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2022 News of the Year

Victories and invasions, heroes and villains—12 months of turmoil, tragedy, and triumph


Roe v. Wade: Steve Helber/AP; Putin protester: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

2022 News of the Year
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The year 2022 rang with highs and lows, from celebrations of the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade (left) to protests of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempted Ukrainian takeover (right). The year saw Olympic drama, a Canadian freedom rally, a tragic school shooting, natural disasters, and a royal departure. Here’s WORLD roundup of the top stories.

Steve Helber/AP

COMMUTE INTERRUPTED | Jan. 4: Snow and ice stranded hundreds of motorists overnight on a 48-mile stretch of Interstate 95 in Virginia. The treacherous conditions, and a crash involving six tractor-­trailers, blocked travel in both directions. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine was among those stuck on the highway for about 19 hours.


Mark Teske/University of Maryland School of Medicine

EXPERIMENTAL HEART | Jan. 7: David Bennett Sr., 57, became the first human to receive a highly experimental pig-heart transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. He suffered from terminal heart disease. Doctors successfully replaced his heart with that of a genetically ­modified pig, but Bennett died two months after the transplant.


Andrew Harnik/AP

JUSTICE ADJOURNED | Jan. 27: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, announced his retirement after 27 years as a staunch member of the court’s liberal wing. Liberal activists and Democrats began urging him to retire after President Joe Biden’s election, so they could guarantee another ­liberal justice would replace him. Breyer was the court’s oldest member.


Spencer Platt/Getty Images

OCCUPATION OF OTTAWA | Jan. 29: A convoy of trucks and other vehicles descended on Ottawa and U.S.-Canada border crossings for three weeks. The “Freedom Convoy,” shown here on Feb. 9, ­protested vaccine requirements and other COVID-19 restrictions. To clear the protesters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared Canada’s first public order national emergency in half a century.


David J. Phillip/AP

PANDEMIC OLYMPICS | Feb. 1: The COVID-19 pandemic hung like a cloud over the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games. All athletes, team officials, staff, and journalists had to present two recent negative COVID-19 tests before traveling to China. They were tested again when they arrived at the airport, and tested daily throughout the games.


Alessandra Tarantino/AP

SKIING SUPREMACY | Feb. 5: Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug won three gold medals at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. She previously won 10 world championships, as well as a gold medal, in the 4x5km relay at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. In March, Johaug announced her retirement from elite cross-country skiing.


Jae C. Hong/AP

BIG AIR’S BIG DEBUT | Feb. 6: Austrian freestyle skier Lara Wolf placed 21st in the women’s big air event. Freestyle skiing made its first Olympic appearance at the 1988 Calgary Olympics as a demonstration sport. Various freestyle skiing events were added and dropped over the years. The big air event made its Olympics debut in Beijing.


Bernat Armangue/AP

SLIP AND FALL | Feb. 17: Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva fell multiple times during the women’s free skate program. Valieva, who days earlier led her fellow Russian skaters to victory in the team event and was the favorite for gold, wound up fourth in the singles event. During the Olympics, news broke that she had tested positive for a banned heart medication at a different event in December 2021.


Konstantin Mihalchevskiy/Sputnik via AP

RUSSIAN INVASION | Feb. 24: Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized what he called “a special military operation” in Ukraine after recognizing the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, both located in the disputed Donbas area, as “independent republics.” But Ukrainian forces put up a much better fight than Putin expected, thwarting the occupation attempt and pushing Russian troops back toward the border during the next 10 months.


Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

BODY COUNT BEGINS | Feb. 24: A man kneels beside the body of a person likely killed when a Russian airstrike hit an apartment complex outside Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine. Russian troops controlled the city until a Ukrainian offensive freed it in mid-May.


Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty

CIVILIAN TOLL | Feb. 24: Helena, a 53-year-old teacher, stands outside a hospital in the eastern Ukrainian town of Chuhuiv, one of the first bombed during the initial Russian assault on the country.


Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty Images

MARCH TO KYIV | Feb. 25: Residents in Ukraine’s capital survey a damaged apartment building in Koshytsa Street after it was hit by a Russian shell. Russian forces reached the outskirts of Kyiv and rocket strikes bombarded the capital on the second day of Putin’s full-scale assault.


Sergei Grits/AP

MASS EXODUS | Feb. 26: Ukrainian refugees walk beside a line of vehicles waiting to cross the border into Moldova at Mayaky-Udobne crossing point. Two days after the invasion, nearly 120,000 people had fled Ukraine for neighboring countries. By November, the number had ballooned to nearly 7.9 million.


Dmitri Lovetsky/AP

OPPOSITION AT HOME | March 1: Police detain Russian anti-war protesters during a demonstration in St. Petersburg, Russia. Russians angry over the invasion of Ukraine filled the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other major Russian cities despite mass arrests. Four days later, Putin signed new laws that criminalized criticism of Russia’s armed forces or their operations.


Emilio Morenatti/AP

FAMILY SEPARATIONS | March 3: Stanislav, 40, waves goodbye to his wife Anna, 35, and son David, 2, as their train to Lviv leaves Kyiv Station, Ukraine. From Lviv, they planned to cross the border. Stanislav stayed behind to fight. Under a travel ban issued shortly after the invasion, men between the ages of 18 and 60 must stay in Ukraine.


Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

FLEEING IRPIN | March 7: Evacuees cross a makeshift bridge while fleeing the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv. Ukraine refused Moscow’s offer to establish humanitarian corridors for civilians evacuating several bombarded cities because some routes would lead refugees into Russia or neighboring Belarus.


Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images

WILL TO FIGHT | March 8: Ukrainian servicemen rest after a battle with Russian troops and Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s Luhansk region. Putin claimed his invasion would end a “genocide” against Russian-speaking people in the Donbas region, which includes Luhansk. The Ukrainian military has fought separatist militias in the area since 2014.


Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP for AIDS Healthcare Foundation

MICKEY’S NEW MISSION | March 3: Activists rally outside Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., urging it to publicly oppose Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. Critics dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill since it limited sexual and gender identity education for young students. Disney did oppose the bill, so Florida lawmakers revoked the theme park’s special tax district.


Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images

PAIN AT THE PUMP | March 11: Georgina Rodriguez, of Brentwood, N.Y., purchases gas at the Sunoco gas station in nearby Hauppauge. The national average gas price hit $4.33 that day and would not fall below $4 a gallon until Aug. 8.


Justin Casterline/Getty Images

UNFAIR ADVANTAGE | March 17: Lia Thomas (left), a male transgender swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania, stands on the podium after winning the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship. Female medalists Emma Weyant, Erica Sullivan, and Brooke Forde (left to right) pose for a photo. Penn nominated Thomas as NCAA Woman of the Year.


Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

FREEDOM FIGHTER | April 6: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy poses for a photo in his headquarters in Kyiv. Zelenskyy had little political experience when he won the presidency in 2019. But after the invasion, he emerged as a strong leader and advocate for freedom. His constant appeals for help drew financial and military assistance from the West.


Andrew Harnik/AP

JUNIOR JUSTICE | April 8: President Joe Biden stands beside Ketanji Brown Jackson as she addresses a crowd on the South Lawn at the White House. A day earlier, the Senate confirmed Jackson as the first black female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 30, the 51-year-old appeals court judge was sworn in as the high court’s 116th member, replacing retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.


Daniel Berehulak/The New York Times/Redux

WAR CRIMES | April 14: Volunteers haul dead bodies from a mass grave outside St. Andrew’s Church in Bucha, Ukraine. Russia denied its troops’ involvement and suggested Ukraine planted bodies after its withdrawal from the city. Several organizations, including the International Criminal Court, are investigating war crimes.


Brian Inganga/AP

DROUGHT AND HUNGER | May 12: In the Kenyan village of Lomoputh, a mother grips her malnourished son after he collapsed near their hut. After four consecutive failed rainy seasons, the United Nations called the drought in the Horn of Africa the worst in 40 years. More than 18 million people there face severe hunger and water shortages.


Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

SUPERMARKET SHOOTING | May 14: Two women embrace outside Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, N.Y., where a gunman fatally shot 10 people in a racially motivated attack. Payton Gendron, 19, pleaded guilty in November to state charges of murder, attempted murder, and domestic terrorism as a hate crime.


Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

EMPTY SHELVES | May 16: A woman shops for baby formula amid empty shelves at a Target in Annapolis, Md. Supply chain problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated a nationwide shortage caused by a major product recall in February.


Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

BORDER CRISIS | May 20: Migrants line up to be processed by border patrol agents in Eagle Pass, Texas, after crossing the Rio Grande. Authorities encountered more than 2.76 million undocumented migrants crossing the border (including repeat attempts) in the 2022 fiscal year, the largest number ever recorded, despite ongoing pandemic-era restrictions on asylum-seekers.


Eric Gay/AP

UVALDE | May 24: A mourner attaches bracelets to crosses for the 21 victims—19 students and two teachers—killed during a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. U.S. border patrol officers killed the gunman, Salvador Ramos, 18, after he had been in the school building for more than an hour. It was the third-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.


National Park Service via AP

YELLOWSTONE FLOODS | June 13: The Gardiner River washed out part of a road along the north entrance of the Yellowstone National Park in Montana. After days of unprecedented rainfall, Yellowstone evacuated more than 10,000 visitors as flash floods swept through the national park, causing widespread damage.


Jae C. Hong/AP

BAPTIST RECKONING | June 14: Southern Baptists pray during the denomination’s annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif. Church delegates approved abuse reforms and formally apologized to sexual abuse victims during the meeting. Weeks prior, an investigative report revealed Baptist leaders mishandled abuse cases and mistreated survivors for two decades.


Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP

SHOUT FOR JOY | June 24: Pro-lifers cheer outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after learning the court had overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case legalizing abortion. The ruling said the Constitution confers no right to abortion, and states must decide how to regulate it.


Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via AP

PARADE SHOOTING | July 4: A policeman walks down Central Avenue in Highland Park, Ill., after a gunman randomly fired more than 70 rounds into crowds at the northern suburb’s Fourth of July parade. The alleged shooter later pleaded not guilty to 117 felonies, including seven murders. He awaits trial.


Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

POLITICAL PRISONER | July 7: Two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA star center Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to carrying cannabis oil into Russia. Officials found the substance in her luggage in February. A Russian court sentenced her to nine years in prison. She was freed in December in exchange for a Russian arms dealer jailed in the United States.


Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP

KENTUCKY DELUGE | July 28: Record-breaking flooding from heavy rains and mudslides swept through central Appalachia, devastating homes and businesses near Quicksand, Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear called it some of the worst flooding in state history, with reports of 10-12 inches of rain in nine hours in eastern Kentucky. Forty-three people died.


Noah Berger/AP

CALIFORNIA BURNING | July 30: The McKinney Fire in Klamath National Forest exploded into California’s largest fire of 2022. The blaze killed four people and burned more than 60,000 acres, 87 homes, and 45 other buildings.


Josh Ritchie/The New York Times/Redux

MAR-A-LAGO RAID | Aug. 8: Secret service agents armed with rifles stand outside Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach, Fla., estate of former President Donald Trump, hours after the FBI raided the property. The Justice Department said it was looking for classified documents taken from the White House illegally. But the former president called the raid a politically motivated witch hunt.


Jae C. Hong/AP

DEADLY DOSES | Aug. 9: Use of fentanyl exploded in 2022, making it the deadliest drug in the nation. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, accounted for two-thirds of overdose deaths between March 2021 and March 2022. Deaths due to synthetic opioids increased 80 percent over the past two years. In August, the Drug Enforcement Agency issued a warning about “rainbow fentanyl,” a brightly colored pill aimed at children.


Zeng Hui/Xinhua/Alamy

MONKEYPOX | Aug. 11: After the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency in July, U.S. officials shipped nearly a million doses of a vaccine to combat the virus, which rarely appears outside Africa. Health workers set up outdoor walk-in vaccination clinics in cities like Los Angeles, Charlotte, and New York.


Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

PRICE HIKES | Aug. 23: Supermarket prices surged as rates of inflation (too much money chasing too few goods and services) hovered between 8 and 8.5 percent, squeezing shoppers’ budgets. It was the worst inflation to hit the country in four decades. By comparison, the inflation rate in 2020 was 1.23 percent.


Zahid Hussain/AP

MONSOON MISERY | Aug. 24: A family wades through floodwaters in southwestern Pakistan. Heavier than usual monsoon rains this year triggered the worst flooding in the country’s recent history, killing more than 1,700 people, displacing nearly 8 million others, and causing food shortages. More than half a million people sought refuge in relief camps.


Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

SEEKING SANCTUARY | Aug. 31: Immigrants from Texas travel to a refugee center near Chicago’s Union Station. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began sending busloads of undocumented migrants to predominantly Democrat-run cities in April to challenge President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.


Yui Mok/Pool photo via AP

PRIME MISSTEPS | Sept. 9: King Charles III and then–British Prime Minister Liz Truss had their first formal meeting just hours before his first speech as monarch. A month later, Truss announced her resignation amid a government crisis, making her the shortest-serving prime minister in the history of the United Kingdom.


Jack Hill/Pool Photo via AP

BRITAIN MOURNS | Sept. 19: After a reign spanning more than 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II died Sept. 8 at age 96. At her Westminster Abbey funeral, the Imperial State Crown rested atop her coffin, as well as a funeral spray containing a note from her son, King Charles III. Elizabeth II was the longest-serving monarch in British history.


Associated Press

UPRISING IN IRAN | Sept. 21: The death of a woman arrested by Iran’s morality police sparked protests that surged through that country’s streets and spilled over onto other continents. Authorities accused Mahsa Amini, 22, of a dress code violation. Iranian Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh reported some 300 fatalities in ongoing clashes, but human rights groups say the real number could be much higher.


Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

HURRICANE IAN | Sept. 28: Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 4 storm, the deadliest to hit the United States this year.


Steve Helber/AP

HURRICANE IAN | The storm killed at least 144 people and demolished a swath of Florida’s southwest coast.


Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

HURRICANE IAN | As a weakened Ian moved inland, it dumped more than a foot of rain, causing floods that necessitated the rescues of more than a hundred residents trapped in their homes and cars.


Rebecca Blackwell/AP

HURRICANE IAN | Insurers predict property losses from Ian could reach as much as $47 billion.


Jacquelyn Martin/AP

JAN. 6 COMMITTEE | Oct. 13: The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill holds its ninth public hearing, wrapping up a process that began in June. The televised events included testimony from police officers, rioters, and Trump-era officials. During its final hearing on Dec. 19, the committee recommended criminal charges against former President Donald Trump.


Mark Schiefelbein/AP

POWER GRAB | Oct. 16: China’s Communist Party awarded Xi Jinping his third five-year term as general secretary during its 20th National Congress, breaking the tradition of the country’s leader stepping down after two terms. Mao Zedong is the only other Chinese Communist official to serve more than two terms. Xi pledged to continue policies that tightened Communist Party control of the economy and society.


Scott Olson/Getty Images

LOW FLOW | Oct. 19: Boats mired in mud sit in a depleted marina off the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tenn. Drought in the Midwest and Mid-South left the Mississippi at record-low levels, nearly 11 feet below normal in October. That disrupted barge traffic and drove up shipping costs. The river carries nearly $130 billion in goods each year.


Twitter account of Elon Musk/AFP via Getty Images

TWITTER TAKEOVER | Oct. 26: Elon Musk signaled that his Twitter buyout was almost complete by posting a video of himself walking into the company’s San Francisco headquarters carrying a sink. Musk took over on Oct. 27 and quickly set about changing Twitter’s terms of service and reinstating banned users. In December, he began releasing to three writers details of Twitter’s previous suppression of conservative tweets and news unfavorable to Democrats, and its collaboration with the FBI.


Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images

MIDTERM ELECTIONS | Nov. 8: The “red wave” Republicans hoped to ride onto Capitol Hill fizzled into a red ripple on election night. Florida offered the one bright spot for the party in an otherwise disappointing night: Gov. Ron DeSantis won reelection by 20 percentage points, and Republicans picked up four seats in the U.S. House. Sen. Marco Rubio also won reelection, becoming the first Florida Republican to earn a third term in the Senate.


Matt York/AP

MIDTERM ELECTIONS | Certification of official vote counts in Arizona was delayed for days after some Republican county election officials refused to sign off on the results.


Quinn Glabicki/Reuters/Alamy

MIDTERM ELECTIONS | Republicans did gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives as expected, but by a much smaller margin than they hoped. Democrats retained control of the Senate by the slimmest of margins, but that victory helped breathe some life back into the flagging Biden administration. Several candidates who had the backing of former President Donald Trump lost their races—including Senate hopeful Mehmet Oz, who lost to Democrat John Fetterman in Pennsylvania. The results caused analysts to suggest that Trump had lost his grip on the GOP.


Andrew Harnik/AP

TRUMP REDUX | Nov. 15: Former President Donald Trump announced his plan to “make America great again” by returning to the White House in 2024. He was the first Republican to announce his candidacy, a strategy likely designed to discourage opponents.


Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

CHINA’S COVID RECKONING | Nov. 28: Protests erupted in China over the country’s strict pandemic lockdown measures. Frustration boiled over after a deadly apartment fire. Residents blamed restrictions for preventing emergency workers from accessing the scene quickly enough to save lives. The mass protests prompted the government to lift most testing and quarantine measures.


Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

GEORGIA RUNOFF | Dec. 6: Incumbent Raphael Warnock narrowly defeated Republican Herschel Walker to keep his seat and give Democrats a one-vote majority in the U.S. Senate.


Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

MESSI’S BIG WIN | Dec. 18: Lionel Messi led Argentina to its first World Cup win in more than three decades. The tournament kicked off in Qatar amid controversy over poor working conditions for migrants who built the ­venues and the lack of proper accom­modations for the million-plus spectators. This year marked the first time the world’s largest sporting event had been held in the Middle East.


Compiled by Sharon Dierberger, Emma Freire, Kim Henderson, Mary Jackson, Leigh Jones, and Elizabeth Russell

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