ASIA: Japanese PM Abe was re-elected for his third term due to popular support of “Abe-nomics.”
EUROPE: 300 soldiers were deployed throughout France to provide security during Christmas following acts of violence by Islamist extremists.
MIDDLE EAST: IS militants shot down a US-led coalition warplane and captured its Jordanian pilot over northern Syria.
TECHNOLOGY: Some major North Korean websites remained blocked amid growing speculation over cyber warfare between Washington and Pyongyang.
Ukraine: Peace talks with rebel forces to resume amid Russian anger as Kiev moves closer to joining NATO.
Dropping its non-aligned status, the parliament took a historic step toward NATO that stoked Russia’s anger ahead of talks on ending the separatist war.
Moscow said that Kiev’s decision to give up its neutral status is the result of pressure from the Atlantic bloc, which wanted to turn Ukraine into a “front line of confrontation.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called Ukraine’s renunciation of its neutral military and political status a “counterproductive” step that would only boost tensions around the crisis in the east.
Despite Russia’s anger at Kiev’s decision, fragile peace talks aimed at ending the separatist war between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels are due to resume on Wednesday.
Ukrainian and rebel envoys prepared for intense talks aimed at ending a pro-Russian uprising that has left the ex-Soviet republic in ruins and upset East-West ties.
Suspected Cases as of 13NOV: 885,926 (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haití, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.)
Deaths as of 13NOV: 153 (Colombia, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Grenada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
Cases as of 17DEC: 938 (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 and the U.S)
Deaths as of 17DEC: 343 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman)