The number of Americans asserting their right to carry concealed guns has exploded – from less than a million a few decades ago to as many as 11 million now. There's evidence that gun prevalence can deter crime, but preventable tragedies perturb.
Japan's prime minister is credited with reviving its deflated economy. He's also accused of setting Japan on a collision course with China. The reality is more complex.
Japan's Shinzo Abe is one of the strongest leaders in its postwar history. Here are some events that have shaped his worldview.
Until he executed his powerful uncle last month, Kim 'could call up Dennis Rodman but he couldn't call up military strikes,' says one observer. Now concern is rising about the secretive leader.
Two young women – teenager Jahi McMath in California and mother Marlise Munoz in Texas – have both been deemed brain-dead, a final state according to statutes. But both cases have spawned legal fights.
Abdalla Kamal, who stood up to Hosni Mubarak and to the military, and took a bullet for the revolution, says he's done with political activism.
Nour al-Deen, who works in a coffee shop in a working class Cairo neighborhood, supported the 2011 ouster of Egypt's military-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak. Now he regrets it.
Sally Toma was in the forefront of protests against Egypt's Hosni Mubarak in 2011. She still hopes for fundamental change, but says activists like her have been sidelined.
Two years ago, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood was on a high, poised to win the presidency. Now, the movement has been outlawed. But activists like 'Layla' say they will fight on.
Mohamed Mohsen was glad that mass protests helped drive Hosni Mubarak from power in early 2011. Now he's happy that Egypt's military is back in charge.
Potential fallout from revelations about the NSA's aggressive surveillance activities could be far-reaching, including billions in lost business for American tech giants. What other less-obvious consequences for the cyber realm?
Since mid-2009, some 95 percent of all US income gains have gone to the top 1 percent. Now, even powerful financiers are alarmed by the increased income inequality between rich and poor.
The Syrian opposition is fragmented, the regime's core appears coup-resistant, and the West fears President Bashar al-Assad less than the radical Islamist alternative.
The year just finished was a brighter one in Europe compared to the economic gloom of 2012. But support for the European Union continued to decline - perhaps to the benefit of far-right parties.
Venezuela lost its leftist leader and the country lost regional influence as oil production continued to fall.
It was a tough year, led by the horrific death toll of the Syrian civil war. Many of the same challenges face 2014 - but with a possible bright spot in an interim nuclear deal with Iran.
The Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya was one example of how gains in prosperity in some African nations could be threatened by violence.
Military posturing between Japan and China was among the key flashpoints in 2013 - and a sign of a regional rivalry that's unlikely to cool down.
Here are 10 top stories Americans followed in 2013, ranked by respondents to a Monitor/TIPP poll according to the percentage who said they followed the story very closely.
Starting in 2014, it will be legal to sell marijuana over the counter in two US states to anyone over 21. Colorado and Washington spent a year crafting a regulatory framework they hope will pass federal muster. Now, the testing day is almost here.
Everything from Advent calendars to gingerbread houses hails from German-speaking Europe. Now another German tradition – the Christmas market – is growing in popularity.
Nearly half of Americans believe there's a 'war on Christmas,' while 9 out of 10 celebrate the holiday, polls show. Navigating the culture wars in the holiday season is as perilous as ever.
Jack Chibi has figured out how to profit from the foreign investment pouring into Zambia's copper-mining sector.
Typhoon Haiyan sparked renewed debate over how much food aid should be sourced locally.
Governments from Myanmar to Zambia are pushing for international aid organizations to work with local companies as they pour in billions in aid and investment.