Chatter: Euro zone has fewer jobs than ever




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Need to know:
The euro crisis strikes again: unemployment in the euro zone has reached its highest level, ever.

The jobless rate hit a new record in November, the latest figures show, climbing to 11.8 percent across all 17 euro countries. The worst-hit is Spain, which has a jaw-dropping 26.6 percent unemployment rate, followed by Greece with 20 percent.

That translates to a total of 18.8 million without work across the euro zone. Good luck raising taxes on people without jobs.

Want to know:
Australia is hot
. Dangerously hot.

The country is sweltering under a record-breaking heatwave, with temperatures as high as 117 degrees Fahrenheit. The conditions are "catastrophic," according to firefighters, who are already battling wildfires in Tasmania and New South Wales and warn that more are sure to break out.

What's worse, environmental scientists say that the "dome of heat" currently covering Australia is only going to get more common as the planet's temperature rises.

Dull but important:
This week marks Christmas for Egypt's estimated 8-10 million Coptic Christians. And this year, for the first time ever, they'll be celebrating it under an Islamist-led government.

Copts have long been victims of discrimination in Egypt, and now they worry that the situation under the Muslim Brotherhood is only getting worse. Many say the Brotherhood pays lip service to religious freedom while engaging in its own sectarian rhetoric.

GlobalPost's Erin Cunningham meets some of the Egyptian Christians praying for a miracle to stem the persecution.

Just because:
There could be as many as 17 billion Earth-sized planets in the Milky Way, astronomers say.

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has just spotted an extra 461 possible new planets in our galaxy, bringing the total of those we know about to 2,740. But researchers say that figure probably represents a fraction of the real number.

Based on indications that all Sun-like stars have at least one planet orbiting them, experts at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics say there could be 17 billion planets orbiting the Milky Way's 1 billion stars.

Strange but true:
Last summer, Chicago businessman Urooj Khan bought an instant lottery ticket and won $425,000. Days later, he was dead.

Khan's untimely demise has just been ruled a homicide, after a fresh examination of his body found evidence of a lethal dose of cyanide. Police have opened a murder investigation.

We imagine they'll be starting with whoever cashed that giant ceremonial check.