Vatican cleric 'laundered millions'

A senior Italian cleric has been charged with laundering millions through the Vatican bank, police say. Monsignor Nunzio Scarano is already on trial and under house arrest on separate charges of plotting to smuggle 20m euros ($26m; £17m) into Italy. Last year, Pope Francis set up a commission to review the bank's activities after a series of scandals. (BBC)

Two feared dead as police clash with protesters in Ukraine

Two demonstrators were on Wednesday reported killed in new anti-government unrest in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, inflaming protesters who confronted police shouting "Murderers" and "Glory to Ukraine!". The demonstrators have been out in the street for several weeks, angered by President Viktor Yanukovich's decision to shun a trade pact with the European Union and instead accept financial aid from Russia. (Reuters)

Prominent Chinese activist on trial

Xu Zhiyong, a prominent human rights lawyer who campaigned against corruption, has gone on trial in China. Mr Xu is charged with "gathering crowds to disrupt public order". He is one of several activists from a transparency movement to be tried this week. There was tight security outside the court, with police blocking journalists from approaching or filming outside. (BBC)

Thai capital under emergency as pro-govt leader shot and wounded in northeast

A leading pro-government activist was shot and wounded on Wednesday in Thailand's northeast, a stronghold of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, as a state of emergency began in the capital where protesters are trying to force her from power. The government issued the 60-day emergency decree late on Tuesday, handing security agencies wide powers to detain suspects, impose a curfew and limit gatherings in and around Bangkok. (Reuters)

Mars mystery of the white rock leaves Nasa scientists puzzled

Scientists are stumped as to how a rock mysteriously appeared in images of the same spot taken two weeks apart by Nasa's Mars rover Opportunity. On January 8, while preparing to use its robotic arm for science investigation, Opportunity sent back a picture of its work area. It showed a bright white rock, about the size of a doughnut, where only barren bedrock had appeared in a picture it had sent back two weeks earlier. Scientists suspect the rock was flipped over by one of the rover's wheels. (Guardian)