‘The election had been called by Netanyahu not so much to steal a march on a rejuvenated opposition to his left but to strengthen his hand in dealings with cabinet allies to his right.’ Above: supporters of Benjamin Natanyahu cheer as they hear the first  predictions of the Israeli election results. Photograph: Abir Sultan/EPA

‘He told the crowd he would work to take care of the welfare of all Israeli citizens’

‘The contest to run the fourth largest city in the US has pitted President Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, against an opponent not from the Republican Party, but a Democrat on his left, in an election that has been about austerity and cutbacks with parallels to the remarkable victory of of radical community activist Bill de Blasio in New York in 2013.’ Photograph: REUTERS/Jim Young

Jesús “Chuy” García takes on Rahm Emanuel in race foreshadowing White House battle

‘If it is okay to repair faulty mitochondrial DNA, the slippery slope argument goes, then what about other genetic diseases caused by faults in nuclear DNA?’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘If the House of Lords backs the licensing of the procedure the UK will be the first state in the world to embrace the new techniq(...)

 ‘In Germany establishment parties have ruled out co-operation with Pegida, the German acronym for “Patriotic Europeans Against Islamisation of the West”.’ Supporters of the Pegida movement waves flags while they gather for a march in their first Berlin demonstration,  following  marches in Dresden.  Photograph:  Carsten Koall/Getty Images

This week mosques have been bombed in Sweden, in Dresden thousands of anti-immigrant marchers demand a halt the ‘Islamisation of t(...)

‘There is the danger that in conceding that freedoms can rightly be limited we turn the discussion into one in which we are considering how much the victim of an attack on freedom of speech like Charlie Hebdo was to blame for its own fate.’ Above, a woman holds a placard   in front of the French embassy in Rome. Photograph:  Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

‘The appalling massacre at Charlie Hebdo promises to make 2015 yet more deadly for journalists’

An anti-Castro Cuban exile in Florida holds a Cuban flag during a protest after the announcement of the restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and United States. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Possible eventual loss of strategic foothold will not have pleased Vladimir Putin

In happier times: Franklin Foer, right, with Chris Hughes, in May 2012. Photograph: James Estrin/The New York Times

‘Chris Hughes decided to bring the venerable, once-liberal US political journal into the 21st century online age by firing editor(...)

‘Last year, the Swiss government apologised after decades of silence about the scope and inhumanity of the policy.’ Photograph: Getty Images

Opinion: ‘Until the 1930s the allocation of many of the children to farmers in search of cheap labour was done through auction at (...)

Key players: former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbatchev, former US president George Bush and former German chancellor Helmut Kohl

The prospect of a united Germany faced huge hostility but became a reality just 11 months after the Berlin Wall fell

‘By Friday, reckoning discretion to be the better part of valour, Orbán  abandoned the new tax altogether. People power.’ Above, earlier in the week tens of thousands of Hungarians held up their mobile phones as they crossed  the Elisabeth Bridge, in Budapest,  during a protest against the  tax on internet data transfers. Photograph: Laszlo Balogh/Reuters

Opinion: ‘Orbán’s measure also has to be seen in the light of his own particular brand of right wing, deeply regressive consumptio(...)

The Woodenbridge first World War Memorial Park in Co Wicklow, formally opened last month. The memorial, 15 stone pillars on which the names of the dead and their townlands are inscribed, commemorates the approximately 1,200 men from all parts of Co Wicklow who died in the first World War. It is inscribed with the lines of Francis Ledwidge’s poem below. Photograph: Jack McManus

Redmond’s gamble that Irish nationalism’s support for empire in first World War would cement home rule proved terribly wrong, but (...)

‘Several decisions by the Strasbourg Court have particularly upset Tories’. Above,  party leader David Cameron  addresses the Conservative party’s annual conference earlier this month. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Opinion: ‘The court and convention were largely products of British/Winston Churchill’s post-War desire to bind wayward Europeans (...)

‘This week the Cabinet has at last agreed, at the instigation of the Constitutional Convention (above), to remove the concept from the Constitution by means of referendum.’ Photograph: Eric Luke / THE IRISH TIMES

Opinion: A disturbed British national, facing a death sentence for blasphemy in Pakistan was shot and seriously wounded in his (...)

England’s opportunity: Prime Minister David Cameron responds to Scottish result, promises new powers for English MPs (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Cameron, deeply concerned by likely English backlash, promises fast reforms

‘The Ukraine crisis has also prompted Ireland’s fellow EU neutrals Sweden and Finland to take a significant step closer to Nato membership in signing agreements to allow Nato deployment and training operations on their territory.’ above, The first session of the Nato summit  in Newport, south Wales. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Opinion: Summit marked a turning point – back to defending Europe from a potential adversary

‘Alistair Darling (right) unsettled his opponent, commentators seemed to agree, most effectively by repeatedly injecting doubt into the debate about Scotland’s post-separation currency.’ Above, with  Alex Salmond (left) First Minister of Scotland and  host Bernard Ponsonby from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in the live TV debate. Photograph:  Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Opinion: Debates on Scotland’s independence and UK’s relationship with Europe show contradictions

 The blame game has resumed – flowers in tribute to the victims of flight MH17 near the entrance to the military airport in Eindhoven, southern Netherlands. Photograph: EPA/Marcel Van Hoorn

A familiar Cold War rhetoric to much of the discussion from our anti-war/neutrality lobby

Analysis: There is a politically unmentionable calculation that Ireland is best served by the preservation of the Union

Massoud Barzani with US secretary of state John Kerry. Photograph: AP

Opinion: A unilateral declaration by Barzani would be a mistake

‘Many Scots are being registered to vote for the first time by young activists from the likes of the Radical Independence Campaign who are reinventing mass street campaigning.’ Above, Radical Independence delegates at their conference last November in Glasgow. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Opinion: What Westminster can give it can also take away, delay, prevaricate on

Recently printed stamps for the Prince Felipe coronation. Photograph:  Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Opinion: Twelve European monarchies survive

Narendra Modi, India’s new prime minister, left, greets Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s, prime minister, during a swearing in ceremony for the prime minister this week.  Photograph: Udit Kulshrestha/ Bloomberg

Opinion: Arguments over territorial claims could trigger military face-offs

Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images

Opinion: Parliamentarians hoped to boost the ailing profile and legitimacy of the European Parliament

“One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans.”– Otto von Bismarck (1888)

‘Marine Le Pen and  Geert Wilders recently have agreed to form a continental anti-European alliance aimed at wrecking the EU from within.’ Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

World View: Sixty per cent of voters tend not to trust the EU

Iraqi elections are seen as a “democratic watershed”, though they  may lead to deepening tensions. Above, municipal workers clean up at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad. Photograph: Thaier al-Sudani/ Reuters

World View: Elections can heal divisions or fuel conflict

Opinion: When should minorities have a right to secede?

Opinion: There is a danger of exaggerating the power and the threat posed by Putin

German Social Democrat Martin Schulz: engaged in a “slightly democratic” gambit. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: A low poll could sink Schulz’s gambit

Viktor Orban: out on a political limb over attitude to Hungary’s war record and its interpretation. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: Recent incidents have blurred the line between commemoration and celebration

 Bill Clinton introduces newly elected mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, at City Hall in New York on New Year’s Day. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: Bloomberg has left the city cleaner, safer and healthier, but far from equal

Opinion: Erdogan is likely to announce a major cabinet reshuffle

Roddy Doyle signed the appeal, which will be carried in 27 newspapers worldwide

Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann and Colm Tóibín among 560 signatories to international appeal

A bunch of strategically and economically insignificant rocks. Photograph: AP

Opinion: China and South Korea remain angry at Japan’s refusal to face up to its past

President Hassan Rouhani: his election provides America and the international community with a window of opportunity. Photograph: Reuters

Opinion: Obama has refused pressure to assume the worst about Tehran’s ambitions

Loadsamoney: the euro seemed fine before the crisis hit but some believe it is now doomed. Photograph: Pat Langan

Opinion: A French diplomat has proposed a radical amputation to save the life of the EU

The Beltran case is just the latest episode of the US “abortion wars”.

Opinion: Legislation is used principally against poor and African Americans

The Jim Larkin statue on O’Connell Street, Dublin (Sculptor: Oisin Kelly). Photograph: Frank Miller

Locked Out seeks to recall in all its complexity the 1913 events that marked the coming of age in Dublin of the Irish labour mov(...)

Ed Miliband campaigning in Walworth, south London. Labour is running at 10 points ahead of the Conservatives in the polls. Photograph: PA

Opinion: Tories still have work to do not to be seen as the party of the ‘toffs’

The movement is far from dead, but it is rooted in an ageing, dying culture

Beppe Grillo leaves after casting his vote at the polling station in Genoa in February this year. He has been accused of having an autocratic style of leadership. Photograph: Reuters

Yet another political bubble bursts as movement’s demagoguery exposed

The prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, having  a meeting with British prime minister David Cameron at  the G8  summit in the North. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Co-operation between Japan, China and South Korea more important in the face of North Korea’s ‘provocative words’

Ballot papers in The City West count centre during the fiscal treaty referendum count last year. Photograph: David Sleator

World View: ‘Sovereign’ is one of the most abused words in the Irish political lexicon, a sacred cow

Volunteers drilling near Kimmage, Co Dublin, in 1914. Courtesy of National Museum of Ireland

‘Stories’ is about the richness and complexity of history’s weave, and the part our relatives all played in it, for good or ill

James Hamilton, second Duke of Abercorn, at the signing of the Ulster Covenant in 1912 at the chapel on his Baronscourt estate in Tyrone after inspecting “drilled men” of the local unionist clubs.

William Smyth worked to defend the union from the threat of Home Rule – a fact not lost on his adversaries

US president Barack Obama looks to see if it has  stopped raining during a news conference this week with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Rose Garden at the White House. Obama answered questions on the IRS Justice Department invesigation. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

World View: In American politics they play by big money rules

The Unite for Life vigil which recently filled Merrion Square south in Dublin. Anti-abortion activists in the US and Ireland are demanding to know why the murder trial of Dr Kermit Gosnell is not being reported. Photograph: Alan Betson

Anti-abortion pundits have berated ‘pro-abortion mainstream media’ for ‘deliberately ignoring’ case

A protest outside the Dáil in 2006, organised by Amnesty International and Oxfam Ireland. Photograph: Eric Luke

Campaigners say one person dies every minute as a result of armed violence

WORLD VIEW: Ostensibly, the apocalypse – the temporarily averted fiscal cliff crisis – was all about finally getting to grips…

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