Onlookers view a live screening of a Christmas carol service outside St. Paul's Cathedral in central London on Thursday. This is the first time the iconic building, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, is screening the annual carol service, as a huge demand for seats this year has exceeded supply, according to the cathedral. Toby Melville/Reuters
Two travelers speak with a Virgin Atlantic ticketing agent at San Francisco International Airport after a canceled flight to London Heathrow airport on Wednesday. Disruptions to flights and high-speed train travel in continental Europe and Britain, have created travel chaos for tens of thousands of travelers in the busy Christmas period following heavy weekend snowfalls. Stephen Lam/Reuters
Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (l.) listens to Bo Inge Andersson, CEO of GAZ Group, as he sits inside a vehicle under assembly at the GAZ car factory in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday. Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Reuters
South Korean soldiers march after air and ground military exercises on the Seungjin fire training field, in mountainous Pocheon on Thursday. Wally Santana/Reuters
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (c.), flanked by delegates, attends the opening session of the 11th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) summit in Istanbul, Turkey, on Thursday. Umit Bektas/Reuters
Nick Ducca digs out his driveway the day after heavy rains and flooding brought mud and debris down his street in Highland, Calif., on Thursday. Alex Gallardo/Reuters
Venezuelan riot guards take cover behind shields as they break up a student protest against Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, in Caracas on Thursday. Venezuelan security forces fired a water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of students protesting against a new law tightening the government's control over universities. Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
People dressed as zebras rest in the center of La Paz, Bolivia, on Thursday. About a hundred people dressed as zebras, took up positions at the city's main intersections, to help pedestrians cross roads and to teach drivers to stop as part of a new campaign by City Hall to relieve traffic chaos. David Mercado/Reuters
Traffic police officers dressed in Christmas outfits ride their motorcycles to a Christmas celebration organized by the police institution for underprivileged children in Lima, Peru, on Thursday. Pilar Olivares/Reuters
Palestinian children hold balloons during a march for peace near Manger Square in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Thursday. Ammar Awad/Reuters
Passengers rest on the floor and chairs at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Thursday. Fernando Donasci/Reuters
Pedestrians walk across 5th Avenue while shopping in New York on Wednesday. Several US retailers reported higher-than-expected sales for November, confirming a strong start to a holiday shopping season that could determine whether the nation's economy is recovering. Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Sophisticated and lethal, growing in number, Islamic State and other extremist groups won't become a global force. Here's why.
BySeth G. Jones, Contributor
Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State Group/AP
Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim looked like any ubiquitous insurgent commander in southern Afghanistan. He had a sunbaked complexion, serried black beard, charcoal eyes, and the usual accessory – an AK-47 slung over his shoulder.