Crimea to Liberia: 2014 in 12 Pictures


January: A man hurls a rock during demonstrations in Kiev, Ukraine, in January. The crisis that resulted has prompted what many pundits are calling a "second cold war" between Russia and the West. Protesters occupied the central square of the Ukrainian capital demanding the resignation of the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. Scores of demonstrators, armed only with stones, were shot by riot police. Within two weeks, the corrupt Yanukovych was ousted and escaped to Russia – but peace and stability in Ukraine have proved elusive.

Lucas Jackson Lucas Jackson/ Reuters

February: A snowboarder competes during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. The games at Sochi were the first Olympics to be held in Russia since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Jason Lee/Reuters

March: March Relatives of passengers on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing hear that the flight has been reported missing. What happened to the aircraft, carrying 239 passengers, remains a mystery since neither crash site nor wreckage has been identified. The international search, the largest and most expensive in history, continues.

Michelle Obama BringBackOurGirls

April: Michelle Obama holds a placard which reads "Bring back our girls, which became the rallying cry that went around the world as Boko Haram, an Islamic Jihadist and terrorist organisation, kidnapped 276 girls from their secondary school in Chibok. Boko Haram roughly translates as "Western education is a sin". The students have reportedly been forced to convert to Islam and to 'marry' their captors. International efforts to free them have met with no success.

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

May: A worker on the construction site of the stadium of São Paulo, Brazil, one of the venues of the World Cup. Many voiced fears that Brazil's stadia and infrastructure would not be ready in time for the opening game on 12 June. The new arena saw Brazil beat Croatia 3–2. Germany triumphed over Argentina (1–0) in the final in Rio.

Thomas Bregardis/Pool/Reuters

June: Frederick Glover, a veteran of the Second World War, returns to Normandy on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings. Soldiers re-enacted the airborne assault to commemorate D-Day. Operation Overlord turned the tide of the war, leading to the liberation of occupied France and the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters

July: The wreckage of flight MH17, the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, presumed to have been shot down over Ukrainian airspace. It crashed near Torez in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, in an area thought to be controlled by pro-Russian separatists. All 283 passengers and 15 crew died. Factions in the area blamed each other; a final accident report is due next year.

James Foley at work in Izaa district in Aleppo, Syria, Sep. 2012. Nicole Tung/AFP/Getty/Newscom

August: James Foley, the 40-year-old American journalist and video reporter. Foley was abducted in November 2012 in northwest Syria. He was beheaded in August 2014 as a response to American airstrikes in Iraq, the first American citizen killed by the terrorist group, ISIS.

Mohammed Salem/Reuters

September: A Palestinian boy surveys the ruins of houses in a devastated area east of Gaza City. They were destroyed during the seven-week Israeli offensive. An open-ended ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-led Gaza militants was mediated by Egypt and took effect on August 26.

Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images

October: As Syrian Kurds battle against ISIS terrorists, an explosion rocks the city of Kobane. Militants from ISIS reportedly carried out a suicide car bomb attack on a People's Protection Unit (YPG) in the centre of the city. U.S. and Arab coalition planes targeted Isis positions; the U.S. dropped weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to aid Syrian Kurdish fighters in the area. Conflict, and the displacement of Syrians, continues.

Nikki Khan/Washington Post via Getty Images

November: An aid worker carries the corpse of a seven-month-old baby who died in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The most widespread epidemic of Ebola has spread throughout several West African countries, beginning in Guinea before reaching Liberia and Sierra Leone. Nigeria and Senegal are now free of the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the virus has claimed nearly 7,000 lives.

Neilson Barnard/Pool/Reuters

December: Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet the basketball player LeBron James backstage at the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Brooklyn Nets game during their official visit to New York. James, 29 years old and six-foot-eight tall, breached royal protocol by putting his arm around the expectant duchess, whose second baby is due in April.