Bite-sized briefing: world

Thousands of Tamils have left military-run camps in northern Sri Lanka. People are free to leave, but must give their details in order to be monitored. The camps hold about 130,000 people driven from their homes during the offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels earlier this year.

Barack Obama will send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan by August 2010 (see column, below). This will bring the number of US troops in the country to over 100,000. He also said the US would begin to withdraw military forces by 2011.

South African babies aged one and under will have access to HIV treatment, President Jacob Zuma announced. Treatment will also be more widely available to children and pregnant women. The announcement came on World Aids Day, as the WHO issued new treatment guidelines.

Australia's emissions trading plan was defeated in the Senate. The country hoped to be one of the first to install a cap-and-trade system, but the bill was rejected by the opposition, who elected a new, global-warming-sceptic leader, Tony Abbott, following disagreements over the plan.

Andal Ampatuan Jr, a mayor from the Maguindanao province of the Philippines, has been charged with 25 counts of murder, after 57 people were massacred on 23 November. The dead were trying to file nomination papers for a candidate challenging Ampatuan.

The International Court of Justice is set to begin hearings on the legality of Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence, the first case of its kind. Sixty-three countries have recognised Kosovo's independence, but Serbia - which requested the hearings - does not.

The Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1 December following its ratification by all 27 of the European Union's member states. It will change the way decisions are made in the EU.

Two inmates of Guantanamo Bay were transferred to Italy, to face trial for terrorism-related offences, which they deny. The transfers are part of an effort by the US to close the camp.

Dubai World, the emirate's highest-profile company, sparked worldwide market turmoil when it announced it was struggling with repayments of a £36bn debt.

The Venezuelan government has shut down four private banks, accusing them of financial irregularities. The closures come ten days after the state took over the banks after it suspected them of violating regulations.

Uruguay's presidential elections were won by José Mujica, a former left-wing militant who spent almost 15 years in prison during the country's military rule.

John Demjanjuk, an alleged guard at a Nazi death camp, is on trial in Germany accused of helping to murder nearly 28,000 Jews at the Sobibor camp. The 89-year-old, deported from the US in May, could face 15 years in jail.

Honduras elected Porfirio Lobo, an opponent to ousted Manuel Zelaya, in its presidential elections. The US cautiously welcomed the vote, but several countries in the region refused to recognise Lobo's election.

Switzerland voted to ban the building of minarets. The UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, condemned the move as "anti-foreigner scaremongering".

In Nairobi, the UN held a three-day meeting for developing countries to discuss issues including trade and the Millennium Development Goals. It is the first meeting of its kind in decades.

Rwanda is to be declared landmine-free, the first country to achieve such a status. Mines were laid between 1990 and 1994; over the past three years Rwandan soldiers removed more than 9,000.

High levels of toxins are still present in drinking water 25 years after Bhopal's chemical disaster, two reports found. Thousands of people were killed by the gas leak in 1984.