Obama Re-elected On November 6th, the nation went to the polls to decide who the next President of the United States would be. The two major party candidates were Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama. In the days before the election the race was close, but in the final result President Obama secured a bigger lead than expected. This marked the beginning of President Obama’s second term as President. 2012 Olympics The 2012 Summer Olympics were held in London and the United States dominated in total number of medals. The U.S. had a total of 104 medals with the People’s Republic of China coming in second with a distant 88 total medals. Some well-known names such as Michael Phelps had appearances and did well. One of the biggest stories was Oscar Pistorius, who usually competed in the Paralympics. He has one leg and used a blade to compete in the 400 meter dash. Curiosity Rover Lands on Mars On August 6th, NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed in Gale crater on the planet Mars. Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on November 26th, 2011. The 350,000,000 mile journey took eight and a half months to complete. NHL Lockout A long dispute over the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association began on September 15,2012. One of the biggest issues was a limit of five years on all new players’ contracts. An agreement was not able to be reached and the season didn’t happen. Figuring the amount of games cancelled and money lost, the three groups reached an agreement in early 2013. Treyvon Martin Shooting On the night of February 26th, George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, shot and killed an unarmed African American male in a Florida neighborhood. The matter quickly turned into a race issue and all of America searched for the motive and protested the act that appeared to be fueled by racism. Zimmerman proclaimed that Martin had attacked him and that the shooting was in self-defense. Saints Bounties and Penn State Scandal Two major football issues came about in 2012, with one being in the NFL and the other in college football. The New Orleans Saints had a bounty program during past years to reward players for great plays. Many players and coaches were suspended. Along with the Saints, the Penn State football program got in trouble for covering up a child sex abuse scandal. The program lost head coach, Joe Paterno, and lost all wins from 1998 through 2011. Felix Baumgartner Jumps from the Stratosphere On October 14th, this Austrian skydiver jumped from 24 miles above the earth’s surface capturing records such as jumping from the highest altitude and the fastest free fall velocity. At his peak, Felix was traveling an amazing 833 miles per hour during his four minute and twenty second free fall. Felix also became the first human to break the sound barrier outside of a vehicle. Baumgartner landed safely in New Mexico. The Avengers Tops Charts The Avengers premiered on April 11, 2012 and set records for the biggest opening weekend in North America and the fastest film to gross$1 billion. The cast included Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, and Scarlett Johansson. The movie had gross earnings just above $600,000,000. Civil War Rages in Syria Although it began in 2011 with mostly peaceful demonstrations, there is no doubt that this now horrific civil war was a major story in 2012. This year has seen the conflict turn for the deadly worst as fighting ravaged historic cities, and small neighborhoods. One of the major topics has been the civilian death toll, which has turned many heads and opened numerous eyes. With the most violent stages still in progress and an end hardly in sight, the globe watches in horror as hopes of peace fill the thoughts of everyone. Whitney Houston Dies Whitney Houston was the most awarded female singer of all time and one of the world’s best-selling artists. She died on February 11, 2012 in a Beverly Hills hotel of an “accidental drowning.” Some thought the death was drug related or an over-dose. People around the world mourned her death but the family decided to have an invitation-only memorial and she was buried beside her dad on February 19. Benghazi Attacks On September 11th, an attack was carried out on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya by militants of a group suspected to have links to the terrorist organization al-Qaeda. In the attack, four Americans were killed including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stephens. This event became a hot topic for debate in the presidential election and U.S. security faced harsh scrutiny. Kelly Clarkson High on Billboards In only her fifth studio album, Kelly Clarkson had three singles hit the charts, with two being rather popular. “Mr. Know It All” and “Stronger” combined to top the charts in six different countries and make the top-ten in almost 25 countries. The album was released on October 21, 2011 but it took until 2012 for the album and singles to reach the top of the charts.