Catholics mark festival of Epiphany
Catholics around the world mark Epiphany, the traditional end of the Christmas festivities. At the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI marks the Catholic feast day by saying mass at St Peter's Basilica, bringing to an end a busy Christmas period of services and speeches that has tested the stamina of the 85-year-old pontiff, whose health has long been a source of speculation.
German parties gear up for polls
Germany's election season kicks off in earnest when the leadership of Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats meets in Lower Saxony weeks ahead of state elections. Merkel faces a federal election in September or October that could end her chancellorship, with polls predicting that the Christian Democrats and their ailing coalition partners the Free Democrats will struggle to secure a majority.
Harbin welcomes winter festival
Visitors to Harbin can be assured of a frosty reception - which is exactly what they would be expecting from the capital of northern Heilongjiang province at the opening of its 29th annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. The 600,000 square metre winter theme park includes an ice palace measuring 48 metres as well as sculptures made of ice and snow.
Colorado pot law comes into effect
Denver will live up to its nickname as the "Mile-High City" when cannabis smokers start lighting up legally for the first time today. A new law, the result of a public ballot in November, makes Colorado only the second state in the United States to legalise recreational cannabis smoking after Washington. Onlookers are watching closely whether federal authorities will take action against users, as the drug remains banned under federal law.
Walk for Millions to raise big money
Scores of participants line up at Hong Kong Stadium tomorrow for the annual Walk for Millions. From there they will traverse Wong Nai Chung Gap Road, Black's Link and Aberdeen Reservoir Road and finish at Aberdeen Country Park Visitors Centre after a 10-kilometre trek to raise money for the Community Chest. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will see the walkers off.
Free concert heralds music festival
The countdown beings to the annual Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival, with the first in a series of free concerts in the form of a performance at the Asia Society. The violin and piano recital features Earl Carlyss and Ann Schein and is one of several free events planned before the festival gets under way in earnest from January 16 to 23.