While many people may spend Christmas Eve doing last-minute gift shopping, two American astronauts have a more challenging matter to attend to Tuesday.
In orbit more than 200 miles above the planet, Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins are set to embark on a spacewalk to repair part of the International Space Station's cooling system.
It will be the second Christmas Eve spacewalk in history, according to NASA.
The two engineers will be carrying out the second in a series of expeditions needed to replace a malfunctioning pump, which circulates ammonia through loops outside the station to keep equipment cool.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has suggested that some outside governments may urge rebels to attack international inspectors sent into war-fractured country to secure its arsenal of chemical weapons.
"There might be countries that might ask the terrorists to attack the inspectors to prevent them from doing their job, and blame the Syrian government," he said in an interview aired Sunday by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
"At this point, this remains just a possibility and we cannot know until the inspectors arrive in Syria," al-Assad said.FULL STORY
Eccentric former basketball star Dennis Rodman may not have brought imprisoned American Kenneth Bae back with him from North Korea, but he did emerge with something that set tongues wagging: the purported name of Kim Jong Un's baby daughter.
Rodman, who calls North Korea's young ruler his friend, returned this weekend from his second trip to the reclusive, nuclear-armed nation this year.
As he passed through Beijing airport on Saturday, he remained tight-lipped about what went on during his latest visit.
But he appears to have been more candid in an interview Sunday with the Guardian, a British newspaper, in which he described the "relaxing time by the sea" he spent with Kim and his family. And he also let slip the baby's name.FULL STORY
The people of Colcord, Oklahoma, might need something a little stronger than Brita filters to remove the impurities from their drinking water.
Blood worms - small, red insect larvae - have been appearing in water glasses and filters in the rural town.
Authorities have warned Colcord's 800 residents not to drink, cook with or brush their teeth with the worm-infested tap water.FULL STORY
The trial of fallen Chinese politician Bo Xilai resumed Friday, a day after the charismatic former top official mounted an unexpectedly resolute defense against the prosecution's accusations of bribery.
Once a rising star in the upper echelons of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, Bo is now on trial on charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.
His dramatic downfall - laced with tales of murder, corruption and betrayal - set off the party's biggest political crisis in decades.FULL STORY
Heavy rain continued to lash the northern Philippines on Wednesday, a day after flooding put more than half of the Manila region under water.
The relentless monsoon rains, intensified by a tropical storm at sea, have so far led to eight deaths.Â More than 280,000 people have fled from their homes, authorities said.
The muddy flood waters have swamped roads and buildings, bringing life in many areas to a standstill.FULL STORY
Philippine navy divers retrieved bodies Monday from inside a ferry that sank last week after colliding with a cargo ship.
The discovery of more victims' remains brought the number of people confirmed dead from the disaster in the southern Philippines to 52, the Philippine Coast Guard said. Another 68 people remain missing and 750 have been rescued, it said.FULL STORY
For countries in Northeast Asia, this summer is becoming too hot to bear.
A Japanese city has experienced the highest temperature ever recorded in the country.Â The South Korean government is clamping down on the use of air-conditioning in an attempt to stave off power shortages.
And Shanghai has been sweltering under a record-setting run of baking hot days.
Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott set social media abuzz on Monday with a memorable slip of the tongue.
"No one - however smart, however well-educated, however experienced - is the suppository of all wisdom," Abbott told a Liberal Party event in the city of Melbourne.FULL STORY
The world's strongest storm of the year so far plowed across the northern Philippines on Monday, killing at least one person and leaving 20 fishermen missing.
Packing winds as strong as 200 kilometers per hour (124 mph), Typhoon Utor made landfall early Monday on the east coast of the Philippine island of Luzon, damaging hundreds of houses.
"It's the strongest typhoon we've had so far on the planet this year," said CNN International meteorologist Samantha Mohr. "So that gives you some idea of the magnitude of this system."FULL STORY
Rebels in an unstable part of the Democratic Republic of Congo have until Thursday afternoon to hand in their weapons to U.N. peacekeepers or risk being disarmed by force.
The ultimatum comes amid the latest flare up of unrest in central Africa's volatile Great Lakes region.
The 19,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission in the country, MONUSCO, issued the deadline on Tuesday. It's the first time it has said it will use its troops there to implement a security area around the city of Goma, by the border with Rwanda.FULL STORY
Record-breaking temperatures have been searing large swaths of China, resulting in dozens of heat-related deaths and prompting authorities to issue a national alert.
People are packing into swimming pools or even taking refuge in caves amid attempts to escape the fierce temperatures. Local governments are resorting to cloud-seeding technology to try to bring rain to millions of acres of parched farmland.FULL STORY
Washington is urging Moscow to send Edward Snowden back to the United States instead of letting him fly to Ecuador for asylum.
"We expect the Russian government to look at all options available to expel Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged," U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said early Monday.FULL STORY
Rescue workers in northern India are scrambling to save tens of thousands of people left stranded by devastating floods that have killed as many as 150 people in the region.
Triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rains, the floods have swept away buildings, roads and vehicles in the mountainous state of Uttarakhand, which borders Nepal and China.FULL STORY
A North Korean court has sentenced a U.S. citizen to 15 years of hard labor, saying he committed "hostile acts" against the secretive state.
The country's Supreme Court delivered the sentence against Pae Jun Ho, known as Kenneth Bae by U.S. authorities, on Tuesday, the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Thursday.
The KCNA article said Bae a Korean-American, was arrested November 3 after arriving as a tourist in Rason City, a port in the northeastern corner of North Korea. It didn't provide any details about the "hostile acts" he is alleged to have committed.FULL STORY
North Korea on Thursday set out demanding conditions for any talks with Washington and Seoul, calling for the withdrawal of U.N. sanctions against it and a permanent end to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.
The United States and South Korea "should immediately stop all their provocative acts against the DPRK and apologize for all of them," the North's National Defense Commission said in a statement carried by state-run media, using the shortened version of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.FULL STORY
Authorities including bomb experts searched an apartment in Revere, Massachusetts, and removed items, after two deadly bombs struck the Boston Marathon. But investigators remained mum about just how the search may be linked to the bombing investigation.
A law enforcement official said the search was not a suggestion that police may have a suspect. At this point there is no suspect and no leading theory on motive, the official said.FULL STORY
North Korea has raised at least one missile into its upright firing position Wednesday, raising concerns that a launch was imminent, a U.S. official told CNN Thursday.
This comes as the world continued to keep watch for a possible missile launch by the secretive regime, and just a day before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was due to arrive in the region.
It's not known by the United States why the regime did not proceed with the firing.FULL STORY
The Obama administration calculates it's likely North Korea may test fire mobile ballistic missiles at any time, based on the most recent intelligence showing Pyongyang probably has completed launch preparations, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
The administration believes a test launch could happen without North Korea issuing a standard notice to commercial aviation and maritime shipping warning them to stay away from the missile's path, according to the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the information.
Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, the top U.S. commander in the Pacific, on Tuesday called repeated North Korean violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions forbidding the "building and testing" of long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons "a clear and direct threat to U.S. national security and regional peace and stability."FULL STORY