Dec. 17, 2010 Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire
Although it was still 2010 when Bouazizi doused himself with paint thinner and lit a match, the Tunisian fruit vendor's protest blazed into 2011, sparking a series of revolutions across the Middle East. The governments of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were toppled in the Arab Spring.
Unemployment crested in February after a brief seasonal decline, bringing numbers nearly in line with the previous February's figures. By the end of the year, almost 15 percent of Americans relied on food stamps.
Weeks after the most-watched Super Bowl, the longest work stoppage in NFL history began. The labor dispute terrified sports bar owners, who projected their weekly revenues could drop by 15 percent during a non-football season.
A royal wedding reawakened affections for the British monarchy that had subsided in the wake of divorces, petty crimes and Prince Harry's choice of Halloween attire. For her cake, the incoming Duchess of Cambridge selected an eight-tier affair with 900 sugar paste flowers.
Bin Laden, mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, was killed in a U.S. raid on his Abbottabad, Pakistan compound. After his slaying, reporters learned the men who did the compound's daily grocery shopping always purchased Coke and Pepsi.
Ending a saga that riveted American cable watchers for three years, an Orlando jury determined Casey Anthony didn't suffocate her two-year old daughter. The decision outraged many who'd been following the case, including a Skyline Chili owner who banned jurors from his restaurant.
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch was testifying in connection with the News Corp scandal, which grew from a phone hacking investigation to an indictment of journalism, policing and politicking in the U.K., when he was hit in the face by a pie. The pie was made from shaving cream.
The debt ceiling is typically raised without much discussion, but a group of conservative Republicans this year chafed at casting votes for government borrowing. Fearing a credit downgrade, party leaders hammered out a last-minute resolution over Chinese food. A fortune cookie snapped open by a member of Mitch McConnell's staff read, "You may be spending too much money."
The proletarian movement that went global got its start in New York City, where 1000 demonstrators joined together to protest corporate greed. Like-minded citizens who couldn't be there sent pizzas to show their support.
An $11 billion bailout package helped save Greece from default, but couldn't solve the Eurozone crisis, which threatened to destabilize economies across the continent. European leaders are now backing an intergovernmental treaty that would establish new budgetary rules to prevent future spending sprees.