2018 year in review: Top news, sports, entertainment stories; those we lost

Published: Monday, December 31, 2018 @ 3:37 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 01, 2019 @ 5:03 AM

The Biggest Breakups Of 2018

As with any year, 2018 had its up and its downs.

The year saw tragedy when 17 were killed during a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, and 11 worshippers were gunned down at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. California saw the worst wildfires in state’s recorded history and a Category 4 hurricane that all but wiped out a small coastal Florida town.

But 2018 also saw triumph when 12 soccer players stuck in a cave in Thailand were all rescued, when gymnasts stood together to confront the man who had sexually assaulted them as young girls, when NASA put a robotic lander on Mars.

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Here’s a look at the top news, politics, entertainment and sports stories in 2018:

January 

Jan. 19: In the year that would highlight the #MeToo movement, young women who had been victims of sexual assault by Dr. Larry Nassar, were victims no longer when they confronted him in court at a sentencing hearing. More than 140 young women came forward to say they had been sexually assaulted by Nassar. Six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman was one of them.

Jan. 24: Scientists in China say they have created the first monkey clones using somatic cell nuclear transfer. The monkeys are named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua.

February

Feb. 4The Philadelphia Eagles shocked everyone except their loyal fan base when they beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. The thrilling end to the game came after the Eagles drove 75 yards to score the winning touchdown on an 11-yard pass with 2:21 to go.

Feb. 9The Winter Olympics start begin in PyeongChang, South Korea, with 92 countries competing. The final medal count sees the U.S. with 23 medals, nine of them gold. Norway takes home the most medals – 39 with 14 gold.

Feb. 14A gunman opens fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students and teachers. The killings spur an unprecedented push by those who survived to lobby for stricter gun control measures and leads to 800 “March for Our Lives” rallies around the country. A majority of the marches are student-led.

March

March 19: The last male northern white rhinoceros known to exist in the world dies in Kenya. His death makes the subspecies functionally extinct.

April

April 2Villanova wins the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament 79-62 over the Michigan Wolverines. The tournament saw a 16-seed team, University of Maryland Baltimore County, defeat a 1-seed team (Virginia) for the first time in tournament history. The tournament’s “Cinderella” team, Loyola-Chicago, was inspired by a 90-something-year-old nun. Loyola-Chicago reached the Final Four in the tourney.

April 10-11: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress about a deal by the social media site to sell personal information to a political consulting firm. User information sold to Cambridge Analytica, was gleaned from people who took a personality survey and download an app. The personal data of nearly 87 million Facebook users was mined through the 270,000 Facebook users who took the survey and downloaded the Facebook app called "This Is Your Digital Life."

April 17: Barbara Bush, the wife of one U.S. president and the mother of another, dies at her home in Houston. She was 92.

April 19: Miguel Díaz-Canel is sworn in as president of Cuba. It is the first time since 1959 that a Castro has not been president of Cuba.

April 27Kim Jong Un crosses into South Korea and is greeted by Korean President Moon Jae-in. Kim becomes the first North Korean leader to cross the Korean Demilitarized Zone since it was created in 1953. 

May

May 4: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen issues an order that states that any individual caught crossing the border illegally will be prosecuted. Adults crossing the border illegally are sent to jail. Children who accompany the adults in crossing the border illegally are separated from the adult and sent to another facility since children cannot be held in adult jails.

May 8: President Trump pulls America out of the Iran nuclear deal. The deal, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, had Iran agreeing to limit certain nuclear activities and allow international inspectors to monitor their work in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

May 18: Another mass shooting at a school sees 10 dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. A 17-year-old student kills 10 and wounds 13 others before he is taken into custody.

May 19Prince Harry marries American actress Meghan Markle at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, England. Some 29 million viewers tune in to see the ceremony.

May 31: The U.S. announces tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. The countries threaten to retaliate.

June

June 11‘Net neutrality’ rules are allowed to expire. The rules instituted by the Federal Communications Commission had stopped internet service providers from deliberately slowing access speeds or charging more to access certain types of content. The rules for net neutrality had been set out in 2015.

June 12: The North Korea–United States summit is held in Singapore and is the first such meeting between a U.S. president and the leader of North Korea.

June 18Rapper XXXTentacion is shot dead outside a South Florida motorcycle shop.

June 19: The U.S. announces it will withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

July

July 9: Trump announces that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

July 10Twelve members of a Thai junior soccer team and their coach are rescued from inside a system of caves in the country’s Chiang Rai province after they were trapped by flooding rains. The boys were rescued after a nearly 18-day stay in the caves.

July 25: Scientists announce they have confirmed that there is a body of liquid water on Mars. A lake 12.4 miles wide was discovered a mile under an upper ice cover.

August

Aug. 16: The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, dies in Detroit of pancreatic cancer.

Aug. 21Paul Manafort is found guilty on eight of the 18 charges of tax fraud and evasion and failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts. A mistrial is declared on the other 10 charges.

Aug. 21Michael Cohen pleads guilty to eight charges including paying women to keep quiet in advance of the 2016 presidential election. He said he did so at the direction of a specific candidate for federal office, and that he coordinated “with one or more members of the campaign.”

Aug. 25Sen. John McCain, who endured five years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp and served for more than 30 years in the U.S. Senate, died at his home in Arizona, 13 months after he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. 

September

Sept. 14Manafort pleads guilty to conspiracy against the United States, for money laundering, tax fraud, violating laws on registering as an agent for a foreign government, making false statements to investigations and conspiracy to obstruct justice through witness tampering. His plea agreement means he has to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Sept. 25: Comedian Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman in his home in the early 2000s.

Sept. 27Christine Blasey Ford testifies before a Senate committee that Kavanaugh assaulted her when the two were high school students. She says she is “100 percent sure” that Kavanaugh was the one to drag her into a room at a house where some teens had gathered for a party. She said Kavanaugh threw her on a bed and groped her.

Sept. 27Kavanaugh testifies before the same Senate committee later that day and says he did not even know Blasey Ford and would never assault a woman. He produces calendars from the time the party was alleged to have occurred that show, he said, he did not even attend such an event. He is also accused of having assaulted women when he was in college. He denied those accusations as well.

Sept. 28: An earthquake with the magnitude of 7.4 hits the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. A tsunami is triggered, and the wall of water kills 2,100 and injures more than 4,600. More than 680 people are missing.

October

Oct. 2: Journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappears at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. It is later discovered that Khashoggi was murdered while trying to get paperwork that would allow him to get married. The killers are thought to be agents of Saudi Arabia and under the direction of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Oct. 10Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 hurricane, makes landfall and virtually wipes out the town of Mexico Beach, Florida, with winds of 155 mph and a minimum pressure of 919 millibars. The storm was so strong that homes were picked up from their foundations and rolled down streets. The last hurricane to make landfall on the U.S. mainland that was more intense than Michael was Hurricane Camille in 1969.

Oct. 12Migrants from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador meet at San Sula, Honduras, and begin to walk toward the United States. Thousands hope to cross into the United States.

Oct. 16Canada legalizes the sale and use of cannabis. It’s the second country in the world to do so. Uruguay did it first in 2013.

Oct. 26A Florida man is arrested for sending explosive devices through the U.S. mail to various Democratic politicians and supporters, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and CNN.

November

Nov. 3Eleven die after a gunman opens fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Worshippers scramble as the gunman walks through the building firing.

Nov. 7Democrats win back the House in midterm elections, while Republicans make gains in the Senate, though the results of some contest aren’t known for weeks. There are runoffs in two key Florida races – the U.S. Senate and the governor’s races. Republicans win both of those contests.

Nov. 7: Another mass shooting happens in Thousand Oaks, California when an ex-Marine shoots and kills 13.

Nov. 8: The Camp Fire, which will become California's deadliest wildfire, ignites in Butte County, California. The fire kills 88 and destroys 18,804 buildings.

Nov. 25: The San Diego border crossing into Mexico is shut down for several hours as tensions rise after members of the migrant caravan decide to make a dash for the crossing in order to get into the United States.

Nov. 26NASA's InSight probe lands on the surface of Mars.

Nov. 30Former President George H.W. Bush dies at his home in Houston, seven months after his wife, Barbara, passes away. He is given a state funeral and laid to rest at his presidential library in College Station, Texas.

December

Dec. 12Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, is sentenced to three years in prison for tax fraud, lying to banks and violating campaign finance laws. 

Dec. 17Penny Marshall, who is probably best remembered for her role in “Laverne and Shirley,” dies. Marshall went on from TV fame to direct hit movies.

Dec. 22: The government shuts down over the deadlock in funding of a border wall. The shutdown is a partial one where government employees have furloughed and services considered “non-essential” are suspended.

Dec. 29: Clemson University and the University of Alabama win their respective college football playoff games to advance to the sport’s national championship. That game will be played on Jan. 7.

Those we’ve lost:

Notable Deaths 2018

Filipinos cheer during a New Year countdown at the Eastwood Shopping Mall late Monday, Dec. 31, 2018 in suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. Filipinos welcome the New Year with the loudest noise possible including setting off powerful firecrackers in one of Asia's most violent celebrations.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)