George W. Bush, his approval rating already on the rebound, opens his new presidential library to good reviews, and with all four other living presidents in attendance.
The lives of four Afghans provide a lens on how America's longest conflict has changed a nation – and the divisions and dangers that persist.
How the post-cold-war era has given birth to smaller, messier conflicts; and how the Quran burning incident in Afghanistan could have been much worse. Seriously.
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.
A commercial jet passes the moon as seen from Daytona Beach, Fla.
President Hamid Karzai's speech was interrupted by gunfire and nearby rocket explosions. He called for the Afghanistan Taliban to disassociate themselves with Al Qaeda and join the government.
There is growing concerns that Al Qaeda in Africa and Latin American drug cartels are working together. Latin American cocaine flights go to Africa, en route to Europe. Are Al Qaeda members on the empty planes back to Latin America?
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab – the terror suspect who allegedly tried to blow up a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day – hails from Nigeria in West Africa. The Monitor takes a look at how the fight against Al Qaeda is going in the region.