North Korea 'ready for sacred war'
North Korea is now threatening to launch a "sacred" nuclear war against the South if it attacks, now that Seoul is staging its largest military drills of the year.
The comments come on the eve of the 19th anniversary of leader Kim Jong Il's appointment as the supreme military commander.
North Korean Defense chief Kim Yong Chun,
"The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK are getting fully prepared to launch a sacred war of justice of Korean style, using the nuclear deterrent anytime it is necessary to cope with the enemies' actions, which are deliberately pushing the situation to the brink of a war."
The South Korean drills, which involve fighter jets and tanks, are taking place about 25 kilometers from the heavily fortified DMZ land border.
Duma: new START treaty could be ratified this week
The Russian lower parliament, the State Duma, is likely to ratify the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States later today, if the U.S. Senate's resolution on the ratification doesn't change the terms of the pact.
In a telephone conversation, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated U.S. President Barack Obama on the U.S. Senate's move to ratify the treaty.
The U.S. Senate has voted 71-26 to approve the treaty, which requires both the United States and Russia to cut their deployed nuclear warheads by some 30 percent.
Ahmadinejad urges 'cooperation' at Istanbul nuclear talks
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has joined regional leaders for an economic summit in Turkey, a month before nuclear talks with six major powers in Istanbul.
"We believe that the meeting in Istanbul will be a landmark historical event where we can replace confrontation with cooperation. We are ready to embrace this event and we hope such a thing will happen in a friendly place like Istanbul, in a country like Turkey."
With international sanctions over its nuclear program now biting harder than many expected, analysts say Iran may ask Turkey to take on the role of mediator in the talks in Istanbul next month with the so-called P5+1 countries; the permanent members of the UN security council, plus Germany.
2 injured in parcel blasts at embassies in Rome
Italian police are searching embassies and consular offices in Rome, after parcel bombs exploded at the Swiss and Chilean missions, injuring two.
A Swiss embassy staff member has serious hand injuries. The injury inflicted to the person at the Chilean embassy is said to be minor.
The Italian government suggests the attacks could be the work of anarchist groups, though there is no claim of responsibility.
A suspect package was also reported at the Ukrainian embassy, though no dangerous item was actually inside it.
Survivors of sinking fish boat arrive in New Zealand's Bluff port
The 20 survivors from the ill-fated South Korean fishing boat which sank near the antarctic earlier this month have now arrived in New Zealand.
The survivors, who include four Chinese nationals, are going to be interviewed by police to try to find out what caused their boat to sink.
Their fishing boat went down on December 13th, leaving 22 dead, including four Chinese men.
Though the cause of the sinking remains unclear, the owner of the ship has suggested that it may have struck an iceberg while in the Ross Sea, around 15-hundred nautical miles south of New Zealand.
China unveils white paper on cooperation with Africa
The Chinese government has released a white paper on China-Africa economic and trade cooperation.
The state council now notes that trade volume has jumped to more than 100 billion U.S. dollars from the January to November period this year, up 43 percent year on year.
Statistics from the State Council's document shows that there is Chinese involvement in 142 agricultural projects in Africa as of the end of last year.
The white paper also says there is growing Chinese involvement in other areas, including banking, tourism, civil aviation and environmental protection.
Beijing to limit issuance of new car plates to 240,000 annually
The city of Beijing is to limit the issuance of new car plates to 240,000 starting next year.
This is part of a package of new rules aimed at easing the growing traffic gridlock in the Chinese capital.
Car buyers will have to obtain car plates by drawing lots before they drive their cars on road.
In 2010, more than 700,000 news cars were sold in Beijing, bringing the capital city's total number of automobiles to more than 4.7 million.
Over 300 trapped in cars after snow blocks traffic in north China
More than 300 people in Inner Mongolia are now stuck in a traffic jam, with snowstorms blocking a national highway.
More than 100 cars are currently trapped on State Route 304 near Huolin'guole amid extremely cold weather, with temperatures 30 degrees below zero.
Firefighters and police are now rushing to try to clear the snow.
Snowstorms have hit many parts of north China in recent days.