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World News

Russian plane crash: First 'black box' brought to Moscow

The flight data recorder of the Russian military airliner which crashed in the Black Sea on Sunday has been recovered and brought to Moscow. The Tu-154 jet came down with the loss of all 92 passengers and crew. At least 12 bodies have been recovered so far. It was carrying artistes due to give a concert for Russian troops in Syria, and journalists and military personnel. The cause of the disaster is still being investigated but there is no suggestion of a terror attack.

South Korea ruling party split could provide opening for UN chief Ban

A South Korean ruling party faction said today it would form a new party, and key members said they hoped outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would join it to launch a widely expected bid to become president.

If Ban joined the new party, it would give him a conservative platform while distancing himself from the ruling Saenuri Party of President Park Geun-hye, which has become tainted by a corruption scandal that led to a parliamentary impeachment vote against her this month. The 29 lawmakers defecting from Park’s Saenuri Party were among those who supported the parliamentary motion to impeach her over the influence-peddling scandal, which was passed overwhelmingly on December 9.

Crashed Russian plane's black box recovered

The flight data recorder of the Russian military air liner which crashed in the Black Sea on Sunday has been recovered.
It is the first "black box" to be retrieved from the TU-154 jet, which came down with the loss of all 92 passengers and crew. The plane crashed soon after take-off from an airport near the city of Sochi. It was carrying artistes due to give a concert for Russian troops in Syria, along with journalists and military.

Powerful typhoon head towards Manila

Powerful typhoon Nock-Ten is continuing to batter the Philippines, as it heads towards the area around the heavily-populated capital Manila. Civil defence officials have been put on "red alert", as the storm is due to hit the city later today.

 Meteorologists say the storm has weakened since making landfall on the eastern coast yesterday, but it still packs winds up to 140 kilometer per hour. The storm cut power lines and uprooted trees, but no deaths were reported. Manila's civil defence office warned that the capital could be hit by "heavy to intense rains, flash floods and severe winds".

UN urges end to Israeli settlements

The United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution urging an end to illegal Israeli settlements after the US refused to veto it. The Egyptian-drafted resolution had been withdrawn after Israel asked Donald Trump to intervene but it was proposed again by Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela.


Police foil terror attack in Australia

Australian police say they have foiled a terror attack planned for Melbourne on Christmas Day. Victoria Police Chief Graham Ashton said five men are in custody after early-morning raids today. He added the threat involved "use of explosives" and other weapons including "knives or a firearm".


Donald Trump says US must greatly expand nuclear capabilities

Donald Trump has called for the US to "greatly strengthen and expand" its nuclear capabilities. The president-elect, who takes office next month, said the US must take such action "until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes". His spokesman later said that he was referring to the need to prevent nuclear proliferation.Mr Trump spoke hours after President Vladimir Putin said Russia needs to bolster its military nuclear potential.

Japan in record military spending amid Chinese tensions.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has signed off a record defence budget in the face of territorial disputes with China and North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. Spending on fighter jets and submarines are partly behind the increase of 1.4 percent to 43.6 billion US dollars.A separate coastguard budget will also be raised sharply. The plans are part of a 97.5tn yen budget for the financial year starting 1 April 2017.(BBC)

Car bomb hits Australian Christian group

A man has driven a van filled with gas bottles into the Australian Christian Lobby headquarters in Canberra. Australian Capital Territory Police said the incident was not "politically, religiously or ideologically" motivated.
The 35-year-old driver suffered serious burns after the explosion destroyed the vehicle and damaged the empty office. The incident took place at 9:30 p.m. local yesterday and the man walked to Canberra Hospital for treatment. Police said the person appeared to have ignited the gas cylinders within the vehicle. But they ruled out political motivation after briefly speaking with him in hospital. He remains in a critical condition.

Dozens killed in Mexico fireworks blast

An explosion at a fireworks market outside Mexico City has killed at least 29 people. Dozens of other people were injured as the blast hit the San Pablito fireworks market, about 32 kilometers outside the city. Officials said a number of children were among those who were badly burned, on up to 90 percent of their bodies.
Video from the scene showed a large number of fireworks rocketing into the air as they caught fire. Fireworks continued to explode after the initial blast, as smoke billowed from the area in thick black clouds. Dozens of paramedics and police attended the scene. The cause of the explosions is not yet known. Locals have been told to avoid the area and keep roads clear.

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