The Philippines: Firefighters battled a blaze for the second day at a southern Philippine shopping centre where some two dozen employees are feared to have been trapped in the four-storey building, an official said. It is unclear when firefighters can break into the NCCC Mall. Details of the casualties were sketchy. "The fire hasn't totally been put out," Romina Marasigan, spokeswoman of the government's disaster-response agency, said.
United States: President Donald Trump allegedly said that Haitian immigrants to the US "all have Aids" and new Nigerians in the country should "go back to their huts," according to a US news report. The comments were made during a heated meeting in the Oval Office in June between Trump and his most senior advisers, according to the New York Times, who cited two unnamed officials in the report. Trump also complained about 2500 new migrants from Afghanistan, which he said was "a terrorist haven" according to the newspaper. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders denied that the President had made derogatory statements about migrants during the meeting.
Australia: The mother of the man accused of trying to kill 18 pedestrians when he allegedly drove at them in Melbourne's CBD has spoken of his drug problem. "Beautiful son, drug no good. Three years sick, very sick. All the time he's sick," Shakiba Jalaly told the Herald Sun. "Very, very beautiful son. Beautiful son, drug no good, all the time drug." An emotional Jalaly was barred from approaching her son Saeed Noori, 32, as he appeared in a Melbourne court on Saturday, charged with 18 counts of attempted murder and one of conduct endangering life over the incident on Flinders Street on Thursday. Police say the accused man came to Australia via a refugee programme in 2004 and he has a history of mental illness and drug use.
Australia: A national memorial for the victims of MH370 will be built at Perth's Elizabeth Quay, with a tender released for expressions of interest. The Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board. The tender closes on January 31 and the project is expected to be completed by mid next year.
United States: A federal judge in Seattle partially lifted a Trump Administration ban on certain refugees after two groups argued that the policy prevented people from some mostly Muslim countries from reuniting with family living legally in the US. The judge ordered the federal government to process certain refugee applications but said his directive did not apply to people without a "bona fide relationship" to a person or entity in the US.
Italy: Rome residents seem to have embraced the pathetic state of their city's Christmas tree, which has become the butt of jokes around the world, hanging notes on "spelacchio" (The Mangy One). "RIP — riposa in pellet" (rest in pellets) said one sign. Another was a lament written from the sparse tree's point of view, bemoaning how ugly it had become since reaching the Italian capital. Others left "gifts" for the city under the 21-metre red spruce from the Val di Fiemme in the Dolomites, including a tyre destroyed by one of Rome's many potholes. Many see the tree, which cost the city about €50,000 as a symbol of poor city management.
Britain: Tourists are travelling from all over the world to visit a country village in England where rows of houses are covered in Christmas lights. Thousands of people come in their droves to see the display in Westfield with some visiting from as far as America, Canada and even Australia to admire the hundreds of lights and festive figurines, organisers say. The East Sussex village has a population of around 2750 people and has managed to raise more than £66,000 for St Michael's Hospice in nearby Hastings by lighting up each year.
The Netherlands: The new US ambassador to the Netherlands has apologised for a fake claim about fake news. Pete Hoekstra was filmed in 2015 saying there are "no-go" zones in the Netherlands and extremists bringing "chaos" to Europe. After arriving in the Netherlands for his new post, he was interviewed by a Dutch TV journalist who asked him about the "no-go" comment. Hoekstra denied saying it, calling the journalist's claim "fake news". The TV show then showed him clips of the 2015 comments. Hoekstra tweeted his regrets about the exchange, saying "please accept my apology." Hoekstra is a former Republican congressman from Michigan who was born in the Netherlands.
Brazil: At least four in 10 women in Brazil say they have been sexually harassed, according to a survey released by polling institute Datafolha. The survey indicates 42 per cent of those interviewed have experienced sexual harassment, with 29 per cent of incidents happening on the street and 22 per cent taking place on public transport.
Among better educated women, 44 per cent report being harassed, while just 13 per cent of those with only an elementary school education said the same. Experts said they believe the overall rate is much higher than what was reported, but women don't often share their experiences publicly out of fear of being blamed.
United States: Massachusetts police have a new mystery to solve: Who wrote a 1944 love letter discovered within the walls of a house being remodeled? The Greenfield Police Department took to Facebook to ask for the public's help in figuring out the backstory behind the handwritten letter. Police say the letter is dated April 19, 1944, and was penned by a man who identified himself only as Walter. The letter was addressed to Miss Betty Miller, of Greenfield. He writes: "I have always thought more of you than any other girl, and I still do." Police say they only have one motive: reuniting the letter with Miller or her family.
Israel: Thousands of Israelis are rallying in the streets of Tel Aviv calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign over alleged corruption for the fourth consecutive week, while hundreds more gathered in Jerusalem for the first time in an anti-corruption demonstration. Israeli police said several thousand people massed in central Tel Aviv in the latest protest against the leader. Police have questioned Netanyahu at least seven times, investigating two corruption allegations surrounding the four-term Israeli leader.
Italy: An Alpine chalet near the French border where Pope John Paul II and his successor Pope Benedict XVI spent some summer vacations is up for sale. ANSA reported that the Salesian order that owns the chalet is selling the property in the mountain hamlet of Les Combes, in Valle d'Aosta, because of difficulties in managing it. A life-long mountaineer, John Paul spent about 10 summer holidays at the retreat, situated at an altitude of 1300m while Benedict went there just twice. It was there that the German-born pope fell and broke his wrist in 2009.
Ascension Island: It's not quite Death in Paradise, but one of Britain's most remote overseas territories is on the hunt for a new police inspector, offering a salary package of up to £47,000. The role will see the officer posted on Ascension Island, which lies in the South Atlantic Ocean and has a population of 850. St Helena Police have advertised for an inspector to lead a small team of officers responsible for the 24-hour policing of the island. The two-year contract is available from February or March 2018, and candidates must have a British passport in order to apply.