Snow covers bicycles on a bridge in Amsterdam's city center. Most schools in the Netherlands will close their doors Friday for two weeks of Christmas holidays.
Shiite women take part in a reenactment of the battle of Kerbala during an Ashura procession in Istanbul. Thousands of Shiite Muslims gathered in Istanbul's Halkali district to commemorate the Ashura religious festival, the day when Imam Hussein, one of the prophet Mohammad's grandsons, was killed during a battle in AD 680 in Kerbala, a city in modern-day Iraq.
South Korean postmen dressed as Santa Claus leave the post office headquarters on motorbikes to deliver Christmas gifts to poor people for their charity campaign in Seoul, South Korea. The campaign involves about 50 postmen.
Iraq's leaders met to try to break a political deadlock that has left Iraqis vulnerable to escalating violence, including two car bombings today.
Iraq's new US ambassador has been welcomed by Iraqi political leaders, who criticized his predecessor for not being actively engaged in the political process.
A wave of Iraq suicide bombings and other attacks largely targeted the police on Wednesday, leaving at least 41 Iraqis dead in 7 different provinces. A poll shows that a majority of Iraqis say the US is withdrawing combat troops too soon.
Jawad Kadhim is a third-generation date-palm tree doctor, one of a dwindling number in Iraq's capital. His job offers a unique window on how the sectarian violence has changed behavior in the various neighborhoods of Baghdad.
An eight-hour firefight at Bagram Air Base killed an American contractor and injured nine US servicemen.
Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the Monitor that a 9/11-style plot to hijack commercial airliners and fly them into Shiite shrines in Najaf and Karbala has been uncovered. US officials say the plot appeared to be in the early planning stages.
As part of a de-Baathification purge, six candidates who won seats in the Iraq election may be removed. That would cost Iyad Allawi's bloc its narrow victory over incumbent Nouri al-Maliki.