The Afghan government says the next phase of transferring security from NATO to Afghan control will begin in two months.
Several Chinese rights activists have broken through a security cordon to visit the wife of jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is herself under house arrest.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a controversial new law on education.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is using her New Year's broadcast to warn Germany's citizens that Europe's economic turmoil "is not overcome by a long stretch."
U.S. President Barack Obama has signed into law a five-year extension of the United States government's authority to monitor the overseas activities of suspected foreign spies and terrorists.
Two days after visiting the site of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he will allow new nuclear power plants to be constructed in the country.
Explosions across Iraq have killed at least 22 people and wounded dozens more.
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro spoke on state television on December 30 to announce President Hugo Chavez has suffered "new complications" after cancer surgery in Cuba.
The last day of 2012 has arrived in Washington where lawmakers now have less than 24 hours to reach a deal that would prevent the U.S. from going over the so-called "fiscal cliff."
Iranian officials say a small American commercial plane made an emergency landing earlier this month in southwestern Iran after facing technical problems.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been admitted to a hospital with a blood clot following a concussion she sustained earlier this month.
The international peace envoy for Syria has urged the global community to accept a proposal for ending the brutal 21-month conflict.