Monitor staff writers and correspondents in each of the world's regions share what they expect to be top headlines in 2011.
In many ways, 2010 is a year you may want to relegate to the filing cabinet quickly. It began with a massive earthquake in Haiti and wound down with North Korea once again being an enfant terrible – bizarrely trying to conduct diplomacy through brinkmanship. In between came Toyota recalls and egg scares, pat downs at airports and unyielding unemployment numbers, too little money in the Irish treasury and too many bedbugs in American sheets. Oil gushed from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico for three months, mocking the best intentions of man and technology to stop it, while ash from a volcano in Iceland darkened Europe temporarily as much as its balance sheets. Yet not all was gloomy. The winter Olympics in Canada and the World Cup in South Africa dazzled with their displays of athletic prowess and national pride, becoming hearths around which the world gathered. In Switzerland, the world's largest atom smasher hurled two protons into each other at unfathomable speeds. Then came the year's most poignant moment – the heroic and improbable rescue of 33 miners from the clutches of the Chilean earth. There were many transitions, too – the return of the Republicans in Washington and the Tories in Britain, the scaling back of one war (Iraq) and the escalation of another (Afghanistan), the fall of some powers (Greece) and rise of others (China, Germany, Lady Gaga). To get the new year off to the right start, we decided to ask various thinkers for one idea each to make the world a better place in 2011. We plumbed poets and political figures, physicists and financiers, theologians and novelists. Some of the ideas are provocative, others quixotic. Some you will agree with, others you won't. But in the modest quest to stir a discussion – from academic salons to living rooms to government corridors – we offer these 25 ideas.
Mexico is taking action to halt a rise in corn prices and prevent a repeat of the so-called 'tortilla riots' of 2007, when tortillas became difficult to afford for many Mexicans.
Human rights activists in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico's most violent city, say their cause will not be silenced by the death of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, who was shot dead last week while demanding justice in her daughter's unsolved killing.
The release of Diego Fernández de Cevallos, a former presidential candidate who was kidnapped in May, is good news. But Mexicans are deeply concerned about kidnappings, which are up dramatically.
Miguel Caballero, the designer and owner of an eponymous line of bulletproof fashion apparel, offered to shoot the reporter to prove his point.
A Mexican mother protesting for justice in her daughter's unsolved death was killed last night, adding to what was already the deadliest year in Mexico's drug war.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms wants gun dealers on the southern border to report bulk sales of assault weapons for six months. These semiautomatic rifles are popular with Mexican drug cartels. More than the AFT's temporary measure is needed.
The Chile fire, started by rioting prisoners, has drawn fresh attention to the poor conditions, lack of guards, and gang violence rampant in Latin American jails.
The hurdles that Madonna overcame to open Hard Candy Fitness are emblematic of the long ride of permits, stamps, and waits faced by business owners in Mexico.