BBC news with Neil Nunes
Egypt’s Supreme Election Commission says the new constitution has been approved by almost 64% of voters. Announcing the official results of the referendum, Judge Samir Abul al-Maati said the commission had investigated all the complaints of irregularities. Bethany Bell is in Cairo.
Almost two years after the fall of Egypt’s authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has a new constitution. It’s a victory for President Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist supporters. He says it will bring stability to the country. It paves the way for parliamentary elections in the next two months. But it’s very controversial, critics say it has an Islamist agenda and allows Muslim clerics too greater say in determining legislation. The opposition says it will continue to fight against the constitution in parliament.
Opposition sources in Syria have said the commander of Syria’s military police Major General Abdulaziz al-Shalal has defected to join the rebels. There’s been no independent confirmation. He would be the highest ranking military police officer to defect since the beginning of the conflict in Syria nearly two years ago.
Security forces in Northern Nigeria say gunmen have opened fire in a predominantly Christian village, killing 5 people and injuring 4 others. A military spokesman told the BBC the attackers fired at worshippers in a small local church during midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Tomi Oladipo reports from Lagos.
Nigerian security services had given indications that were scaling up their operations this festive of season, but it appears these plans have not prevented another attack from happening. Residents of Peri village in Yobe state say a group of gunmen came to the village and headed straight to the church where they opened fire on worshippers. Local officials say some residents of the village fled their homes during the attack and have not returned. It’s not clear who was behind the attack, but Yobe state has been one of the scenes of violence in northern Nigeria led by the Islamist group Boko Haram.
A military plane with 27 people on board has crashed in Kazakhstan near the border with Uzbekistan. A senior figure in the Kazakh emergencies department told the media that the plane had burnt up and that only fragments remained. BBC’s Abdujalil Abdurasulov reports from Almaty.
The Antonov 72 plane was taking 20 soldiers from the capital Astana to their duty station in the southern city of Shymkent. The acting head of the border services agency was among the passengers. It is not clear if any of them has survived, but Russian news agency Interfax reports they all died. The plane crashed some 20 kilometers away from its destination as it was descending to land. A local citizen told Kazakh TV that the plane exploded like a bomb.
BBC World News
Queen Elizabeth has given her traditional Christmas address to the Commonwealth speaking of 2012 as a year of fellowship, friendship and the spirit of togetherness. In a televised speech, the Queen said those qualities had been demonstrated in the celebrations for her diamond jubilee, which marked the 60th year of her reign.
“The enthusiasm which greeted the diamond jubilee was a course, especially memorable for me and my family. It was humbling that so many chose to mark the anniversary of a duty which passed to me 60 years ago. People of all ages took the trouble to take part in various ways and in many nations. But perhaps most striking of all was the witnesses of strength of fellowship and friendship among those who would gather together on these occasions.”
Polices in New York state have given more details of the killing of two volunteer firefighters shot dead on Monday after being lured to a place set as a trap by a man who then killed himself. The Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said the assailant William Spengler left a note saying he wanted to do what he liked best, killing people. He said William Spengler had serious mental health problems and had been armed with three guns.
The Interior Ministry in Ukraine says one of its helicopters has crashed, killing 5 people on board. Three of the dead were crew and the other two were engineers. The aircraft came down shortly after takeoff in the city of Olexandriya in the Kirovograd region. The interior ministry said the cause of the crash’s being investigated.
One of Britain’s most versatile composers Sir Richard Rodney Bennett has died in New York. Aged 76. He had a distinguished career in classical music. He was also a prolific writer of film and television scores, earning 3 Oscar nominations.
BBC world news
埃及最高选举委员会称新宪法以近64%的支持率通过。Judge Samir Abul al-Maati宣布了公投的官方结果，称委员会已调查有关违规行为的诉讼。Bethany Bell在开罗报道。