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Italy avalanche: 'Many missing' in Rigopiano hotel in Abruzzo

Rescuers say up to 30 people are missing after a hotel in central Italy was hit by an avalanche, apparently triggered by an earthquake. Rescuers battled overnight to reach the Rigopiano hotel, with the first of them arriving on skis. Snow dislodged by the avalanche had blocked the roads in. One person has been pulled dead from the snow. At least three came out alive but most others appear still buried.

Russia says ready to talk to Trump about nuclear arms and Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow was ready to talk to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's new administration about nuclear weapons and Syria, saying the two countries could together solve many of the world's problems. Lavrov, speaking days before Trump's inauguration, used an annual news conference to flag potential areas of cooperation and to belittle what he described as malicious attempts to link Trump to Russia in a negative light.

Obama commutes Chelsea Manning sentence.

President Barack Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence for leaking documents to Wikileaks in 2010. The 29-year-old transgender US Army private, born Bradley Manning, will be freed on 17 May instead of her scheduled 2045 release. She was sentenced to 35 years in 2013 for her role in leaking diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy group. The leak was one of the largest breaches of classified material in US history.

Istanbul Reina nightclub attack suspect captured.

The main suspect in the New Year's Eve attack on an exclusive nightclub in Istanbul has been arrested in the Turkish city. Abdulkadir Masharipov is believed to have mounted the assault on the Reina club which left 39 people dead.


Shallow earthquake rattles Indonesia's third-largest city.

A shallow earthquake rattled Indonesia's third-largest city Medan today evening, damaging houses and sending thousands of frightened people into the streets. There were no immediate reports of casualties.


Philippines' Duterte threatens martial law

Martial law could be imposed in the Philippines if the drugs problem worsens, President Rodrigo Duterte has said. The 71-year-old former state prosecutor said the aim would be "to preserve the Filipino people and the youth of this land".


Trump slammed John Lewis for attack on rights icon

Politicians, entertainers and others have come to the defence of a US civil rights campaigner, Congressman John Lewis, who has become embroiled in a row with President-elect Donald Trump. Mr Trump tweeted that Mr Lewis was "all talk" and should focus on his constituents, after he said Mr Trump was not a legitimate president.

But Mr Lewis' supporters reacted with anger, saying he was a hero and icon. Mr Lewis was a leading figure in the 1960s civil rights movement. He is the last surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, led by Martin Luther King. (BBC)

US House of Representatives passes bill in first step to repeal ‘Obama care’

The US House of Representatives has taken the first step toward demolishing Obamacare, approving a budget plan already passed by the Senate. The Republican measure allows the Senate to create new legislation and overcome any Democratic block.


Joe Biden was awarded freedom medal by Obama.

President Barack Obama has awarded an emotional and surprised Joe Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest US civilian honour. Mr Obama praised his vice-president for his "faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and your lifetime of service". The award comes as both men prepare to leave office when Donald Trump is inaugurated on 20 January. Mr Biden has said he plans to stay active in Democratic Party politics.

Spy chief Clapper 'denounced' claims - Trump

Donald Trump says the top US spy called him to "denounce" allegations that Russian intelligence have compromising information about the president-elect. Mr Trump tweeted that the unverified claims were "false and fictitious". Director of National Intelligence James Clapper did not go so far in a public statement on Wednesday evening as to reject the claims outright. He said US intelligence "has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable".

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