Costa Rica: A plane carrying 10 US citizens and two local crew members has crashed in a wooded area, killing all on board, Costa Rica's Government says. Several members of the same family are among the 10 tourists. The Public Safety Ministry posted photographs and video of the crash site showing burning wreckage of the plane in Guanacaste. Authorities say that so far they have only a list of passengers provided by the airline and are awaiting official confirmation of their identities. The Nature Air charter flight took off from Punta Islita and was headed for the capital of San Jose when it crashed.

Australia: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he isn't worried a recent report involving Alexander Downer may damage his relationship with US President Donald Trump. The New York Times has reported that Downer, the Australian High Commissioner to the UK, could have helped spark an FBI investigation into Russia's role in the US election. Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos told the Australian diplomat during a meeting in London in May 2016 that Russia had thousands of emails that would embarrass Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Australia passed the information on to the FBI after the Democratic party emails were leaked, according to the New York Times. Turnbull said he hadn't spoken to anyone in the US Administration since it came out. "The Government won't be making additional comments on a matter that relates to an ongoing investigation in the US," he told reporters in Sydney. "The relationship is in excellent shape and the connections between Australia and the United States are so diverse, numerous, so strong, and indeed our relationship through the State Department is excellent as well," he said.

Britain: A drug developed to tackle diabetes could be used to treat Alzheimer's after "significantly" reversing memory loss in tests on mice, scientists say. A so-called "triple receptor drug" created to treat type 2 diabetes also helped reduce the amount of amyloid plaques associated with the degenerative brain disorder, the University of Lancashire team found. It also slowed the rate of nerve cell loss and increased levels of a chemical which helps the cells function. The scientists believe it could bring new hope to the hundreds of thousands of patients suffering from Alzheimer's. The paper was published in the journal Brain Research.

United States: A convicted murderer whose prison break captivated the US says he uncovered a way to escape from another maximum-security facility in New York. But this time David Sweat said he detailed the plan involving a makeshift tool to corrections officials, asking for extra weekly visits from his girlfriend in exchange. Sweat and another inmate, Richard Matt, escaped from New York's Clinton Correctional Facility in 2015. They were caught after three weeks. Matt was shot and killed. Sweat told the New York Times that he told corrections officials how he would break out of New York's Five Points Correctional Facility. He says officials transferred him to a different prison about 144km away and didn't grant any perks. State corrections officials confirmed Sweat provided details on possible "security vulnerabilities".


France: A French mayor has made national waves by declaring she will no longer give "la bise" to 73 colleagues every morning, confessing she deliberately arrived late for meetings to avoid the Gallic greeting kiss. Aude Picard-Wolff, Mayor of Morette, in Isère, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, expected to raise a few eyebrows after emailing her colleagues to say from now on she preferred to "shake hands", but little did she know the message would go viral and ignite soul-searching in the media. Picard-Wolff, a Green Party politician, said it was too much to give the customary peck on each cheek to droves of colleagues every time she held a meeting.

United States: Jay-Z, Harry Styles, Kendrick Lamar, U2 and Chris Stapleton were just some of the artists responsible for Barack Obama's favourite songs of the year. The former President shared an eclectic list of his favourite songs and books of 2017 on his Facebook page, including Jay-Z's Family Feud and Styles' Sign of the Times. The 22-song list also singled out Lamar's Humble, U2's Ordinary Love (Extraordinary Mix) and Stapleton's Millionaire. Obama writes that he wanted to continue the tradition he stared during his presidency of sharing his reading and playlists. His books list includes Grant, by Ron Chernow, Exit West, by Moshin Hamid, Anything is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout and Amy Goldstein's Janesville: An American Story. Obama also gave a bonus shout-out to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Coach Wooden and Me.

Mexico: Five people visiting from the United States were among 10 people killed in a fiery car crash on a coastal highway in southern Mexico, authorities said. Guerrero state security spokesman Roberto Alvarez Heredia said the crash also left two US residents hospitalised. A van carrying the family from Washington state as well as at least two local people collided with a motorcycle and another car. All of the vehicles caught fire.

- agencies