Syrian fighter jets have bombed Damascus suburbs in a government offensive to dislodge rebels from strategic areas around the capital, activists said, as clashes raged around army bases and airfields in the country's north.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said warplanes were hitting towns and villages around the capital. At least nine people were killed when a shell hit eastern Ghouta district.
Pythons hunted down
More than 800 people have signed up for a month-long python hunt in the Florida Everglades.
The hunters are in the vanguard of a renewed drive to reduce the numbers of non-native giant Burmese pythons that are harming the ecosystem.
Survivors of the Costa Concordia shipwreck and relatives of the 32 people who died marked the first anniversary of the grounding yesterday with the unveiling of memorials to the victims, a Mass and a minute of silence to recall the exact moment that the cruise ship rammed into a reef off Tuscany.
One of the most moving tributes was the return to the sea of part of the massive rock that tore a 70-metre gash into the hull of the liner when the captain took it off course.
Price to marry again
Price (34) said builder and part-time stripper Kieran Hayler proposed over a Christmas dinner. The mother of three has previously been married to Australian singer Peter Andre and cage-fighter Alex Reid.
Beijing's air crisis
People refused to venture outdoors and buildings disappeared into Beijing's murky skyline as the capital's air quality went off the index.
The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Centre said the density of PM2.5 particulates had surpassed 700 micrograms per cubic metre. Anything greater than 300 would trigger a health warning of "emergency conditions".
Chavez 'on the mend'
Hugo Chavez is recovering well in Cuba, his brother told Venezuelans, and dismissed rumours that the cancer-stricken leader is in a coma and close to death.
The 58-year-old president "continues to respond well to treatment and his recovery is advancing daily", said Adan Chavez, following a visit to his bedside at a clinic in Havana.