The top 10 national and world news stories as voted in the Associated Press’ annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors:
Health-care overhaul: The White House had hoped the Oct. 1 launch of open enrollment would be a showcase for the upside of President Barack Obama’s much-debated Affordable Care Act. Instead, the website became a symbol of dysfunction, providing Republicans with ammunition and worrying the president’s Democratic allies.
Boston Marathon bombing: Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April. Three people were killed and more than 260 injured, including at least 16 who lost limbs. Authorities soon identified two suspects — Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who died in a shootout with police, and his wounded brother, Dzhokhar, 20, who was captured after a citywide lockdown.
Vatican changeover: Pope Benedict XVI stunned Catholics around the world with his announcement in February that he would resign. The cardinal elected to succeed him, soon known as Pope Francis, proceeded to captivate many Catholics and non-Catholics alike with a new tone of openness, modesty and tolerance.
Divided congress: A seemingly intractable partisan conflict in Congress led to harsh automatic spending curbs known as sequestration, the partial shutdown of the government in October, and the weakening of the filibuster as a means to stall presidential nominations.
NSA spying: Former NSA analyst Edward Snowden leaked vast troves of secret documents detailing NSA surveillance operations, then went into hiding — eventually obtaining asylum in Russia.
Gay marriage: Capping decades of activism, the gay-rights movement was buoyed by two Supreme Court decisions in June. In subsequent months, Hawaii, Illinois and New Mexico boosted the number of states allowing gay marriage to 17.
Nelson Mandela: The icon of the anti-apartheid movement and South Africa’s first black president died at the age of 95, prompting worldwide mourning.
Philippines typhoon: Typhoon Haiyan was stunning in its scope after it struck Nov. 8. More than 6,000 people died; hundreds more remain missing. The homes of more than 16 million people were damaged or destroyed.
Syria: The death toll surpassed 120,000 as Syria’s nearly 3-year-old civil warfare raged with no signs of resolution. The government of Bashar Assad did agree to eliminate its chemical weapons.
Missing women found: Ariel Castro’s abduction and imprisonment of three women from the streets of Cleveland unraveled with a call for help. Castro pleaded guilty to multiple charges, and in September, faced with life in prison, hanged himself in his cell.