Ethiopia's prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, also announced the closure of a detention centre. He said the move was designed to improve political dialogue after two years of violent anti-government protests. Also: North and South Korea have conducted their first direct communication in nearly two years, and the problem of plastics in the River Ganges.
The American ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has dismissed as ridiculous claims by the Iranian government that the current protests were orchestrated by outside forces. Also: dozens killed in Peru coach cliff plunge and is 'pawternity' leave for pet-owners a new trend?
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was speaking for the first time since people protesting at Iran's economic troubles clashed with security forces last Thursday. Also: South Korea proposes high-level talks with North Korea next week and the YouTube controversy regarding a Japanese suicide victim.
Protests have continued despite warnings from Iranian authorities. Also, China bans the import of many types of foreign rubbish, including plastic, paper and textiles, and the unusual and quirky ways to usher in the New Year.
He said that people have the right to protest, but not to commit acts of violence. Also: President Xi Jinping announces plans for a bigger Chinese role on the world stage, and the new scanning technique that reveals secret writing in mummy cases.