United States troops get into a brief gun battle with paramilitary forces of the Warzirstan Scouts of Pakistan, in a remote tribal area along the undefined Afghan/Pakistani border, in Paktia Province, Afghanistan. One US soldier is wounded by gunfire, and several Pakistani soldiers are killed when US air support arrives. The border in this region is poorly demarcated. . Three missiles from US helicopter gunships strike a madrassa owned by former Taliban official Maulana Muhammad Hassan, according to the ANI news agency.
The first trial of a member of the Russian military for human rights violations in Chechnya concludes controversially, with Col. Yuri Budanov found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a psychiatric hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Budanov was charged with murder and abduction after being accused of raping and strangling Heda Kungayeva, an 18 year old Chechen girl whom Budanov contends was a rebel sniper. 
The Israeli Supreme Court rules that reservists may not refuse to serve in the West Bank or Gaza because of their objection to Israeli government policies. The Court ruled "the recognition of selective conscientious objection might loosen the links that hold us together as a people."
Four Americans (the director, a doctor, the administrator and the pharmacist) at the Baptist hospital in Jibla, Yemen, were killed by Abed Abdul-Razzak Kamal. Kamal was captured and claims he was linked to the extremist Islamic Reform Party. Another member of his alleged cell, Ali al-Jarallah, was arrested for shooting a Yemeni left-wing politician on Sunday.
The United Nations Security Council voted 13-0, with two abstentions, to revise the list of goods Iraq is allowed to purchase under the "food-for-oil" program. The list includes flight simulators, communications equipment, high-speed motorboats, and rocket cases, which the United States noted are dual-use technologies. The Security Council also agreed to ask the UN for standards to evaluate the quantities of medicine and antibiotics Iraq is allowed to import under this program.
A tanker, the Amazonian Explorer, arrived in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, 200 kilometers east of Caracas, the capital. President Hugo Chávez traveled to the port to supervise the unloading of 525,000 barrels (83,000 m³) of gasoline. Gasoline is restricted due to a strike at Petroleos de Venezuela, SA (PdVSA), the state-owned oil company, which is aimed at forcing President Chávez to call early elections.
Crude oil futures on the New York market rose to $33 per barrel (208 $/m³) because of the Venezuelan oil strike and fears of war with Iraq.
The Kenyan electoral commission confirms that the opposition National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) has won landslide victories over the ruling KANU party in Friday's elections, ending 40 years of single party rule and 24 years of rule by Daniel arap Moi. The NARC's presidential candidate, Mwai Kibaki, led by more than 30 percentage points over the KANU's official candidate. 
Chechen rebels detonate two car bombs at the Grozny headquarters of Chechnya's Russian-backed government in an apparent suicide attack, killing more than 80 people. 
North Korea expels UN weapons inspectors, and announces plans to reactivate a dormant nuclear fuel processing laboratory. 
Clonaid, the medical arm of a cult called Raelism, who believe that aliens introduced human life on Earth, claims to have successfully cloned a human being. They claim that aliens taught them how to perform cloning, even though the company has no record of having successfully cloned any previous animal. A spokesperson said an independent agency would prove that the baby, named Eve, is in fact an exact copy of her mother. 
Presidential elections in Kenya between Uhuru Kenyatta, candidate for ruling party KANU, and Mwai Kibaki, candidate for opposition party NARC. Early reports say the latter wins a landslide victory.
War on Terrorism: A Washington Post article quotes numerous anonymous CIA agents who confirm that the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States uses so-called "stress and duress" interrogation techniques, which are claimed by human rights activists to be acts of torture. The actions include beatings as a prelude to interrogation in order to break their will, followed by sleep deprivation, denial of pain medication, and enclosure in cramped rooms. The CIA frequently turns suspects over to Middle Eastern intelligence services for what is undisputablely torture and intensive interrogation. The anonymous agents defend the practice as necessary in light of the September 11th terrorist attacks; publicly, US government officials deny the charges, while declining to address specifics. Privately, however, one official justified human rights violations as being a necessary part of the job. 
Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Israel announces it will begin with temporarily providing social services such as education, healthcare, and licenses in the West Bank. The Israeli government claims the move is necessary to provide badly needed services to the Palestinian people in light of the Palestinian Authority's inability to do so. Palestinian officials claim the move is an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority and tantamount to the reinstatement of the Israeli occupation that existed before the 1993Oslo Accords.
A 55-year-old contractor from West Virginia named Andrew "Jack" Whittaker Jr won the $314.9 million Christmas Day Powerball jackpot which is the biggest undivided lottery prize in American history. 
A number of US Muslim groups have initiated a class action lawsuit against the US Attorney General, John Ashcroft and the US immigration services over the arrest and detention of large numbers (believed to be in the hundreds) of Muslim men.
A bomb believed planted by a Muslim separatist organisation killed 13 people, including a town mayor, and wounded 12 in a Christmas Eve attack in the southern Philippines town of Datu Piang.
Iran's state radio reported quoted a statement by airport officials, saying that pilot "carelessness" caused a plane carrying Ukrainian and Russian aerospace scientists to crash in central Iran, killing all 46 people on board.
Scientists at California company VaxGen Inc., have finished the first human trial of an AIDSvaccine, a mammoth $200 million, 5,400-patient effort more than a decade in the making. The Food and Drug Administration has granted the vaccine "fast-track" status that would speed it through the approval process, if it proves effective, for public availability. The test results are expected to be made public within approximately three months.
The British musician Joe Strummer has died of a heart attack, aged 50. His death made the top news story in a number of British news sources.
Victor Emmanuel, Prince of Naples, the heir of the last King of Italy, visited the country for the first time since the Italian Royal Family was banned. A constitutional amendment passed in November allowed the royal family to return as ordinary citizens.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat announced that he has called off presidential and legislative elections scheduled for next month, as he feels that continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory will make a free election impossible.
North Korea announced that it is physically removing monitoring devices placed on the Yongbyon nuclear reactor. The devices were placed by the United Nations following the 1994 nuclear agreement to shut down Yongbyon, which is capable of making weapons-grade material, in exchange for deliveries of oil. In November 2002, Korea admitted that it is working on a weapons of mass destruction program in response to "imperialist threats." The United States states it does not trust the North Koreans.
Demonstrators estimated in the tens of thousands supported proposed national security laws for Hong Kong, following last week's demonstrations with similar numbers against these proposed laws. The Government Consultation Exercise for the proposed laws received 18,000 comments. Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, negotiated by Britain and China before the 1997 handover to China, stated that Hong Kong must enact national security legislation by itself banning treason, turning over state secrets, and urging separation from China.
A senior member of ETA, Ibon Femandez de Iradi, escaped from French custody yesterday. He and a woman companion was arrested Wednesday after their car was found to have false number plates. Ibon Femandez de Iradi was the logistics chief for ETA, a Basque separatist group which has been implicated in terrorist activities.
In the Côte d'Ivoire, units of the French Foreign Legion, based at the city of Duekoue on Sassandra River have come into contact with rebels advancing southward from the city of Man. Colonel Emmanuel Maurin, commander of the French force, states "Between what we have here and the river, they shall not pass."
South Korean President-elect Roh Mooh-hyun states that he will visit Washington after receiving an invitation from President George W. Bush. During his campaign, Roh stated he would not visit simply for a White House "photo op."
Barbara Joyce Williams Ferrell, daughter of the late baseball player Ted Williams, has dropped her lawsuit to have the body of her father removed from a cryonics storage facility and cremated.
Maoist guerrillas ambushed a police van in Jharkhand, a state in eastern India, killing 18 people, mostly police officers. At least 20 policemen were wounded in the ambush and the gunbattle that followed.