US Senate approves START treaty
US senators have now voted to ratify the START nuclear treaty with Russia, which will pave the way for new cuts to the two countries' nuclear arsenals.
After months of wrangling in the Senate, where it needs a two-thirds majority to pass, the New Start treaty has made it through by a vote of 71 to 26, with a number of Senate Republicans backing the Democratic majority.
The treaty requires the United States and Russia to cut their deployed nuclear warheads by some 30 percent.
Senate Democrat John Kerry,
"More than any other this issue should summon our best instincts and our highest sense of responsibility. More than almost any other time, the people of the world are watching us."
European airports tackle snow backlog
European airports seem to be getting a handle on the backlog of thousands of passengers stranded because of the ice and snow paralyzing major air hubs across the continent.
Many European airports say schedules are slowly returning to normal, but are still warning that cancellations and delays are likely.
The holiday travel havoc in Europe has been triggering calls for legislation to force airports to deal more effectively with bad weather.
Minister: China's 2010 grain output to rise despite floods, drought
China's Agriculture Minister has confirmed that, despite the floods this year, this country's grain production is going to increase for the 7th straight year.
Speaking following the annual central rural work conference, Han Changbin says grain production will rise to more than 546 billion kilograms this year, up nearly 16 billion kilograms from last year.
The rural work conference has also agreed to boost investment in major grain-producing areas, on top of throwing more money at water conservation efforts.
Obama signs bill allowing gays, lesbians to serve in military
U.S President Barack Obama has signed a landmark law allowing gay people to serve openly in the U.S military.
Obama says signing the 'Dont Ask Dont Tell Repeal Act of 2010' - which was originally signed into law by former Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993 as a compromise measure, means 'valor and sacrifice' in the forces are no longer defined by sexual orientation.
The signing of the law is being viewed as a breakthrough moment not only for the gay community in the United States, but for Obama himself, who has faced criticism from liberals for not acting swiftly enough.
Ouattara's PM: only choice left is force
In Cote d'Ivoire, a top opposition figure is calling for the international community to use force to oust Laurent Gbagbo from his continued hold on power.
Guillaume Soro, Prime Minister under internationally-recognized law and new President Alassane Ouattara are now suggesting that military intervention may be needed to end the political impasse in the country.
Gbagbo says he's willing to have an international panel to re-examine the country's disputed elections and the ensuing crisis.
As the violent power struggle deepens, France is now asking its citizens to leave Cote d'Ivoire.
The World Bank has now frozen funding to the West African country.
The Chinese embassy in Cote d'Ivoire has also detailed an emergency plan and the 2-thousand Chinese citizens there are being advised to stay home for the time being.
S. Korea to stage ground, air firing drill
South Korea is preparing to hold a major firing drill later in the day involving both artillery and fighter jets.
The drill, which officials say is part of routine exercises, will take place at a firing range in Pocheon, 25 kilometers south of the land border between the two Koreas.
South Korea has already held a firing drill earlier this week from the western border island of Yeonpyeong, which was shelled last month by the North, killing four South Koreans.
China donates 1 million dollars to UN peacebuilding fund
The Chinese government has donated one-million-US-dollars to the UN-peace building fund to assist with the reconstruction of post-conflict countries.
The donation has been made by China's deputy UN ambassador, Wang Min, during a visit to the UN headquarters in New York - where he met with the UN's assistant secretary-general for peace building support, Judy Cheng-Hopkins.
The donation is the first part of a pledge to donate 3-million-dollars over the next three years.
Spanish lottery give out 3 billion
Spain's 200-year-old annual Christmas lottery, which boasts the world's largest total payout, has given out over 3 billion US dollars in prizes to hundreds of lucky winners across the country.
The top prize, 'El Gordo', Spanish for 'The Fat One,' spreads out three million euros to the winners.