In brief: Fired for being sexy
A COURT has ruled that a dentist was entitled to sack his dental assistant for being too "irresistible" and a "threat" to his marriage.
Melissa Nelson, a 32-year-old married mother of two, worked with dentist James Knight for 10 years before he fired her. An all-male Iowa State Supreme Court ruled that he was within his legal rights.
Red alert for volcano
CHILE has issued a red alert for a volcano on the border with Argentina that has become increasingly active.
The Copahue volcano straddling Argentina's Neuquen province started spewing ash and gas on Saturday, but Chile's emergency office ONEMI raised the alert after it registered seismic activity and a cloud of ash almost 1.5 km high in the Biobio region.
THE hunt for the perfect Christmas tree may soon become a lot easier thanks to German scientists who are using cloning technology to produce flawless specimens.
Biologist Kurt Zoglauer of Berlin's Humboldt University said that currently 40pc of trees don't make the cut when they mature after 10 to 14 years. Some are stunted by frost, while others turn out the wrong shade of green. Mr Zoglauer's team, therefore, hopes to refine a method to clone particularly hardy and beautiful trees by 2016.
No Mandela discharge
FORMER South African leader Nelson Mandela will spend Christmas Day in hospital. Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said the physicians caring for Mr Mandela had given no indication of an "imminent discharge" from hospital.
Mr Mandela has been in hospital since December 8. He was diagnosed with a lung infection and also had gallstone surgery.
South Pole warming
West Antarctica is warming almost twice as fast as previously believed, adding to worries of a thaw causing sea levels to rise dramatically.
Average temperatures at the Byrd research station have risen 2.4C since the 1950s, three times the global average, according to research. West Antarctica holds enough ice to raise world sea levels by at least 3.3 metres.
Rihanna's €1.3m gift
Pop star Rihanna has given $1.75m (€1.33m) to a hospital in her Caribbean homeland of Barbados in memory of her late grandmother.
Rihanna says the donation to buy three pieces of medical equipment was her way of "giving back to Barbados."