An update from the CNN newsdesk in London on the stories we're following on Thursday:
Criticism of autism report: A now-retracted UK study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an "elaborate fraud" that has done long lasting damage to public health, a leading medical publication has reported.
Alert ahead of religious festival: Egypt is on high alert ahead of the Coptic celebration of Orthodox Christmas Eve on Thursday, as well as Friday's holy day. It comes after a church bombing in Alexandria last weekend which cost 23 lives.
Transparency call over Sudan oil: A report released Thursday calls for more transparency over Sudan oil revenues to avoid conflict as the nation prepares for a vote that could see it split into two.
Dioxin scandal: Up to 3,000 tonnes of an animal feed additive sold in Germany have been found to contain traces of dioxin. More than 1,000 farms have now been banned from selling eggs after traces of the chemical were found in found last week. Officials said the levels did not pose a real risk to humans.
EU presidency handover: Hungary has assumed the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time for the period January 1 to June 30 2011, with the official handover ceremony taking place in Budapest.
England close on Ashes series victory: England need just three wickets on the last day of the fifth and final Ashes Test in Sydney to wrap up their first series win in Australia for 24 years.