the air transport brigade of the French gendarmerie (BGTA) for investigation. The piece, called a flaperon, was determined to be from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went missing in the Indian Ocean with 237 people onboard on March 8, 2014.
Credit: Yannick Pitou/AFP/Getty Images
A large plume of smoke rises from the Rocky Fire near Clearlake, California on Aug. 1.
Over 1,900 firefighters battled the Rocky Fire that burned over 22,000 acres since its starts. The worst drought in California history, lasting four years, has resulted in a devastating, dangerous fire season. At least 700,000 acres burned this year.
Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Large images of endangered species are projected on the south facade of The Empire State Building, Aug. 1.
The large scale projections were in part inspired by the killing of Cecil the lion and produced by the filmmakers of the documentary called "Racing Extinction."
Credit: Craig Ruttle/AP
Tom Brady - Deflategate
New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady arrives at federal court to appeal the National Football League's (NFL) decision to suspend him for four games of the 2015 season on Aug. 12 in New York City.
The NFL alleged that Brady knew footballs used in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in Jan. were underinflated below league standards. Judge Berman ruled in Brady's favor, criticizing the NFL the handling of the scandal.
Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Migrants off Greek coast
A dinghy overcrowded with Syrian refugees drifts in the Aegean sea between Turkey and Greece after its motor broke down off the Greek island of Kos on Aug. 11.
Credit: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
U.S. Embassy in Cuba
U.S. Embassy employees hang the seal of the U.S. on the outside of the building a few hours before the ceremonial flag-raising in Havana, Cuba, Aug. 14.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Havana and raised the American flag at the reopened U.S. embassy, a symbolic act after the the two former Cold War enemies reestablished diplomatic relations in July.
Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
An aerial picture of the site of explosions at the Binhai new district, Tianjin, China, Aug. 16.
The explosions late Aug. 12 in the world's 10th-busiest port in China's industrial northeast, forced the evacuation of thousands of people after toxic chemicals were detected in the air. More than 700 people were injured and another 70, mostly fire fighters, were missing. The blasts devastated a large industrial site and nearby residential areas.
A Thai veterinarian takes a picture of a 2-year-old orangutan during a health examination at Kao Pratubchang Conservation Centre in Ratchaburi, Thailand, Aug. 27.
Thai veterinarians from the Department of National Park Wildlife, and Plant Conservation conducted a health check of 14 orangutans for preparation for the repatriation to their country of origin, Indonesia. Most of Sumatran and Borneo Kalimantan orangutans, were confiscated from entertainment businesses in Phuket province since 2008. Thai officials returned the orangutans to Indonesia in Sept.
Credit: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters
Syrian migrants cross under a fence as they enter Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, Aug. 27.
Hungary reinforced its southern border with helicopters, mounted police and dogs, and considered using the army as record numbers of migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, passed through coils of razor-wire into Europe.
Credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, right, talks with David Moore following her office's refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky. after the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v Hodges made same-sex marriage a nationwide right, Sept. 1.
Davis gained international attention for her refusal to issue licenses, defying a court order to do so and being jailed for contempt of court. Although her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, Davis still refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples for religious reasons, but doesn't interfere with her deputies doing so.
Credit: Timothy D. Easley/AP
Migrant crisi - Aylan Kurdi
A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi, 3, after a several migrants died and a smaller number were reported missing when boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized, near the Turkish resort of Bodrum, Sept. 2.
The family -- Abdullah, his wife Rehan and their two boys, 3-year-old Aylan and 5-year-old Galip -- embarked on the perilous boat journey only after their bid to move to Canada was rejected. The tides also washed up the bodies of Rehan and Galip on Turkey's Bodrum peninsula. Abdullah survived the tragedy that galvanized world attention to the humanitarian crisis.
Protest against Jewish settlements
A Palestinian woman argues with an Israeli border policeman during a protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah on Sept. 4.
Credit: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters
A Palestinian boy sleeps on a mattress inside the remains of his family's house, that witnesses said was destroyed by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war in the summer of 2014, during a sandstorm in Gaza, Sept. 8.
A heavy sandstorm swept across parts of the Middle East on Tuesday, killing two people and hospitalizing hundreds in Lebanon and disrupting fighting and air strikes in neighbouring Syria. Clouds of dust also engulfed Israel, Jordan and Cyprus where aircraft were diverted to Paphos from Larnaca airport as visibility fell to 500 meters.
Credit: Suhaib Salem/Reuters
Residents are seen as they wait for rescue helicopters at a residential area flooded by the Kinugawa river, caused by typhoon Etau, in Joso, Ibaraki prefecture, Japan, Sept. 10.
Ninety thousand people were ordered to evacuate after rivers burst their banks in cities north of Tokyo following days of heavy rain pummeling Japan.
Migrants desperately try and board a train heading for Zagreb from Tovarnik station on Sept. 20 in Tovarnik, Croatia.
Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, while performing Tawaf, an anti-clockwise movement around the Kaaba and one of the main rites of the Hajj, in Saudi Arabia, Sept. 21.
In Mecca, the holy site all the world's Muslims pray toward, the annual hajj pilgrimage began with over two million faithful gathering to call out in Arabic: "Here I am, God, answering your call. Here I am."
Credit: Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP
Pope Francis in America
Pope Francis waves at the crowd as he arrives for the Canonization Mass for Friar Junipero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, Sept. 23.
Credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters
Walking in the clouds
Swiss' Samuel Volery walks on the line during the Highline Extreme event in Moleson peak, western Switzerland on Sept. 26.
Fifty of the Europe's best slackliners competed on six different lines ranging from 45 meters to 495 meters.
Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
Lesbox - Syrian refugees
Syrian refugees are covered with life blankets upon arriving to the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on Sept. 28.
Seventeen Syrians including five women and five children trying to reach Greece drowned September 27 when their boat sank in Turkish waters, local media reported.
Credit: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images
Water on mars
NASA confirmed evidence that liquid water flows on Mars Sept. 28 with the release of this and several other processed, false-color images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
"Now we know there is liquid water on the surface of this cold, desert planet," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "It seems that the more we study Mars, the more we learn how life could be supported and where there are resources to support life in the future."
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Malaysian youths cool off in a river as schools remain closed due to hazy conditions in Hulu Langat on Oct. 6.
Malaysia, Singapore and large expanses of Indonesia have suffered for weeks from acrid smoke billowing from fires on Indonesian plantations and peatlands that are being illegally cleared by burning. The regional environmental crisis has caused flights and major events to be cancelled, and forced tens of thousands of people in the region to seek medical treatment for respiratory problems.
Credit: Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images
70th anniversary of ruling Workers' Party
A North Korean soldier stands before spectators during a mass military parade at Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang on Oct. 10.
North Korea marked the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party.
Credit: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
A thick blanket of early morning fog partially shrouds the skyscrapers of the Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers districts of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 5.
Dubai's rapid transformation from a desert outpost into one of the world's most architecturally stunning cities is mapped out in the Marina. Where just 15 years ago there was empty, flat land, today a bustling neighborhood thrives centered around a canal and an impressive skyline that pierces through the clouds.
Credit: Kamran Jebreili/AP
An interior view of the destroyed Doctors without Borders (MSF) Trauma Center on Oct. 14, after an American airstrike that left more than dead in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan.
Credit: Victor J. Blue/MSF
Israeli special forces members search inside the Central Jerusalem Bus Station after police said a woman was stabbed by a Palestinian outside the bus station Oct. 14.
A Palestinian stabbed and moderately wounded a 70-year-old woman outside Jerusalem's central bus station, at the entrance to the city, before an officer shot him dead. Israel set up roadblocks in Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and deployed soldiers across the country to stop a wave of Palestinian knife attacks. Seven Israelis and 32 Palestinians, including children and assailants, were killed in two weeks of bloodshed in Israel, Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.
Credit: Noam Moskowitz/Reuters
Rain in the Philippines
A young girl covers herself from the rain with a banana leaf next to a man in the sea on the outskirts of Colon City, Philippines, Oct. 17.
Credit: Carlos Jasso/Reuters
A mounted policeman leads a group of migrants near Dobova, Slovenia, Oct. 20.
Thousands of migrants flooded into the country from Croatia after Hungary sealed off its border.
Credit: Srdjan Zivulovic/Reuters
Hillary Clinton testifies
Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies for 11 hours on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 22, before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
In response to a query about her endurance during a long day of questioning, Clinton answered "Yoga always helps."
Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP
Boehner signs off
House of Representatives Speaker-elect Paul Ryan (L) salutes the members of the House as he stands with outgoing Speaker John Boehner after Ryan was elected on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 29.
Boehner announced his retirement the day after Pope Francis visited addressed Congress and amid the latest GOP conflict over government funding.
Credit: Gary Cameron/Reuters
Aung San Suu Kyi
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi gestures towards supporters as she travels in a motorcade ahead of a campaign rally for the National League for Democracy in Rangoon, also known as Yangon, on Nov. 1.
Myanmar headed to the polls on November 8, after decades of brutal and isolating junta rule.
Credit: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images
Russian plane crash
Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, Egyptian Military on cars approach a plane's tail at the wreckage of a passenger jet bound for St. Petersburg in Russia that crashed in Hassana, Egypt, Nov. 1.
Terrorism was suspected in the crash.
Credit: Maxim Grigoriev/Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations via AP
A victim under a blanket lays dead outside the Bataclan theater in Paris, Nov. 13.
A wave of six terrorist attacks in Paris left 130 people dead across the city in the deadliest violence to strike France in decades.
Credit: Jerome Delay/AP
People observe a minute of silence at the Trocadero in front the Eiffel Tower to pay tribute to the victims of the series of deadly attacks in Paris, Nov. 16.
Credit: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters
Former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg and Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo pose with a thousand mayors from different cities at the Paris city hall during the Summit of Local elected for Climate at the Paris city hall on Dec. 04 in France.
Thousand mayors from different cities gathered during the COP21, Paris Climate Conference.
Credit: Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images
Shooting victim's funeral
The funeral for one of the victims killed in the Dec. 2 San Bernardino shootings, 27-year-old Yvette Velasco, took place in Covino, California, Dec. 10.
Velasco, one of the youngest victims, was at the training and holiday luncheon at the Inland Regional Center when Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, barged in on the gathering and opened fire on his San Bernardino County Department of Public Health coworkers, killing 14 and injuring 22 others.
Credit: Mike Blake/Reuters
Stormtroopers at White House
White House press secretary Josh Earnest and Star Wars Stormtroopers wait for Star Wars Robot R2-D2 (L) to enter the briefing room after U.S. President Barack Obama finished his end of the year news conference at the White House in Washington, Dec. 18.
The Star Wars characters were at the White House for a private screening of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," shown to first lady Michelle Obama and Gold Star Families.
Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters