US launches elite forces to hunt IS leaders in Syria

The US is deploying specialised commandos to hunt down Islamic State leaders in Syria.

Top world stories

Womanising mayor standing for president

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao city in southern Philippines talks to supporters prior to addressing the crowd on his proclamation as the presidential candidate of the PDP-Laban political party on Monday.

Lindsay Murdoch 2:14 PM   A 70-year-old womanising mayor who praises the extrajudicial killings of drug dealers has emerged as a leading contender for the Philippine presidency.

UK on brink of joining Syria strikes

Anti-war signs crowd the skyline outside Downing Street on the weekend oppose British involvement in the bombing of Syria.

Nick Miller 6:28 AM   Likely rejection of bombing campaign by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn defies public opinion, with polls showing 59 per cent support.

'Muslim-Free' gun retailer claims legal victory

Andy Hallinan, owner of Florida Gun Supply in Inverness, Florida.

Florida retailer who made his shop Muslim-free says he'd sell to Islam followers who don't "believe in a literal interpretation of the Koran".

N Korean ghost boats coming ashore in Japan

This Nov. 29, 2015 photo shows a ship of unknown nationality in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, central Japan, after it was found in mid-November off Noto peninsula and was towed to the shore.  Japanese authorities are investigating nearly a dozen wooden boats carrying decomposing bodies found drifting off the northwestern coast over the past month. Coast Guard officials said Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015,  they have found at least 11 shoddy boats, carrying the bodies of unknown nationality since late October. They have also found fishing equipment and nets on board and signs written in Korean, suggesting they came from North Korea. (Kyodo News via AP) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY

11:04 PM   The Japanese coast guard reports 12 incidents of wrecked wooden boats since October, containing 22 dead bodies - including five skulls.

Istanbul blast: bomb explodes near metro

Riot police secure the area after an explosion on a highway overpass near a subway station, wounded five people, in Istanbul, Turkey.

Five people were injured when a pipe bomb exploded on an overpass on Tuesday, halting some train operations and heightening security fears in the city.

Latest world news

"Most" Iraqis believe US is an Islamic State ally

Fighters from the Shiite  Badr Brigades militia. Members of the group, closely linked to Iran,  accuse the US of providing Islamic State with weapons and rations.

Liz Sly in Baiji, Iraq 3:11 PM   It seems ludicrous but pro-Iranian propaganda and a restrained military response has convinced many Iraqis the US is actually in cahoots with the terrorist group

Body of kidnapped former Hells Angels gang member found in Thailand

Wayne Rodney Schneider was one of NSW's 10 most wanted in 2006.

Lindsay Murdoch 2:42 PM   The body of kidnapped Australian former Hells Angels motorcycle gang leader Wayne Rodney Schneider has been found buried in a shallow grave in Thailand.

Beijing smog fails to obscure 'apocalypse' humour

A policeman adjusts his mask as he performs his duty near Tiananmen Gate.

2:41 PM   Several days of brown haze in Beijing so thick it has closed highways have also prompted jokes about the end of the world.

Iraqi forces prepare next US-backed attack on IS, with Mosul in sight

Peshmerga fighters walk through the heavily damaged ruins of Sinjar, Iraq, after retaking it from Islamic State in November.

Michael R Gordon 12:22 PM   While a massive act of terrorism in Paris drew the world's attention to Islamic State, the terrorist group's primary focus in Iraq and Syria has been a far more traditional military goal.

Pistorius could return to jail with appeal ruling this week

Oscar Pistorius in the Pretoria High Court on October 16 last year. The athlete was freed two weeks ago and has not been seen in public since then.

Joe Brock 12:11 PM   South Africa's Oscar Pistorius will find out if he will return to jail when the South Arrican Supreme Court of Appeal announces on Thursday

US launches elite expeditionary force to hunt Islamic State in Syria

President Barack Obama announces Iraqi special forces, backed by American warplanes, had retaken a strategically critical dam near Mosul, Iraq, from Islamic State in August last year.

Nicole Gaouette and Tony Capaccio 10:37 AM   The US is deploying specialised commandos to hunt down Islamic State leaders in Syria.

Indonesia cites faulty component, crew response in AirAsia crash

Wreckage of part of the ill-fated AirAsia Flight 8501 that crashed in the Java Sea in December 2014.

Joe Cochrane 7:53 AM   Pilots appear to have reset the computer system's circuit breaker, leading to a series of failures that caused them to lose control of the plane before it plummeted into the Java Sea, killing 162 on boa, crash investigators have said.

The unusual journey of Yeb Sano, former climate negotiator

Yeb Sano, a former climate negotiator for the Philippines, has taken up civil action on global warming.

Peter Hannam 7:00 AM   Few people in the history of climate conferences so personified the threat of global warming than Yeb Sano, a negotiator from the Philippines, who wept openly during the Warsaw talks just days after super typhoon Haiyan swept over his nation.

Minnesota couple drops $US500,000 cheque in Salvation Army kettle

Giving back ... A couple has anonymously donated $US500,000 to the Salvation Army by placing this cheque in a donation kettle in Minneapolis.

David Bailey 5:14 AM   A Minnesota couple who lived on discarded food when they first got married dropped a $US500,000 ($685,542) personal cheque into one of the organisation's red kettles at a suburban grocery store over the weekend, the group said on Monday.

A path beyond the Paris climate change conference

In some countries with growing power demands, such as China (pictured), research found that nuclear power would be essential for staying within a strict emissions budget.

Justin Gillis 1:33 AM   The pledges countries have signalled they will make in Paris over the next two weeks to cut emissions will inevitably fall short of what is needed to solve the problem of climate change.

Merkel's cabinet backs Germany to join military campaign against IS in Syria

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin.

Madeline Chambers 11:55 PM   Germany will not join France, US and Russia in conducting air strikes, but the move is significant given the country's post-war history of avoiding foreign military entanglements.

US Marine jailed in Philippines for killing transgender woman

US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, left, arrives for the verdict of his court case.

Manuel Mogato 9:08 PM   A Philippine court has found a US Marine guilty of killing a transgender woman in a case that has reignited debate over the American military presence.

Bill Gates plots a surprise attack on the energy sector

Bill Gates, philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, hopes to turbocharge the Paris climate talks with a massive investment.

Bruce Wallace 8:30 PM   Bill Gates grows most animated when the talk turns to the "cool" new energy technologies that have yet to leave the lab.

Japan's whaling fleet sets sail, despite international anger

Japanese whaling harpoon ship the Yushin Maru 2 
offloads a minke whale onto factory ship the Nisshin Maru in the Southern Ocean in 2013.

Teppei Kasai 8:29 PM   Japan aims to take more than 300 whales before the hunt ends next year and nearly 4000 over the next 12 years.

The hard grind of climate negotiations begins as leaders depart Paris

French President Francois Hollande shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives at the climate conference in Paris.

Tom Arup and Peter Hannam, Paris 7:38 PM   Tens of thousands of delegates have started turning their mind to the hard grind of the Paris climate negotiators, with divisions over the who should bear responsibility for global warming between rich nations and major developing countries - in particular India - chief among the issues to be navigated.

Former Hells Angels gang member kidnapped from his home in Thailand

Hells Angel member Wayne Rodney Schneider outside Central Local Court, Sydney, in 2008.

Lindsay Murdoch 6:05 PM   A former Australian Hells Angels motorcycle gang member has been beaten unconscious and kidnapped at gunpoint from his home in Thailand.

Burkina Faso elects first new leader in decades

Burkina Faso president-elect Roch Marc Christian Kabore waves during a rally in Ouagadougou last week.

Herve Taoko and Dionne Searcey 5:00 PM   Former prime minister Roch Marc Christian Kabore will lead Burkina Faso.

Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam may have escaped to Syria

Salah Abdeslam is wanted by police in connection with the Paris terror attacks.

Louisa Lovelock 3:58 PM   A major manhunt for the Belgium-born French national may circle back to Islamic State's base in Syria.

Obama tells Putin to avoid impeding progress toward a Syria solution

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama shake hands at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris.

Jeff Mason 3:57 PM   Barack Obama has told Vladimir Putin that Turkey and Russia need to avoid creating "further impediments to the type of progress that we need to make together to resolve the situation in Syria".

The eerie disappearance of an elderly woman, her son and an 11 kilo bar of gold

A gold bar was reportedly found in Beverly Giannonatti's house before she disappeared.

Yanan Wang   The sheriff was right when he said he didn't think the the outcome was "not going to be good".