Pope Francis faces a tough 2016, Vatican insiders say, with no let-up in his physically demanding schedule or the political battles over his efforts to modernize the Church.
French President Francois Hollande's call for convicted terrorists to lose their citizenship if they have a second nationality has triggered an uproar among those who see him adopting right-wing ideas that recall dark moments in France's history.
The Islamic State group's self-proclaimed caliphate is far from dead but back-to-back losses in Syria and Iraq have turned a series of setbacks for the jihadists into a losing streak.
The Central African Republic votes Wednesday in presidential polls, in which all leading candidates have vowed to reunite a nation torn and terrified by unprecedented sectarian strife.
In a year of crises for Europe, from the Ukraine war to Greece's debt turmoil to the historic refugee influx, Germany's Angela Merkel emerged as the continent's de facto leader, drawing more praise and fire than ever.
The killing of Syrian rebel chief Zahran Alloush, fiercely opposed to both the regime and the Islamic State group, has eliminated a key bulwark against the jihadists and could derail U.N.-brokered peace talks, analysts say.
Spain's Socialists hold the key to the next government after an inconclusive election but whether they reach a deal with the conservatives or team up with the anti-austerity party Podemos, they risk losing support, analysts say.
It was an irresistible promise: elect me, I'll bring back Japan's once-soaring economy and restore its battered national pride.
Thought to be on the wane a decade ago, blogs in 2015 are alive and well as a powerful voice driving change in politics, human rights and lifestyle choices across the globe.
There are hopes that Sunday's election can bring an end to brutal sectarian unrest in the Central African Republic -- but many voters are also looking for a president who can improve their precarious daily lives.