- AFRICA: The African Union’s Peace and Security Council has proposed sending 5,000 peacekeepers to Burundi, invoking a rule allowing it to deploy a force without a country’s consent.
- AMERICAS: Brazil’s Supreme Court has scrapped a commission set up to deal with impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff.
- ASIA: US Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in Afghanistan to assess the security situation, amid reports of increased violence and Islamic State presence.
- EUROPE: Russian officials invited British, Chinese, and Indian diplomats to witness the opening of the black box of a Russian warplane downed in Turkey last month.
- MIDDLE EAST: Israel and Turkey have reached a preliminary agreement on normalising relations, an Israeli official said.
- TECHNOLOGY: The Second World Internet Conference (WIC) closed after about 2,000 domestic and foreign attendees discussed Internet governance and cyberspace cooperation.
- Syria: The UN Security Council will discuss plans to end five-year civil war
- Diplomats from more than a dozen countries were expected to meet in New York, with an eye to drawing the Syrian war to a close and to focusing the world’s attention on the threat of the Islamic State.
- On the eve of the UN talks, Assad warned in an interview with Dutch television that misguided efforts to bring about regime change would make the conflict “drag on”.
- Nations meeting at the UN will essentially be negotiating a Russian plan for a “political transition,” based on the Syrian government’s consent and with no clear reference to President Bashar Assad’s departure.
- The US and Russia, which is the main ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, have disagreed on Assad’s fate.
- Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif said his country has seen “no lists we can agree upon” of Syrian opposition groups that should be included in peace negotiations set to begin by 01JAN.
- Coverage: AP, AP-2, AFP, NYT, USA Today
- Burundi: The African Union’s Peace and Security Council has proposed sending 5,000 peacekeepers to the country, invoking a rule allowing it to deploy a force without a country’s consent. (Reuters)
- Libya: Aguila Saleh, the president of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, rejected a UN-backed peace deal, further complicating the path to stabilization. (DPA)
- Rwanda: Citizens are voting in a referendum on a constitutional amendment to allow President Paul Kagame to seek a third term in office. (BBC)
- Tanzania: A court jailed four Chinese men for 20 years after they were caught smuggling 11 rhino horns, one of the largest seizures ever made in the east African nation. (AFP)
- Brazil: The Supreme Court has scrapped a commission set up to deal with impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff. (BBC)
- Colombia: The remains of 29 people who disappeared during the country’s half-century conflict with the FARC were handed over to their families under a deal with the government. (AFP)
- United States: A 19-year old man was arrested in Pennsylvania and charged with two counts of attempting to provide material support to terrorists. (AP)
- Region: China’s military conducted war games in the disputed South China Sea this week, as tensions simmer over Beijing’s island-building in the region. (AFP)
- Afghanistan: US Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in the country to assess the security situation, amid reports of increased violence and Islamic State presence. (AP)
- Japan: The country’s central bank announced an unexpected tweak to its vast stimulus program, jolting financial markets and pushing the yen into a brief dive. (AFP)
- Philippines: Tens of thousands of people struggled through waist-deep floods in typhoon-battered farmlands near Manila, as another storm threatened to dump more rain. (AFP)
- Region: The Russian and British military officials met in Moscow to discuss how best to avoid incidents between the two countries’ armed forces at sea and in the air. (Reuters)
- Poland: The government has replaced the head of a new NATO experts’ office, saying he failed to obey an earlier dismissal order. (AP)
- Russia: Officials invited British, Chinese and Indian diplomats to witness the opening of the black box of a warplane downed in Turkey last month. (AP)
- Turkey: According to witnesses, security forces had killed 54 Kurdish militant around the southeast towns of Silopi and Cizre in three days of urban fighting. (Reuters)
- Region: Israel and Turkey have reached a preliminary agreement on normalising relations, an Israeli official said. (BBC)
- Iraq: Kurdish forces backed by coalition air strikes have repulsed the most serious attack by Islamic State group in the country in five months. (WP)
- Jordan: The UN refugee agency says the country has begun deporting Sudanese asylum seekers after detaining about 800 of them near the country’s international airport. (AP)
- Lebanon: Authorities have arrested a former lawmaker in connection with the mysterious kidnapping of Hannibal Kadhafi, the high-rolling son of the late Libyan dictator. (AFP)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Internet: The Second World Internet Conference (WIC) closed after about 2,000 domestic and foreign attendees discussed Internet governance and cyberspace cooperation. (Xinhua)
- Cyclones: Tropical Depression 29W
- Location: 415 NM E of Zamboanga, Philippines
- Wind: 28 mph
- Movement: WSW at 12 mph
- Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
- Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
- Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
- Suspected Cases as of 18DEC: 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 18DEC: 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 18DEC: 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 18DEC: 584 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (19DEC)
- China: Britain signs Hong Kong to China – 1984