Home / News / National / 2015 Year in Review

2015 Year in Review

It was a year when the ISIS began a campaign to cleanse the Middle East and North Africa of Christians; more states legalized marijuana and Tom Brady went to court of “deflategate”.  This is the 2015 Year In Review.


Jan. 1

Vietnam legalizes same-sex marriage.

Jan. 2

Turkey grants permission to construct the first church building in the country in nearly a century.

Jan. 3

Boko Haram militants attack residents of Baga and other Nigerian towns, killing as many as 2,000 and sending thousands of survivors fleeing.

Jan. 6

The price of crude oil drops below $48 per barrel, the lowest price since April 2009.


Same-sex couples can begin obtaining marriage licenses in Florida.

Jan. 7

Islamist gunmen storm the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 persons. Two more days of terror attacks ensue.

Jan. 9

A New York judge sentences radical imam Abu Hamza al-Masri to life in prison on federal terrorism charges.

Jan. 11

Millions (including many foreign presidents and prime ministers, but not Barack Obama) march down the Boulevard Voltaire in Paris to protest the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Jan. 12

Underdog Ohio State, led by quarterback Cardale Jones, upsets Oregon 42-20 to win the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship.

Jan. 13

A rocket attack on a passenger bus kills 12 civilians in pro-Russian separatist-held Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Jan. 14

Flash flooding in Malawi displaces 100,000 persons and kills at least 175.

Jan. 16

The U.S. Department of Defense announces plans to send troops to train supposed moderate Syrian rebels.

Jan. 18

Boko Haram militants kidnap 80 persons, including 50 children, in northern Cameroon.

Jan. 21

U.S. diplomats arrive in Havana (for the first time since the 1970s) for two days of talks aimed at normalizing relations with Cuba.

Feb. 1

In the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots intercept an end zone pass and beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24.

Feb. 3

ISIS releases a video showing it burned alive captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh.

Feb. 10

Craig Stephen Hicks kills three Muslim college students in Chapel Hill, N.C.


NBC suspends NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams ­following revelations he misrepresented his ­experiences while ­embedded with U.S. ­military forces.

Feb. 11

The United States, France, and Britain evacuate their embassies in Sanaa, Yemen, as an anti-American Shiite militia takes power.

Feb. 14

A Muslim extremist attacks a free-speech event at a Copenhagen café, killing one man and wounding three police officers. He later kills a second man and wounds two more police officers before he is shot dead.

Feb. 15

ISIS releases a video showing the beheading of 21 Christians—one from Ghana and 20 from Egypt—kidnapped in Libya.

Feb. 18

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran files suit against the city of Atlanta and Mayor Kasim Reed, saying the city violated his equal protection rights in firing him over his Christian beliefs.

Feb. 23

Islamic State militants kidnap more than 250 Assyrian Christians and kill at least 15 in northern Syria. ISIS later releases 19 captives.

Feb. 24

Alaska becomes the third state to legalize recreational marijuana.


The United Kingdom becomes the first country to legalize the creation of three-parent embryos.


A Texas jury convicts Eddie Ray Routh in the murders of Chad Littlefield and former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, known from the movie and memoir American Sniper.

Feb. 25

Winter storm “Remus” hits the South, dumping up to a foot of snow and stranding motorists along Alabama’s Interstate 65.

March 1

Thousands of mourners and protesters march in Moscow to remember Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, 55, assassinated two days earlier.

March 6

A Wisconsin police officer fatally shoots Tony Robinson, 19, during an altercation. The incident sparks protests.

March 8

Thousands gather in Selma, Ala., to observe the 50th anniversary of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” civil rights march.

March 10

Hillary Clinton addresses questions regarding her use of a private email account while secretary of state.


The University of Oklahoma expels two students responsible for leading Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members in singing a racist chant.

March 15

Boston records its snowiest season on record with 108.6 inches.

March 17

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party wins big in national elections.

March 24

Apparently suicidal German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz crashes Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard.

March 25

After the U.S. trades five Taliban prisoners to gain Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s freedom, military officials charge him with desertion.

March 26

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.


Saudi Arabia begins airstrikes in Yemen targeting the Houthi rebels backed by Iran and Hezbollah.

March 28

Amid election day attacks by Boko Haram, Muslim leader Muhammadu Buhari defeats President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigerian elections.

April 1

Gov. Jerry Brown orders mandatory water use reductions for the first time in California’s history, as the state’s four-year drought reaches near-crisis proportions.

April 2

Al-Shabab militants kill 147, mostly students, at Garissa University in Kenya.


The United States, Iran, and five world powers agree on a nuclear deal framework.

April 4

South Carolina policeman Michael Slager shoots and kills Walter Scott, an unarmed African-American fleeing a traffic stop.

April 5

Rolling Stone retracts a discredited article about a purported gang rape at the University of Virginia.

April 7

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signs a law banning late-term dismemberment abortion.

April 8

The district attorney drops murder charges against Texas mother Hannah Overton in the death of her foster son Andrew.

April 10

Barack Obama and Raúl Castro shake hands in Panama, in the first such meeting between U.S. and Cuban presidents since the Cuban Revolution.

April 12

Baltimore police arrest Freddie Gray, who sustains injuries, falls into a coma, and dies on April 19. Violent protests and rioting follow.

April 19

ISIS releases a video showing militants executing at least 35 Ethiopian Coptic Christians in Libya.


As many as 700 migrants die when their boat sinks while crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy.

April 24

Former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner says he is transgender. He soon appears on the cover of Vanity Fair as “Caitlyn.”

April 25

A Nepal earthquake kills more than 8,000 persons and injures more than 23,000.

April 28

Nigeria’s army rescues 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram.

May 3

Police shoot and kill two armed men attempting to assault a Garland, Texas, event featuring cartoons of Muhammad.

May 8

Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative Party emerge victorious in British elections.

May 9

Liberia marks the end of an Ebola epidemic that claimed the lives of more than 4,700 citizens. More cases re-emerge in following months.

May 11

The NFL suspends New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games and penalizes the team for its role in “Deflategate.” A judge later overturns the suspension.

May 13

The USDA reports that over the past year more than 40 percent of honeybee colonies have died.

May 17

A biker brawl at a restaurant in Waco, Texas, leaves nine persons dead, 18 injured, and 170 under arrest.


ISIS seizes control of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province. Thousands of Iraqis flee.

May 19

A ruptured pipeline north of Santa Barbara, Calif., leaks 105,000 gallons of crude oil, with 21,000 gallons contaminating the Pacific Ocean.

May 21

Josh Duggar resigns from the Family Research Council after publication of sexual abuse accusations from 12 years prior. On July 16, TLC cancels the show 19 Kids and Counting.

May 22

Citizens in Ireland vote to legalize same-sex marriage.

May 26

The IRS reports that thieves hacked into its system and compromised thousands of taxpayer accounts.

May 28

A federal grand jury indicts former U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert on charges of lying to FBI agents and making illegal payments to an undisclosed person to cover up “prior misconduct.”

May 29

The United States officially removes Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terror.

June 1

A Chinese cruise ship capsizes and sinks during a windstorm, killing more than 400 persons.

June 2

Indian officials say a heat wave suffocating the country has left more than 2,300 persons dead.


Wholesale egg prices hit a record $2.62 per dozen due to a bird flu outbreak.

June 6

Thoroughbred American Pharoah finishes first in the Belmont Stakes and nabs the first Triple Crown in decades.

June 9

An appellate court rules that Texas can require abortion clinics to meet the same standards that hospital-style surgical centers must meet.

June 12

Amid a worsening drought, California lawmakers tell farmers to reduce their water consumption, the biggest cuts in the state’s history.

June 16

The FDA tells companies they have until 2018 to remove all artificial trans fats from food products.


The Golden State Warriors defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-97 in Game 6 to win the NBA championship.

June 17

Dylann Roof, 21, sits for an hour in a Bible study before opening fire, killing nine persons at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

June 25

The Supreme Court upholds key provisions of Obamacare.

June 26

The U.S. Supreme Court votes 5-4 to force states to redefine marriage and recognize same-sex marriages.

June 30

Greece’s bailout expires and the country defaults on a $1.7 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund.

July 1

The Episcopal Church votes in favor of allowing religious weddings for same-sex couples.


Cuba and the United States agree to reopen embassies in Havana and Washington.

July 2

A ferry capsizes in the Philippines, killing at least 61 persons.

July 9

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signs legislation removing the Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds where it flew for more than half a century.

July 13

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announces plans to allow openly transgender persons to serve in the military.

July 14

The United States and five other powers reach a nuclear deal with Iran.


NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft completes a historic flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto and its five moons.

July 16

Boko Haram claims responsibility for two explosions at a Gombe, Nigeria, market that kill at least 49 persons.


Gunman Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez attacks two military centers in Chattanooga, Tenn., killing four Marines and a Navy sailor.

July 19

A white University of Cincinnati police officer shoots and kills Samuel DuBose, an unarmed African-American, during a traffic stop.

July 27

The Boy Scouts of America votes to end its ban on gay scout leaders.


Thirty-five women who have accused comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault appear on the cover of New York magazine.

July 28

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia announces it successfully conducted the first pediatric double hand transplant in the world for 8-year-old Zion Harvey.

July 29

Turkey launches airstrikes on Kurdistan Workers’ Party camps in northern Iraq, upsetting Kurds who play a leading role in the fight against the Islamic State.

Aug. 2

Nigeria announces its army rescued 178 kidnapped persons from Boko Haram.

Aug. 5

A U.S. appeals court strikes down a Texas law requiring voters to show identification before voting.


An EPA cleanup crew investigating a leak accidentally creates an environmental disaster when a debris dam breaks and releases 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into Colorado’s pristine Animas River.

Aug. 6

ISIS seizes Al-Qaryatayn in Syria and kidnaps 200 civilians. It later bulldozes parts of the ancient Mar Elian monastery.

Aug. 11

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton hands over a personal email server to the FBI.

Aug. 12

Explosions at a chemical warehouse in Tianjin, China, leave 173 persons dead.

Aug. 13

A Boko Haram attack on a Nigerian village leaves 151 persons dead. Many of the dead had drowned as they tried to flee across a river.

Aug. 16

Government airstrikes on a Syrian marketplace in the rebel-held town of Douma leave at least 80 persons dead.

Aug. 18

Hackers leak private data on the 30 million users of the infidelity-promoting website Ashley Madison.

Aug. 21

Three Americans and one Briton thwart an apparent terrorist attack aboard a high-speed train en route to Paris.


1st Lts. Shaye Haver and Kristen Griest become the first women to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School.

Aug. 22

Responding to undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood engaged in sale of baby body parts, 80,000 protesters at 354 PP locations call on Congress to strip taxpayer funding from the abortion giant.

Aug. 24

China’s stock market records the biggest slide in eight years and spurs a 1,000-point plunge on the Dow Jones industrial average.

Aug. 26

Vester Flanagan shoots and kills reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward during a live broadcast in Virginia.

Sept. 2

The body of a 3-year-old Syrian migrant boy ends up on a beach in Turkey, prompting an international outcry about the refugee crisis.

Sept. 3

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, found in contempt of court after she declines to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, goes to jail until Sept. 8.

Sept. 8

Pope Francis changes Roman Catholic policy to make it easier for married couples to get annulments.

Sept. 11

A large construction crane topples onto the roof of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing more than 100 persons.

Sept. 15

North Korea says it is ready to use nuclear weapons against the United States and any others opposed to the regime.

Sept. 17

Senate Republicans fail in their last-ditch effort to pass legislation derailing President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.

Sept. 19

Pope Francis begins his visit to Cuba and the United States.

Sept. 21

Goshen College and Eastern Mennonite University, which changed their hiring policies to include employees in same-sex marriages, leave the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, averting a likely split in the organization.

Sept. 22

Senate Democrats block the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

Sept. 23

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigns after revelations that the company falsified emissions tests on some of its vehicles.

Sept. 24

A stampede at the annual Muslim pilgrimage to the city of Mecca kills more than 2,000 persons.

Sept. 27

A supermoon lunar eclipse occurs: It marks the end of a series of four total lunar eclipses that began in April 2014.

Sept. 30

Russia intervenes in the Syrian civil war—in support of President Bashar al-Assad—with a series of airstrikes.

Oct. 1

A landslide in a Guatemalan village kills more than 250 persons and leaves dozens missing.


Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, opens fire at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, killing nine persons and injuring nine others.

Oct. 3

Doctors Without Borders accuses the United States of war crimes after a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan destroyed one of its hospitals and killed 22 persons.

Oct. 4

ISIS militants continue to destroy ancient artifacts by blowing up Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph.


Torrential rainstorms, fueled in part by Hurricane Joaquin, trigger massive flooding across South Carolina.

Oct. 5

The United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries finalize the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.


Gov. Jerry Brown signs legislation making California the fifth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

Oct. 7

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei bans Iran from negotiating further with the United States after world powers reached a nuclear deal.

Oct. 10

Two bombs explode outside Ankara’s main railway station in Turkey, killing more than 100 persons.


Iran tests a medium-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.

Oct. 27

Tensions mount after a U.S. warship sails by one of China’s artificial islands in the disputed Spratly region.

Oct. 29

After weeks of political negotiations, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., emerges as the successor to departing Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Oct. 31

A Russian plane crashes on the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 persons aboard. Intelligence sources later show evidence of ISIS responsibility.

Nov. 1

The Kansas City Royals defeat the New York Mets 7-2 in Game 5 to win the World Series.

Nov. 3

Houston voters defeat a gay and transgender rights ordinance, and Ohio voters reject a measure to legalize marijuana.

Nov. 4

University of California at Merced student Faisal Mohammad stabs four people on campus before police shoot and kill him.

Nov. 6

President Obama rejects TransCanada’s request to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Nov. 8

In Myanmar elections, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy win a landslide victory.

Nov. 9

University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigns amid student protests against racism on campus.

Nov. 12

Islamic terrorists carry out two suicide bombings in Beirut, killing at least 43 persons and injuring more than 200.

Nov. 13

In coordinated attacks across Paris, teams of Islamic terrorists linked to ISIS kill at least 129 persons and injure scores more.


A U.S. airstrike reportedly kills Wisam al Zubaidi, the leader of the Islamic State affiliate in Libya.

Nov. 23

The U.S. State Department issues a worldwide travel alert due to the risk of increased terrorism. Brussels remains at the highest alert level.

Nov. 24

After escalating warnings to stop violating its airspace, Turkey shoots down a Russian military jet near the Syrian border.

Nov. 27

Robert Lewis Dear, 57, allegedly opens fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., killing three persons and wounding nine others.

Dec. 2

Syed Farook and his Pakistani wife, Tashfeen Malik, open fire and kill 14 persons and injure 21 others at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif.


Britain’s Parliament votes to join its allies in fighting ISIS in Syria. Two days later, Germany votes to join the fight against ISIS.

Dec. 3

The U.S. Senate votes to repeal parts of Obamacare and cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood.


Defense Secretary Ashton Carter opens all jobs in combat units to women.

Dec. 6

President Obama addresses the nation, promising to “destroy” ISIS but offering no new military strategy.

Dec. 7

In the wake of the San Bernardino attack, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump calls for a halt to the entry of Muslims into the United States.

Dec. 8

The U.S. House votes to tighten a visa waiver program to make it harder for terrorists to enter the country.

Dec. 9

The U.S. Senate passes the Every Student Succeeds Act, an education overhaul that replaces No Child Left Behind. President Obama signs it into law the next day.

Dec. 12

Saudi Arabia allows women to run for office and vote for the first time.


World leaders in Paris claim their countries will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Dec. 14

Oil prices continue to fall, dropping below $35 per barrel.


Hollywood hosts the world premiere of the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens.