“Take it easy”, Trump says as US supermarkets hit by panic buying | AFP

US President Donald Trump asks Americans to “take it easy” as people are “buying more than they buy at Christmas”, after days of panic buying in supermarkets across the country, amid concerns over the novel coronavirus pandemic. SOUNDBITE

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Zoo uses old Christmas trees for animal treat

Keepers at the Brookfield Zoo near Chicago repurpose the zoo’s discarded Christmas trees to give some animals a post holiday treat. (Jan. 22)

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France’s winter sales get underway amid crowds keen to snap up a bargain | AFP

Crowds flock to the opening of the doors of the Printemps Haussmann department store in Paris for the kick-off of the winter sales. Retailers were hit hard in the run up to Christmas by the transport strike in the capital, so shopkeepers hope that the four weeks of promotions will help replenish their cash registers. IMAGES

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Christmas tree feast for animals at Berlin Zoo | AFP

Like every year, the caretakers of one of Berlin’s zoos give unsold Christmas trees to Asian elephants, dromedaries and porcupines: a feast for some and an unexpected distraction for the others.

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Rail transport crippled as unions beat strike record in France | AFP

The 29-day strike over pension reforms, which left thousands of travellers stranded over the Christmas holidays, now exceeds the longest transport strike to date in France, which lasted for 28 days in 1986 and early 1987. IMAGES from the Paris Montparnasse train station

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Syria: Activists distribute Christmas presents at camp for displaced | AFP

Activists distribute Christmas presents to displaced Syrian children living in the Washukanni camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) in the mainly Kurdish northeastern Syrian province of Hasakeh. The gesture is part of the “We are with you” campaign organised by Kurdish Syrian youths living abroad who decided to send gifts to displaced children as a result of the eight-year-old conflict in Syria.

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Police help deliver baby on interstate Christmas morning

New Hampshire police helped deliver baby Domenic Reese Pachner on Interstate 93 early Christmas morning. (Dec. 26)

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Aerials: Beachside devastation after Typhoon Phanfone hit Philippines | AFP

Boats are capsized on a beach in Occidental Mindoro after Typhoon Phanfone, with wind gusts reaching 200 kilometres (125 miles) an hour, tore roofs off houses and toppled electric posts as it ripped through the central Philippines on Christmas day.

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Hurricanes | AFP Animé

A typhoon that swept across remote villages and popular tourist areas of the central Philippines on Christmas day claimed at least 16 lives, authorities said on Thursday. Videographic on hurricanes.VIDEOGRAPHICS

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Hong Kong: Third day of Christmas mall clashes | AFP

Clashes between pro-democracy demonstrators and riot police break out again inside Hong Kong malls, on the third consecutive day of chaos over the Christmas holidays. IMAGES

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Mexico: Volunteers spread Christmas cheer to migrant children | AFP

In his traditional white beard and red suit, Santa Claus arrives in the border city of Juarez in to give toys to Mexican and Central American migrant children who, along with their parents, are camping in terrible conditions as they wait and hope to receive asylum in the United States.

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AP Top Stories December 25 P

Here’s the latest for Wednesday December 25th: Police and protesters clash in Hong Kong; Protests in India continue; Christians in Bethlehem mark Christmas; Swimmers brave cold waters for Christmas plunge.

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How Christmas Trees Are Grown

Millennials are being blamed for killing traditional industries, but for live Christmas tree farmers, the generation’s nostalgia and eco-friendly priorities are helping business thrive.

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How Christmas Trees Are Grown

For the first time since 1803 Christmas mass held away from Notre-Dame | AFP

Notre-Dame parishioners celebrate Christmas mass at Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois church in Paris, near the Louvre, as the cathedral remains inaccessible since a massive fire in April. IMAGES

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Pope Francis kicks off Christmas celebrations with midnight Mass | AFP

Pope Francis ushered in Christmas celebrations for the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics on Tuesday, saying the celebration of Jesus’s birth reminded humanity how “God continues to love us all, even the worst of us”. +REFILES WITH AFP TEXT STORY+ The pontiff told crowds gathered at the Vatican for his Christmas Eve Mass: “You may have mistaken ideas, you may have made a complete mess of things, but the Lord continues to love you.”

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AP Top Stories December 24 P

Here’s the latest for Tuesday, December 24th: Trump dismisses NKorea nuclear test; Police and protesters clash in Hong Kong; Authorities work to contain diesel spill in the Galapagos; Real-time Santa tracker is back on Christmas eve.

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US ballet troupe adapts Christmas classic for female lead | AFP

US ballerina Miranda Dafoe trains and performs in Ohio during her portrayal of the “Nutcracker”. Dayton Ballet says she is the first female lead in a professional production of this Christmas classic ballet.

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