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Taking to the Streets

Inspired by the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, a leaderless protest movement, took shape in Manhattan's financial district in September and spread to dozens of U.S. cities. Among their grievances: corporate greed, income disparity and disillusionment, as Eli Skipp conveyed here at Occupy Miami Oct. 15.

Tragedy in Japan

More than 15,800 people died and entire communities were washed away, as a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and then a tsunami savaged coastal towns like Miyako City (pictured) on March 11, triggering a catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Happy Reunions!

President Obama promised U.S. troops would be home for the holidays, as the war in Iraq comes to an end. Joyful reunions, like this one between U.S. Army Spc. Patrick Sheehan (right) and his wife, Danielle, are taking place at military bases across the country.

A Fruit Vendor Who Started a Revolution: Mohammed Bouazizi

He's credited with starting the Arab Spring, a movement that overturned governments, which began in Tunisia and spread through the Middle East. Bouazizi, 26, lit himself on fire Dec. 17 (he died Jan. 4), after police slapped him and confiscated his goods and authorities didn't listen when he complained.

Harry Potter Says Farewell

The July 7 world premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 marked the beginning of the end of the beloved movie franchise. Creator J.K. Rowling (far left) and stars Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe (with producer David Heyman, center) joined thousands of fans in London's Trafalgar Square for the event.

Amish Attack

Authorities arrested Sam Mullet, 66 (not pictured), the leader of an Amish sect in eastern Ohio, for allegedly ordering a series of beard- and hair-cutting attacks against other Amish who didn't agree with his practices. Three of Mullet's sons also face federal hate-crime charges in the attacks. (From left: Johnny, Lester and Daniel Mullet in court on Oct. 19.)

A Violent End

With the compound of Col. Muammar Gaddafi engulfed in flames on Aug. 23, an armed rebel kicks a soccer ball outside. Even after he was forced into hiding, Gaddafi refused to cede power. He remained in Libya until he was killed on Oct. 20, while rebels took over the streets.

A Glowing Achievement

Natalie Portman is all smiles at the Academy Awards Governors Ball on Feb. 27, as she shows off the Best Actress Oscar she won for her performance in Black Swan. Just months later the star had more cause for celebration: She and her fiance, Benjamin Millepied (who worked as a choreographer on the film), welcomed their son Aleph.

A Victory for Gay Marriage

After New York became the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage, longtime partners Jonathan Mintz, 48, and John Feinblatt, 60, (with their daughters Maeve, 8, and Georgia, 6) were among the first to marry in a ceremony that was officiated by their boss, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who also offered up the mayor's mansion for the wedding on July 24.

Destruction in Small-Town America

A mile-wide tornado struck the town of Concord, Ala., on April 27, leaving six people dead and homes decimated. Michael Dunn (pictured)-one of the residents whose home was destroyed-hugs his mother, Patricia, amid the debris from the disaster. Less than a month later, Joplin, Mo., would become the site of the deadliest tornado in 60 years; it claimed the lives of 161 people.