12 things you need to know right now

Police are facing mounting criticism for their handling of the incident. Photo / AP
Police are facing mounting criticism for their handling of the incident. Photo / AP

Your wrap of the world stories that broke overnight.

1. The German Interior Minister has criticised police handling of the gang sex attacks on women in Cologne at New Years. "These events take place and they wait for complaints. Police shouldn't work like this," Thomas de Maiziere said. Two women have said they were raped and many were groped. An 18-year-old victim, identified as Michelle, told N-TV that attackers surrounded her and 11 female friends, groped them and stole their belongings. Public broadcaster ZDF apologised for delays in reporting on the assaults and the city's Mayor Henriette Reker has been criticised for suggesting a code of conduct for women - keeping a certain distance from strangers and staying in groups.

2. Nuclear experts have questioned whether the size of the North Korean blast yesterday was strong enough to have been from a hydrogen bomb. If confirmed as an H-bomb test it would have been North Korea's fourth nuclear test since 2006. Bruce Bennett of the Rand Corporation, like other experts, said the blast was too small. "The bang they should have got would have been 10 times greater than what they're claiming." The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting.


Britain's Opposition Labour Party is in revolt as three shadow ministers have resigned over a reshuffle. Jonathan Reynolds (rail), Stephen Doughty (foreign) and Kevan Jones (defence) quit. The first two were angry over the sacking by leader Jeremy Corbyn of Pat McFadden, the party's spokesman on Europe. Jones said he could not agree with Corbyn's stance on scrapping the Trident submarine programme.

4. Prince George has started preschool in Norfolk. The 2-year-old was dropped off at the Westacre Montessori nursery by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The school costs 5.50 pounds per hour or 33 pounds a day.

5. A French tourist has been killed by a speedboat while swimming in waters meant for snorkellers at a Thai resort. The 52-year-old died instantly at Poda Island and the boat's driver was arrested and charged with causing death by reckless action.

6. Police in Turkey have confiscated more than 1000 fake lifejackets in Izmir made for migrants crossing the Aegean Sea to Greece. They say the lifejackets were stuffed with packaging rather than buoyancy items.

7. The BBC reports that defence officials in Vietnam are investigating where three metal spheres which fell from the sky came from. The largest object weighs about 45kg. It was found in Tuyen Quang province by a stream. Another piece landed in a garden in the nearby Yen Bai region and a 250g item landed on a roof. They are thought to be compressed-air tanks from an aircraft or rocket.

8. Italy's Interior Minister Angelino Alfano says surrogate mothers should be treated as sex offenders, punishable with prison. His comments were part of a debate about the Prime Minister's attempt to grant family rights to gay couples. Italy is preparing to give same sex couples legal rights for the first time. Surrogacy is illegal in Italy.

9. The first major El Nino storm of the season has hit California bringing heavy rain to the drought-hit area. It has caused flooding and mudslides. More rain is expected in the next few days.

10. A set of glasses built into a helmet give x-ray-like vision that enables a user to see through solid objects, the Guardian reports. Intel launched the glasses using a 3D camera at technology showcase CES in Las Vegas. The Daqri Smart Helmet has been designed for industrial use. It will include a real-time overlay of information, such as diagrams, for areas that need fixing.

11. A passenger on a British Airways flight from London to Dubai shouted that he had a bomb. According to a passenger who tweeted about the incident it took five crew members and a 'large passenger' to restrain the man who was then handcuffed to a seat. The matter has been passed onto Dubai police.

12. A stabbing attack in Australia left a baby girl dead and her mother and grandparents fighting for life. The attack happened in affluent Parkinson, in Brisbane's south.

- NZ Herald

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