Who could have imagined what the year had in store when 2016 began? It was just one surprise after another.
Here are some of the headlines that caught people off guard in 2016.
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Donald Trump elected president
Mr. Trump, in a major upset, was elected the 45th president of the United States over Hillary Clinton after a particularly dramatic election season.
Trump — who has never held political office and ran an unconventional campaign — ended up carrying several key battleground states, proving many of the polls wrong.
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U.S. officials say Russia meddled in election
U.S. intelligence officials said in December that Russia directed hacks of Democratic party leaders to influence the 2016 presidential election in Mr. Trump’s favor.
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigns
The Russian hackings resulted in the leak of DNC emails, including some that raised questions about the impartiality of the party’s primary process.
In the wake of the scandal, committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz abruptly resigned just a day before the Democratic National Convention.
Hackers also exposed thousands of emails from the private account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.
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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie split
Hollywood followers were shocked when Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt in September, abruptly ending their 11-year relationship.
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Pulse nightclub shooting
Forty-nine people were killed and 53 were wounded in June by a heavily armed gunman at Pulse, a popular gay bar in Orlando, Florida. The massacre was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
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Cubs break "curse"
The Cubs won their first World Series since 1908, beating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings in Game Seven of the series in November.
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Bomb blast rocks Manhattan neighborhood
An explosion in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood in September left 29 people injured. Suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami was charged in connection with the blast and several others in New Jersey.
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Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, was shot and killed in May in order to save a little boy who fell in the animal’s enclosure. The killing of the endangered gorilla sparked nationwide outrage.
Voters in Britain stunned the world by deciding in June that the U.K. should leave the European Union in an historic referendum that led to Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation.
Many experts and polls wrongly predicted voters would opt to remain in the EU.
Rock legend Prince died unexpectedly at the age of 57 at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota in April. The music icon died of an accidental fentanyl painkiller overdose, according to a medical examiner.
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Five officers killed in Dallas
Five police officers were killed and seven were injured in July when a sniper opened fire on law enforcement monitoring a Dallas protest over recent police shootings of black men. It was the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
A little more than a week later, three officers were killed by a gunman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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Trump's lewd comments caught on tape
A month before the election, a leaked tape from 2005 showed Donald Trump boasting about grabbing, kissing, and propositioning women. “I don’t even wait,” he said. “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”
The conversation with Billy Bush, then of “Access Hollywood,” had been caught on a hot mic.
“I never said I’m a perfect person,” Trump said in response to the tape. Bush was fired from the “Today” show.
Credit: Xcreen grab of 2005 tape published by Washington Post
EgyptAir Flight 804, en route to Cairo from Paris with 66 people aboard, crashed in the Mediterranean Sea in May after making a series of abrupt turns. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but in December investigators revealed traces of explosives had been found.
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Bastille Day attack in France
Eighty-six people were killed and dozens were injured in July after a 19-ton cargo truck plowed into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. The driver then got out of the truck and opened fire before he was shot dead.
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“What is Aleppo?”
When asked during an MSNBC interview how he would handle the ongoing crisis in the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo, Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential nominee, asked: “What is Aleppo?”
The interviewer responded: “You’re kidding.”
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Investigation into Clinton's email server
Hillary Clinton’s campaign was jolted when FBI Director James Comey announced just 10 days before Election Day that the FBI was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s private email server. The reason: a batch of emails found on Anthony Weiner’s computer.
Then on Nov. 6, Comey announced that the investigation didn’t turn up anything new.
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Melania Trump accused of plagiarizing Michelle Obama
Melania Trump lifted lines from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic convention speech and used them in her speech at the 2016 Republican convention. A speechwriter took responsibility for the mistake.
Former Obama adviser David Axelrod said at the time, “How could anyone be so fundamentally stupid?”
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Oregon standoff and shootout
Armed militants occupied a wildlife refuge in Oregon for more than a month in protest over rights to federal land.
A shootout with law enforcement near the end of the occupation led to the death of one of the protesters.