The world witnessed an unwieldy and unparalleled set of news events in 2022. It was a year that captured historically significant and surprising moments, triggering disbelief and despair. Yet some days offered joy and pride.From Russia’s war in Ukraine to the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, these are some of the remarkable stories of the year.The year started, calmly, as the world slowly began to come out of a long, drawn-out pandemic hibernation.However, consistent with the brittleness of these modern times, a full-blown war erupted in Ukraine in February as Russia invaded the country, ending and upending the lives of many, including civilians and children. Photographer Evgeniy Maloletka captured one of the most vivid pictures of the war for the Associated Press, showing a photo of an ashen-face pregnant woman, holding her lower abdomen, being carried on a stretcher moments after a bomb was launched at a maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine. The unnamed woman and her baby died days later.This image has come to symbolize one of many Russian atrocities in the war in Ukraine. The attack on March 9, just 13 days after the war started, was one of the most brutal days of the conflict that continues to this day.In June, the United States once again witnessed a school shooting, this time in Uvalde, Texas. Photographer Pete Luna of the Uvalde Leader-News photographed the chaotic scene outside the school as young elementary students ran for safety while the gunman was still inside.And on September 8, Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, sending shockwaves around the world. The 96-year-old monarch had worked with 15 British prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss. She died two days after inviting Truss to form a new government. The Queen’s funeral drew crowds by the tens of thousands as they paid their last respects to a monarch who reigned for an unprecedented 70 years.This was also a year of firsts. The United States saw the confirmation of the country’s first Black woman Supreme Court justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson. At the Winter Olympics, American Erin Jackson became the first Black woman to win an individual medal in speedskating. And history was made with the first all-female refereeing crew at a men’s World Cup.Another notable moment this year was the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that guaranteed the federal constitutional right to an abortion in the United States. The court’s decision this year triggered protests by abortion-rights activists and celebrations in the streets by anti-abortion groups, further ideologically separating an already divided country.In November, Americans went to the polls, producing election results that defied polling expectations.As all these moments unraveled, the Earth continued to warm up, melting and separating glacial ice ridges while much of the Northern Hemisphere dealt with a historic drought that scorched soil, dried up rivers and triggered mass crop failure.Far above the Earth, the James Webb Space Telescope captured magnificent images of space in great, crisp detail.On the other end of the news spectrum was the bizarre moment at this year’s Academy Awards when Will Smith brazenly slapped Chris Rock in the middle of the show, irked by what the comedian said about his wife. The moment was witnessed live on television by millions around the globe.This summer, many sports fans rooted for Aaron Judge as he broke fellow Yankee Roger Maris’ American League home run record in a single season, a remarkable feat.Interwoven with these big news events were snapshots of daily life reminding the world of the beautiful, quiet — and sometimes hilarious — moments in and out of people’s lives.And behind all the top photos this year is the hard work of photojournalists. Many of them continue to document wars and conflicts, away from the safety of their homes. It is thanks to their perseverance and dedication that these images come to light, offering a window to the world and helping us understand it through photography.This is CNN Digital’s “2022: The year in pictures.
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