Lakhdar Brahimi: UN Syria envoy stepping down
Lakhdar Brahimi has long been one of the UN's most trusted and effective diplomatic troubleshooters, having worked in the past in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But the 80-year-old Algerian has made it known for months he intended to step down from one of world diplomacy's toughest and most thankless jobs.
His latest attempt to bring the sides together in talks known as Geneva 2 ended in failure and acrimony. When President Assad announced afterwards that elections would be held in June, it signalled he had no intention of stepping down or transitioning out of power - a precursor to any peace deal.
Syria has now defeated two of the UN's most senior diplomats. As he and his predecessor Kofi Annan both found, the intransigence of the warring parties, especially the Assad regime, and the divisions at the Security Council in New York, between the Western powers and Russia, make the job of UN envoy an impossible task.
Ukraine's Yanukovych asked for troops, Russia tells UN
Covering the UN on Monday felt like time-travelling back to the days of the Cold War, when America and the Soviet Union used the Security Council not as a forum to resolve problems but as a platform to voice strong rhetoric.
Lending the angry session an even more nostalgic feel, it also featured a prop - a letter from Ukraine's ousted President Yanukovych, brandished by Russia's Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, requesting Moscow's intervention to protect the country's Russian-speaking people.
David Beckham 'living a dream' with MLS franchise in Miami
"Dotted with palm trees and heavily populated with Spanish-speaking residents, Miami is a north American city with a south American feel.
"So despite all the other sports the city has to offer - American football, baseball, basketball - it's a natural home for professional football, or soccer as it's called here. It also casts itself as one of America's glamour cities, which again suits the Beckham brand.
Michael Bloomberg's contested legacy as New York mayor
Michael Bloomberg has overseen the transformation of New York City during his 12 years as mayor. But as he prepares to leave office the billionaire businessman's political legacy is contested.
In a city that favours large and flamboyant personalities, Michael Bloomberg is hardly the sort to light up a room. He is a data-driven technocrat, an entrepreneur with vast personal wealth but lacking comparable charisma.
JFK anniversary: The myth and reality
The assassination of John F Kennedy means that we all get to decide how his story should have ended, and thus plot an alternative trajectory for the country he so fleetingly led. The events in Dallas exactly 50 years ago made JFK as much a myth as a man, one of history's most endlessly malleable figures.
He was a politician "cut down in his prime", in the words of the well-worn narrative, whom Americans and others around the world could mould into the president they yearned him to be.
UN rejects Africa bid to halt Kenya leaders' ICC trials
The resolution put forward by Rwanda, with the backing of the African Union, complained that the ICC trials were distracting President Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, from responding to September's attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi. They wanted a one-year deferral. But for African nations this vote, which they knew would never pass, had larger meaning - it was also a protest at what they regard as an institutional bias from the International Criminal Court against Africa.
In the end, the resolution mustered the support of seven nations, two short of the nine required, with America, France, and Britain abstaining. It was actually the first time in decades that a resolution had failed in this way. Usually, resolutions fail because they are vetoed by one of the five permanent members. That underscores how symbolic this vote had become.
The Snowden effect on US diplomacy
On Wednesday evening the White House was supposed to host one of the most lavish events on Washington's social calendar - a state dinner for a visiting VIP.
It ended up being cancelled - not because of any lingering effects from the partial shutdown of the federal government. Nor was President Barack Obama called away on urgent business.
Merkel calls Obama about 'US spying on her phone'
The language in the White House statement responding to allegations that the NSA monitored Angela Merkel's private mobile phone is deliberately precise. "The president assured the chancellor that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel." It did not deny possible past surveillance on her phone.
Clearly, Angela Merkel believes these allegations are plausible enough to confront directly Barack Obama, in what must have been an awkward conversation.
Obama addresses healthcare website glitches
For 30 minutes in the Rose Garden, President Obama became America's customer-care-manager-in-chief as he explained the glitches in the healthcare.gov website. In parts this sounded more like an infomercial than a speech.
"Nobody's madder than me," he said, in that rather unconvincing way he tries to affect irritation. To that end he promised a "tech surge", with some of the country's brainiest geeks from the private sector working 24/7. But his main message was that "Obamacare" is more than a website - it is about giving millions of uninsured Americans quality and affordable care.