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Whale hunting; Sicily earthquake; and Indonesia search | Five stories to know about today

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Whale hunting; Sicily earthquake; and Indonesia search | Five stories to know about today
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1. Japan to restart commercial whaling in 2019

Japan is to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and resume commercial hunting in July, the government announced on Wednesday, in a move that has drawn heavy criticism.

Commercial whaling was banned by IWC in 1986 to protect depleted or endangered whale stocks, but Japan has continued to slaughter whales under "scientific programmes" decried by conservationists as a disguise for commercial operations.

2. Authorities warn of ‘extreme weather’ as Indonesia volcano rumbles again

The Anak Krakatau volcano that is thought to have caused a tsunami in Indonesia is once again erupting, with authorities warning of "extreme weather and high waves" on surrounding coastal areas.

It comes 14 years to the day since the 2004 Indian Ocean quake, which triggered several tsunamis and killed almost 230,000 people.

On Euronews Now this morning, Rosemarie North from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) joined Belle Donati to talk about the desperate search for survivors from Indonesia's latest disaster.

3. Migrants rescued off Libyan coast celebrate Christmas at sea

Child migrants who were rescued off the coast of Libya have been filmed celebrating Christmas while still at sea.

Over 300 migrants were picked up off the North African coast on Friday by a boat operated by Spanish charity Open Arms.

The migrants are en route to Spain.

Open Arms volunteers say the situation on board has become “extremely trying”, according to Euronews correspondent Anelise Borges.

4. Earthquake shakes Sicily after Mount Etna eruption

A 4.8-magnitude earthquake struck early on Wednesday near Italy's Mount Etna.

It comes two days after an eruption at the volcano, which sent a huge column of ash into the sky and caused the temporary closure of Catania airport on Sicily's eastern coast.

The quake hit 03.19 CET near the municipality of Viagrande, some 20 kilometres south of Europe's highest volcano, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV).

5. Britain orders a global review into alleged persecution of Christians

Britain has commissioned an independent global review into alleged Christian persecution over fears millions have experienced a dramatic rise in violence because of their religion.

The Foreign Office review will be led by the Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen, with a focus on countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

“So often the persecution of Christians is a telling early warning sign of the persecution of every minority,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement on Wednesday. “We can and must do more.”

Over 200 million Christians faced persecution because of their faith last year and, on average, 250 were killed every month, the statement continued.

As it happened on Wednesday, December 26

This is how we covered key developments this morning: