Macau begins corruption trial of HK tycoons
A court in Macau begins hearing the corruption case against Hong Kong tycoons Joseph Lau Luen-hung and Steven Lo Kit-sing. They are accused of offering a HK$20 million bribe in 2005 to Macanese public works chief Ao Man-long, before his downfall and jailing for corruption, to secure land for their luxury La Scala residential project. The case was to open in September but was adjourned because the presiding judge, Alice Costa, was sick.
Five accused over Delhi rape appear in court
Five men accused over last month's horrifying gang rape in New Delhi appear in court together for the first time. In addition to rape, kidnap and robbery, they face a murder charge and possibly the death penalty after the 23-year-old victim died last weekend from her injuries, including internal wounds caused by an iron bar. Her boyfriend was also injured as he tried to prevent the assault, which took place on a moving bus on December 16. News of the rape stirred violent protests and a bout of soul-searching on the treatment of women and the rising rate of sex crime in India.
Messi poised to seal his status
Lionel Messi is poised to become the first player to win four successive Ballon d'Or awards, which would seal his status as the greatest soccer player of his generation. The 25-year-old is the favourite to see off the challenge of Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo for the prize, to be announced today in Zurich. It would crown another landmark year for the Argentine, who was the top scorer in La Liga and who broke Gerd Mueller's 40-year record for the most goals in a calendar year. Other awards today see Vicente Del Bosque - who led Spain to Euro 2012 glory, the first side to win three back-to-back tournaments - in line to be named best coach. His rivals are Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho and former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.
Top IMF official visits Cairo for loan talks
The director of the International Monetary Fund's Middle East and Central Asia department, Masood Ahmed, visits Cairo at the invitation of Egyptian authorities for talks likely to focus on the US$4.8 billion loan agreement frozen last month because of political unrest in the country. President Mohammed Mursi's government is going through its worst crisis since his election in June, mainly over a referendum on a new Islamist-drafted constitution.
Train bookings open for Spring Festival rush
Online and telephone bookings for train tickets during the mainland's Spring Festival travel rush open. The 40-day Spring Festival travel season, known as Chunyun in Chinese, is the world's largest regular human migration. To prepare for the rush, Beijing train station has set up temporary ticket booths. Within the span of 40 days, more than 2.5 billion trips will be made as people return to their families to celebrate the Lunar New Year.