Japan drafts record budget as PM battles scandal

Japan approved on Friday a record budget for next year that will inflate the country's already huge debt by $484 billion, as the prime minister vowed to battle on in the face of a growing scandal and sliding poll ratings. See full article.

Asian shares soft in holiday trade, dollar steady

Shares in Tokyo slipped on Friday as investors took profits in trade thinned by the Christmas break in many other markets, while Shanghai fell and the dollar hung near its highs of the month after goods and jobless claims data. See full article.

Woman who lunged at pope unstable, unarmed: Vatican

The woman who lunged at Pope Benedict and caused him to fall to the floor at the start of his Christmas Eve mass was psychologically unstable and was not armed, the Vatican said on Friday. See full article.

U.S. Senate passes landmark healthcare plan

The U.S. Senate approved President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare overhaul on Thursday, backing sweeping changes in the medical insurance market and new coverage for tens of millions of uninsured Americans. See full article.

Treasury uncaps credit line for Fannie, Freddie

The Obama administration pledged on Thursday to back beleaguered mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac no matter how big their losses may be in the next three years. See full article.