It's time for gift-giving and year-end celebrations, so take our latest Week to Week news quiz and see who's giving what to whom.
Now that Crimea is firmly in the Russian column, it is to be hoped that the Kremlin will provide both peoples with as much local autonomy as possible in line with earlier pledges.
Historians may look back and see 2014 as the tipping point when the world started falling apart instead of coming together. Visionary scientists remain enthusiastic that, thanks to converging new technologies from artificial intelligence to regenerative medicine, genetic synthesis and green energy, our civilization is on the threshold of a new and harmonious singularity. Yet, all around us the signs of splintering abound in revived nationalisms, ardent religious wars and the reappearance of geopolitical blocs. Even the global connectivity of the Internet once thought to embody a world spirit is balkanizing.
In denouncing Obama's Cuba initiative, Republican political figures have planted themselves firmly in the past, just as they had denounced diplomatic ties with China and the Panama Canal treaty.
Santa huddled with his legal team, the elves and Mrs. Claus wondering whether to bow to the group's demands. Cancel Christmas? Sure, the holiday had descended into a blur of Labor Day Christmas sales. But foregoing his yearly journey would mean disappointing millions of children.
Ready to sing your way through the latest news? Here's your chance! And-a-one, and-a-two, and... ...
Loath as we are to admit it, there was no single Biggest Winner Of 2014, because the award must be handed, collectively, to the Republican Party. A case could be made for Mitch McConnell, since he will win the biggest prize of any Republican next year: control of the United States Senate.
Why are anti-Islam rallies taking place in a part of Germany where there are almost no Muslims? One explanation might be that having little experience with Muslims, the inhabitants of Dresden are frightened of any newcomers, especially refugees from Syria. But other factors merit consideration.
It took an insolent Hollywood comedy mocking the surreal character of North Korea's Kim Jong Un to awaken us to the dangers of a new code war, a war in which geopolitical and geo-cultural battles will be duked out in cyberspace. As Alec Ross, America's top digital diplomat when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, writes this week in The WorldPost, "the weaponization of code is the most significant development in warfare since the weaponization of fissile material." Other battles are also shaping up to determine the contours of our digital future. Lu Wei, China's Internet czar, makes his case for sovereign rule over cyberspace. Amy Chang examines how the Chinese campaign for "Internet sovereignty" will rupture the World Wide Web. (continued)
Now is the time to start a new American initiative with regards to Syria, but even today, the advice should be to do it in cooperation with Russia. In the past, Putin was at the helm, and Obama seemed to be weak, and now it may be completely different.
The west owes it to the Russian people not to give up and keep pressing Vladimir Putin, until he changes course.
Mr. Bieber obtained an O-1 nonimmigrant visa in order to temporarily remain in the United States. To qualify for an O-1 visa he just had to demonstrate distinction: a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered. Lucky for him, Randy Jackson was his adjudicator.
What do you do when the ruble is in free fall, and your panicky population is buying up consumer goods and foreign currency? If you are President Vladimir Putin, you get a facial, a manicure, a make-up artist and make a jingoistic video ahead of your Thursday press conference:
The soft power of America's open society has once again come to the rescue of its hard power misadventures, this time by coming clean on the post-9/11 practice of torture. As China and several other countries intensify their crackdown on the Internet and open expression in general, the U.S. offers a lesson: honest criticism fortifies the legitimacy of government, not weakens it, because it assures an avenue for self-correction. In The WorldPost this week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who led the charge as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee that released the controversial torture report, writes that "torture goes against the very soul of our country." Howard Fineman reports why Sen. John McCain, a leading Republican and POW during the Vietnam War, also believes torture is a "stain" on America's national honor -- and ineffective to boot. (continued)
2014 was full of Hollywood stars behaving oddly (See Shia LaBeouf and Amanda Bynes) and loads of fake viral videos. But this year saw fabrication with dead-serious ripple effects as well. Here are the prevaricators who rose to the top of the LieSpotting list this year:
Are western sanctions over Russia's support of Eastern Ukraine separatists, the declining price of oil, and the sharp decline of the ruble causing significant enough pressure on the Russian economy to change Putin's stance on the Ukraine?