Slovakia drops koruna, adopts euro

Bratislava  - Slovakia abandoned its currency of 15 years, the Slovak koruna, and adopted the euro on Thursday, in a move designed to seal the ex-Soviet satellite's economic success.

The central European country of 5.4 million is the second formerly communist country, after Slovenia, to switch to Europe's common currency.

Italian coastguard intercepts 247 would-be immigrants

Rome - An Italian coastguard patrol vessel on Saturday morning intercepted a boat carrying 247 would-be immigrants in the southern Mediterranean Sea, news reports said.

More than 650 illegal immigrants land on Italian islet

Rome - More than 650 illegal immigrants have landed on the southern Italian islet of Lampedusa over the Christmas holidays, the Italian authorities said Friday.

The latest wave of would-be immigrants, many of them women, arrived on the southern Mediterranean island in three boats Friday morning, the authorities said.

Death toll in Ukrainian building explosion rises to 27

Kiev/Moscow - Rescue workers in Ukraine recovered three more bodies by Friday morning from the rubble of a block of flats that collapsed in an explosion on Christmas Eve, bringing the total number of dead in the accident to 27, Interfax news agency reported.

Pope Benedict to deliver traditional Christmas Day message

Pope Benedict to deliver traditional Christmas Day messageVatican City - Pope