Biden and Cameron put heads together
British Prime Minister David Cameron meets US Vice President Joe Biden in London when Biden visits 10 Downing Street for a working lunch. Biden and Cameron are expected to discuss the security situation in Africa, the future of Britain's relationship with the European Union, Iran's nuclear programme and the continuing uprising in Syria. Biden returns to Washington later in the day.
EU discusses ways to help embattled Mali
The European Union hosts a ministerial meeting in Brussels on the situation in Mali. Intended to organise support and aid for the Malian government, it will include representation from the African Union, the regional West African grouping Ecowas and the United Nations. The EU has decided to help train Mali's weak army, but wants to leave African forces to be in the lead.
Masterpieces go under the hammer
In London Sotheby's auctions Pablo Picasso's Femme assise près d'une fenêtre, a portrait of his muse Marie-Thérèse Walter painted in 1932, which is expected to sell for between £25 million (HK$304.2 million) and £35 million, and Claude Monet's Nymphéas avec reflects de hautes herbes, which has never previously been seen at auction. The Monet is expected to fetch between £12 million and £18 million. The artists behind other works going under the hammer include Joan Miró, Sisley, Gauguin, Pissarro and Degas.
Tourists give warm welcome to icy festival
The Annual Sapporo Snow Festival, one of Japan's largest winter events, opens. The festival attracts more than two million people to see the splendid snow statues and ice sculptures that line Odori Park, the grounds at Community Dome Tsudome, and the main street in Susukino. There will be 214 snow and ice sculptures on show at the seven-day festival.
Israeli parliament swears in new MPs
The new Israeli parliament is sworn in in Jerusalem. Incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will form a governing coalition following the January 22 poll. His administration is expected to include a new centrist party headed by former TV personality Yair Lapid, which with 19 seats is the second-largest party, the 12-seat far-right Bayit Yehudi ("Jewish Home") faction and other centrist and religious parties.
New Year travellers get holiday forecast
A spokesman from the China Meteorological Administration briefs the media on the smoggy weather that blanketed the northern and eastern parts of the country last month and gives the forecast for the sort of weather millions of mainlanders journeying home during the Lunar New Year travel rush can expect. Mainland transport officials have voiced worries that foggy weather could adversely affect road traffic during the busiest time of the year.