‘Truly, there are so many tears this Christmas’


(image: National News Bureau of Thailand)

Tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami which killed more than 225,000 people and left millions homeless across 14 countries. Memorials are planned throughout the region. The Bangkok Post has a live round-up of events here. The AP gathers some reminiscences by its journalists who covered the story, while the  BBC has images of how the areas devastated in the wake of the 9.1 magnitude earthquake and tidal wave have regenerated over the past decade.

* WORLD * In Malaysia, more than 100,000 people have been evacuated amid the country’s worst storms and monsoon flooding for decades. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Najib Razak has come in for criticism for playing golf with President Barack Obama in Hawaii as the weather crisis unfolded.

Britain is bracing for another “weather bomb” – or rapid cyclogenesis – in coming days, apparently starting tomorrow, with warnings of heavy storms and snow.

Both the Queen and the Pope’s christmas messages today emphasized peace and reconciliation; with the Pontiff denouncing persecution in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, and praying for children affected by violence, as well as thanking those helping alleviate the suffering associated with Ebola.

Police in Sweden said an arsonist set fire to a mosque in the town of Ekilstuna, injuring five people.

Activists in Saudi Arabia say two women who were detained earlier this month for defying the country’s driving ban will be tried by a court specializing in “terrorism” cases.

* POLITICS * How do politicians wish their constituents a merry christmas? As The Guardian says, with puppies, festive sweaters and babies galore.

George H.W. Bush remains hospitalized in Houston, but the 90-year-old former US President is described as “doing well.”

* MEDIA * Hackers claimed responsibility after both the Microsoft XBox and Sony PlayStation game platforms were hit by connection problems, which may have been exacerbated partly by consumers setting up new consoles, or even by online access to streams of The Interview. The movie also played to sold-out houses in some 300 theaters nationwide.

* BUSINESS * Google and Microsoft are among companies opposing hotel chain Marriott’s move to block guests from using their own wi-fi hotspots.

Parcel company City Link couldn’t deliver despite its ownership change last year, going into administration and threatening nearly 3,000 jobs, which unions described as an “absolute disgrace”.

* SPORTS * LeBron James returned to Miami but his Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Heat 101-91. Meanwhile, Nike will tomorrow release its latest shoe designs featuring James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.

* CULTURE * Finally, there will have been plenty of christmas songs played today, but few are as interesting or memorable as The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York from 1987.


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