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Last Updated: Monday, 25 December 2006, 20:40 GMT
In pictures: Christmas around the world

Michelle Higgins of Ireland and compatriot Owen Brick lie in the sun at Sydney's Bondi Beach on Christmas Day.

Lucky for some: Irish tourists enjoy a summery Christmas Day on Sydney's Bondi Beach in Australia.

Pope Benedict gives Christmas blessing at Vatican

In his traditional Christmas blessing to pilgrims in Rome, Pope Benedict calls for renewed efforts to bring peace to the Middle East and Africa.

Christmas in Bethlehem

In Bethlehem, a Palestinian police officer stands guard on a roof top overlooking the Church of the Nativity - the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

Christmas mass at the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, in the West Bank

Inside the Church of the Nativity, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, celebrates Christmas Mass.

US soldiers at base in Kabul dressed as Santa Claus and elves

Celebrations have been taking place across the globe. American soldiers at a military base in Kabul enjoy a white Christmas.

Sand sculpture of Santa on a beach in Puri.

In India, a giant sand sculpture of Santa has been created by students and artists on a beach in Puri.

 Busay village in the eastern Philippines

A Roman Catholic priest blesses candles during prayers on Christmas Eve near Busay village in the eastern Philippines.

Christmas scenes from around the world

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