United States: A 76-year-old man was killed in a wind-whipped fire at a New York high-rise apartment building. Two firefighters also were injured in the fire on the 35th floor of a 36-storey building in midtown Manhattan, authorities said. Fire Department spokesman Michael Parrella said firefighters were hampered by high winds and malfunctioning lifts as they tried to get to the top of the building. The fire was contained to one apartment. The cause is under investigation.
Vietnam: Hundreds of thousands of people in Vietnam's Mekong Delta were evacuated as the region braced for the arrival of Typhoon Tembin after the storm left more than 160 people dead in the Philippines. Weather forecasters were expecting the delta's southern tip to be in Tembin's path, and said heavy rain and strong winds could cause serious damage in the vulnerable region, where facilities are not built to cope with such severe weather.
Afghanistan: A suicide bomber struck outside the Afghan national intelligence agency headquarters near the presidential palace in the capital, killing six civilians, officials said. Isis (Islamic State) asserted responsibility for the attack through its Amaq News Agency and said "30 elements from the Afghan National Directorate of Security" were killed. The bombing comes a week after militants stormed a training centre of the agency in Kabul.
Australia: Thousands of Melburnians have had themselves an overindulgent Christmas with revellers trashing a city foreshore, a man hit by a tram and others arrested for drunkenness. Police say about 5000 people descended on St Kilda foreshore and the level of public intoxication prompted the closure of two lanes of traffic. Revellers pushed and pepper sprayed by police after a boozy, unauthorised Sydney beach party have questioned the tactics used by officers. Police were called to Little Bay, south of Maroubra, after reports of the large backpacker gathering and arrived to find approximately 3000 people drinking, singing and dancing. As the crowd was moved on, two women were arrested. They have since been charged with assaulting police, with officers alleging they were hit with bottles. One video posted on Facebook shows at least four women being pushed to the ground, including two who landed on the road, as officers doused others with pepper spray.
Conservation: Restrictions limiting boats from getting too close to endangered southern resident orcas have not harmed the US whale-watching industry, according to a new federal study. The study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicated that whale-watching tourism continues to grow even with the federal restrictions that require vessels to stay at least 182m from the orcas in Washington's Puget Sound, the Seattle Times reported. Lack of food, environmental contamination and boat noise are the primary threats to the survival of Puget Sound orcas, according to the agency. The population is down to 76 — the lowest in 30 years. Noise from boats can disturb orcas, causing them to spend less time looking for food and more time travelling, according to researchers.
Australia: There will be a heightened police presence at the Boxing Day Test and other events after a car mowed down pedestrians in Melbourne's city centre last week. Cricket fans heading to the Test can expect a "highly visible" police presence at the MCG and around the city, as well as at other events, Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said. "It's a massive operation that's well planned and we're ready for it," Leane said.
Cuba: A fireworks explosion seriously injured 22 people, including six children between ages 11 and 15, during a popular Cuban carnival, state- run media reports. The centuries-old Parrandas festival in the central town of Remedios draws thousands of Cubans and some tourists. All the injured appeared to be local residents.
Switzerland: Three people have died in separate avalanche accidents in the Swiss Alps. A man who was skiing close to the 2844m-high Hofathorn, in the southern canton of Wallis, died after being carried away by an avalanche. The 39-year-old from the Wallis region was quickly found and recovered by his friends but was confirmed dead at the scene by emergency services. Police in Graubunden, in the west of Switzerland, said a tourist who went missing on Sunday had also been found dead. The 31-year-old Frenchman had tried to climb the Glattwang mountain alone after skiing with his girlfriend. Separately, one of three walkers buried by a snow drift in Wallis has died, Swiss broadcaster SRF reported, quoting the police.
Turkey: A new emergency decree in Turkey that grants immunity to civilians deemed to have helped thwart an attempted coup has sparked an outcry. Critics fear that it could lead to violence through impunity, including the possible formation of death squads. The new law, passed yesterday, says people who acted to "suppress" the July 2016 coup attempt wouldn't face prosecution. Previously, it only applied to officials and law enforcement.
Australia: A 1m-long saltwater crocodile gave two Melbourne walkers a fright when they stumbled upon a Heidelberg Heights front yard. Highly sceptical police, expecting to find a large lizard, arrived at the Waiora Road home on Christmas night to find the crocodile sitting quietly. The reptile was successfully captured, but where it came from remains a mystery to police.
United States: A lobsterman in Maine has carried on his tradition of giving away lobsters to those in need on Christmas. Noah Ames set up his ute in a parking lot in Thomaston yesterday with a sign that read "Free lobsters today for families truly in need." Ames started the tradition four years ago to demonstrate to his children that Christmas is about more than present wish lists, the Portland Press-Herald reported. In one hour, he gave out 180kg of lobster. He provided 45kg that he hauled in on his boat No Worries while the rest was donated by other companies.