**Pope Celebrates Christmas Mass at Vatican**
Pope Francis celebrated his first Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican Tuesday, as Christians from across the globe gathered for religious services marking the birth of Jesus.
In St. Peter's Basilica, the 77-year-old Argentine pontiff, who has stressed simplicity and humility during his brief papacy, urged people to turn away from pride, deceit and self-seeking. The leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics urged the faithful to instead reaffirm their love for "God, our brothers and sisters."
Earlier, thousands of Christian pilgrims descended on the West Bank town of Bethlehem -- the biblical birthplace of Jesus -- to celebrate Christianity's highest holy day.
A giant figure of Santa Claus greeted visitors in Manger Square, outside the centuries-old Church of the Nativity -- the site where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus.
**N Korean Kim: War Could Occur 'Without Any Prior Notice'**
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has instructed his military to boost its combat readiness, warning a war could break out "without any prior notice."
The state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Wednesday that Mr. Kim made the comments during a visit to a combat unit on Tuesday.
The move comes as North Korea's neighbors watch the communist country for signs of instability, following a shocking purge of senior leadership in Pyongyang.
Mr. Kim's uncle, Jang Song Thaek, thought to be his mentor and second in command, was executed earlier this month after being accused of trying to overthrow the state.
Tuesday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye made her own trip to a frontline guard post, telling troops Seoul would respond "mercilessly to any provocations."