Iran fights sanctions
IRANIAN lawmakers have introduced a bill that would force the government to increase uranium enrichment to 60pc if new sanctions are imposed on the Islamic Republic, state television has reported.
The bill is likely a response to legislation introduced in the US Senate last week that would authorise new economic sanctions on Iran if it breaches the interim nuclear deal reached in Geneva last month or fails to strike a final agreement.
MASS GRAVE MISTAKE
THE UN mission in South Sudan has denied a report of a mass grave that was issued by the office of a UN Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Berlin office of Navi Pillay said a grave containing 75 bodies had been found in Bentiu, Unity State. The office later revised the figure to 34 bodies. However, the UN mission has now said the erroneous report was an inflation of a "skirmish" in which 15 people were killed.
32 DIE IN BRAZIL FLOODS
CIVIL defence officials say the death toll in the floods and mudslides in south-eastern Brazil has risen to 32, and more than 50,000 have been forced to leave their homes.
In Minas Gerais, 17 people died in floodwaters or mudslides and 4,000 were forced to leave their homes.
VIRTUAL MILLIONS SEIZED
AN internet entrepreneur accused of being behind an online marketplace for illegal drugs has asked the US government to return more than $30m worth of virtual currency bitcoin (€21.9m) seized from his computers. Ross Ulbricht was arrested in October following a crackdown on black market website Silk Road.
Federal prosecutors in New York say Mr Ulbricht turned the site into an anonymous marketplace for carrying out illegal trade.
WHISTLEBLOWER Edward Snowden, in Channel 4's alternative Christmas message, has called US government surveillance worse than anything envisioned by George Orwell in his novel '1984'.
"The types of things in the book are nothing compared to what we have (watching us) today," Snowden said.
TREE PLAN FELLED
THE office of the speaker of Israel's parliament says he has rejected a Christian MP's request to display a Christmas tree in the building.
Hanna Swaid, a Christian opposition MP, said a Christmas tree would promote multiculturalism and freedom of religion.