Crack has been in Brazil since the 1990s, but the drug has exploded in the past six years. The government has poured billions into a prevention and treatment program, but officials are still trying to figure out the best way to combat the epidemic.
President Hamid Karzai is in Washington this week for meetings with President Obama and other officials. One of the key issues to be discussed is the number of American troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014, when the bulk of U.S. and NATO forces leave.
A dispute over an editorial in a Chinese newspaper has widened into calls for more freedom of expression. Hundreds of people protested Monday calling for an open news media.
China has indicated that it will stop handing down sentences to its "re-education through labor" camps, which allow detention without trial for up to four years. Many questions remain about what will happen to those currently detained and what might become of these labor camps.
France recently hosted discussions between Afghan and Taliban officials. The meetings again raised the possibility of negotiations to end the fighting in Afghanistan, though many analysts remain deeply skeptical.
Polls for next month's election show leftist parties with a comfortable lead. But attention has focused on the attempted comeback of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the man who took over when he was ousted, Mario Monti.
South Korea now appears to be the fastest-aging country in the world. The government has launched a series of creative programs, including a network of community centers for dementia patients and training for young people that simulates the physical and mental effects of old age.
Brazil is now a world power when it comes to food production. And a leading symbol of that might is Katia Abreu, a senator, landowner and head of the country's most powerful Big Agro association. But environmentalists say limits need to be placed on the farming industry in order to protect the forests of the Amazon.
French President Francois Hollande has vowed to improve his country's competitiveness. But to better compete, France has to overhaul its labor market, and some hard-earned workers' rights and privileges could be lost.