Here is a snapshot of some of the major events that shaped our world in 2015:
7-9: FRANCE – 17 people are slaughtered in attacks in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket two days later.
26: SYRIA – The Islamic State jihadist group is driven out of the Syrian town of Kobane on the Turkish border after more than four months of fighting by Kurdish forces backed by US-coalition airstrikes.
12: UKRAINE – The Ukraine government and rebels agree to a “Minsk II” peace roadmap, backed by France, Germany and Russia, but the truce remains fragile. A second truce is signed on September 1. Clashes intensify in early December.
18: TUNISIA – An attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis kills 21 foreign tourists and a Tunisian policeman. On June 26 an attack at a holiday resort kills 38 foreign tourists, most of them British, while on November 24 the bombing of a presidential guard bus kills at least 12 people. All the attacks are claimed by IS.
24: FRANCE – An Airbus owned by German budget airliner Germanwings crashes in the French Alps with all 150 people on board declared dead. Investigators say co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane.
2: KENYA/SOMALIA – At least 148 people, mostly students, are massacred when Somalia’s Shebab Islamist group attacks Kenya’s Garissa university.
25: NEPAL – A 7.8 magnitude quake kills around 8,900 people and destroys about half a million homes. A massive aftershock with a magnitude of 7.3 follows in May, killing dozens more.
7: BRITAIN – Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives win a general election victory that opens the door to a national referendum on EU membership.
1: CHINA – A Chinese cruise ship capsizes on the Yangtze river in central China, killing 442 of the 454 people on board.
17: UNITED STATES – A white gunman kills nine black people at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. The killings follow a series of incidents of police violence against blacks, reviving racial tensions in the United States.
26: UNITED STATES – The US Supreme Court rules that gay marriage is a right in all US states.
1: UNITED STATES/CUBA – The US and Cuba agree a historic deal to re-establish full diplomatic relations, severed 54 years earlier during the Cold War.
13: GREECE – After protracted negotiations, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accepts a three-year 86-billion-euro ($93 billion) EU bailout that saves it from crashing out of the eurozone. On September 20 his ruling radical left party Syriza wins new legislative elections.
14: IRAN – Iran and major powers reach an historic deal aimed at ensuring Iran does not obtain the nuclear bomb after 18 straight days of talks.
12: CHINA – Massive explosions at a chemical storage facility in Tianjin, one of China’s biggest cities, kill at least 165 people.
3: GUATEMALA – Guatemalan President Otto Perez resigns after Congress strips him of immunity over corruption allegations and a warrant is issued for his arrest.
18: UNITED STATES/GERMANY – Auto giant Volkswagen is hit by its biggest scandal ever owing to revelations that it cheated on US pollution tests.
19-22: CUBA – Pope Francis makes a historic visit before going on to the United States. The pontiff also traveled to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic from November 25-30.
24: SAUDI ARABIA – A stampede at the hajj pilgrimage leaves 2,236 dead at Mina, near Mecca.
19: CANADA – Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, son of a popular former prime minister, wins a general election.
29: CHINA – Beijing announces the end of its hugely controversial one-child policy.
31: EGYPT/RUSSIA – A Russian passenger jet is downed on its way from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh resort to Saint Petersburg, killing all 224 on board. IS claims responsibility for what Russia says was a bombing; Egypt says it has no evidence there was a “terror” attack.
1: TURKEY – The Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan scores a stunning electoral comeback against a backdrop of renewed Kurdish violence and jihadist attacks. They include two suicide bombings on a peace rally in October that killed 103 people — the bloodiest in Turkey’s modern history.
7: CHINA/TAIWAN – The presidents of China and Taiwan exchange a historic handshake and warm words in the first summit since the two sides split in 1949.
8: MYANMAR – Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s party wins elections by a landslide after decades of military domination.
13: FRANCE – An unprecedented string of jihadist shootings and suicide bombings at France’s national sports stadium, a concert hall and bars and restaurants in Paris leave 130 dead and hundreds injured. IS claims responsibility.
24: TURKEY/RUSSIA – NATO member Turkey shoots down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border, saying it had violated Turkish airspace, sparking a bitter diplomatic row between the two countries.
2: UNITED STATES – A radicalized couple massacres 14 people in San Bernardino, California, before they are killed in a shootout with the police.
6: VENEZUELA – A centre-right coalition wins the first opposition parliamentary majority in 16 years amid an economic crisis in the oil-rich nation.
12: ENVIRONMENT – 195 nations approve a historic accord to stop global warming.
12: SAUDI ARABIA – At least 20 women win seats for the first time in municipal polls, though many restrictions on women remain in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
18: SYRIA – The UN Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution endorsing a peace process to put an end to the nearly five-year war in Syria, without touching on one of the most contentious issues in the peace effort: the fate of Bashar al-Assad.