the Context

A Liberian owned cargo vessel with 24 Filipino crew is seized by Somali pirates 550 nautical miles from the coast of India.

A 2,400-year-old pot of soup is unearthed in China near the ancient capital Xi'an.

Chinese archaeologists discover what they believe is a 2,400-year-old pot of soup, during airport extension work in the city of Xian, state media report.

Brunei and Malaysia sign a deal to jointly explore and produce oil and gas off the coast of northern Borneo.

Major British supermarkets and online stores stop taking orders in Scotland in the run up to Christmas, because of a backlog of deliveries caused by the recent adverse weather conditions.

A South Korean deep sea trawler sinks in the Southern Ocean two thousand kilometres south of New Zealand with at least five people dead and seventeen missing.

More than 20 fishermen are feared dead in icy waters after a South Korean deep-sea trawler sinks without warning in the Southern Ocean.

Heavy rains and flooding in Colombia cause up to $5.2 billion in damages.

Woman's arson kills 9 in gambling grievances in east China's Zhejiang Province.

New Israeli bill would prevent a terror suspect from meeting a specific lawyer for 6 months instead of 21 days as is the case today. The maximum period of time in which a terror suspect can be denied access to a specific lawyer will be one year.

A sword-wielding teenager takes up to half a dozen children and a teacher hostage at a nursery in Besancon, eastern France. He is later arrested.

French police end a hostage siege at a nursery school after a youth armed with two swords released children and their teacher in Besancon.

Kuwait closes the offices of Al Jazeera, following coverage of a crackdown at an opposition rally.

Mark Weston, the first person to face a second murder trial in the United Kingdom following the discovery of new forensic evidence is convicted of killing a woman in 1995.

The first person to face a second murder trial after the discovery of new forensic evidence is convicted of killing a woman in 1995.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Judge Henry E. Hudson rules against Barack Obama's health care reform requirement to purchase health insurance.

An American Catholic nun pleads not guilty to charges of embezzling $850,000 from Iona College.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat asks the European Union to recognize "two states (Israel and Palestine) along the 1967 borders".

Europe reaffirms its readiness to recognise a Palestinian state at an "appropriate" time, stopping short of outright recognition despite mounting pressure to break the Middle East impasse.

Minni Minnawi, the only Darfur faction leader to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement with the Sudanese government, declares its failure and leaves his post.

Minni Minnawi, the only leader to sign Darfur peace deal with government, blames it for failing it and quits post.

The Philippine parliament blocks a government effort to provide free condoms to poor people, amid a debate over funding for family planning.

Protests by garment workers in Bangladesh over low wages spread to other areas of the country.

OpenLeaks, a splinter group rivaling WikiLeaks, launches its website.

Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court unanimously rules the reappointment of Sir Paulias Matane as Governor-General of Papua New Guinea unconstitutional due to the lack of a secret ballot. Matane steps down from his position and Jeffrey Nape becomes acting Governor-General.

Hashim Thaci, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, claims victory in the Kosovan parliamentary election.

Hashim Thaci, the incumbent prime minister, has claimed victory in Kosovo's first general election since the province declared independence from Serbia, as an independent exit poll showed his Democratic Party of Kosovo 6 percentage points ahead of its rival.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismisses Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki for unknown reasons. He is replaced by Ali Akbar Salehi in an acting capacity.

Tehran, Dec 13 (DPA) In a surprise move, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has fired Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, state media reported...

U.S. senator Bernie Sanders gives an 8.5 hour senate speech denouncing the extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, citing the very large inequality in income and wealth and its growth, and that America is close to being a Banana republic.

A new species of fork-marked lemur has been identified in northeast Madagascar.