Putin promises economic recovery

Speaking at his annual press-conference, Vladimir Putin said that the economic downturn will last two years at the most.
Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has ratcheted up his anti-Western rhetoric, accusing them of treating other countries like their underlings.

Global life expectancy rises to 71

The average person now lives to 71, compared to 65 a generation ago, even though death rates from some major chronic conditions are on the rise.
Finance News Update, what you need to know
A British bookmaker has stopped taking bets on the Queen abdicating, saying it's better to be safe than sorry after it received a "rush of bets".
Pope Francis has congratulated the US and Cuba for the historic thaw announced between the two former Cold War foes.
The British government plans to sell a STG3 billion chunk of its stake in part-nationalised Lloyds Banking Group.
An Australian and a New Zealander are among eight new members appointed by Pope Francis to the Vatican's child protection body.
A European Union court has overturned a decision to include Palestinian group Hamas on the European Union's terrorist list.
Finance News Update, what you need to know
British Prime Minister David Cameron has praised the bravery of hostages caught up in the Sydney cafe siege.
British researchers have found that cows and their calves communicate using individualised calls to distinguish them from others in the herd.

Dutch launch 'intelligent bicycle'

Dutch researchers have developed a bicycle they say will help reduce accidents, which are particularly high among cyclists aged over 65.

Rise in texts over Christmas cards

Text messaging is the new Christmas card, with almost half of Britons telling a survey they'll SMS their festive greetings this year.
Finance News Update, what you need to know
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The Church of England on Wednesday named vicar Libby Lane as its first woman bishop, following a historic change in its rules.
A European Union court has overturned a decision to include Palestinian group Hamas on the European Union's terrorist list.
An annual report on environmental conditions in the Arctic region has raised concerns about record high temperatures in Alaska.
A fascinating new study mapped the flow of information online, and it turns out Spanish makes way more global sense.
The debate surrounding pornography is complex - but a recent UK ban on depictions of female pleasure and dominance is a worrying new low.
The US has announced a thaw in relations with Cuba, saying it would work to re-establish diplomatic ties with Havana and ease trade and travel sanctions.
Sony has cancelled plans to release its comedy The Interview, after terrorism threats from anonymous hackers.