Thanks to all who had a Google-unassisted go. Some answers were even right.
1. Sarah Palin’s website put US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ electoral district in the crosshairs before Gifford was shot in the head in a public meeting in January. Palin rejected the idea that her website image had anything to do with it, but quickly had it removed.
3. Richard Keys and Andy Gray, believing their microphones were switched off, were recorded before the Wolves-Liverpool match in January making derogatory comments about Assistant Referee Sian Massey’s ability to do her job. Keys said “Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her,” with Gray adding “Women don’t know the offside rule.” They lost their jobs. Massey still has hers.
4. The 5-star Sheraton hotel in Shenyang, Liaoning, China, was destroyed when midnight fireworks celebrating the Chinese New Year set it alight. Ladders could not reach the higher storeys of what was then the tallest building in Northeastern China.
5. President of Israel Shimon Peres, speaking at a European Friends of Israel (EFI) conference in Jerusalem on 5 February, decided that the uprising in Egypt and its brutal suppression by government forces made it the ideal moment to call then President Hosni Mubarak a “peacemaker” whose “contribution to peace would never be forgotten”.
6. Iran claimed in February that the official logo of the 2012 London Olympic Games represented the word ‘Zion’ and threatened to stay away.
8. The Philippine House of Representatives voted in March to impeach the Ombudsman, Merceditas Gutierrez, for allegedly failing to properly investigate corruption charges former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and other senior officials.
9. 35,860 Chinese nationals were successfully evacuated by their government from Libya in March and returned home.
10. In April, French military aircraft were used to attack the anti-Gaddafi side in the internal political conflict in Libya, and French military helicopters also attacked a military camp supporting would-be president Laurent Gbagbo in Côte d’Ivoire.
11. The North Korean government in April ordered the registration of all IT gadgets for fear that its citizens would get news about Arab Spring and, well, get ideas. But weren’t they already registered?
12. Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa declined with “deep regret” an invitation to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, causing sighs of relief in London. He was preoccupied with a popular uprising against his father’s long-running rule that was being repressed with gross human rights violations.
13. Former England Football Association Chairman Lord Triesman claimed in May that FIFA board members Jack Warner of Trinidad, Nicolas Leoz of Brazil, Ricardo Teixeira of Paraguay and Worawi Makudi of Thailand had asked for “bribes” in return for backing England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid. All denied the allegations.
15. Lakeysha Beard talked loudly and non-stop on her mobile phone on a train travelling from California to Washington State in May, from the time she boarded it at 10 pm in Oakland to her arrest at 2 pm the next day in Salem. She refused to hang up, and got “aggressive” when other passengers complained. She was charged with disorderly conduct.
16. Keiko Fujimori admitted defeat in the June presidential election in Peru to former army officer Ollanta Humala. Keiko’s father, Alberto, in prison for human rights abuses, embezzlement and illegal surveillance while president, put down a rebellion in 2000 led by Humala.
17. Democratic US Congressman Anthony Weiner sent unsolicited sexually suggestive pictures to a number of women, lied about it, then admitted it and resigned in June. The pictures showed a bulge in his underwear seemingly caused by his, er, wiener
18. According to the Daily Mail, the UK responded to temperatures of 33 degrees in June by issuing health warnings, limiting outdoor activities in schools and distributing ice packs to the elderly.
20. Its reputation destroyed by allegations of widespread illegal activity by its muck-raking reporters, the News of the World newspaper published its last edition on July 10 with the headline ‘Thank you and goodbye’.
21. It was announced in July that the annual German Quadriga award for those whose ‘commitment builds bridges’ would not be presented in 2011 after the nomination of Prime Minister, former President and former KGB spy chief Vladimir Putin ran into heavy criticism.
22. Anti-corruption protestor Anna Hazare was arrested in August and detained for leading mass protests, triggering even bigger protests demanding his release, which the police conceded. He then refused to leave jail, leading to even bigger …
24. The entire US Second Fleet was ordered to leave its home port of Norfolk in August to ride out Hurricane Irene at sea.
25. Former French President Jacques Chirac, accused of corruption in 1995, asked in September for his trial to be postponed because he was too old to remember anything. Request denied and on 15 December 2011, Chirac was found guilty and given a suspended sentence of two years.
26. An emperor penguin, quickly nicknamed Happy Feet, turned up lost on a New Zealand beach and started swallowing sand, apparently in the mistaken belief it was snow. After an operation to remove the sand, he was returned to the ocean in September after a 3-month stay.
27. According to wiretaps published by a court in September, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi boasted in 2009 “Last night I had a queue outside the door of the bedroom… There were 11 … I only did eight because I could not do it anymore.”
28. Nobel Prize rules say no prize can be awarded posthumously, although prizes have been allowed to stand when the grantee has died after the announcement but before the presentation ceremony. In October, the Nobel Foundation declared Ralph Steinman of Canada and 2 others as winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for research into the immune system, unaware that Steadman had died a few days earlier. The award stood.
29. In October, Israel and the Palestinian organization Hamas arranged a prisoner swap, in which the captured Israeli Army soldier Gilad Shalit was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian and Israeli-Arab prisoners held in Israel.
31. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in comments caught on a live microphone in November, said of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “I can't stand him any more, he’s a liar.” US President Barack Obama replied “You may be sick of him, but me, I have to deal with him every day.”
32. 45,000 people ran the New York marathon on 6 November. The event took over 8 hours and 130 music bands were stationed along the route to provide encouragement.
33. The 80-year-old Indian passenger who was frisked in his seat on a plane in New York in November had not been checked before boarding the plane because he was former President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, travelling on a diplomatic passport. The United States later apologized for its breach of protocol. The plane did not explode in mid-air.
34. In Belgium on 6 December, the new federal government of Prime Minister Elio di Rupo was sworn in, breaking a political deadlock that had left Belgium with no government for 541 days, a world record. During that time, Belgium’s economy had fared rather better than many of its neighbours.
36. 25 US military trucks sounding their horns crossed the border from Iraq to Kuwait at dawn on December 18, ending 9 years of US occupation of Iraq. Around 150 US troops remain in the country attached to a training and cooperation mission at the US embassy as do thousands of ‘contractors’ employed by various parts of the US government.