Top News Stories from 2005

World Events

World Statistics

Population: 4.378 billion
population by decade
Nobel Peace Prize: Mohamed ElBaradei (Egypt) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
More World Statistics...
  • The Sudanese government and Southern rebels sign a peace agreement to end a 20-year civil war that has claimed the lives of two million people (Jan. 9).
  • The Syrian military, stationed in Lebanon for 29 years, withdraws (April 26).
  • London hit by Islamic terrorist bombings, killing 52 and wounding about 700. It is Britain's worst attack since World War II (July 7).
  • Former Teheran mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard-line conservative, wins Iran's presidential election with 62% of the vote. He defiantly pursues Iran's nuclear ambitions over the course of his first year in office (June 24).
  • Mahmoud Abbas wins presidency of the Palestinian Authority in a landslide. This is the first presidential election for Palestinians since 1996 (Jan. 9).
  • Iraqi elections to select a 275-seat National Assembly take place despite threats of violence (Jan. 30). See also Iraq; Iraq Timeline.
  • Former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri—a nationalist who had called for Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon—is assassinated (Feb. 14). Weeks of protests ensue.
  • Violent protests follow elections in Kygyzstan (March 13), which international monitors deem severely flawed. President Askar Akayev flees the country and then resigns (April 4).
  • Pope John Paul II Dies (April 2). Benedict XVI becomes the next pope (April 24).
  • Tony Blair becomes first Labour Party prime minister to win three successive terms, but his party loses a large number of seats in the elections (May 5).
  • The European Union abandons plans to ratify the proposed European constitution by 2006 after both France and the Netherlands vote against it (June 16).
  • Group of Eight industrial nations pledge to double aid to Africa to $50 billion a year by 2010, cancel the debt of many poor countries, and open trade (July 8).
  • A 7.6 earthquake centered in the Pakistani-controlled part of the Kashmir region kills more than 80,000 and leaves an estimated 4 million homeless (Oct. 2).
  • Millions of Iraqi voters ratify a new constitution (Oct. 15).
  • Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein goes on trial for the killing of 143 people in the town of Dujail, Iraq, in 1982 (Oct 19).
  • Several weeks of violent rioting begins in the impoverished French-Arab and French-African suburbs of Paris after two boys are accidentally killed while hiding from police (Oct 27).
  • Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf becomes Africa's first woman elected head of state (Nov. 11).
  • Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon quits as head of the Likud Party, which he founded, to start a new, more centrist organization, called Kadima (Nov. 21).
  • About 11 million Iraqis (70% of the country's registered voters) turn out to select their first permanent Parliament since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein (Dec. 15). See also Iraq; Iraq Timeline.
  • Worldwide aid pours in to help the eleven Asian countries devastated by the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami (Jan.). See Tsunami Factfile.
  • Israel begins evacuating about 8,000 Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip, which has been occupied by Israel for the last 38 years (Aug. 15).
  • Pentagon assessment finds Iraq's police force is, at best, "partially capable" of fighting the country's insurgency. The U.S.'s eventual withdrawal plan hinges upon Iraqi security forces replacing U.S. soldiers: "As Iraqis stand up, Americans will stand down," President Bush had stated (July 20). See also Iraq; Iraq Timeline.
  • The Irish Republican Army announces it is officially ending its violent campaign for a united Ireland and will instead pursue its goals politically (July 27). See also Northern Ireland Peace Process.
  • The Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) sign a peace accord to end their nearly 30-year-long civil war (Aug. 15).
  • Angela Merkel, leader of the Christian Democratic Union, which narrowly prevailed over Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democratic Party in September elections becomes the country's first female chancellor (Oct. 10).
  • See also People in the News, 2005 and 2005 News Quizzes.

U.S. Events

U.S. Statistics

President: George W. Bush
Vice President: Richard Cheney
Population: 296 million
More U.S. Statistics...
  • George W. Bush is officially sworn in for his second term as president (Jan. 20).
  • In his State of the Union address, President Bush announces his plan to reform Social Security (Feb. 2). Despite months of campaigning, his plan receives only a lukewarm reception.
  • Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announces her retirement (July 1).
  • President Bush signs the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which will remove trade barriers between the U.S. and Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua (Aug. 2).
  • Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who served on the U.S. Supreme Court for 33 years, dies (Sept. 3).
  • John Roberts becomes 17th chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (Sept 22).
  • Another major hurricane, Rita, ravages the Gulf coast (Sept. 23).
  • House majority leader Tom Delay is accused of conspiring to violate Texas's election laws. He steps aside from his House leadership position (Sept. 28).
  • Number of deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq reaches 2,000 (Oct. 25).
  • A federal grand jury indicts I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, with obstruction of justice and perjury in connection with a White House leak investigation. (Oct. 28).
  • California Republican congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigns after pleading guilty to taking at least $2.4 million in bribes (Nov. 28).
  • The Sept. 11 Public Discourse Project reports that the country is still "alarmingly vulnerable to terrorist strikes." (Dec. 5).
  • President Bush selects Harriet Miers, White House counsel, to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (Oct 3). Miers withdraws her nomination after strong criticism from the president's conservative base (Oct. 27).
  • The press reveals that in 2002, Bush signed a presidential order to allow the National Security Agency to spy on Americans suspected of being connected to terrorist activity without warrants. (Dec. 15).
  • The Terry Schiavo case becomes the focus of an emotionally charged battle in Congress (March 20).
  • Hurricane Katrina wreaks catastrophic damage on the Gulf coast; more than 1,000 die and millions are left homeless. Americans are shaken not simply by the magnitude of the disaster but by how ill-prepared all levels of government are in its aftermath. (Aug. 25-30). See also Hurricane Katrina Timeline.
  • President Bush nominates conservative judge Samuel Alito to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court (Oct. 31).


Super Bowl
New England d. Philadelphia
World Series
Chicago White Sox d. Houston Astros (4–0)
NBA Championship
San Antonio d. Detroit
Women: Venus Williams d. Lindsay Davenport (4–6, 7–6 [7–4], 9–7)
Men: Roger Federer d. Andy Roddick (6–2, 7–6 [7–2], 6–4)
Kentucky Derby Champion
NCAA Basketball Championship
North Carolina d. Illinois
NCAA Football Champions


Entertainment Awards

Academy Award, Best Picture: Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood and Paul Haggis, producers
Nobel Prize for Literature: Harold Pinter (United Kingdom)
Record of the Year: "Here We Go Again," Ray Charles & Norah Jones
Album of the Year: Genius Loves Company, Ray Charles & Various Artists
Song of the Year: "Daughters," John Mayer, songwriter (John Mayer)
Miss America: Deidre Downs, Birmingham, Ala.
More Entertainment Awards...


  • According to Nielsen SoundScan, Mariah Carey's Emancipation of Mimi was the best-selling album of 2005, selling nearly 5 million copies. Her song "We Belong Together" was the most-played song on the radio.
  • Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" was the most downloaded song of the year. It was downloaded more than 1.7 million times.
  • More than 350 million digital songs were purchased in 2005. It marks an increase of 150% from 2004, according to Nielsen SoundScan. However, 654 million albums were sold in 2005, a decrease of 3.9% from 2004.
  • In July, millions of people attended Live 8, free concerts in nine countries—South Africa and each of the Group of Eight nations—to promote increased aid to Africa.
  • Moviegoers spent $8,945,298,267 at the box office in 2005, 5.2% less than in 2004, according to Exhibitor Relations.
  • Science fiction and fantasy dominated the box office, with Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; and The War of the Worlds taking the top four spots on the list of highest-grossing films. Sith took in more than $380 million.
  • A string of hit primetime shows gave ABC bragging rights as the network with a "must-see " lineup. Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy found a large and loyal following.
  • CBS News anchor Dan Rather stepped down in March, months after admitting that he could not definitively prove the authenticity of documents he used in a 60 Minutes segment, which suggested President Bush received preferential treatment when he joined the National Guard and later when he served in it.
  • Peter Jennings, anchor of ABC's World News Tonight, died in August. He was replaced by co-anchor Bob Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas.
  • It didn't take long for Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston to move on from their divorce. Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who both starred in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, were inseparable in 2005 and finally confirmed their relationship—at about the same time Jolie's pregnancy became obvious. Aniston and Wedding Crashers star Vince Vaughn paired up.
  • The engagement of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes—and her pregnancy—generated publicity not seen since the hookup—and breakup—of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.
  • See 2005 People in the News for biographies of entertainers and newsmakers.


  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Capote
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Crash
  • Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • The History of Violence
  • Madagascar
  • Match Point
  • Munich
  • The Squid and the Whale
  • Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith
  • Walk the Line
  • The War of the Worlds


  • American Idiot, Green Day
  • Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson
  • Demon Days, Gorillaz
  • Get Behind Me Satan, The White Stripes
  • Guero, Beck
  • How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, U2
  • I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, Bright Eyes
  • Late Registration, Kanye West
  • Plans, Death Cab for Cutie
  • You Could Have It So Much Better, Franz Ferdinand


  • On Beauty, Zadie Smith
  • Freakonomics, Steven Levitt
  • Europe Centra, William Vollmann
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J. K. Rowling
  • The Lost Painting: The Search for a Caravaggio Masterpiece, Jonathan Harr
  • March, E. L. Doctorow
  • The Sea, John Banville
  • Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door, Lynne Truss
  • Teacher Man, Frank McCourt
  • The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion


Nobel Prizes in Science

Chemistry: Yves Chauvin (France), Robert H. Grubbs (U.S.), and Richard R. Schrock (U.S.)
Physics: Roy J. Glauber (U.S.), John L. Hall (U.S.), Theodor W. Hänsch (Germany)
Physiology or Medicine: Barry J. Marshall and J. Robin Warren (both Australia)
More Nobel Prizes in 1998...
  • Cancer replaces heart disease as No. 1 cause of death for people ages 85 and under. Number of deaths from both, however, have fallen (Jan. 19).
  • South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk announces that he has devised a new procedure to successfully produce human stem cell lines from a cloned human embryo (May 20).
  • Scientists discover the skull of a sea-dwelling crocodile that lived 135 million years ago. Unlike other crocodiles, it has a short snout (Nov. 11).
  • South Korean cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk steps down from Seoul National University after an investigative panel at the university reports that he falsified the paper in which he claimed that he cloned 11 human embryos and extracted stem cells from them (Dec. 23).
  • More on Science Events 2005
  • After a 6-month, 83-million-mile journey, NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft hits comet named Tempel 1. After our solar system formed, comets were believed to have been created out of the remaining dust and gases. By blasting a crater into the surface of Tempel 1 and uncovering its pristine interior, scientists hope to examine the primordial remnants of our solar system to gain insight into its formation (July 4).
  • Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology find a rocky, icy planet they believe is larger than Pluto and may in fact be another planet (July 29).
  • Federal Judge John Jones says that it is unconstitutional for a school district in Pennsylvania to mention intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in biology classes, saying it "is a religious view, a mere relabeling of creationism and not a scientific theory." He harshly criticized members of the Dover, Pa., school board for their "breathtaking inanity" in attempting to include intelligent design in the curriculum (Dec. 20).


or enter a year: