>> Smoking has been banned in restaurants and cafes in France and Germany. Eight German states have ushered in 2008 declaring their pubs and restaurants smoke-free. The new ban is seen as a big cultural shift for France, where smoky cafes have long been the haunts of famous artists and philosophers.
>> Egypt is planning to pass a law that would exact royalty payments from anyone found making copies of the country's ancient monuments or museum pieces, including the pyramids. Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said his country would use the money raised to pay for the upkeep of its prestigious sites.