- AFRICA: Malawi has suspended 63 civil servants who allegedly stole millions of dollars of US funds sent for fighting HIV and AIDS.
- AMERICAS: Reports indicate the US administration may be planning to expel migrant families from Central America.
- ASIA: The Pakistani military says its army chief will travel to Kabul amid efforts to revive peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
- EUROPE: Switzerland will hold a referendum to decide whether to ban commercial banks from creating money.
- MIDDLE EAST: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia and Qatar have agreed on what they could do to encourage the Syrian opposition to sit down for talks with the Syrian government.
- TECHNOLOGY: China’s largely rubber-stamp parliament said that the country is set to pass its controversial new anti-terrorism law on Sunday, which could require technology firms to install “back doors” in products or hand over sensitive information such as encryption keys to the government.
- South America: Flooding in parts of Latin America has forced 150,000 people from their homes.
- Five people have been killed and nearly 150,000 driven from their homes in Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay.
- Flooding in certain areas is historically high.
- This continues the strange weather patterns exhibited by the El Nino Effect, a naturally occurring cycle that shifts warm water from the Pacific towards North and South America.
- Conversely, Colombia is experiencing the opposite effect: a drought that may empty water reservoirs.
- Coverage: (AP, AFP, BBC, BBC)
- Central African Republic: Crucial elections in the country have been postponed from Sunday until 30DEC15 because preparations are running late, said Prime Minister Mahamat Kamoun. (Reuters)
- Malawi: The country has suspended 63 civil servants who allegedly stole millions of dollars of US funds sent for fighting HIV and AIDS. (AFP)
- Nigeria: An industrial gas tank exploded killing at least four people and leaving their bodies charred beyond recognition. (CNN)
- Mexico: The Colima volcano spewed ash to a height of 2 kilometers (6,550 feet) above its crater. (EFE)
- United States: Reports have surfaced that President Barack Obama’s administration is planning a vast operation to round up and expel migrant families who fled drought and violence in Central America. (AFP)
- United States: A violent storm left at least 14 people dead and destroyed homes in several states. (BBC)
- Bangladesh: A bomb exploded at a mosque of the minority Ahmadi Muslim group in northwestern town of Bagmara leaving the suspected suicide bomber dead and three other people injured. (AFP)
- Pakistan: The military says its army chief will travel to Kabul amid efforts to revive peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. (AP)
- Pakistan: Indian Prime Minister Modi arrived in the country for a brief, albeit, unusual visit. (WP)
- Georgia: Foreign Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili was nominated for the post of the ex-Soviet state’s prime minister after Irakly Garibashvili resigned this week less than a year before parliamentary elections. (Reuters)
- Switzerland: The country will hold a referendum to decide whether to ban commercial banks from creating money. (Telegraph)
- Ukraine: The parliament adopted a budget for 2016 with a deficit of 3 percent of GDP, crucial for unlocking much needed aid from the IMF and Western countries. (AFP)
- Region: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia and Qatar have agreed on what they could do to encourage the Syrian opposition to sit down for talks with the Syrian government. (AP)
- Iraq: Government forces dodged sniper fire, car bombs, roadside bombs and booby traps as they battled to root out jihadist fighters hunkered down in a strategic compound in central Ramadi. (AFP)
- Syria: Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said international efforts should focus on preventing insurgents from infiltrating from Turkey and Jordan. (Reuters)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Data Security: China’s largely rubber-stamp parliament said that the country is set to pass its controversial new anti-terrorism law on Sunday, which could require technology firms to install “back doors” in products or hand over sensitive information such as encryption keys to the government. (Reuters)
- Cyclones: Nothing to Report
- Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
- Earthquakes: Southern East Pacific Rise
- Magnitude: 6.1
- Volcanoes: Colima, Mexico
- Ash is spewing. (NBC)
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
- Suspected Cases as of 18DEC: 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 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 25DEC: 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 25DEC: 584 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (26DEC)
- Global: Boxing Day
- Indonesia: Anniversary of the Indonesian tsunami killing 230,000 people – 2004