In Australia, lawmakers in New South Wales state are interrupting their Christmas break to vote on extra powers for police trying to control ethnic violence and rioting this week in Sydney.

State government chief Morris Iemma says New South Wales' Parliament has been called into an emergency session beginning Thursday in Sydney to discuss tough new laws.

Mr. Iemma supports an increase in prison terms for rioters from five to 15 years. He also wants police to have so-called "lockdown" powers that would allow them to cordon off neighborhoods to control disturbances.

Clashes in Sydney late Monday that injured seven people began when a convoy of cars brought rioters to the city's beachside areas. Police detained 11 people.

Insults, fighting and vandalism that began Sunday at Sydney's Cronulla Beach have pitted white youths against young men of Middle Eastern appearance.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.