Global Scan

How does a family show its support for a son who's just come out? A rainbow Christmas

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Tom Daley poses in a rainbow-colored apron, seemingly wearing only the apron. The British Olympic diver said he received many rainbow-themed gifts this Christmas from family letting him know they supported him.


Tom Daley/Instagram

Tom Daley, a popular British Olympic diver, came out earlier this month, saying he was dating a man.

He asked for support and acceptance from his fans, saying he was as happy as he'd ever been in this new relationship. On Christmas, Daley's family showed him just how supportive they could be. Many of his family, the Independent reports, chose to give him gifts in the rainbow color scheme symbolic of the LGBT community.

And if the gifts weren't rainbow-colored already, a little rainbow ribbon would certainly help. Daley posted several photos of the gifts on his Instagram.

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Overflowing river sends Brits scrambling

A storm system that caused holiday travel headaches across the UK is continuing to bring nightmares for residents of the British Isles. At least 100 people had to be evacuated from their homes after the Stour river overtopped its banks and swept through parts of Christchurch, The Guardian reports. Residents said they're not unfamiliar with flooding, but this is the worst they've ever seen.

Meat-eating fish offer up a Christmas surprise

There was a nasty Christmas surprise for more than 60 people swimming in a river in Argentina. The Daily Mail reports that a shoal of palometas, a cousin of the more well-known piranha, surprised a group of swimmers in Rosario trying to cool off as temperatures in parts of Argentina pushed 100. The meat-eating fish took part of a girl's finger and left other swimmers with gashes and open wounds before they could hustle out of the water. The attack is being described as a rarity, but another attack in 2008 injured 40.

Santa's good for business in Turkey

Turkey is about 99.8 percent Muslim, but in Turkish malls and even some Turkish homes, there are evergreen trees with ornaments, lights and tinsel. You might even see Santa Claus. In Turkey, though, these aren't signs of Christmas — they're signs of New Year's. And families are even exchanging New Year's presents. All this New Year's spirit, though, is leading some Turkish officials to say bah humbug. According to PRI's The World, at least one community has barred Santa from town and other officials have called for Muslim students to protest the infiltration of Christmas into the country's culture — even if companies say it's just business.

Kidnapped US contractor wants to come home

Warren Weinstein was a US government contractor when he was kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan in 2011. He's still alive, and he recorded a message recently, calling on President Barack Obama to negotiate for his release. Negotiating with terrorists has long been generally forbidden under US foreign policy, but Weinstein says he feels “totally abandoned and forgotten.” In the video, the Washington Post reports, the 72-year-old Weinstein says he's suffering from a heart condition and acute asthma.

In Israel, midnight mass draws Christians and Jews alike

Christmas Eve in Bethlehem draws throngs of Christians, eager to celebrate Christmas in the holyland. But the Christians are joined by a number of Jews, eager to see the pageantry or the Christmas Eve midnight service. In fact, there's a joke in Israel that more Jews attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve than attend synagogue on the Jewish holidays. The mixed crowd presented a special challenge for Father Gregory, the abbot saying mass at Dormition Abbey. Under Israeli law, he has to be careful not to prosthelytize, so he instead emphasized a message of love — and celebrating the birth of Christ. PRI's The World has the story.

What we're seeing on social

Terrorists targeted Christian areas of Iraq on Christmas, killing scores, reports The New York Times.

Weather around the world

Downpours across parts of Brazil have claimed at least 32 lives this week. About 55,000 people were forced from their homes in Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo states. The rain has led rivers to overflow their banks and caused many mudslides, according to the Associated Press.

This post is a regular feature of It's a daily brief and email newsletter of stories, events and graphics that are catching the attention of our news staff. The World's Leo Hornak kicks it off from London and various folks on our editorial team around the globe contribute from there, like Cartoon Editor Carol Hills in Boston. Don't expect anything near the standard wrap of major news stories. This blog post and its email companion will be as idiosyncratic as our staff... and we'll want you to tell us what you like and don't like. Sign up for a account and subscribe to our newsletter to get it delivered to your inbox. The newsletter arrives during the US morning hours.