Wherever you may be today, there's a good chance you're walking in a winter wonderland. Mostly because it isn't safe to drive or fly.
A winter storm warning remained in effect through Monday afternoon for California's Sierra Nevada mountains, where 5 to 10 feet of snow could accumulate on top of the 9 to 10 feet that fell in some areas Sunday.
Heavy rains prompted the emergency evacuation Monday of nearly 2,000 residents of a flooding Southern California town and the
temporary closure of at least two highways because of mudslides.
Residents near McFarland were being evacuated Monday because of what Fire Department spokesman Sean Collins called "major flooding."
The area has been inundated with rain for four days, with totals ranging as high as 10 inches. The National Weather Service said additional rain is expected in the area through Tuesday.
Heavy snow was snarling air travel in Europe, where hundreds of flights were canceled in London, Paris, Frankfurt and Berlin. And just for good measure, the temperature reached zero degrees Fahrenheit overnight in Northern Ireland.
London's Gatwick Airport was closed until Tuesday morning after 5 cm (2 inches) of snow fell in an hour Monday night, airport officials reported.
Airport staff was working to make stranded passengers "as comfortable as possible," but it advised other travelers to check before they left for the airport to make sure their flights were still scheduled.
Australians may see a white Christmas for the first time in decades after up to 11 inches of snow fell in New South Wales and smaller amounts in Victoria. Aussies traditionally sunbathe on the beach on Christmas.
Even people in Minnesota are complaining about winter weather. Punter Chris Kluwe says the outdoor stadium where his Vikings will play Monday night is unplayable because of cold and ice. Watch out, Chris: The area is under a game-time winter storm warning.
Perhaps worst of all, Lady Gaga had to postpone her Sunday night concert in Paris because her 28 trucks could not get into the city under a snow ban.
How is the weather where you are? Share your photos and video with CNN's iReport.
We asked, you responded. Here are some of the photos of the weather mess in Europe that you sent us.
Lisa Suarez's voice breaks as she stands in the snow outside London's Heathrow airport, unable to get a flight home to Dallas, Texas.
"It's very hard," she says. "All I want for Christmas is to hug my daughter."
She and her family are among hundreds of thousands of people stranded by "freak weather conditions" that dumped unexpected tons of snow on Europe this weekend, snarling flight schedules at the continent's busiest airports.FULL STORY
Iranian officials sat down Monday with the United States and other countries trying to put the brakes on Tehran's nuclear program, a day after Iran announced it is self-sufficient in the nuclear fuel cycle.
There was "an exchange of views and concerns," between the Iranians and envoys from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, a diplomatic source familiar with the talks told CNN.
The Iranian nuclear program was the main issue on the table, the source said. Iran has previously said it did not want the talks to focus on that.
Iran also raised some of its concerns, the source said, including attacks on two Iranian scientists in Tehran last week that left one dead and one injured.
The diplomatic source and a Western official later both told CNN that the talks had ended for the day and would resume Tuesday.
WikiLeaks, a whistle-blowing website known for leaking state secrets, released on Sunday its latest batch of controversial documents. It has posted the first of what it says will be more than 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables.
[Updated at 10:14 p.m.]
- Ecuador has asked WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange to come to Quito and discuss documents regarding Ecuador and other Latin American countries. Ecuador expelled two U.S. diplomats in February 2009, accusing them of meddling in its internal affairs - allegations the State Department denied. The foreign ministry in Quito suggested Assange, an Australian citizen, apply for residency there.
- WikiLeaks documents posted on the websites of the Guardian and the New York Times suggest China is losing patience with its long-time ally North Korea, with senior figures in Beijing describing the regime in the North as behaving like a "spoiled child." According to cables obtained by WikiLeaks and cited by the Guardian, South Korea's vice-foreign minister Chun Yung-woo said he had been told by two senior Chinese officials (whose names are redacted in the cables) that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul's control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing.
- The world's military shopping list is being exposed through the WikiLeaks publications. State-of-the-art missiles and American military helicopters are a frequent topic of discussion in the released diplomatic cables, which also show a keen interest in what weaponry Iran has and how to defend against them.
- From 2005 to 2009, U.S. diplomats regularly reported that Brazil tried to distance itself from what it saw as an "overly aggressive" American war on terror, and was highly sensitive highly to public claims suggesting that terrorist organizations have a presence in the country, according to cables released by WikiLeaks. But Brazil's counter-terrorism policy seemed to shift in 2009, with a cable detailing the government's strategy to deter terrorists from "using Brazilian territory to facilitate attacks or raise funds."
- Former President George W. Bush told a forum at Facebook's headquarters Monday that the document leak is "very damaging," adding that it may significantly hurt Washington's image abroad. "It's going to be very hard to keep the trust of foreign leaders," the nation's 43rd president said. "If you have a conversation with a foreign leader and it ends up in a newspaper, you don't like it. I didn't like it."
Here's a look at the leak, an overview of how WikiLeaks works and a summary of what some of the documents say about a variety of topics.
- Sunday's leak contained the first of what the site says will be 251,288 cables that it plans to release piecemeal in the coming weeks or months.
Battling Koreas - North Korea and South Korea exchanged fire for about an hour Tuesday as the South's military conducted routine drills in the Yellow Sea off Yeonpyeong Island, about six miles from the North.
"Our revolutionary forces will continue to mount merciless military strikes without hesitation if the puppets in the South trespass even 0.0001 millimeters into our waters," North Korea's military command said, according to South Korea's Yonap news agency. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called on his military forces to use "action" and not talk to punish North Korea for the attacks.
Two South Korean marines were killed, and 15 soldiers and civilians were wounded, South Korean authorities said. The U.S. is strongly condemning North Korea's action and said it is committed to helping its South Korean allies.
[Updated at 1:02 p.m.] A suspicious piece of luggage that was about to be loaded onto a flight in Namibia was a "test device" from a U.S. company that sells products designed to test security, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in a news conference Friday in Hamburg, Germany.
Namibian Police on Friday warned that whoever is responsible for planting the device among the luggage of an Air Berlin flight Wednesday would be severely dealt with, warning that Namibia was not to be used as an unauthorized testing ground for aviation security.
"The preliminary investigations have revealed that the suspicious parcel does not contain any explosive substances; however, it is an explosive simulation training device, manufactured by an American-based company, 'Larry Copello Incorporated,' " Lt. Gen. Sebastian Ndeitunga, Namibia's top policeman, told reporters Friday at a news conference in Windhoek, the capital.
The device is a training aid to help screeners identify explosive devices, Larry Copello, founder and CEO of Larry Copello, Inc., told CNN Friday. Copello described the device as "non-hazardous ...not a threat to anyone."
Copello said his company sells such devices to law enforcement agencies, governments and corporate clients, but did not know to whom this particular device was sold. He learned of the Namibia incident on Thursday when the FBI called him. He said he is cooperating with the investigation.
An official with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration said Friday that they are working with German and Namibian authorities to determine the origin of the device and the reason it was to be transported on the plane.
Road to 2012 - Wednesday belongs to Republicans. The GOP knocked Democrats out of at least 10 governorships on Tuesday and grabbed the majority in the House by winning at least 60 seats. That means John Boehner is likely to be the next speaker of the House, and President Obama called to congratulate him. Democrats held on to power in the Senate, with Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada beating Tea Party-backed candidate Sharron Angle. The day brought victory for some other Tea Party-backed candidates, but the winning group did not include Christine O'Donnell, who lost to Democrat Chris Coons in the contest for the Senate seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden.
But what everyone is really talking about is two years away. The race to 2012 begins today.
Jobs - The victorious vibes are already transitioning into pressure to deliver. Voters are concerned about the economy, and the burden is on those elected Tuesday to deal with it. According to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, employers announced nearly 38,000 job cuts last month. In a separate report, payroll processor ADP says private-sector jobs increased by 43,000 in October. Economists are predicting steady growth, which could improve Obama's chances of holding onto his job.
Shipping and terror - With the new focus on safety in package shipments, Greece suspended air shipments of all mail and packages for 48 hours due to parcel bombs mailed from Athens this week. Packages were sent on Tuesday to the leaders of Germany and Italy. At least nine other bombs were sent to embassies in Athens. Authorities in Europe are scrambling to safeguard the public. One aviation chief is calling for a complete security overhaul within the industry.
Repairs are to begin Wednesday on a 65-foot-deep (20 meters) sinkhole that opened in the eastern German town of Schmalkalden on Monday, local authorities said.
The sinkhole, which measured more than 130 feet (40 meters) across, swallowed a car and forced the evacuation of 25 people in nine houses, the regional newspaper Thueringer-Allgemeine reported.
Officials told the paper more than 1,000 truckloads of gravel would be needed to fill the hole.
Residents reported hearing a loud roar as the earth gave way early Monday morning, according to the newspaper report. The cause of the sinkhole had not been determined.
Jürgen Reinholz, environment and agriculture minister for the state of Thuringia, said natural causes were suspected, according to Spiegel Online International.
[Updated at 2:13 p.m.] Yemeni authorities are intensifying operations to capture militant cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and to capture or kill al Qaeda bomb maker Ibrahim Hasan al-Asiri, a senior Yemeni government official told CNN.
[Updated at 12:41 p.m.] The U.K.'s Home Secretary, Theresa May, has told the U.K. Parliament that all passenger and cargo flights, as well as all flights holding unaccompanied freight from Yemen and Somalia, will be banned from travelling to the U.K. for the next month at which time, the move will be reviewed.
[Updated at 12:32 p.m.] Germany has banned all incoming flights from Yemen in the wake of a bomb plot apparently originating there, air traffic control announced Monday.
[Posted at 12:23 p.m.] The FBI has dispatched teams of explosives experts to the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates to help in the examination of the printer-related bombs discovered on Friday, a federal law enforcement official told CNN Monday.
The FBI is not sending extra people to Yemen, where the packages originated, at this time, the source said. The FBI has a presence in Sanaa, the capital, so there are FBI people already there.
The official said the focus of the investigation remains overseas and that there are no links to suspects in the United States at this point.
- CNN's Jeanne Meserve, Carol Cratty and Diana Magnay contributed to this report.
Ahmed Sidiqi, the man allegedly at the heart of an al Qaeda plot to target European cities, was detained by a group of unidentified men in Afghanistan three months ago, his family has told CNN.
German intelligence officials say Sidiqi was arrested in Kabul, Afghanistan, in July and has been held at the U.S. airbase at Bagram ever since. They say he has provided detailed information about an al Qaeda plot to carry out Mumbai-style attacks against several European cities. He has not been charged.
Sidiqi's father, Mohammed Naim, said his son was on his way to the German embassy in the Afghan capital to get a new passport when he was detained.
"It was a question of him having lost his passport or having had it stolen, he said," Naim told CNN.
Eight suspected German nationals were killed in a suspected drone strike in northwestern Pakistan, two Pakistani officials said Monday.
The strike happened in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, the officials said. Missiles struck a building that eight suspected German militants were in,
the officials said.
The eight are believed to have been members of the group Jihad al Islami, the officials said.
A group of jihadists from the German city of Hamburg are alleged to be at the heart of the recent al Qaeda plot to launch co-ordinated terrorist attacks against European cities, according to European intelligence officials.
The plan prompted the U.S. State Department to issue a Europe-wide security advisory for Americans traveling in Europe.
Japan issued a similar alert Monday, citing the warnings issued by the United States and by Britain, which raised the level highest for France and Germany.
Germany and the Allies can call it even on World War I this weekend.
On Sunday - the 20th anniversary of East and West Germany unifying about a year after the Berlin Wall fell - Deutschland will make the last in a series of reparation payments that has spanned more than nine decades.
The final payment is £59.5 million, about $93.8 million, reported London's Telegraph newspaper. Germany had to pay Belgium and France for material damages and the rest of the Allies the costs of fighting the war.
The initial tally in 1919, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel, was 96,000 tons of gold but was slashed by 40 to 60 percent (sources vary) a few years later. The debt was crippling, just as French Premier Georges Clemenceau intended.
[Updated at 11:08 a.m.] Twelve people were killed and 19 severely injured Sunday in a bus crash near Berlin, Germany, police told CNN.
The collision occurred on the A10 in Brandenburg when the bus tried to avoid a vehicle coming onto the motorway, police spokesman Jens Quitske said. The bus lost control and collided with the column of a bridge.
Among those severely injured was the driver of the other vehicle. In addition, 20 more suffered minor injuries.
Pope Benedict XVI praised Britain Sunday for standing up to the Nazis, a remark that could rekindle controversy over the pope's past - reminding listeners that he was forced as a young man to join the Hitler Youth.
Describing himself "as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany," the German-born pontiff said it was "deeply moving... to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology."
The organizer of a German music festival announced Sunday that the "Love Parade" has been disbanded after more than 19 people were killed in a stampede. Rainer Schaller said the festival, which began in 1989, has been canceled "out of respect for the victims, their families and friends ..." Hundreds were injured at the event. See the FULL STORY
A first half goal from Milan Jovanovic gave Serbia a shock 1-0 win over 10-man Germany at the World Cup on Friday to throw group D wide open.
Germany suffered an early blow in Port Elizabeth when leading striker Miroslav Klose was sent off for his second yellow card, shortly before Jovanovic fired Serbia in front. Lukas Podolski then saw his second half penalty, given following a handball by Nemanja Vidic, blocked by Serbian goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic.
The result was perennial challengers Germany's first defeat at the group stage of a World Cup tournament since 1986, when then-West Germany were beaten by Denmark. That year, West Germany went on to reach the final.
[Updated at 9:19 a.m. ET] A man has taken a number of people hostage in a clothing store in central Leipzig, in eastern Germany, a police spokesman said.
It was unclear how many hostages the man was holding at the H&M store.
The Saxony State Office of Criminal Investigation told CNN it has sent in special forces to support the local police.