From the contentious 2012 presidential election to the massacre in Newtown, Conn., here is a look back at some of the biggest stories of 2012.
January 9: Nick Saban coaches Alabama to a victory over his old school Louisiana State University to win the BCS National Championship in college football.
January 15: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the Italian island of Giglio. The ship struck a rock and turned on its side on, killing 32 people from eight countries.
Feb. 5: Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and teammate Justin Tuck celebrate the New York Giants' 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
February 26: "The Artist" became the first silent film since 1927's "Wings" to capture to top award at the Academy Awards, taking home the Oscar for Best Picture. The movie also won four more Oscars for Best Directing, Best Costume Design, Best Original Music Score and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin. Martin Scorsese's 3-D film "Hugo" also won five Oscars to tie for the most awards.
February 26: Trayvon Martin was shot and killed during a violent encounter with security guard George Zimmerman. Zimmerman had visible injuries and claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot Martin. On April 11, Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder.
June 11: The Los Angeles Kings celebrate a goal during their Stanley Cup series against the New Jersey Devils. The Kings went on to win their first Stanley Cup since the franchise was founded in 1967, beating the Devils in six games.
June 21: LeBron James celebrates with teammate Dwayne Wade during the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Heat won the series 4-1.
June 22: Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of 48 charges of sexual abuse. On Oct. 8, Sandusky, 68, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. Sandusky's lawyers have appealed the conviction.
June 24: Egyptians celebrate the election of President Mohamed Morsy in Tahrir Square in Cairo. He was sworn in on June 30 as the country's first democratically elected president.
June 28: The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the health care law, saying its requirement that most Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty was authorized by Congress' power to levy taxes. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s four more liberal members.
July 20: Authorities say James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 58 others during a shooting rampage at a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo.
July 27: London kicks off the 2012 Summer Games with an opening ceremony celebration at the Olympic Stadium. The United States finished at the top of the medal standings followed by China and Great Britain. The games concluded with a closing ceremony on August 12.
August 5: Authorities said Wade Michael Page shot and killed six people, including a responding police officer, and wounded four others at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. After being shot in the stomach by another officer, Page fatally shot himself in the head.
Aug. 24: Anders Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison for killing 77 people in two terror attacks in Norway in 2011. Eight people died in a bombing in Oslo, while 69 young people were shot to death on nearby Utoya Island.
August 30: After emerging victorious from a contentions battle in the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney accepted his party's presidential nomination to set up a general election showdown with President Barack Obama.
September 11: The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is consumed in flames. Chris Stevens, U.S. ambassador to Libya, was killed in an attack on the compound, as were three other Americans.
October 14: Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner successfully jumps to Earth from a helium balloon, setting records for altitude of a manned balloon flight, a parachute jump from the highest altitude and the greatest free fall velocity. He also became the first human to break the sound barrier without any form of engine power.
October 28: The San Francisco Giants celebrate during the 2012 World Series. The Giants swept the Detroit Tigers in four games to clinch their second World Series title in three years.
October 22: GOP nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama battle during their third and final debate before the election.
October 30: Residents in Queens, N.Y., survey damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. The storm devastated the East Coast after forming in the Caribbean and sweeping northward, killing 182 people from Haiti to Canada.
November 6: President Barack Obama stands on stage with the first family after his victory speech on election night in Chicago. Obama was re-elected with 332 electoral votes and 51 percent of the popular vote.
November 7: Election night capped off a pivotal year in the debate over gay marriage. Voters in Washington, Maine and Maryland OK'd measures to allow same-sex marriages. In Minnesota, voters turned back a proposed constitutional amendment that would have prohibited same-sex marriage. In May, President Barack Obama publicly announced for the first time his support of gay marriage.
November 9: CIA director DavidPetraeus submitted his resignation to President Barack Obama, citing personal reasons. He admitted to having an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell.
November 23: The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that at least 40,000 Syrians have been killed since conflict in the country started in March 2011.
December 11: Authorities said a gunman shot and killed two people and wounded another before taking his own life at the Clackamas Town Center Mall in Happy Valley, Oregon.
December 14: A mother consoles her son after authorities said Adam Lanza shot and killed 18 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., before taking his own life; two more children died later at a hospital and Lanza's mother was found dead in her Newtown home.
December 31: The U.S. is in danger of going over the so-called "fiscal cliff," which will trigger a series of tax hikes and budget cuts in next year if the White House and Congress are unable to reach a compromise on a debt reduction plan.