Sri Lanka unveiled a towering Christmas tree, claiming to have surpassed
the world record despite constructions delays and a
shorter-than-planned finished product.
The 73-meter (238-foot) artificial tree in capital Colombo is 18 meters (59 feet) taller than the current record holder, organizers said. The tree's steel-and-wire frame is covered with a plastic net decorated with more than 1 million natural pine cones painted red, gold, green and silver, 600,000 LED bulbs and topped by a 6-meter (20-foot)-tall shining star.
Thousands of pilgrims and tourists from around the world together with
local Christians gathered in the biblical town of Bethlehem to celebrate
Christmas Eve in the traditional birthplace of Jesus, with spirits
lifted by a slowdown in recent violence and cool, clear weather.
Security was tight in Bethlehem after recent deadly attacks on Christian targets in neighboring Egypt and Jordan by Islamic extremists.