After hearing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s promise the Knesset this week that his government would support Israel “though fire and water,” one could excuse Israeli lawmakers for thinking that they had died and gone to hasbara heaven.

Nabil Giacaman has worked in his father’s shop off of Bethlehem’s Manger Square for as long as he can remember. He is the third generation in his family to make a living crafting wood and mother-of-pearl figurines, peddling miniature nativity scenes and baby Jesuses to the tourists who flock to this famed plaza just steps from the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born. He will also be the last.

From massive Christmas trees, to man-made ice rinks and fake snow, Dubai is proving once again that it can pull off festive season celebrations in style despite its desert location. While the city cannot boast the world’s tallest Christmas tree, there are quite a few other jaw-dropping attractions to talk about this festive season.

The Central African Republic, already one of the poorest nations in the world, is descending into chaos. In the capital city of Bangui alone, hundreds have died and nearly 200,000 people have been driven from their homes as a result of continual clashes between government forces, civilian militias, African peacekeepers, and the French military.

In a bleak little apartment on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, nearly a dozen men in their 20s take turns trying on a pair of black skinny jeans and watching Project Runway episodes downloaded off YouTube. There's no plumbing, Internet or furniture, but because the space is private, it's paradise.

If it hadn’t been drowned out by the ongoing wars in Mali and Syria, you would have heard all about the brutal civil war that broke out in the Central African Republic (CAR) in December of 2012. I guess there's only so much war you can read about at any given time, but the one currently tearing through the bush of the Central African Republic is a significant one. One UN official is even claiming a high threat of genocide in the coming months as Christian and Muslim militias face off in a war of escalating sectarian violence.

A Malaysia appeals court on Monday upheld a government ban against the use of the word “Allah” to refer to God in non-Muslim faiths, reported the Associated Press. This action has overruled claims by Christian groups in the country that the decision violates their religious rights. Malaysian Judge Mohammad Apandi Ali, who led a three-member appeals court panel, stated that the use of “Allah” was “not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity.”

As our tour bus full of Christian pilgrims rolls out of Jerusalem, the Jewish guide reads a poetic description of the Israeli settlement Itamar, a place where, we are told, the fields are carpeted in scarlet poppies and blue pansies and the deer “run free … and skip from hill to dale.” Mid-poem, a woman snaps a photo of the Israeli-built cement separation wall just before we cross a checkpoint into the West Bank. Now we’re heading into the heart of the land where Palestinians want to build a state and Israeli settlers want to build Greater Israel.