Chatter: Afghan policewoman kills US adviser in Kabul




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Need to know:

An Afghan policewoman has shot to death a US civilian adviser, the latest insider attack by Afghan forces against their foreign allies, senior officials say.

The woman killed the contractor, who worked for NATO, near police headquarters in Kabul early Monday. It appeared to be the first insider attack carried out by a female member of Afghanistan's security forces. She is now in custody.

Separately, at least five local policemen were killed by a fellow officer in northern Afghanistan.

More than 50 international troops have been killed by Afghans in military or police uniform this year. In 2011, there were 35 deaths in what are described as "green-on-blue" attacks.

Want to know:

Egypt is due to announce the official results of a referendum on the country's new draft constitution, which was voted on under a cloud of controversy after weeks of deadly clashes.

Preliminary results suggested that more than 60 percent of voters backed the document, which was drafted by an Islamist-dominated body and supported by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

Critics including liberals, secular Egyptians, leftists and Christians say the constitution favors the Islamists and will enforce a new religious autocracy that betrays the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Meanwhile, Egyptian judges are investigating opposition accusations of voting irregularities before declaring the results.

Dull but important:

In Syria, international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has held talks with President Bashar al-Assad in a fresh bid to end the country's continuing conflict.

Brahimi, who met Assad in Damascus after driving in from Beirut — fighting around the airport made it impossible for him to fly in — said they discussed "many steps to be taken in the future," but he did not elaborate.

The Syrian opposition has expressed growing frustration with the UN and Arab League mission.

Opposition activists said dozens of people were killed Sunday in a government air strike in the rebel-held town of Halfaya in Hama province.

Just because:

'Twas the night before Christmas, and in a pre-recorded 3D message to her subjects, the Queen of England declared 2012 full of "excitement and drama."

Queen Elizabeth II also made special mention of London's "splendid" Olympics in her annual Christmas message to the Commonwealth, parts of which were released ahead of tomorrow's broadcast.

The Queen is no novice when it comes to broadcasting on radio and TV — her first Christmas speech was aired on radio in 1952, and her first televised message in 1957, according to the Guardian.

The 86-year-old monarch, pictured viewing a preview of her 2012 Christmas message while wearing 3D glasses adorned with Swarovski crystals, was said to be delighted with this year's recording, calling it "absolutely lovely."

Strange but true:

Santa Claus is coming to town - but when, exactly? This year it seems to depend on which maps service you're using.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which normally spends its time monitoring the airspace over Canada and the US for unexplained or criminal aerospace activity, has been tracking Santa's progress since 1955. 

For the last five years, NORAD has been displaying Santa's whereabouts using Google Maps. But after Google launched its own version of the Santa Tracker, NORAD made the big switch to Bing.

This morning Santa was seen flying over East Timor (according to NORAD) — and at the same time, over Melbourne, Australia (according to Google).

Better put the milk and cookies out early.