From storms to politics, the year was a wild ride. What are the most meaningful US stories of 2012? Here's the Monitor's list, in roughly chronological order.
The expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank is driven by more than politics and security concerns. Religious Zionists say settling the land is ushering in a messianic age.
US Evangelicals' support for Jewish settlement of the West Bank has grown in the last decade or so, giving Israel greater traction in Washington.
The tiny states of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, having shed their Russian-dominated past and joined the EU and NATO, are looking to help their post-Soviet neighbors to do the same.
While the Baltics make economic and democratic strides, they also face growing pressure to better integrate their poor, disenfranchised Russian-speaking minorities.
Once the Prussian city of Königsberg but now separated from the rest of Russia by Lithuania and Poland, Kaliningrad occupies a peculiar space in Europe both geographically and psychologically.
Obama is unequivocal about his intent to refocus on US domestic issues during his second term. But the world is not likely to cooperate. Here are seven foreign-policy challenges already bearing down on him.
Hiring private contractors to repair homes quickly, New York responds to disaster relief in its own entrepreneurial way. Will the city be able to get people back in their homes before year's end?
As homeowners consider long-term solutions for superstorm Sandy damage, they may have to raise foundations – or move. Some flood experts say the latter may be the wiser course of action.
Armed resistance to Israel wins Hamas friends in the streets and among Arab neighbors.
Neither Israel nor Hamas has budged on long-held principles that make coexistence difficult and the prospects for lasting peace remote.
States have until Dec. 14 to decide whether they will implement their own insurance exchanges under 'Obamacare' or have the federal government do it. Many governors have already refused to set up exchanges.
The health-care law could strain household budgets, but drastic impacts on the US economy over the coming decade are unlikely, experts say.
The health-care reform law, aka Obamacare, is poised to enter a crucial 12 months that includes setting up state exchanges, levying taxes on the wealthy, and preparing for the individual mandate.
For centuries, griots have directed ceremonies, smoothed over disputes, and served as repositories of history and genealogy. Now in northern Mali they are out of a job.
Mali was hit by two successive shocks to its system this year – with the north seized by rebels and a coup in the capital – leaving its government fragile and the international community mulling intervention.
The party must come to grips with the 'demographic realities' reshaping the US electorate and devise new strategies for connecting with growing populations of minorities, single women, and youth.
In the aftermath of election 2012, four prominent Republicans share their visions for how the GOP can adapt its messaging to reflect a diversifying US electorate.
Across Latin America, women are confronting a rise in brutal attacks – as advocates struggle to sustain the progress that's been made in curbing violence against women.
Tackling sensitive topics through entertainment and fictional characters can make it easier to get people talking about how to deal with complicated or stigmatized problems, like domestic violence.
A first-of-its-kind study quantifies the intergenerational price tag of domestic violence. In a region of emerging economies, where GDP growth is paramount to success, could this motivate policymakers?
A sole joint committee between Israelis and Palestinians survives 17 years after the Oslo Accords: the one on water.
Damage from severe storms such as Sandy is likely to escalate by the end of the century as the population grows and people continue to build along the Eastern Seaboard.
After superstorm Sandy, New York officials look for long-term solutions against future floods from storm surges. Many options, little consensus.
Modeled after local drug or family courts, veterans courts are springing up, stressing rehabilitation and mentoring over jail time. Is it special treatment, or deserved consideration?