Dec. 1

— Protesters march in several Mexican cities to mark the second anniversary of President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration and demand the government find 43 students who disappeared at the hands of police.

Dec. 2

— Lebanese authorities detain a woman and young boy believed to be the wife and son of the reclusive Islamic State group leader and question her.

Dec. 3

— Iranian jets have carried out airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq, U.S. officials and independent analysts say, underscoring the strange alliances generated by war against the extremist group.

Dec. 4

— Police wage hours-long gun battles with Islamic militants who attacked Chechnya's capital of Grozny, leaving at least 20 people dead and underscoring Russia's vulnerability just as President Vladimir Putin used patriotic and religious imagery in his state-of-the-nation address to defend his standoff with the West.

Dec. 5

— NASA's newest space vehicle, Orion, accomplishes its first test flight with precision and pizazz, shooting out more than 3,600 miles (5,800 kilometers) from Earth for a hyperfast, hot return not seen since the Apollo moon shots.

Dec. 6

— An American photojournalist and a South African teacher are killed during a high-risk U.S. raid to free them from al-Qaida-affiliated militants in Yemen.

Dec. 7

— Six prisoners held for 12 years at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have arrived in Uruguay, a South American nation with only a tiny Muslim population, amid a new push by President Barack Obama to close the U.S. prison.

Dec. 8

— American and NATO troops close their operational command in Afghanistan, lowering flags to mark the formal end of their combat mission in a country still mired in war 13 years after the mission began.

Dec. 9

— U.S. Senate investigators conclude the United States brutalized scores of terror suspects with interrogation tactics that turned secret CIA prisons into chambers of suffering and did nothing to make Americans safer after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Dec. 10

— A Palestinian Cabinet member dies after a scuffle with Israeli troops and images of the encounter stir anger among Palestinians at a time of badly strained relations with Israel.

Dec. 11

— CIA Director John Brennan, responding to the U.S. Senate torture report, acknowledges that "abhorrent tactics" were used on terror detainees but said it was "unknown and unknowable" whether the harsh treatment yielded crucial intelligence that could have been gained in any other way.

Dec. 12

— Traffic is back to normal in Hong Kong's financial district after authorities demolish a protest camp at the heart of the city's 2 1/2 month pro-democracy movement.

Dec. 13

— Thousands of protesters march in New York, Washington and other U.S. cities to call attention to the killing of unarmed black men by white police officers who faced no criminal charges.

Dec. 14

— Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe scores a decisive election victory and promises to push efforts to revitalize the world's third largest economy.

Dec. 15

— Police storm a cafe in the heart of Sydney, Australia, to end a 16-hour hostage siege by an Iranian-born self-styled Muslim cleric. Three are killed — the gunman and two of his hostages— and four are wounded.

Dec. 16

— Taliban gunmen storm a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, killing at least 141 people, mostly children.

Dec. 17

— The United States and Cuba restore diplomatic relations, sweeping away one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.

Dec. 18

— President Vladimir Putin warns West it cannot defang the metaphorical Russian bear, vowing to shore up the plummeting ruble and revive economy within two years.

Dec. 19

— President Barack Obama says Sony "made a mistake" in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader and pledges the U.S. will respond to the hacking attack that led to the withdrawal.

Dec. 20

— Cuban President Raul Castro sends a blunt message to Washington as the White House works to reverse a half century of hostility between Washington and Havana: Don't expect detente to do away with the communist system.

Dec. 21

— Thousands of members of Nigeria's home-grown Islamic extremist group Boko Haram strike across the border in Cameroon in coordinated attacks on towns, a troop convoy and major barracks.

Dec. 22

— North Korea experiences sweeping Internet outages for hours before coming back online. The White House and the State Department refuse to say if the U.S. government was responsible.

Dec. 23

—"The Interview" is put back into theaters when Sony Pictures Entertainment announces a limited release of the comedy that provoked an international incident with North Korea and outrage over its canceled showing.

Dec. 24

— Islamic State militants capture a Jordanian pilot after his warplane crashes in Syria, making him the first foreign military member to fall into the extremists' hands since the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the group began.

Dec. 25

— Two Saudi women detained for nearly a month for defying a ban on females driving are referred to an anti-terrorism court because of opinions they expressed online.

Dec. 26

— President Vladimir Putin signs a new military doctrine that describes NATO's military buildup near the Russian borders as the nation's top military threat.

Dec. 27

— North Korea blames its recent Internet outage on the United States and hurls racially charged insults at President Barack Obama over the hacking row involving the movie "The Interview."

Dec. 28

— An astonishingly tragic year for air travel in Southeast Asia turns worse when an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people disappears over stormy Indonesian waters.

Dec. 29

— A health care worker just back from Sierra Leone is diagnosed with Ebola and is being treated in a Glasgow hospital, Scottish authorities say.

Dec. 30

— The U.N. Security Council rejects a Palestinian resolution that demands an end to Israeli occupation within three years.

Dec. 31

— A stampede during New Year's celebrations along Shanghai's popular riverfront kills 35 people and injures dozens more.