2011: The Year In Stories

From natural disasters both at home and abroad to political uprisings in the Middle East, weekends on All Things Considered looks back at the year's biggest stories, as heard on NPR.

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From NPR News, it's weekends on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz.

Thanks for joining us this Christmas Eve. Today and tomorrow, instead of our usual cover story, we'll hear updates from some of the folks who appeared on this program this past year.

But first, a look back on 2011. And for us here on this program, January 8th was a day we'll never forget. We began hearing reports that a member of Congress was shot early in the afternoon. And by the time we went to air, NPR's Ted Robbins was on the scene in Tucson, where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had been shot.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: Guy, I'm a couple of blocks away actually from - it was a Safeway supermarket and she was out in front doing what she calls Congress On Your Corner. And a man - she was talking with two people. A man apparently...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Egyptian protestors filled the streets of Cairo and other cities today. The country's largest demonstrations in years.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Hundreds of people are dead or missing after an enormous tsunami hit Japan earlier today.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: The highways are closed. Trains are not running. It's difficult to make phone calls. So, the country has just come to a screeching halt.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world, the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: By agreeing to raise the federal debt ceiling just hours before the deadline, members of Congress prevented an economic crisis.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the president of the United States. A lot of people in this town can never say yes.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: Thousands of protestors filled the streets of Manhattan's financial district last night.


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: We are the 99 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: They came to show support for Occupy Wall Street.


ROGER MCNAMEE: It boggles the mind to think about all the things that Steve Jobs did. Any one of which would have qualified him as one of the great executives in American history.

CRAIG WINDHAM, BYLINE: From NPR News in Washington, I'm Craig Windham. Libya's ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi is dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: Moarning has begun for the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il who died from an apparent heart attack over the weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #4: And here, these are the last soldiers to exit Iraq. They're south of the border. They have closed the gates to the border.

RAZ: Those are some of the big stories from 2011.

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