AFRICA: Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has said Sweden and South Africa should meet its demands for “faster release” of their two respective nationals who have been in detention since November 2011.
AMERICAS: Mexican authorities formally launched the process to extradite drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the US.
ASIA: US forces in South Korea were put on their highest level of alert in case of any provocation from North Korea.
EUROPE: German authorities said that nearly all the suspects in the New Year’s Eve violence mainly against women in Cologne were “of foreign origin”.
MIDDLE EAST: At least eight children were killed along with their teacher in a Russian air strike that hit a school in the Syrian Aleppo province, a monitor said.
TECHNOLOGY: Testing of “Cloud Tibet,” China’s first Tibetan search engine, has begun, putting it on course for release in the second half of 2016.
Afghanistan: International conference begins to restart peace process.
Delegates from Pakistan, China and the US sat down with Afghani counterparts for talks to resurrect a stalled peace process.
The meeting comes as Afghanistan’s battlefield losses are mounting and entire swaths of the country that cost hundreds of US-led coalition and Afghan military lives to secure slip back into Taliban hands.
The Taliban, who are divided by factional infighting, are not attending Monday’s talks.
“The primary objective of the reconciliation process is to create conditions to bring the Taliban groups to the negotiation table and offer them incentives that can persuade them to move away from using violence,” said Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s top foreign affairs official.
The expansion of the Taliban insurgency in the country during the past year has fueled regional and international concerns the upcoming spring fighting season may lead to even more bloodshed and instability in the war-shattered country.
Region: Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has said Sweden and South Africa should meet its demands for “faster release” of their two respective nationals who have been in detention since November 2011. (Xinhua)
Libya: Unidentified aircraft attacked an Islamic State convoy near the city of Sirte. (Reuters)
South Africa: The Ministry of Defense denied allegations that sensitive information has been exposed following the theft of 50 laptops from the department’s intelligence headquarters in Pretoria. (Xinhua)
Region: Mexican authorities formally launched the process to extradite drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the US. (AFP)
Honduras: At least six men were murdered in what may have been a drug-related massacre in the central city of Comayagua. (EFE)
Venezuela: Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez dismissed remarks by commander of the US military’s Southern Command as “irrelevant” to efforts to improve bilateral ties. (Xinhua)
Region: An Indian trooper and two porters were wounded in separate landmine blasts, close to Line of Control dividing Kashmir. (Xinhua)
China: Senior Chinese foreign ministry officials were “extremely embarrassed” by North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, a South Korean diplomatic source said, indicating Beijing only limited access to deduce what is going on inside the isolated ally. (Yonhap)
Korean Peninsula: US forces in South Korea were put on their highest level of alert on Monday in case of any provocation from North Korea. (Reuters)
North Korea: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has encouraged researchers on the country’s atomic bomb program to work for “greater successes” on the nuclear weapons project. (DPA)
Germany: Authorities said that nearly all the suspects in the New Year’s Eve violence mainly against women in Cologne were “of foreign origin”. (AFP)
Spain: A landmark fraud trial opened for the country’s Princess Cristina, accused of helping embezzle about USD 6.5M in public funds. (AP)
Russia: The ruble has tanked on the first day of trading after a ten-day holiday period as the price of oil continues to decline. (AP)
Russia: President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that Western economic sanctions over the Ukraine crisis are affecting the country. (AFP)
Iran: Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder arrived in Tehran as head of a major German trade delegation. (DPA)
Israel: Authorities are investigating a fire at the Jerusalem offices of B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, that caused extensive damage and raised suspicions of arson. (AP)
Syria: At least eight children were killed along with their teacher in a Russian air strike that hit a school in Aleppo province, a monitor said. (AFP)
Yemen: Islamic State-linked militants say they have killed a senior security officer in the southern port city of Aden. (AP)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Technology: Testing of “Cloud Tibet,” China’s first Tibetan search engine, has begun, putting it on course for release in the second half of 2016. (Xinhua)
Suspected Cases as of 11JAN: 653,249 (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Spain, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.)
Confirmed Cases: 31,543
Deaths as of 11JAN: 82 (Colombia, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Grenada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
Cases as of 11JAN: 1626 (Saudi Arabia (KSA), Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom (UK), France, Tunisia, Italy, Oman, Kuwait, Yemen, Malaysia, Greece, Egypt, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Iran, Algeria, Austria, Turkey, The Philippines, Germany, China, South Korea, and the US)
Deaths as of 11JAN: 586 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)