A wildfire has damaged dozens of homes outside a port city in Chile. The federal government has declared an alert over the fires as at least 100 hectares (250 acres) were burned by the afternoon on Tuesday near Valparaiso. The fires were fanned by strong winds, but authorities have suggested they may have been started by an arson attack.
Pope Francis offered a Christmas message of hope Wednesday against darkness that cloaks conflicts and relationships in large parts of the world from the Middle East to the Americas to Africa. The traditional “Urbi et Orbi’’ (“to the city and to the world’’) Christmas message has become an occasion for popes to address suffering in the world and press for solutions.
A typhoon that struck the central Philippines over Christmas has killed at least 13 people, disaster agency officials said on Thursday. Typhoon Phanfone hit the Philippines late on Tuesday with winds of up to 120 kph (75 mph) and gusts of 150 kph, heavy rain and flooding. More than 58,000 people were evacuated from their homes before the storm, which caused widespread property damage.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has condemned the forcible conscription of one of his allies to serve at a military base in the Arctic. Ruslan Shaveddinov was seized at his home in Moscow on Monday and flown 2,000km (1,240 miles) to the remote Novaya Zemlya archipelago. Mr Navalny accused the authorities of kidnapping the activist who, he said, was exempt from military service.
A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip at a southern Israeli city as it hosted a campaign rally prompted the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to take shelter briefly before resuming the event, Israeli TV stations have reported. The Israeli military said it had deployed fighter jets and helicopters to bomb Gaza overnight in response to the strike.