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2016 Year in Review: Highlights and heartbreaks

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2016 was a year of surprises: President-elect Donald Trump, Nobel laureate Bob Dylan, the end of Angelina and Brad (or was that one inevitable?).

We were hacked by the Russians, panicked by Zika and horrified by shootings across the country. After the November election, adult Californians could smoke marijuana -- legally. We said goodbye to Kobe and Vin, binge-watched, rocked out to “Old-Chella” and signed up for the Tesla 3.

Beyoncé and “Hamilton” ruled.

So, yes, it was a big year. And we’d like to suggest that you take some time to recall the biggest stories of 2016 -- if only to prepare for the cacophony that undoubtedly will erupt in 2017.

Our 15 favorite recipes of 2016

A great recipe is something you can carry with you, from kitchen to kitchen, pulling out when you need it. So adding to your collection is not only fun — something new to make for dinner — but as useful as new pairs of Italian shoes.

Every year, we pick our favorite recipes from the last 12 months, recipes that we’ve tested, sometimes more than a few times, in the Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen, to get them just right.

Here are our favorite recipes from 2016, in no particular order. We hope your own recipe box just got a little bigger.

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Debbie Reynolds dies

My life has just spun along, sort of like a wheel on a car that somebody else is driving. I’ve just gone with it.

Actress Debbie Reynolds sang and danced her way into film history opposite Gene Kelly in the classic 1952 musical “Singin’ in the Rain,” a movie that helped turn her into a sweetheart of American film. She was 84.

Her death came just a day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died at the age of 60.

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Carrie Fisher dies

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher, who rose to global fame as the trailblazing intergalactic heroine Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise and later went on to establish herself as an author and screenwriter with an acerbic comic flair, died at age 60.

I remember the first time it was weird to me was when someone wanted to thank me because they’d become a lawyer because of me. The main thing they said is that they identified with me. I felt like that was somebody that could be heroic without being a superhero and be relatable.

She was the child of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher and had the rare distinction of making the front page of the L.A. Times before she was even born.

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George Michael dies at 53

(Matt Sayles / Associated Press)

I got thrown out of choir, but that didn’t stop me from telling everyone I was going to be a famous pop star.

George Michael, the English singer-songwriter who shot to stardom in the 1980s as half of the pop duo Wham!, went on to become one of the era’s biggest pop solo artists with hits such as “Faith” and “I Want Your Sex.” He was 53.

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California ballot proposition campaigns rake in a record $473 million

This year’s crop of state propositions, the most appearing on a California ballot in 16 years, has attracted campaign contributions of $473 million, a record.

On average, more than $1.5 million was raised every day to influence the outcome of propositions.

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Farmworkers win overtime

(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Gov. Jerry Brown signed historic legislation that will gradually add hundreds of thousands of California farmworkers to the ranks of those who are paid overtime after eight hours on the job or 40 hours in a single week.

Leaders of the United Farm Workers of America, which sponsored the overtime bill, called Brown’s decision a victory in a nearly 80-year quest to establish broad rights and protections for farm laborers. But the move shocked the agricultural community, which lobbied heavily against its provisions, saying the new law would hurt a valuable state industry already on the decline.

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Gov. Brown signs sweeping California climate change law

Legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday requires the state to slash greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, a much more ambitious target than the previous goal of hitting 1990 levels by 2020.

Cutting emissions will affect nearly all aspects of life in the state — where people live, how they get to work, how their food is produced and where their electricity comes from.

“What we’re doing here is farsighted, as well as far-reaching,” Gov. Jerry Brown said at the bill’s signing ceremony.

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American Independent Party ... oops

With nearly half a million registered members, the American Independent Party is bigger than all of California’s other minor parties combined. The ultraconservative party’s platform opposes abortion rights and same-sex marriage, and calls for building a fence along the entire United States border.

Based in the Solano County home of one of its leaders, the AIP bills itself as “the Fastest Growing Political Party in California.”

But a Times investigation found that a majority of its members registered with the party in error. Nearly 3 in 4 people did not realize they had joined the party, a survey of registered AIP voters conducted for The Times found.

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Death row and the death penalty

In November, California voters narrowly approved Proposition 66, which speeds up the legal process leading to an execution. The California Supreme Court blocked that measure weeks later in order to take time to consider a lawsuit challenging it. Voters had rejected another death penalty measure on the same ballot, Proposition 62, which would have ended the state’s death penalty and changed sentences to life without parole. The state hasn’t executed a prisoner in a decade. Thirteen men have been put to death since the death penalty was restored here in 1978.

Here’s a look at the 728 men and 21 women on death row.

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Kamala Harris becomes first Indian American senator, and California’s first black senator

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

On election day, California voters chose Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, to the U.S. Senate, tearing down a color barrier that has stood for as long as California has been a state.

In January, Harris, who is currently California’s attorney general, will become only the second black woman in the nation’s history to serve in Congress’ upper chamber.

She was the favored candidate of California’s Democratic Party from the start of a campaign that was the first big test of California’s top-two primary system. She ran against longtime Orange County Rep. Linda Sanchez, another Democrat, but Harris started out ahead in polls and stayed there.

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California gets highest minimum wage in the country

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

California’s law, passed the same day as New York’s similar minimum wage law, is expected to benefit millions of workers. It will raise the base wage over the next six years, reaching $15 an hour by 2022.

“This is the work of many hands, and many minds and many hearts,” Gov. Jerry Brown said as he was signing the law.

Despite the fact that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed his state’s $15 minimum wage law a few hours before Brown did, California is still “the first in the nation, period,” Senate Pro Tem Kevin De León told reporters.

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L.A.'s downtown building boom

It reminds me of what’s happening in Beijing and Shanghai. Now it’s happening here.

— Winston Yan

The big real estate story in Los Angeles in 2016 was downtown’s incredibly resilient building boom, highlighted by the infusion of Chinese money and plans to build towering developments in the Arts District.

In September, an Orange County developer announced a massive mixed-use complex, rendering pictured, with twin towers soaring 58 stories that would dramatically remake the low-slung Arts District.

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The robot cars are coming

(Tony Avelar / Associated Press)

We are going to see a wave and an acceleration in automation, and it will affect job markets.

— Jerry Kaplan, Stanford lecturer

Car makers and ride-hailing companies are racing to develop autonomous vehicles, and that includes big-rig trucks. In September — the same month that Uber introduced a small fleet of self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh — the Department of Transportation issued far-reaching guidelines that pave the way for self-driving cars to hit the roads without much red tape.

Long-haul truck driving is a great example, where there isn’t much judgment involved and it’s a fairly controlled environment

— Kaplan

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Reporting on California’s coast

(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Columnist Steve Lopez and a team of reporters probed the state Costal Commission, the agency charged with protecting one of California’s most precious resources: Its epic coastline. They found the forces of development were gaining a foothold at a time when the coast’s ecology and access were under siege. In February, the commission fired its executive director, over the objections of hundreds of supporters. In the summer, the agency found itself defending some of its previous decisions in court. Later in the year, development interests helped defeat two bills designed to improve transparency at the powerful California Coastal Commission.

The Coastal Commission will have a new director soon, a new chair and at least two new commissioners, and we need to watch closely because what’s at stake is the greatest 1,100-mile coast in the world.

— Steve Lopez

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The debate over public release of police videos

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

They can’t just leave it to their discretion to release video if it exonerates officers and withhold it if it’s incriminating.

— Peter Bibring, ACLU

Once you open that Pandora’s box, who’s going to decide what’s going to be released?

— Craig Lally, Police Protective League

Police departments nationwide, lead by the LAPD, moved to equip officers with body cameras to offer a better view of how they do their jobs. But there was much debate about whether those videos should become public. Most police officials oppose public release of the videos. But when faced with controversial shootings, police in Fresno and El Cajon did release them.

In October, the Los Angeles Police Commission voted to require the LAPD to expand its real-world, role-playing training for officers, ensure that police who fire their guns receive more support, and collect feedback from residents on whether video from police shootings should become public.

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An explosion of growth in the Arts District

Downtown Los Angeles’ axis shifted east as the Arts District on the edge of the L.A. River became a focal point for more development and buzz. The trendy district got a bunch of new shops, galleries and eateries (even Warner Music is moving its offices there). But the big news was a series of mega-projects that will bring high-rise towers and offices there.

In September, noted European architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron announced it is working on a massive development at 6th and Alameda streets. Crowned by a pair of residential towers, it would fill an entire city block. In December, another high-design megaproject — two connected buildings with office space, apartments, hotels and shops — was pitched for the Arts District, this time right alongside the Los Angeles River.

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L.A.'s homeless crisis

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Southern California’s homeless crisis became impossible to ignore in 2016. It stretched from the misery of skid row to the Santa Ana River in Orange County and even the cliffs of Pacific Palisades. But the year also brought decisive action: In November, voters passed bonds to build more housing, and officials agreed on plans to provide homeless services at the veterans’ facility in Westwood.

We believe that there is a whole class of people out on the streets that can be made to be self-sufficient.

— Kevin Murray, Weingart Center

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The end of ‘locals only’?

(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

Surfers have long known about the Bay Boys, a “gang” accused of harassing outsiders who want to surf or just hang out on some beaches on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. This year, officials finally took action, and by early December, the “fort” structure that was for decades a symbol of the gang’s power was dismantled. There’s also been a class-action suit filed. But some wonder if the gang is really gone.

This is great. I’ve had rocks thrown at me and been intimidated twice … I never surfed the bay because of it.

— Surfer from Redondo Beach

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The Return of O.J. Simpson

The trial of the last century was revived in February with Ryan Murphy’s star-studded FX series “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” which enthralled audiences, critics and, later in the year, Emmy voters and gave new meaning to the term “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.”

Months later, Ezra Edelman’s amazingly ambitious documentary “O.J.: Made in America” debuted in theaters before moving to ABC and ESPN, making it the first television docu-series with real Oscar hopes. Meanwhile, the man himself remains just another number in the Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada.

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Winter came, and it was good

While George R.R. Martin continued working on his long-awaited sixth book in the series, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” roared on (Season 6 concluded in June), racking up record audiences and breaking Emmy records. The only question is, how will any show hope to replace it?

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Presidential campaign as reality TV

(Victoria Will / Invision/Associated Press)

Crowded with contentious candidates, the Republican debates raised the television profile, and profitability of politics in 2015 and continued into the new year as a ratings bonanza. Consider:

-- Megyn Kelly became a breakout star, turning her accusations of harassment by Donald Trump after an early showdown into a TV special and a memoir.

-- Increasingly, debate moderators drew more criticism than the candidates.

-- The release of an “Access Hollywood” tape on which Trump obscenely boasted about his ability to kiss women and grope their genitals with impunity because he is a celebrity left Billy Bush out of a job and “Apprentice” producer Mark Burnett under siege but in the end had no effect on the campaign.

-- In an election night that will go down in history, Trump’s surprising victory left TV anchors and late night hosts literally dumbstruck.

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Nate Parker and ‘The Birth of a Nation’

(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Since Nate Parker’s story was revealed to me, I have found myself in a state of stomach-churning confusion.

— Gabrielle Union

In January, Nate Parker was the darling of the Sundance Film Festival. His film, “The Birth of a Nation,” which he wrote, directed and starred in, was acquired for a record-breaking $17.5 million and seemed fast-tracked to Oscar glory.

But what seemed a ready-made answer to the #Oscarssowhite issue soon morphed into scandal when accounts of his 1999 trial, and eventual acquittal, for rape resurfaced. Responding to the news that his accuser, a Penn State classmate, had committed suicide in 2012, Parker published a statement on Facebook, saying he was “filled with profound sorrow,” which prompted more headlines, as defenders and detractors continued to speak out. Some screenings of the film were canceled.

While “Nation” co-star Gabrielle Union shared her thoughts in an eloquent Op-Ed for The Times, Parker began deflecting questions in the weeks leading up to the film’s October opening. In the end, “Birth of a Nation” became the next big thing that wasn’t.

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‘Nebraska’ meets Trump Tower

Hillary’s candidacy is based on intelligence, experience, preparation and on an actual vision of an America where everyone counts.

— Bruce Springsteen

(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

For decades, Bruce Springsteen has been the voice of the working man. He was also, during this presidential race, a outspoken supporter of Hillary Clinton, a preference many of his fans did not share. A visit to the Rust Belt illuminated the gap between art and reality. “Many of the machinists, miners and laborers who embody Springsteen’s lyrics... have turned to the swagger of Donald Trump in a long-denied bid for redemption,” Jeffrey Fleishman wrote, showing it is indeed possible to love both the Boss and the Donald.

Springsteen sang about hardship and misery, and it hasn’t gotten any better. We haven’t had the uplift I would have hoped for. Trump wants to make America great again. I guess everyone gets on their milk crate and makes promises. He’s worth a try.

— Bill Slanina, Youngstown resident

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And in celebrity news ….

(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

That noise you heard coming from Hollywood in 2016? It was the sound of the space-time continuum being shredded as the impossible became celebrities’ reality.

Cases in point: Brangelina broke up. Kim Kardashian dropped off social media. Donald Trump won the election.

Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, breaking the hearts of those who want to believe that some Hollywood romances are destined to live forever. In the meantime, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp settled a rancorous divorce battle; a judge finalized the Lamar Odom-Khloe Kardashian divorce; Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne separated and reconciled; and Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston called it quits.

The presidential election ensured that some of Hollywood’s biggest names were out on the campaign trail or making TV appearances. Beyonce made a surprise appearance at a concert held to support Hillary Clinton. Katy Perry stumped for the Democratic candidate in Philadelphia, and Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi joined a Clinton rally at Independence Hall. Donald Trump’s celebrity supporters included Ted Nugent, Kid Rock, Stephen Baldwin, James Woods and Clint Eastwood.

But wait, there’s more: Leslie Jones was the victim of a cyberattack. Kim Kardashian disappeared from public view after she was held at gunpoint during a robbery in Paris. Kanye West had an apparent breakdown, and two weeks after his release from the hospital, he met with Trump for a chat and a photo opp.

Bottom line? Hollywood’s recovery from 2016 is far from assured.

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More notable deaths

Browse more notable deaths of 2016.

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Every shot Kobe Bryant ever took. All 30,699 of them

Kobe Bryant’s 30,699th and final field goal came from 19 feet with 31 seconds left against the Utah Jazz. During his 20 years with the Lakers, he fired up more than 30,000 shots, including the regular season and playoffs.

Take a tour of key shots over his 20-year career, or explore the makes and misses over his long career on your own.

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A Tragic Night in Berlin

(Tobias Schwarz / AFP/Getty Images)

At least a dozen people are killed and scores are injured when a 40-ton truck from Poland crashes into an outdoor Christmas market in Berlin. Police say the truck was intentionally driven into the crowd in what they are investigating as a suspected terror attack.

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Is it really over in Aleppo?

(George Ourfalian / AFP/Getty Images)

Military operations in eastern Aleppo have concluded.

— Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the U.N.

For more than four years, a battle between government and rebel forces has raged in Aleppo, which was once a city of 3 million people and the industrial and financial heart of Syria. The siege that has laid waste to much of Aleppo seemingly came to an end this month, with the last remaining rebels agreeing to leave. The cease-fire deal between rebels and the Syrian government stalled.at first, but then a carefully choreographed mass evacuation got under way, and residents long gone from the embattled city began returning to its ruins.

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South Korea’s president is impeached

(Ed Jones / AFP/Getty Images)

As the daughter of a one-time military dictator, South Korea’s Park Gyun-hye brought a certain amount of baggage with her to the country’s presidency. But few could have predicted the way in which her past would catch up with her. In early December, Park was impeached for, among other things, providing classified information to a close friend who was allegedly extorting huge donations from major corporations.

Park, who is South Korea’s first female president, has not yet been permanently removed from office. But with her approval ratings close to zero, it’s hard to imagine her bouncing back.

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An Assassination in Ankara

You will not taste security until our towns are secure! Do not forget about Syria and Aleppo!  Whoever is part of it will get their punishment!

— Turkish police officer who killed Russia’s ambassador

The video is chilling: Russia’s ambassador to Turkey is speaking at a photo exhibition in Ankara when shots ring out and he slumps to the ground. “We die in Aleppo, you die here!” the shooter yells before firing several shots into the air. Security forces would eventually gun down the assailant, a 22-year-old off-duty riot policeman, after what appears to be the latest violent incident in Turkey over the complex conflict in Syria.

There can only be one response — stepping up the fight against terrorism.

— Russian President Vladimir Putin

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John Glenn

It’s been a long day but it has been very interesting.

— Glenn, after returning to Earth

(Harvey Georges / Associated Press)

In his first historic flight, Glenn circled Earth for nearly five hours in a tiny spaceship on Feb. 20, 1962, the first American to orbit the planet. When he returned to space in 1998, his voyage did nearly as much to revive interest in America’s space program as his first pioneering voyage had to ignite the country’s fascination with space exploration. He was 95.

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Alan Thicke

I’m not doing anything Jack Nicholson turned down. Any part that required a character distanced from myself would have been a reach. But the one thing I’ve always done well at, and I’m most devoted to, is my children.

— Thicke

Actor Alan Thicke, best known for helping set a template for parenting ideals in the ’80s sitcom “Growing Pains,” suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his son Carter. He was 69.

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The tragedy of the Ghost Ship

(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The deadliest fire in modern California history was the story of many things: How soaring rents push people into substandard housing, the gaps in the way cities inspect buildings illegally converted into housing and the underground electronic music scene that drew many Ghost Ship victims to their deaths. But it’s also the story of 36 young lives cut short.

The building was full of … driftwood and nails sticking out everywhere. There was no code. When you stepped on it, the whole thing jiggled all over the place.

— Danielle Boudreaux, former Ghost Ship resident

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On the Northern Plains, a battle over fossil fuels

(Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)

A broad river valley in North Dakota became the scene of the highest-profile environmental fight of the year: the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s effort to block construction of a $3.8-billion oil pipeline under a reservoir on the Missouri River — the source of the tribe’s drinking water supply.

Environmental activists and nearly 2,000 military veterans joined a fight that would become not only about clean water and Native American rights, but about fossil fuel expansion and climate change.

Celebrities, including actors Shailene Woodley and Mark Ruffalo, and singer Neil Young, joined the campaign. Opponents won at least a temporary victory when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Dec. 4 denied permission for the pipeline to cross under the disputed area of the river.

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Fidel Castro

No sober person in Latin America wants to adopt the Cuban system. But wherever he went in Latin America he received a raving ovation. Why? Because he stood up to the United States, told us where to go, and got away with it.

— Wayne Smith, veteran U.S. diplomat

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro was the charismatic icon of leftist revolution who thrust his Caribbean nation onto the world stage by provoking Cold War confrontation and defying U.S. policy through 11 administrations. He was 90.

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An international accord on climate change

(Andy Wong / Associated Press)

A landmark climate change agreement approved by nearly 200 countries went into force in November, the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The agreement, negotiated in Paris in late 2015, sets out a global action plan to limit the average global temperature rise since pre-industrial times to well below 2 degrees Celsius, the threshold at which scientists say many of the worst effects of global warming could be avoided.

A crucial threshold was reached Oct. 5, when at least 55 nations that collectively account for 55% of global emissions had approved the Paris accord. That number had grown to 118 by mid-December, including the world’s top polluters, China, the United States, the European Union and India.

The Obama administration played a key role in bringing more than 20 years of difficult climate negotiations to a successful conclusion and pledged to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. But even as the agreement went into effect, there was concern among world leaders that the U.S. could ignore its commitments under the deal, or pull out entirely, once Donald Trump becomes president.

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Colombian peace agreement

(Ivan Valencia / AFP/Getty Images)

In late November, the Colombian legislature approved a peace deal aimed at ending a civil war that started in 1964. The accord between the government and the leftist guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was approved two months after voters narrowly rejected a similar deal in a national referendum. This time President Juan Manuel Santos, pictured, who was award the Nobel Peace Prize in October, saved the deal by giving up on a popular mandate and going directly to Congress, where his party holds a majority. Opposition legislators boycotted the vote vowed to fight the new accord, which they argue goes too easy on the rebels.

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The end of an era in Arizona

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has long branded himself as “America’s toughest sheriff,” but this year proved to his undoing — Arpaio was voted out of office in November after six terms, and faced contempt of court charges to boot.

Arpaio was famous for talking tough about illegal immigration and housing jail inmates, in scorching Arizona temperatures, in canvas tents. U.S. District Judge Murray Snow found in May that the 84-year-old sheriff had ignored a court order to stop singling out Latino drivers for special scrutiny.

“I’m not stopping anything,” Arpaio famously told Fox News. But for the first time since 1993, he’ll have to stop being sheriff.

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The battle for Mosul

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

On the frontline in the fight against ISIS in the Cahra neighborhood of Mosul, an Iraqi special forces soldier makes his way to the roof where the lookout continues for the enemy.

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The evolution of Orange County and a state divided

(Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Orange County has long been considered a conservative bastion in an increasingly liberal state. But this year, voters in November’s presidential election backed Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, a milestone that has the local GOP doing some soul searching. Republicans have been trying to reach out more to minorities, who are now the majority in Orange County, but Trump’s rhetoric appears to have hurt those efforts.

In the meantime, in certain pockets of Northern California, the blue tide stopped and many voters said they feel greater affinity for Donald Trump’s America.

Deplorables! What is so insulting is to be called a racist.

— Nancy Hemphill, Northern California resident

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Wounds from a bombing

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Menar Hassan, 8, cries as doctors attend to her wounds from a suicide truck bombing in Iraq.

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New Jersey officials convicted in ‘Bridgegate’ case

Bill Baroni, a former Gov. Chris Christie appointee, was convicted with another aide of helping orchestrate massive traffic tie-ups at the George Washington Bridge in September 2013.
(Mel Evans/Associated Press)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was not on trial himself, but his political career was jolted by the conviction in November of two close associates who orchestrated a four-day traffic jam from hell in 2013 at the George Washington Bridge, supposedly to punish a mayor who wouldn’t endorse the governor’s reelection bid.

Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, a former official of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the world’s busiest bridge, were convicted on conspiracy and wire fraud charges. The scandal, which became known as “Bridgegate,” scuttled Christie’s presidential ambitions and was probably a factor in Donald Trump’s decision not to select him as his running mate or offer him a cabinet post.

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Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!

(Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

It was just an epic battle. I can’t believe, after 108 years, we’re finally able to hoist the trophy.

— World Series MVP Ben Zobrist.

It only took 108 years for the Cubs to win another World Series title, as Bill Murray’s favorite team rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Cleveland Indians in November.

It was a 108-year stretch that transformed black cats and billy goats into symbols of futility. To end the streak, the Cubs absorbed a series of knockout blows from the Indians, survived a collapse by their flame-throwing closer and weathered a storm sweeping off Lake Erie in an 8-7 victory in 10 innings.

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Farewell to Vin Scully

Vin Scully will call one final Dodgers-Giants game in San Francisco.

2016 brought to an end the legendary career of announcer Vin Scully, who began calling Dodgers games in 1950. In September, the final Dodger Stadium game of his career also provided a chance for the Dodgers to clinch the division title. Tributes to Scully played in each half-inning, but the Dodgers trailed most of the game until rookie Corey Seager hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game into extra innings. Then Charlie Culberson stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 10th.

“Would you believe a home run?” Scully marveled as Culberson hit a ball that landed in the Dodgers bullpen for his first homer of the season. The finish provided a storybook ending to Vin Scully’s last broadcast at Dodger Stadium, allowing him to coat a walk-off, division-clinching victory in his unmistakable gloss.

Scully’s career came to an official end one week later in San Francisco, but for many Dodgers fans, Culberson’s homer marked the best true ending.

God has been so generous to allow me all this time, when I look back and I think, ‘I’ve had so many yesterdays, but I’m not sure how many tomorrows,’ I feel it’s best to see if I can enjoy whatever tomorrows are left.

— Scully

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Dodgers bring back memories of 1988

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

These Dodgers don’t do anything conventionally, don’t follow any old baseball code, do not adhere to any unwritten rules except the one that says you do everything it takes to win.

— Bill Plaschke

The Dodgers were leading in the decisive Game 5 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals, but their closer was struggling and the win looked in doubt.

Enter Clayton Kershaw, who offered to pitch on one day of rest and eventually walked in from the left-field bullpen at Nationals Park to the same incredulous gasps that accompanied Orel Hershiser when he pitched on consecutive days in October 1988. He retired the final two batters — and this wasn’t supposed to happen. Kershaw had not pitched as a closer in 10 years, since doing so for the Dodgers’ rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League, on a day when his catcher was — get this — a young Kenley Jansen.

The Dodgers won that Oct. 13 game against the Nationals, 4-3. They ended up losing in the NLCS to the Chicago Cubs, but for a short time in Washington, a World Series win seemed like a definite possibility.

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James Comey redux

The FBI has a history of extreme caution near election day so as not to influence the results. Today’s break from that tradition is appalling.

— Sen. Dianne Feinstein

When the debates ended, Hillary Clinton held a small, but persistent lead over Donald Trump. Something big would have to happen if Trump were to reverse the tide. It did. FBI Director James Comey had overshadowed the race back in July. Ten days before the election, he did it again, with a letter to Congress revealing that agents had found a new trove of emails that might be related to Clinton’s handling of classified data. In the end, the emails turned out to be nothing of significance, mostly just copies of messages the FBI already had reviewed, but Comey’s letter refocused the campaign on Clinton’s biggest liability. Whether that was the singular turning point of the campaign, as many Democrats believe, or one of several factors that eroded Clinton’s lead, as Trump’s pollster argues, there’s no question it had impact, and in a very close race, may have been decisive.

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Gordon Davidson, the death of a local icon

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

His whole body of work at the Taper made me feel it was the place to go.

— Alan Alda

Upon his death in October, Gordon Davidson was mourned, but, more than that he was memorialized. The founder of the Mark Taper Forum, he didn’t just help bring serious theater to Los Angeles, he helped build the connections that made Los Angeles a world class center of the arts.

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‘Oldchella’ in the desert

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

In the digital world, even classic rock has gone niche so it’s only fitting that the baby boomers get their own music festival with the relaxed-fit Desert Trip, scheduled over two long weekends in the fall.

The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Roger Waters were among the headliners, playing to tens of thousands of fans, some of whom paid up for well-padded chairs. But for all the jokes and teasing, Desert Trip was a hit with all ages.

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Dylan Wins the Nobel

... for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.

— Swedish Academy

(David Vincent / AP)

Long considered by many to be the people’s poet laureate, it became official in October when it was announced that Bob Dylan had won the Nobel Prize in Literature, redefining the nature of the prize just as he redefined American music and culture. But while the world gasped, Dylan remained Dylan; the day after winning, he played Vegas and subsequently announced he would not be attending the December awards ceremony.

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Confrontation and conflict

(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

LAPD disperses the crowd along Western and 107th Street after a vigil for Carnell Snell Jr., who was fatally shot by the LAPD during a vehicle pursuit.

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Desperate to escape

(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

On the Mexico-Guatemala border, migrants from Africa and Haiti cross the illicit Rio Suchiate on make-shift rafts .

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Hurricane Matthew ravages the East Coast

(John Raedle/Getty Images)

It had been the strongest hurricane to menace the Atlantic seaboard in nearly a decade. But by the time Hurricane Matthew touched land near McClellanville, S.C., and slogged up the Southeast coast in October, it had spent its most dangerous energy in the Caribbean.

Hundreds of people died when the storm — rated at Category 5 at its peak — ravaged impoverished Haiti. In the U.S., it was quickly downgraded to Category 1, but was still very wet and dangerous. The storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands, toppled trees and created torrential floods. It was blamed for more than 40 deaths in the U.S.

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The Rams return to L.A.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

After an absence of 22 years, the Rams returned to Los Angeles to the relief of many fans who still rooted for the team while they played in St. Louis.

It was a long, winding path to L.A. as NFL team owners debated two competing proposals: a stadium in Carson, which would allow the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers to move here, or one in Inglewood, allowing the St. Louis Rams to move. Ultimately, team owners voted in January to allow the Rams to move after they came up with a proposal that the NFL couldn’t refuse.

The Rams even had the first pick in the NFL draft and selected quarterback Jared Goff. Then the season started, and Rams fans began to realize the team that moved to L.A. wasn’t very good.

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Clinton wins first debate

I have a feeling by the end of this evening I am going to be blamed for everything that’s ever happened

— Hillary Clinton

Why not?

— Trump

Clinton led Trump coming out of their two conventions, but her lead dwindled in August. Then, in early September, as she battled what was later disclosed to be pneumonia, a video showed her nearly collapsing as she was helped into a van after a Sept. 11 memorial in New York. Trump’s poll standing shot upward. Coming into the debates, Clinton badly needed a boost, and she got one. Trump appeared rattled and ill prepared and Clinton successfully baited him into a fight with a former Miss Universe that dominated the following week of the campaign. Weeks later, Trump aides said that was their low point of the fall.

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For Wells Fargo, fines, hearings and a resignation

(Cliff Owen / Associated Press)

In December 2013, the Los Angeles Times uncovered a high-pressure sales environment at Wells Fargo Bank. The story led to a $185-million settlement in September and government investigations which revealed that bank workers has opened as many as 2 million accounts without customers’ knowledge. Former CEO John Stumpf resigned in October.

We are still waiting for answers as to how Wells Fargo plans to right its wrongs against customers and the low-paid employees who weren’t given the benefit of a retirement package when they were fired for refusing to cheat.

— Sen. Sherrod Brown

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And Gawker was no more

Gawker Media founder Nick Denton.
(Steve Nesius/Associated Press)

Gawker, the Internet’s loudest and most adversarial news outlet, shut down in August after 14 years in operation. Its parent company filed for bankruptcy after being hit with $140 million in legal damages after the site published a sex tape of pro wrestler Terry Bollea, known to the world as Hulk Hogan, and Bollea won a lawsuit in Florida.

The suit, ultimately settled for $31 million, was bankrolled by Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal, in retaliation against the site for outing him as gay back in the 2000s.

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Viacom: Sex, family feuds and a lovelorn billionaire

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

“Sumner Redstone, through vision and ability, has created an enormously important legacy. But what is so surprising is this lack of concern for the preservation of his legacy. When emotions kick in, rational thinking takes a back seat.”

— Raphael Amit, Wharton Business School professor

It’s a Hollywood tale for the ages, colored by power struggles, family rifts, sex and a vast fortune. That, in a nutshell, was the story of Viacom, the struggling media company whose assets include MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures. Sumner Redstone, the 93-year-old patriarch of a family that controls Viacom and CBS Corp, reunited with his daughter, Shari Redstone, after years of sniping to solidify control of their empire in August — forcing out former girlfriends and entrenched management.

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Ryan Lochte robbed in Rio! Wait, no he wasn’t

(Patrick B. Kraemer / EPA)

It was the story that dominated the last week of the Olympics and made everyone who read it feel like they needed to take a shower.

At first, the story Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte told was frightening. A late-night robbery in Rio, with a pistol pressed to his head while he bravely said “Whatever.”

Turns out the truth was a little different. Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers had done a little drinking and did some minor damage to a gas station restroom. Armed security guards confronted them, demanding payment.

Lochte invented the robbery story, which fed into the deepest fears that the Olympics in Rio were not safe. In the aftermath, Lochte apologized and U.S. Swimming suspended him from competition for 10 months.

I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons.

— Lochte

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U.S women upset in soccer, then embarrassed by Hope Solo

(Andressa Anholete / EPA)

It was bad enough when the U.S. soccer team, expected to cruise to the gold-medal match at the Summer Games, lost in the quarterfinals to Sweden. Then goalkeeper Hope Solo had to speak and prove she never learned about good sportsmanship.

We played a bunch of cowards. The best team did not win today. I strongly, firmly believe that. They didn’t want to pass the ball around. They didn’t want to play great soccer. It was very cowardly. But they won. They’re moving on. And we’re going home.

For her actions, Solo was suspended for six months and her contract with U.S. Soccer was terminated.

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Michael Phelps ends career with 23 Olympic gold medals

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

In August, in his final race at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, led the U.S. to victory in the 400-meter medley relay, ending his Olympic career with 28 medals, 23 of them gold. No other athlete in any sport has more than nine gold medals.

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Brazil political crisis

(Nelson Almeida / AFP/Getty Images)

I was no fan of Rousseff’s government. It made serious mistakes. But at least she was elected legitimately.

— Protester Michelle Brito

After months of bitterly contested proceedings, Brazil’s Senate voted in August to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office, marking a turbulent finale to 13 years of center-left government in Latin America’s largest country. Rousseff, a onetime guerrilla-turned-economist and the nation’s first female president, was convicted of breaking fiscal responsibility law. The more conservative vice president, Michel Temer, will serve out the rest of her term, which ends in 2018. The impeachment rocked a nation saddled by a crippling recession, an ongoing investigation into widespread corruption and a crisis of confidence in the political system — and it reached its boiling point just as Brazil was poised to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

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Zika reaches the United States

Larry Smart, a mosquito control inspector, uses an insecticide fogger to kill mosquitoes in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The United States became the latest frontier for the Zika virus when mosquitoes were found to be spreading the virus in a bustling neighborhood north of downtown Miami. Four infections diagnosed there in July were the first U.S. cases transmitted not from travel to an affected country or by intimate contact with an infected person, but by a local mosquito bite.

Another affected neighborhood in Miami, north of the area known as Little Haiti, was identified in October. In all, four zones of local transmission were identified in Miami. Then late in November, Brownsville, Texas identified a locally transmitted case. By year’s end, there were at least 185 U.S. cases of Zika contracted through mosquito bites, out of a total of nearly 4,600 cases across the continental U.S.

In a grim milestone, the World Health Organization declared in November that Zika no longer presents a “public health emergency” and should now be treated like other established infectious diseases. Not that it’s not serious, said Dr. Pete Salama, director of the WHO’s health emergencies program. “We’re sending the message that Zika is here to stay.”

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Gunmen target police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge

At the end of a peaceful protest against police killings of black men, a lone gunman targeting officers opened fire in Dallas, Texas, on July 7, killing five and wounding nine. The shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, a 25-year-old African American army reservist, told police that he had “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” Ten days later, another gunman set out to kill police officers in Baton Rouge, La. Gavin Eugene Long, a 29-year-old black separatist from Kansas City, Mo., ambushed officers less than a mile from the city’s police headquarters, leaving three dead and three injured.

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Rising tensions in the South China Sea

(Cao Jun / Los Angeles Times)

When Chinese customers begin boycotting Kentucky Fried Chicken, it’s a sign that an international dispute has hit home. And that is what happened at a KFC outlet in Tangshan, China, in July, as tensions spiked between the United States and China over maritime rights in the South China Sea.

Put simply, China claims maritime territory it doesn’t own — at least, an international court says it doesn’t. Countries throughout the part of Asia continued to dispute China’s claims, and they are backed by the U.S. Political tensions continued throughout the year. As for the chicken? That’s just collateral damage.

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