Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a respected theologian and one of John Paul II's most trusted advisors, was appointed the Catholic Church's 265th pope. Benedict XVI, as he is now called, represents for many in the Church an attempt to restore conservative values and traditions. For others, especially those critical of the Church's standing on issues such as AIDS, women and gay marriage, the new pope reflects a turning-away from the needs and interests of a modern society.
DW-WORLD takes a look at the new pope's background, the first to come from Germany in 500 years, his rise through the Catholic Church, the issues he stands for and the criticism surrounding him.
EU leaders at their summit in Brussels are defending tough economic sanctions against Russia, but pressure to ease their stance is growing. Christoph Hasselbach reports from Brussels.
The German parliament has approved plans for a new military mission in Afghanistan. The new mission is to see several hundred German soldiers help train members of the Afghan security forces.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has pulled out of an EU summit to handle a political crisis back home. Rutte's government is in trouble after members of the junior partner in his coalition refused to back a health bill.
A painting by British statesman Winston Churchill has fetched $2.8 million at auction - a record for his work. The painting was sold amongst other personal artifacts from the celebrated wartime leader.