- AFRICA: Libyan lawmakers are set to sign a disputed UN-sponsored agreement on a unity government despite rival warnings that the deal has no legitimacy.
- AMERICAS: In Texas, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) received a threat of violence similar to those in Los Angeles, New York and Miami.
- ASIA: A South Korean court acquitted a Japanese reporter of defaming South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye.
- EUROPE: EU leaders were set to butt heads for the first time over British demands for reform, only two years before a planned referendum on the country‘s membership in the bloc.
- MIDDLE EAST: The UN Security Council will meet to adopt a resolution aimed at disrupting the outside revenue that the Islamic State extremist group gets from selling oil, antiquities and other criminal activities.
- TECHNOLOGY: A total of 53 countries and regions reached a final agreement to remove tariffs on information technology products.
- Russia: President Putin holds annual question and answer session.
- President Vladimir Putin said Russia has passed the worst of its economic crisis after it was hit by the slump in oil prices that forced the government to lower forecasts and revise its strategy.
- Putin called the Turkish downing of a Russian war plane “an enemy act.”
- Putin predicted economic growth in the new year of 0.7%, rising to 1.9% in 2017 and 2.4% in 2018, based on oil at $50 a barrel.
- Putin says Turkey’s downing of a Russian plane was a hostile action and contradicted Turkey’s interests.
- Putin said that Russia’s military actions in Syria —it is bombing militant groups — would continue until a political process that would ends its civil war was underway.
- Putin also said Moscow supported in general Washington’s initiative to prepare a resolution in the UN Security Council on Syria.
- Coverage: AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, Reuters, USA Today
- Burundi: The UN’s top human rights body is discussing the country’s rising violence, with the US pushing to deploy a mission of experts and launch an investigation of abuses. (AP)
- Ethiopia: Rights groups called on the country to rein in security forces they say have violently suppressed weeks of protests the government has blamed on “terrorists.” (AFP)
- Libya: Lawmakers are set to sign a disputed UN-sponsored agreement on a unity government despite rival warnings that the deal has no legitimacy. (Reuters)
- Rwanda: Citizens abroad were voting in a referendum to amend the constitution allowing President Paul Kagame to rule until 2034. (AFP)
- Brazil: Protests against the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff broke out in major cities. (Xinhua)
- United States: An attack at two military installations in Tennessee in July that killed four Marines and a sailor was inspired by a “foreign terrorist group,” the FBI said. (AFP)
- United States: The Houston Independent School District (HISD) received a threat of violence similar to those in Los Angeles, New York and Miami. (Xinhua)
- Region: A Seoul court acquitted a Japanese reporter of defaming South Korean President Park Geun-hye. (AP)
- Region: Japan and Indonesia began their first “two-plus-two” security talks as they aimed to forge stronger ties amid China’s muscle-flexing in the South China Sea. (Kyodo)
- North Korea: The country denied media reports that more than 100 Chinese nationals were recently arrested by authorities. (Xinhua)
- Taiwan: The Obama administration formally notified Congress of a USD 1.83B arms sale package for the country, drawing an angry response from China. (Reuters)
- Region: EU leaders were set to butt heads for the first time over British demands for reform, only two years before a planned referendum on the country‘s membership in the bloc. (DPA)
- Region: Macedonian FM Nikola Poposki was due in Athens to meet his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias, marking the first such visit in 15 years. (DPA)
- Region: The EU has seen little evidence that Turkey has managed to reduce departures of migrants for Greek islands in the two weeks since it signed an agreement to do so. (Reuters)
- Turkey: Security forces killed 23 Kurdish militants during two days of operations in two southeastern towns. (Reuters)
- Region: The UN Security Council will meet to adopt a resolution aimed at disrupting the outside revenue that the Islamic State extremist group gets from selling oil, antiquities and other criminal activities. (AP)
- Iraq: In the past month, the military began using Chinese drones in military operations, in addition to American-made drones. (NYT)
- Kuwait: The country will establish a free economic zone on five islands close to the shorelines of regional heavyweights Iraq and Iran. (AFP)
- Yemen: UN-sponsored peace talks in Switzerland appeared to be struggling, sources close to the talks said. (Reuters)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Information Technology: A total of 53 countries and regions reached a final agreement to remove tariffs on information technology products. (Kyodo)
- Cyclones: Tropical Depression 28W (Melor)
- Location: 145 NM WSW of Manila, Philippines
- Wind: 28 mph
- Movement: SSW at 8 mph
- Cyclones: Tropical Depression 29W
- Location: 567 NM ENE Zamboanga, Philippines
- Wind: 28 mph
- Movement: W at 6 mph
- Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
- Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
- Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
- Suspected Cases as of 17DEC: 607,306 (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: 34,507
- Deaths as of 17DEC: 77 (Colombia, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Grenada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
- Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
- Cases as of 17DEC: 1621 (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 17DEC: 584 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (18DEC)
- Niger: Republic Day – 1958
- Qatar: National Day – 2007