Warplane down over Syria: IS kidnaps pilot

Suleiman al-Khalidi 9:14 AM   The US has dismissed a claim by the Islamic State jihadist group that it had shot down a Jordanian F-16 fighter flying with US-led coalition forces, which crashed in eastern Syria.

Top world stories

Police shoot black teen at Missouri gas station

Distraught: Toni Martin at the scene where she says her son Antonio was fatally shot.

Eric M. Johnson 7:29 AM   An 18-year-old black man has been shot and killed by police at a petrol station in a St Louis suburb near where unarmed teenager Michael Brown was killed by a white officer in August, police and local media say.

Cash grab for $2.4 million on Hong Kong highway

Some $15.23 million Hong Kong dollars have spilled out of the back of an armoured van onto a major Hong Kong highway - police say members of the public have to return any notes found.

4:23 AM   Boxes filled with more than $HK15.23 million ($2.4 million) in cash have spilled out of an armoured van onto a major Hong Kong highway, sparking a frenzy as drivers and passers-by tried to get their hands on the notes.

How the US and Canadian militaries ‘track’ Santa’s flights

NORAD Chief of Staff Major General Charles Luckey joins other volunteers taking phone calls from children around the world asking where Santa is. Central command is at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado

Josh Hicks 7:32 AM   As you unwrap your presents, you may want to check where Santa is making his next delivery using NORAD's 'satellite systems, high-powered radars and jet fighters'.

Latest world news

Pope Francis's Christmas Eve call to Iraqi refugees

Pope Frances celebrates Christmas Eve mass at St Peter's in the Vatican.

Philip Pullella 11:14 AM   Pope Francis led a solemn Christmas Eve mass hours after ringing Christian refugees sheltering in an Iraq camp, telling them they were "like Jesus".

US worker exposed to Ebola after lab mishap

Laboratory

Michael Muskal 10:27 AM   A technician at a government laboratory is being monitored for exposure to Ebola after material that may have contained a live virus was mistakenly moved, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

Tornadoes rip across southeast United States, leave 4 dead

Police inspect Kid's Kampus, a daycare facility after a tornado ripped the roof off of the building in Sumrall, Mississippi.

Doyle Rice 2:12 AM   A series of severe storms in the United States - including tornadoes - touched down in three southern states on Tuesday, killing four people, damaging homes and businesses, flipping cars, knocking down trees, and downing power lines.

Palestinian killed in clash with Israeli troops near Gaza border

The Israeli soldier wounded at the Gaza border was brought by helicopter to a hospital in Beersheba, Israel.

12:17 AM   Israeli forces have shot dead a member of Hamas's armed wing after a firefight erupted along the border with the Gaza Strip and an Israeli soldier was wounded, Gaza hospital officials and the Israeli army say.

Homeless man jailed for murders of UN consultant and her baby

Chea Phin

9:14 PM   A Cambodian court has sentenced a homeless man to 13 years in jail for stabbing to death a Dutch woman and her baby daughter during an attempted robbery at their Phnom Penh home.

Tarmac collision severs Boeing 737 wing in New York

Southwest Airlines jet

Michael Koziol 8:13 PM   Two US pilots may have to go back to driving school after a collision on the tarmac at New York's LaGuardia airport on Tuesday morning, local time.

Former US president George HW Bush, 90, hospitalised for shortness of breath

This 2008 photo shows George HW Bush senior to the right with his son, George W Bush in Maryland.

4:43 PM   Former US president George HW Bush, 90, was hospitalised in Houston, Texas, late on Tuesday after experiencing shortness of breath, a spokesman for the 41st commander-in-chief said in a statement.

Thai junta's election delays 'unwise and unjustified': US

Thailand's military leader and Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Amy Lefevre 1:07 PM   Thailand's military rulers have declared a general election will not be held until February 2016 "at the earliest": a delay criticised by the US

Sri Lankan president promises war crimes inquiry

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse

12:53 PM   Widespread allegations that Sri Lanka's military slaughtered thousands of civilians will be aired in a judicial inquiry if Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse abides by his election promises.

Across New York, pausing to honour police officers

New York police officers observe a moment of silence.

MARC SANTORA   New York City honoured its two fallen police officers with a moment of silence at 2.47pm on Tuesday, marking the instant at which they were shot in their patrol car.

'Canadian psycho' ex-porn actor Luka Magnotta convicted of murder

Luka Magnotta, also known as Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov, in an undated photo released by the  Montreal police.

It was the brutal murder that gripped the world, and sent the murderer fleeing to Paris and Berlin. Now former porn star Luka Magnotta has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

US to lift ban on gay blood donors

The scrapping of the ban could lift the annual blood supply by as much as 4 per cent, experts said.

Sabrina Tavernise   The US Food and Drug Administration has announced it will scrap a decades-old lifetime prohibition on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, a change that experts said was long overdue.

Ukraine takes historic step towards NATO

The Ukraine parliament voted overwhelmingly to take steps towards joining NATO.

Dmitry Zaks   The Ukrainian parliament has voted to take steps towards joining NATO, a pointed rebuke to Russia that immediately drew an angry response.

Six minutes of out-of-this-world footage

This image shows the boot of Italy with Sicily at its toe, spread across this panorama taken on October 21 by astronaut Alexander Gerst aboard the International Space Station.

Rachel Feltman   During his six-month "Blue Dot" mission on the International Space Station, German astronaut Alexander Gerst would often leave his camera running while he worked and did experiments.

North Korea's internet links restored, US denies involvement

A banner for The Interview posted outside Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Jack Kim   North Korea, at the centre of a confrontation with the United States over the hacking of Sony Pictures, experienced a complete Internet outage for hours before links were restored on Tuesday, but US officials said Washington was not involved.

France orders troop reinforcements after attacks

A French soldier patrols the Christmas market along Champs Elysees in Paris.

Aurelien Breeden   French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday that security would be stepped up nationwide following three successive, apparently unrelated bloody attacks, in a bid to ease growing unease in the country.

Teenage girl and grandparents among six dead in Glasgow truck crash

Killed: Lorraine Sweeney and her granddaughter Erin McQuade.

Flags have been flown at half mast above Scottish government buildings to remember six people killed when an out-of-control refuse truck ploughed into Christmas shoppers in Glasgow.

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef, who mocked army, fined millions

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef enters Egypt's state prosecutors office.

A prominent Egyptian satirist has been fined millions of dollars over a dispute with a television channel which suspended his show after it lampooned military leaders, officials said Tuesday.

Sony's The Interview will come to some theatres after all

In selected cinemas: A billboard for the film <i>The Interview</i> in Venice, California.

Brooks Barnes   Sony Pictures said on Tuesday that it had secured a limited theatrical release for The Interview on Christmas Day. Last week, about 80 per cent of the theaters in the United States and Canada refused to show "The Interview" in the face of a terror threat.

Orphaned by Boxing Day tsunami, flip-flop kings repay Sri Lankan kindness

Paul (left) and Rob Forkan, founders of sandal-making firm Gandys Flip Flops,

London: A decade after being orphaned by the Asian tsunami, British brothers Rob and Paul Forkan are successful entrepreneurs who are giving back to the Sri Lankans who helped them by building an orphanage.

Delta Airlines worker arrested in gun-smuggling plot

Delta Airlines ramp agent Eugene Harvey has been charged in a plot that saw some 129 firearms allegedly carried aboard flights.

Atlanta airline baggage handler suspected of helping smuggle firearms onto passenger jets to New York City has been arrested by federal agents, authorities said Monday.