S. Korea to conduct live-fire drill in Yellow Sea Monday
South Korea has announced it will conduct a live-fire drill today from a western border island shelled last month by North Korea.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul says residents of Yeonpyeong island have been told to take shelter before the drill.
South Korean officials say the live-fire drill was part of routine exercises suspended after North Korea's deadly artillery bombardment last month on the Yeongpyeong island.
For its part, the Chinese side is continuing to call for calm and negotiations.
The UN Security Council has failed to reach an agreement on the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula after an emergency meeting.
Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the UN, said the gap in the 15-nation Security Council "is not likely to be bridged".
Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said his delegation still insists that the UN secretary-general immediately sends a special representative to Pyongyang and Seoul to calm down the tensions.
Lukashenko wins Belarusian election; violence in Minsk
Street protests have now erupted in Minsk, with preliminary results now showing incumbent Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has, again, won the country's presidential election.
Exit polls show Lukashenko has secured more than 80 percent of the vote.
It's being reported that police have violently broken up some of the protests, with media outlet reporting that two candidates have been beaten up.
Chinese premier concludes visit to Pakistan
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has returned to Beijing after visits to Pakistan and India.
Speaking to Pakistani lawmakers on his three-day visit to the country, the premier said he is highly optimistic about strong and close relations between the two nations.
"It is our mutual strategic choice that China and Pakistan strengthen and develop the around-the-clock relations of strategic alliances, which is in accordance with the fundamental interests of both countries and both peoples and in favour of regional and even international peace, stability and development. China-Pakistani relations will doubtlessly be firmer, closer and stronger."
During his time in Pakistan, the two countries have signed trade deals worth some 10 billion U.S. dollars, covering sectors of new energy, agriculture, and non-ferrous metal imports.
Wen Jiabao had also announced a package for post-flood reconstruction in Pakistan, including a 10 million U.S. dollar grant for flood victim compensation and a 400 million U.S. dollar concession loan.
The two sides have also declared the year 2011 the Year of China-Pakistan Friendship.
Death toll in C. China fireworks explosion rises to 12
The death toll in a fireworks blast in Hunan has now risen to 12.
Nine others are being treated in hospital.
Police say two others are still missing.
The blast happened in a county in the provincial capital of Changsha, when a truck loaded with fireworks fuses hit a power pole.
Sparks from the downed cables ignited the fuses.
The whereabouts of the truck's driver remains unknown.
Mexico's oil pipeline explosion death toll rises to 27
A massive blast along a state-owned pipeline in central Mexico has now left at least 27 people dead, and more than 50 others hurt.
An official in the state of Puebla says the explosion happened while thieves were trying to steal fuel.
33 homes have been completely destroyed by the explosion.
Heavy snow hits Europe
Heavy snow is now blanketing many European countries, stranding thousands of passengers ahead of the Christmas rush.
In Britain, delays are now nagging most airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick in London, making for some uncomfortable waits.
In France, tourists hoping to visit the Eiffel Tower are now meeting with signs telling them the tower is closed.15 centimeters of snow in the French capital is also causing havoc at the airports.
Transportation authorities are warning that the disruptions to flights are likely to remain severe over the coming days.
Worst floods in 50 years hit Western Australia's town
Food and water are on the way to people trapped by the worst floods in 50 years around the Western Australian town of Carnarvon.
Carnarvon, about 900km north of Perth and at the mouth of the Gascoyne River, is hit by its worst flood since 1960.
An evacuation point was set up at the Carnarvon Civic Center, where at least 80 people stayed overnight.
China's banking regulator vows to improve county-level financial services
China's banking regulator is now planning to strengthen county-level financial services by expanding capital-raising channels and promoting financial innovation.
The regulator is now encouraging big commercial lenders to open county-level outlets to try to ensure people living in rural areas have easy access to basic financial services.