The Ukraine conflict, Islamic State (IS) group jihadists and the wider "collapse of the global order" will occupy the world's security community at an annual meeting in Germany from Friday.
Are Washington and Athens fighting the same fight against austerity?
Four months after President Ashraf Ghani was sworn in Afghanistan is still struggling to form a government, damaging the economy and miring the country in uncertainty as the Taliban insurgency continues.
Greece's new left-wing government can boast some high-profile allies, from Nobel economics laureates to U.S. President Barack Obama, in its controversial drive against austerity in Europe.
Washington is once again mulling military support to Ukraine after fierce offensives by Kremlin-backed rebels, but experts fear it will only justify Russian conspiracy theories and drive East and West closer to full-blown war.
Japan's failure to rescue two hostages beheaded by Islamic State (IS) militants has raised doubts about its ability to handle an international crisis, as the country reels from news of journalist Kenji Goto's killing.
There are some in Tehran convinced a final nuclear deal between Iran and world powers has already been sealed. Others are adamant there will never be a pact.
Less than a week after the victory of its hard-left ally Syriza in Greece, Spain's Podemos party launched an election-heavy year by assembling more than 100,000 supporters for a rally in Madrid.
Whatever happened to that reset button Hillary Clinton gave her Russian counterpart in 2009 as a sign of renewed ties? No doubt gathering dust, while the West figures out how to handle Moscow now.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un looks set to take an initial, tentative step onto the global stage with a visit in May to Russia -- his first trip abroad since coming to power three years ago.