Putin’s point –
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a message of defiance and ire towards the West at an annual news conference in Moscow in the face of the financial turmoil that has gripped the country. Mr. Putin put the blame on “external factors,” including Western sanctions and falling oil prices, for the collapse of the ruble. Vladimir Putin
Closed lot –
Sony have cancelled tours of their Los Angeles studios after it was found pass codes were part of the hack recently discovered and blamed on North Korea.
Republican dig heels in on Cuba –
Republicans in Congress are trying to find a way to stop or at least slow President Barack Obama’s plan to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba. The biggest obstacle to normal ties with Cuba is the 1996 embargo and with Republicans due to take control of both houses of Congress in January, the chances of changing this look unlikely.
Mandy Rice-Davies dies
Mandy Rice-Davies the woman who was at the centre of the so-called Profumo spy/sex scandal (along with her friend Christine Keeler) that threatened to topple Harold Macmillan’s government has died at the age of 70. Rice-Davies lived with Keeler, whose affair with war minister John Profumo prompted his resignation in 1963. She also claimed to have an affair with Lord Astor, but he denied it in court to which Rice-Davies famously replied “Well he would, wouldn’t he.”
A bombing at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Quetta, the capital of the restive province of Balochistan, kills three people, including the prayer leader, and wounds at least 28 worshippers. (Al Jazeera)
Three people, including a senior Muslimpreacher, are killed and at least 20 wounded after an explosion in a mosque during Friday prayers in the Afghan capital, Kabul. (Al Jazeera)
Two people – a 37-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman – have been arrested under suspicion of murder at the property in Sheffield where six children were found. They remain in police custody. A murder investigation has been opened. (Evening Standard)