America suffered its 1,000th casualty since George W Bush announced an end to major combat in May 2003. The military launched a major offensive in Fallujah in an attempt to flush out insurgents in the Sunni-held town ahead of elections in January. America handed over authority to Iraq in late June but Iraqis complained of lack of electricity, water and security.


  Sudan was dubbed the worst current humanitarian crisis by the UN after tens of thousands were killed and a million people were forced to flee their homes in the western region of Darfur after fighting between Arab militias and rebels.


  Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced out of office and out of the country - one of the poorest in the world. A former priest, he was installed with the help of America before becoming deeply unpopular amid allegations of corruption. It was the second time the first freely elected president in 200 years of independence had been forced into exile.


  Nearly 200 commuters died in twin train bomb attacks in Madrid. The government’s immediate response was to blame the armed Basque separatist group ETA. Such a move is believed to have cost the Popular Party the election a few days later. The anti-Iraq war socialists swept to power.


  America’s moral authority in Iraq suffered a severe setback when photographs of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib jail were released.


  Sonia Gandhi shocked India when she turned down the premiership despite leading the Congress Party to a surprise election victory in the world’s biggest democracy. The Italian-born widow of Rajiv Gandhi, the former prime minister, showed the name still held sway in the country. Manmohan Singh, a Sikh economist, became the country’s first non-Hindu prime minister.


  Ten new countries joined the EU on May 1, bumping up membership to 25. Bulgaria and Romania concluded entry talks in December and are set to join in 2008. A date of 2008 was given for talks to possibly begin on Turkey’s entry.


  America lost its former president, Ronald Reagan, after many years of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He has been lauded as having won the Cold War during the 1980s.


  The hurricane season brought havoc to Florida and the Caribbean. Hurricane Charley in August killed 26 people in the American sunshine state. A month later hurricanes Frances and Ivan, as well as tropical storm Jeanne, left 2,000 dead in Haiti and at least 60 dead across Cuba, Jamaica and Grenada.


  More than 300 adults and children were killed after terrorists took siege of a school in Beslan, Russia. The suspected Chechen separatists rigged School Number 1’s gym with explosives. Many of those who died at the end of the three-day siege were shot as they ran for safety after a bomb accidentally exploded.


  Troubles in Iraq and the economy did not stop Mr Bush winning the US presidential election, defeating Democratic candidate John Kerry after taking the key swing state of Ohio. Major figures to resign after the election included Colin Powell, the secretary of state.


  Chaos surrounded the funeral of Yasser Arafat as tens of thousands of mourners stormed the Ramallah compound to get a chance to touch the Palestinian leader’s coffin. Mr Arafat, a soldier turned politician, had died in a Paris military hospital from an undisclosed illness at the age of 75.


  Hundreds of thousands took to the streets of the Ukraine in freezing temperatures to overturn the presidential election result. The Western leaning