Winter Olympics 2018

Bitcoin surge ahead of futures debut

CHICAGO -- Bitcoin prices soared wildly ahead of a planned launch of futures contracts for cryptocurrencies. The price on Coinbase topped $17,000, stoking concerns that bitcoin is a bubble that’s set to burst.

CBOE Global Markets, the Chicago-based options and derivatives exchange, is launching its market for bitcoin futures on Sunday. Trading will begin at 23:00GMT on December 10, with Monday representing the first full trading day.

No end in sight for Yemen war

GENEVA -- Yemen's civil war has been raging since 2015 and has caused one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world. An estimated 75% of the population are in need of assistance, according to the UN.

New “Out Of Africa” exodus theory

NEW YORK -- Advances in DNA analysis challenge the traditional “Out of Africa” model that modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago.

U.S. spending billions to deter North Korean attack

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration is responding to the threat of a North Korean attack by spending $12.4 billion on existing defence systems and new strategies to defeat Pyongyang’s long-range missiles.

Total revenues from the Star Wars universe

LOS ANGELES -- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi, officially opens in cinemas worldwide on December 15, 2017 — following its premiere in Los Angeles on December 9, 2017.

MQ-4C Triton prepped for service from Guam

GUAM -- The U.S. is to deploy its largest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the MQ-4C Triton, to the Pacific island of Guam for the first time, amid ongoing tensions with North Korea and China.

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

BANGLADESH -- An estimated 626,000 refugees have fled violence in Myanmar’s North Rakhine State for the relative safety of the vast camps that now cover the Cox’s Bazar district of southern Bangladesh.

McLaren’s 720S supercar

MOTORING -- The McLaren 720S’s computer control – including pressure transducers in the hydraulic suspension lines and accelerometers in the wheel hubs – adjusts moving parts as needed.

New efforts to tackle plastic pollution

ENVIRONMENT -- The UN Environment Assembly is gathered in Nairobi to step up action against rising plastic pollution levels in our oceans, with plastic debris an increasing threat to wildlife.

Snapshot of German public opinion

BERLIN -- Germans view U.S. President Donald Trump as a more significant foreign policy challenge than leaders in Turkey, North Korea or Russia, according to a survey by the Körber Foundation.

Yamal LNG set to deliver gas via Arctic to China

YAMAL -- Russia will launch the first phase of its liquefied natural gas facility on the Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic Friday. The Yamal facility will be able to produce 16.5m tonnes of LNG a year.

Child poverty in Europe remains high

LONDON -- More than one in four (26.9%) children aged 0-17 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the European Union in 2015. Rates ranged from below 14% in Norway to almost 47% in Romania.

North Korea’s missile is new type of ICBM

PYONGYANG -- North Korea appears to have developed a missile capable of delivering a weapon anywhere in the U.S. and it could be only two or three tests away from being declared combat ready.

European Union’s Eastern Partnership

BRUSSELS -- The EU’s Eastern Partnership, of six former Soviet states, aims to increase economic ties, democratic governance and reduce corruption as a prelude to eventual candidacy for membership

Brexit divorce issues

EU -- Prime Minister Theresa May will meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to discuss three priority areas ahead of an EU summit on December 14-15.

Dec: Moon Express to test its moon probe

CAPE CANAVERAL -- Startup aerospace company Moon Express plans to launch its MX-1E lunar lander from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in December, in a bid to win the Google Lunar X Prize.

Dubai Frame opening pushed back to 2018

DUBAI -- The Dubai Frame is a $43.5m feat of engineering, a building at ground level linking two towers 150m high with an observation deck linking the top of the towers to form a huge “picture frame”.

Cristiano Ronaldo wins fifth Ballon d’Or

SOCCER -- Real Madrid star Cristian Ronaldo has claimed his fifth Ballon d’Or, after a vote of 173 journalists by France Football, equalling the haul won by rival Lionel Messi of Barcelona.

Jan 6-20: Dakar Rally crosses South America

MOTORSPORT -- The 40th edition of the Rally, and 10th to be held in South America, spans three countries, 14 stages and almost 9,000km, beginning in Lima and crossing Bolivia before culminating in Córdoba, Argentina.

Dec 6-16: FIFA Club World Cup 2017

SOCCER -- Champions from the six continental competitions, plus Al Jazira Club representing the hosts, the United Arab Emirates, compete to become the Champion of Champions at the FIFA Club World Cup.

PGA European Tour tees off for 2018

GOLF -- The European Tour gets underway with the Hong Kong Open, the first of 49 tournaments in 26 countries culminating in the $8 million DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Over 200 Olympic medals to be won in 2018

PYEONGCHANG -- The Winter Olympic Games in South Korea will see 222 medals awarded, with Snowboard Big Air, Mixed Doubles Curling and the dramatic Mass Start Speed Skating among new events.

To Feb 9: Winter Olympic torch relay

PYEONGCHANG 2018 -- The countdown to the Games begins in earnest when the torch sets off from Incheon to travel around South Korea, arriving at the host city on Feb 9.

Dec 5-6: UEFA Champions League 2017-18

SOCCER -- Manchester Utd need at least a draw to guarantee a place in the last 16, with CSKA and Basel hot on their heels, while either Roma and Atletico could join Chelsea from Group C.

FIFA unveil World Cup match ball

SOCCER -- FIFA have unveiled the official match ball for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Adidas Telstar 2018, a modern interpretation of the iconic Telstar ball that featured in the 1970 and 1974 Finals.

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