AUSTRALIAN officials battled wildfires amid scorching temperatures across the country yesterday, with one blaze destroying dozens of homes in Tasmania.
Around 80 buildings were destroyed in and around the small town of Dunalley, east of Tasmanian capital Hobart, including the town's school, police station and bakery.
Wildfires were raging across southern Australia fanned by high winds. Temperatures in Hobart reached a record high of 42C on Friday. Conditions eased yesterday, but officials warned that the danger from fires remained high.
Egyptian court acquits ex-minister
A court has acquitted Egypt's former culture minister on charges he failed to account for around $1.5m (€1.15m) of his wealth. Farouq Hosni, culture minister for most of Hosni Mubarak's 29-year-rule, is among dozens of former officials who have faced corruption trials since the long-time ruler's 2011 ousting. Court officials say the judge found Mr Hosni not guilty of the charges.
UK 'considering' anti-obesity laws
BRITISH Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will consider introducing new laws to limit the amount of sugar, salt and fat in processed foods to curb childhood obesity.
But the Tory minister said he wanted to give supermarkets and manufacturers a chance to get their "house in order" before resorting to legislation.
Six die as snowmobile crashes in Italy
SIX Russians were killed and two others were injured when their snowmobile slammed into a fence and flipped over into a ditch during a night run down an Italian ski slope. State radio reported yesterday that the crash had occurred on an unlit slope on Mount Cermis in north-east Italy.
Italian investigators suspect the crash was caused by excessive speed. Reports say the snowmobile was pulling a sled, which is where most of the passengers were sitting.
Tourist family killed in plane crash
A French-Moroccan family of five died yesterday when their small, twin-engined private plane crashed near Grenoble Airport in the foothills of the French Alps.
The plane, which had been heading to Morocco via Spain, came down just after take-off near Saint-Pierre-de-Bressieux, a village about 50km northwest of Grenoble.
The two parents and three children aged between 8 and 14 were returning to Morocco after a skiing holiday in the Alps, the official said. The cause of the crash was not clear.
Rooney's sister-in-law dies aged 14
The 14-year-old sister of Coleen Rooney has died after a long battle with a rare genetic disorder. Rosie McLoughlin, who had Rett syndrome, died at her home in Liverpool yesterday morning surrounded by her family.
Syrian rebels edge closer to Assad
Cat nabbed in prison smuggling plot
Guards at a prison in north-eastern Brazil foiled a smuggling plot on New Year's Eve when they apprehended a little white cat slipping through a prison gate.
After chasing and catching the cat, they found a mobile phone, drills, small saws and other items taped to its body.
Authorities at the medium-security jail in the city of Arapiraca said all of the prison's 263 inmates are suspects in the plot. A spokesman said: "It will be hard to discover who is responsible since the cat does not speak."