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Why Catalonia Matters to Spain: The Numbers

Catalonia, which on Sunday holds a regional election focused on independence, is one of Spain's most economically important regions.

This is why:

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Russia Seeks Firm Foothold in Strategic Syria

Russia has shocked the West by boosting its military presence in Syria as President Vladimir Putin seeks to not just defeat Islamic State radicals but also to gain a firm foothold in the strategic Middle Eastern country.

Putin has seized the initiative more than four years into a civil war that has killed more than 240,000 people and led to the emergence of IS, amid the collective failure of the international community to stop the violence.

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Critics Question Saudi Safety Focus after Hajj Tragedy

The worst disaster in 25 years at the annual hajj pilgrimage has left critics questioning the Saudi government's attention to safety, despite billions of dollars invested in improving conditions.

A stampede on Thursday killed more than 700 people during a stoning ritual attended by hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims from around the world.

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Scandinavia, Germany in with Migrants, Southern Europe out

The European Union may have reluctantly agreed to share out 120,000 refugees among most of its 28 member states, but many migrants know exactly where they want to go: northern Europe... and only northern Europe.


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Arithmetic of Despair: Numbers from Europe's Migrant Crisis 

Europe's migration crisis involves big figures, as men, women and children who in many cases are fleeing war and poverty in their own countries flood into Europe in great numbers not seen since World War II. As European Union leaders and governments struggle to deal with the continent's migrants crisis, here are some key figures:


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Shock as 'Embarrased' Saudi Targets Mighty Binladin Group

Saudi Arabia's decision to sanction the Binladin Group over the deadly Mecca crane collapse has come as a shock and could have serious consequences for one of the kingdom's most powerful firms.

After decades of thriving on lucrative government contracts, the Saudi Binladin Group is facing unprecedented scrutiny over the accident, which saw one of its cranes topple during a major expansion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest site.

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Wave of Crises Puts European Dream at Risk

The EU's founding father Jean Monnet wrote in his memoirs that "Europe will be forged in crises" -- but a recent storm of troubles risks tearing the continent apart instead of bringing it together. 

From a flood of refugees, to the near-collapse of the euro and the war in Ukraine, the continent's divided leaders have struggled to deal with wave after wave of problems that strike at the heart of the European dream.

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Russia Moves in Syria to Boost Assad, Send Signal to West

Russia's recent military build-up in Syria aims not only to boost the embattled regime of crucial ally Bashar Assad but also to send a strong signal to the West, experts say.

With President Vladimir Putin set to make Syria a key issue of his address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York later this month, Moscow is making it clear that it will not be ignored in the Middle East.

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Analysis: Russia Gambles in Syria, Ramping up Involvement

In ramping up its military involvement in Syria's civil war, Russia appears to be betting that the West, horrified by the Islamic State group's spread and an escalating migrants crisis, may be willing to quietly tolerate President Bashar Assad for a while, perhaps as part of a transition.

The logic is that prioritizing the fight with the jihadis means accepting Assad as the less bad option despite his own brutal acts, and might produce a more effective and coordinated fight in the air and on the ground.

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After Iran Deal, Obama Struggles to Gain Israel's Trust

Seeking to sell his nuclear deal with Iran to a skeptical Israeli public, President Barack Obama has repeatedly declared his deep affection for the Jewish state. But the feelings do not appear to be mutual.

Wide swaths of the Israeli public, particularly supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have little trust in the American leader, considering him naive and even hostile. One recent poll showed less than a tenth considered him "pro-Israel."

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