1. The epic election that made Barack Obama the first African-American president was the top news story of 2008
2.The bad news kept coming, collapses of Wall Street giants; huge stock market losses; plummeting home prices and a surge of foreclosures; desperate times for US automakers.
It added up to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and will cost the federal government well over $1 trillion in various rescue and stimulus packages.
The global economic angst produced hyper-volatile energy markets. The price of crude soared as high as $150 a barrel in July before crashing to $33 this month.
In the US, the average price for a gallon of regular gas peaked at $4.11, then plunged below $1.70.
China hosted the Olympics for the first time, drawing praise for logistical mastery and condemnation for heavy-handed security measures.
The games themselves were rated a success, highlighted by the record-shattering performances of swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt.
A huge quake in May killed 70,000 people in Sichuan province and left 5 million homeless.
Many thousands of children were among the victims, authorities said about 7,000 classrooms were destroyed in shoddily built schools
Terrorism in Mumbai:
Ten attackers allegedly sponsored by a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group terrorized India's financial capital in November, killing 164 people in coordinated attacks on hotels, a restaurant, a Jewish center and a train station.
India's perennially uneasy relations with Pakistan were badly strained
The two nations waged a five-day war in August ignited by a Georgian artillery barrage on the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
Russia responded with a drive deep into Georgian territory, causing severe economic damage and aggravating already troubled Russia-US relations.