- AFRICA: Burundi’s parliament was debating a proposed African Union peacekeeping mission that Bujumbura has rejected as an “invasion force”.
- AMERICAS: South America’s Mercosur countries are set to initiate talks on a possible free trade deal early next year with the EU.
- ASIA: Taliban gunmen have overrun a strategic district in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, delivering a serious blow to government forces.
- EUROPE: In France, police detained a couple who were passengers on an Air France flight which made an emergency landing after a fake bomb was found on board.
- MIDDLE EAST: French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu to request an increase in strikes against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.
- TECHNOLOGY: Taiwan’s main opposition Democratic Progressive Party claimed China’s cyber army has beefed up attacks on the party’s official website and officials’ e-mail accounts in the run-up to the 2016 elections.
- Spain: Parliamentary election results forecast uncertainty, instability for nation.
- Spanish political parties faced what are likely to be tough negotiations to form a government after the country rejected the dominating two-party scene of recent decades and elected a fragmented Parliament.
- The result cast a shadow over an economic reform program that has helped pull the country out of recession.
- The ruling Popular Party secured the most seats in parliament, but lost its majority, leaving PM Mariano Rajoy struggling to avoid becoming the third European leader to be ousted this year after pushing through unpopular austerity policies.
- The results suggest the only party able to form a majority with him in the 350-member parliament would be the Socialists, the PP’s historic rivals.
- Coverage: AP, Bloomberg, Fortune, Reuters, WSJ
- Burundi: The nation’s parliament was debating a proposed African Union peacekeeping mission that Bujumbura has rejected as an “invasion force”. (AFP)
- Kenya: A Kenyan official says suspected Islamic extremists killed two people when they shot at two vehicles in the northern town of Mandera. (AP)
- Nigeria: Nigerian troops have killed 12 Boko Haram fighters and recovered a cache of arms and ammunition from the hardline Islamist group. (AFP)
- Region: South America’s Mercosur countries are set to initiate talks on a possible free trade deal early next year with the EU. (AFP)
- Chile: Airport workers in the country have agreed to end a four-day strike that led to major disruption. (BBC)
- Mexico: The country was seeking agricultural cooperation with China with more related trade protocols signed in 2015 than any other country. (Xinhua)
- Region: Philippine President Benigno Aquino vowed to leave behind a stronger and a more capable armed forces to face maritime challenges in the South China Sea when he leaves office next year. (Reuters)
- Region: Chinese FM Wang Yi has urged the US to stop sending military aircraft and ships close to artificial islands Beijing created in the South China Sea. (Kyodo)
- Afghanistan: Taliban gunmen have overrun a strategic district in the southern province of Helmand, delivering a serious blow to government forces. (AP)
- Bangladesh: A Bangladesh court ordered the arrest of 24 people and seizure of their assets after they failed to face murder charges over the collapse of a garment factory that killed more than 1,100 people. (AFP)
- Region: Hungary accused Austria of confusing “solidarity and stupidity” after Vienna said that nations which do not accept their share of refugees under EU quotas should face sanctions. (AFP)
- Austria: Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner said the nation could not accept more than 100,000 migrants a year, following a pledge from Germany to limit arrivals. (Reuters)
- Belgium: Belgian police are searching for a person who had contact with the suspects in last month‘s Paris terrorist attacks shortly before they took action. (DPA)
- France: French police detained a couple who were passengers on an Air France flight which made an emergency landing after a fake bomb was found on board. (AFP)
- Israel: A new Israeli air defense system has passed its final round of tests, putting it on course for deployment in 2016, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry. (Reuters)
- Syria: French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu to request an increase in strikes against the Islamic State (IS) group in the country. (AFP)
- Syria: China will invite members of the Syrian government and opposition to visit as Beijing looks for ways to help with the peace process. (Reuters)
- Yemen: The Saudi-led coalition says Saudi air defense units have intercepted a rocket fired from the country in the southwest border city of Jazan. (AP)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Technology: Taiwan’s main opposition Democratic Progressive Party claimed China’s cyber army has beefed up attacks on the party’s official website and officials’ e-mail accounts in the run-up to the 2016 elections. (Kyodo)
- Cyclones: Nothing to Report
- Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
- Earthquakes: 36km N of Tarakan, Indonesia
- Magnitude: 6.0
- Depth: 9.0 km
- Volcanoes: Shiveluch, Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
- Lava descending from the volcano, in addition to columns of ash up to five kilometers. (TASS)
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
- Suspected Cases as of 21DEC: 607,961 (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: 35,019
- Deaths as of 21DEC: 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 21DEC: 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 21DEC: 584 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (22DEC)
- Global: Winter Solstice – Yule
- Zimbabwe: National Unity Day – 1997