As 2011 draws to a close, weâ€™d like to look back at some of the notable people who died this year. These videos highlight their achievements and honor their legacies.
Screen siren â€“ Elizabeth Taylor is remembered not only as a strikingly beautiful Academy Award-winning actress, but also as a compassionate and devoted advocate for HIV/AIDS research.
Elizabeth Taylor's funeral on Thursday caught many media outlets by surprise, prompting news helicopters, news vans and crews to scrambleÂ in front of Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California.
We waited outside the wrought-iron gates under threatening skies in for nearly two hours for the funeral procession of five black limos.
Still photographers with long lenses lined both sides of the street, shutters clicking while camera crews shot the limos as they glided through the entrance.
The procession was small and quick. There was no hearse, and a law enforcement officer later confirmed the family rode in the limos.
These are the same gates where we, members of the media, stood in front of when pop star Michael Jackson was buried. The longtime friends will be entombed in the same building.
The family leaves after saying its final goodbyes, and so do we, before the rain starts.
Gregg Canes is a photojournalist for CNN in Los Angeles.
Elizabeth Taylor tributes - Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor, who died Wednesday, is remembered not only for her beauty and her acting career, but also for her early AIDS activism and her sometimes overlooked time as a glamorous political wife in Washington. Recently retired CNN interviewer Larry King called his friend Taylor "a helluva woman."
Obama returns home to criticism over Libya - President Barack Obama is back in the White House after his five-day trip to Latin America. Waiting for him on his return was a letter from House Speaker John Boehner that criticizes the administration's handling of the situation in Libya. "Military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America's role is in achieving that mission," Boehner wrote. Other conservatives also criticized the conduct of the attacks, as did liberals in Congress: "We will fight in Congress to ensure the United States does not become embroiled in yet another destabilizing military quagmire in Libya with no clear exit plan or diplomatic strategy for peace," a group of them said.
Japan disaster - The level of radioactive iodine in Tokyo's water has dropped significantly, the city says, and Japan's top OB/GYN group says it's OK for pregnant and nursing womenÂ to drink it. However, Russia, Hong Kong, the United States and others are restricting Japanese food imports. Meanwhile, damage-control work has resumedÂ at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where black smoke had forced workers out on Wednesday.
Conrad Murray prosecution - Jury selection is scheduled to begin Thursday in the manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician accused of giving the late pop singer Michael Jackson a fatal dose of anesthesia. Hundreds of potential jurors will be screened in Los Angeles County Superior Court.Â They will be given extended questionnaires about their knowledge of the case and other issues. The trial is slated to begin May 9.
Space shuttle Endeavour - The crew of the space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday in Houston ahead of next month's final mission for the spacecraft. Mark Kelly, husband of wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will command the mission, set for launch April 19Â from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This will be the 36th shuttle mission to the international space station and the final mission for Endeavour, as the shuttle program ends this year.