(Eugene Hoshiko / AP)

As ‘offspring of choice,’ pets in Japan are showered with holiday gifts

Pet stores in the West don’t miss the chance to sell holiday gifts for pooches. But Japan takes Christmas for pets to a whole new level.

    In a strategic valley, a glimpse of Afghan troops’ future

    No longer aided by U.S. forces, an Afghan battalion struggles to hold on to its gains near the capital.

    Raúl Castro insists Cuba won’t abandon communism

    The detente may not overturn the island’s politics but will improve U.S. standing in the region, analysts say.

    U.S. asks China to help combat North Korean hacking

    Kim Jong Un’s regime denies any role in the Sony hack and demands that the U.S. partner it in an investigation.

    More World News

    Facebook blocks page supporting Putin's biggest critic

    Facebook blocks page supporting Putin's biggest critic

    The move is a sign of limits on the social network's ability to be a platform for opposition movements.

    Despite economy, Putin rides wave of popularity

    Despite economy, Putin rides wave of popularity

    After Crimea, the Russian president’s approval ratings are sky-high. But the West is newly united against him.

    North Korea calls for joint probe with U.S. into Sony hack

    North Korea calls for joint probe with U.S. into Sony hack

    Pyongyang warned of “serious consequences” if the U.S. continued to accuse it of launching the cyberattack on the movie studio. Analysts dismissed North Korea’s plan as typical posturing.

    Syria’s ancient sites, damaged by war, now draw looters

    Syria’s ancient sites, damaged by war, now draw looters

    Mesopotamian city and chapel with early images of Jesus among plundered Syrian heritage

    Retaliatory airstrikes kill more Pakistan militants

    Retaliatory airstrikes kill more Pakistan militants

    More Pakistan Taliban militants were killed early Saturday, but the U.S. hasn’t claimed responsibility.

    Israel carries out airstrike on Hamas site in Gaza

    Israel’s military attacked a Hamas site in the Gaza Strip early Saturday.

    Battle for the minds of young Muslims

    Battle for the minds of young Muslims

    As the Islamic State’s ruthless ideology radiates from the Middle East, a mosque in Berlin and countless others across the West face new fault lines in a conflict that moderates don’t always win.

    More World stories

    Multimedia

    High in the Himalayas

    Trekking the Annapurna Circuit is not nearly as grueling of an adventure as climbing Everest. But as last week’s death shows, it is certainly not without risks.

    Foreign fighters flow to Syria

    An estimated 15,000 militants from at least 80 nations are believed to have entered Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Related story.

    Refuge: Stories from the Syrian exodus

    Refugees from Syria’s civil war are remaking the political, economic and religious landscape in the Mideast.

    Photos from Around the World

    Inside North Korea

    Westerners have only glimpses of life in the closed-off country.

    Fighting the ‘invisible arm’ of the Islamic State

    The story of a Berlin mosque illustrates Muslim communities’ battle to save youths from the pull of extremists.

    Best news photos of the week

    A look at some of our favorite images of the week.

    Day in photos

    Baby cheetah quadruplets, reaction to new U.S. policy on Cuba, vigil for the homeless and more.

    Holiday decorations around the world

    With lights, greenery and gingerbread, cities around the globe celebrate the holiday season.

    Day in photos

    A gingerbread VW bus, Alan Gross returns home, N.Y. bans fracking and more top images.

    U.S., Cuba move to end decades of enmity

    The two nations exchange prisoners and begin to overhaul relations.

    Bank attack in Afghanistan

    Five insurgents stormed a bank in the southern city of Lashkar Gah, killing at least 10 people and wounding 15.

    Some of 2014’s best animal photos

    Memorable photos from this year.

    Day in photos

    Tango for Pope Francis, Duchess Catherine promotes disability awareness, feed poisons Fla. horses and more.

    Taliban storm elite army high school in Pakistan

    Attack kills 132 students and nine teachers or staff members with scores more injured, Pakistani officials say.

    Day in photos

    Holiday decorations, concert for panda triplets, Mariah Carey sings, independent coal miners in Bosnia and more.

    Clashes continue over missing students in Mexico

    Protesters press the government to find students who disappeared in September.

    Day in photos

    December dress dip, Miss World, Cannabis fair, Kobe Bryant passes Michael Jordan on scoring list and more.

    Landslide causes deaths in Indonesia

    At least 30 dead, dozens missing after heavy rain causes mudslide.

    A 50-day war that will last forever

    The summer conflict between Israel and Hamas had an extraordinary effect on kids. Here are the reactions of 8.