* In Pictures: Hundreds Witness 'Hanukkah Miracle' in Jerusalem Hundreds gathered in Jerusalem to witness history as Menorah lit using pure olive oil to Temple standards for first time in 2000 years.
* Report: Islamic State is turning churches into torture chambers in Iraq and Syria The militant group has also been selling stolen goods from ransacked churches on the black market in order to fund their terrorist mission.
* Pope's Christmas message to those fleeing ISIS: 'Do not be afraid or ashamed to be Christian' "I write to you just before Christmas, knowing that for many of you the music of your Christmas hymns will also be accompanied by tears and sighs," Pope Francis wrote.
* China ignores EU, offers to help Russia China has joined India in helping the Russian economy, but closer to home Belarus and Kazakhstan are hedging their bets on future relations.
* Russia, 4-ex-Soviet nations finalize new alliance Russia and four other ex-Soviet nations on Tuesday completed the creation of a new economic alliance intended to bolster their integration, but the ambitious grouping immediately showed signs of fracture as the leader of Belarus sharply criticized Moscow.
* Ukraine votes to drop non-aligned status Ukraine's parliament has voted to drop the country's non-aligned status and work towards Nato membership.
* North Korea struggles to stay online North Korea appears to have suffered a second internet blackout, according to internet performance measuring firm Dyn Research.
* Australia PM Abbott warns of 'heightened terror chatter' Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says there has been a "heightened level of terror chatter" since the siege at a Sydney cafe last week.
* Giulio Meotti Lights a Menorah at the Arch of Titus The candles lit at the site where Rome commemorated its victory over the Jews are a symbol of Jewish renewal in the face of anti-Semitism.
* Winner of the International Bible Quiz: Hananel Malka Israeli takes home the fifth Bible Quiz, as PM praises Bible as 'spirit that gives us strength to stand against all challenges.'