In President Obama's second term there are two longer-term developments that will affect the relationship with Europe. The first is the US budget deficit, the second the so-called "pivot" - or the rebalancing of focus towards Asia.
America's finances will mean, now even more than in the first term, the US will be what some have called a "frugal superpower" - leading from behind as they did in Libya, and as they look to be doing in Mali.
But then that frugal nature is not altogether bad news. The US remains by far the biggest customer for European exporters.
Generally the Europeans are content with the status quo. The last thing they need at a time when Europe is so embroiled in its own internal debates, is the external distraction of a change in guard across the pond.
Meteor hits Russia
Eyewitnesses describe seeing a fireball curving through the clear sky, and an extremely intense light as it passed overhead.
It seems to have been a meteor, and left a white condensation trail behind it. A couple of minutes later there was a loud bang.
The shock wave from the blast blew out windows across the region round Chelyabinsk in the Ural mountains.
People who'd rushed to look out and see what was happening were injured by flying glass.
Everyone went outside to check their neighbours were OK, and the mobile phone network collapsed, briefly overwhelmed by the volume of calls.
100 years of Antarctica discovery
The sound of skis on snow as a group of Norwegians take the final few steps to the southern pole. Not everyone could make it - bad weather had delayed some of those trying to cross the ice and others resorted to planes to make the centenary celebrations. Amundsen and four other men were the first to reach the southern tip of the planet on December 14th 1911, using sledges, dogs and skis. The Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, who arrived by plane ahead of the celebrations, said the 1911 expedition was "one of the most outstanding achievements of mankind," and helped to form his country's national identity. He also paid tribute to the ill-fated British team led by Robert Scott who Amundsen beat to the pole. They had shown "courage and determination", he said, "in reaching one of the most inhospitable places on earth", and had paid the "ultimate price" after they died on the return journey. Neil Bowdler
Last Harry Potter film success
It's already the most successful movie franchise in history, but a decade after the young wizard's first film debut, the final chapter 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II' has broken box-office records.
In the US alone the finale of the eight-film series is estimated to have brought in over $168.5m in its opening weekend, ten million dollars more than the previous record set by the 2008 Batman film 'The Dark Knight.'
The film, which has featured the same lead actors throughout, also became the highest-earning movie on its opening day. Its distributor, Warner Brothers, said the last Harry Potter instalment broke international records as well with highest-ever weekend figures in the UK and Australia.
Hollywood-watchers are estimating the film is on track to break a rare barrier to become a billion-dollar movie.
Can you spell?
Mencap designed the site because they believe that standards of spelling are falling in Britain, with serious consequences for people's ability to weather the global downturn. A survey commissioned for the charity revealed that 65% of people were unable to spell the word 'necessary' correctly, and only one-in-five people successfully completed a short spelling test.
Despite the results, three-quarters of those questioned thought they were good spellers, and agreed that it was an important skill to have.
Grant Morgan is the Creative Director for the Mencap Spellathon. He says the 'autocorrect' function on computer software is the main culprit for the decline in...