2016 in pictures: A look back at the top news events of the year

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Elections, referendums, terrorism, conflict: It's been a turbulent year.

From the Middle East to mainland Europe, CNBC takes a look at some of 2016's most striking photographs, such as this image from March, which shows life jackets and boats used by refugees to cross the sea from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos.

January: 'El Chapo' recaptured

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In January, drug lord Joaquin Guzman Loera – otherwise known as "el Chapo" – was recaptured by Mexican marines.

El Chapo – one of the world's most wanted men – had been on the run since July 2015, when he escaped a maximum security prison. He now faces extradition to the United States.

February: A new home

Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images

This year has seen migrants and refugees – many fleeing vicious conflicts, persecution and economic hardship – continue to make dangerous journeys across land and sea to reach Europe.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees – the UN Refugee Agency – Europe has seen more than 350,000 arrivals by sea in 2016 and over 4,800 people are either dead or missing.

In this image, taken on February 23, a child cries as the rubber boat he was travelling on reaches the Greek island of Lesbos.

March: Terror in Brussels

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In March, terrorists attacked the Belgian capital Brussels, killing 32 people.

The attacks – claimed by the so-called Islamic State terrorist group – targeted Brussels Zaventem airport as well as the city's metro system.

This image shows flight attendant Nidhi Chapekhar injured and covered in debris, moments after two suicide bombers struck the airport. Chapekhar went on to recover from her injuries.

April: 'Sometimes it snows in April'

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On April 21, the multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer Prince died at his home in Minnesota. He was 57.

The past year has seen the world say goodbye to a host of iconic figures, from David Bowie in January and Leonard Cohen in November .to George Michael in December.

Other well-known names to pass in 2016 include boxing legend Muhammad Ali, "To Kill A Mockingbird" author Harper Lee and "The Brady Bunch" actress Florence Henderson.

May: Leicester win the English Premier League

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In one of the greatest sporting upsets in more than half a century, Leicester City – a small, unfashionable soccer club from the English midlands – won the English Premier League.

The team, managed by Italian Claudio Ranieri, finished ahead of more established sides such as Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.

On May 16, thousands of fans took to the streets of Leicester to see their team parade through the city in an open-top bus.

June: Nigel Farage celebrates Brexit

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In a result that shocked many, the U.K. voted to leave the 28-member European Union (EU) in June.

Here, the U.K. Independence Party's Nigel Farage – a politician heavily involved with the campaign to leave the EU – celebrates the result at a party in central London.

July: Terror comes to Nice

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On the night of July 14, a terrorist drove a truck through crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day in the coastal city of Nice, France.

When the attack was over – the terrorist was eventually shot dead by French police – 86 people had been killed and hundreds injured.

August: A child's despair in Syria

Mahmud Raslan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

More than five years after it began, the conflict in Syria continues to rage.

This picture of injured Syrian child Omran Daqneesh was taken in the city of Aleppo. It has come to symbolize the horror of a war that has left hundreds of thousands – many of them children – dead. A ceasefire brokered by Russia

By the end of the year, a cease-fire secured in Aleppo led to the evacuation of thousands of civilians and rebel fighters. Then, as 2016 drew to a close, Russia brokered an end to fighting across all of Syira ahead of peace talks between the government and opposition forces.

September: North Korea tests nuclear weapon

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On September 9, 2016, North Korea's official news agency announced it had tested a miniaturized nuclear warhead.

In this photo, reportedly taken on September 13, thousands of North Korean military personnel hold a rally in Pyongyang to celebrate the test.

October: Clearing 'The Jungle'

Philippe Huguen | AFP | Getty Images

October saw French authorities launch an operation to dismantle and clear a notorious camp in Calais known as "The Jungle".

The camp was home to thousands of refugees and migrants looking to start a new life in Britain.

Here, former residents overlook the burning remnants of the place they had called home.

November: Trump wins

Ahmad Al-Rubaye | AFP | Getty Images

On November 8, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential election, winning crucial states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina along the way.

Here, Iraqi troops – battling to retake the city of Mosul from the so-called Islamic State – watch Trump give his victory speech on November 9.

December: Berlin reels

Odd Andersen | AFP | Getty Images

On the night of December 19 a truck drove into crowds at a Christmas market in the German capital of Berlin, killing at least 12 people and leaving dozens injured.

On the same day, Russia's ambassador in Ankara was shot and killed by a gunman while giving a speech at an art gallery.