- AFRICA: Qatar-based satellite news broadcaster Al-Jazeera said Egypt is holding one of its producers on “fabricated charges” after the man traveled there to visit his family on vacation.
- AMERICAS: Sixteen people were killed during Christmas holiday celebrations in Mexico’s main drug-trafficking states and six human heads were found in one location, officials said.
- ASIA: A handful of South Korean lawmakers finally got to question the woman at the heart of the impeachment crisis surrounding President Park Geun-Hye, after she snubbed a televised hearing at her detention center.
- EUROPE: Russia’s transport minister says a pilot error or a technical fault was likely to be the cause of Sunday’s plane crash over the Black Sea.
- MIDDLE EAST: The Russian Defense Ministry says its troops have found mass graves in Aleppo with bodies showing signs of torture and mutilation.
- TECHNOLOGY: Israeli ministers have approved a bill that would allow a court to order sites such as Facebook and YouTube to remove material found to be “incitement,” which they say contributes to Palestinian violence.
- Asia Region: China geopolitically defies the United States on multiple fronts.
- Japan said it had spotted six Chinese naval vessels, led by the country’s sole aircraft carrier the Liaoning, traveling through the passage between Miyako and Okinawa and into the Pacific.
- The group of Chinese warships subsequently entered the top half of the South China Sea after passing south of Taiwan.
- Senior Taiwan opposition Nationalist lawmaker Johnny Chiang said the Liaoning exercise was China’s signal to the United States that it has broken through the “first island chain”, an area that includes Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan.
- China is set to sign an agreement on 26DEC establishing diplomatic ties with former Taiwan ally Sao Tome and Principe, according to a banner in a state guesthouse in Beijing announcing the ceremony.
- China tested the latest version of its fifth-generation stealth fighter, state media reported, as it tries to end the West’s monopoly on the world’s most advanced warplanes.
- The moves come amid renewed tension over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, ineligible for state-to-state relations, following US President-elect Donald Trump’s telephone call with the island’s president that upset Beijing.
- Coverage: AFP, Reuters, Reuters-1
- Egypt: Qatar-based satellite news broadcaster Al-Jazeera says the country is holding one of its producers on “fabricated charges” after the man traveled there to visit his family on vacation. (AP)
- Somalia: An electoral official says the country has decided to delay its presidential election for a fourth time amid allegations of fraud and intimidation. (AP)
- Sudan: The country has freed 20 political opponents detained since last month after they called for protests against rising fuel prices, their parties said. (AFP)
- Brazil: At least 19 Brazilians were among the passengers of a boat believed to have capsized in the Caribbean sometime between November and December, local media reported. (Xinhua)
- Chile: Evacuation orders were in effect in coastal areas in four southern regions following a powerful magnitude-7.6 earthquake that hit Quellon, a town on Chiloe Island, prompting officials to issue a tsunami alert. (EFE)
- Mexico: Sixteen people were killed during Christmas holiday celebrations in the main drug-trafficking states and six human heads were found in one location, officials said. (AFP)
- Afghanistan: A Taliban commander was killed together with five militants after police launched an ambush in eastern province of Ghazni, the Interior Ministry said. (Xinhua)
- India: The country successfully tested Agni-5, its longest-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, officials said. (DPA)
- Korea, South: A handful of lawmakers finally got to question the woman at the heart of the impeachment crisis surrounding President Park Geun-Hye, after she snubbed a televised hearing at her detention center. (AFP)
- Thailand: Authorities have detained at least nine people on suspicion of hacking, a senior junta official said, following days of disruption to government websites sparked by the passing of a controversial cyber censorship law. (AFP)
- Region: Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet the presidents of several former Soviet republics in St Petersburg at a meeting being held on the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union. (DPA)
- Russia: Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov says a pilot error or a technical fault is likely to be the cause of Sunday’s plane crash over the Black Sea. (AP)
- Turkey: The deputy co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Aysel Tugluk, was detained by Turkish anti-terrorism police at her home in the capital Ankara, following a string of arrests of her fellow party members. (DPA)
- Israel: PM Netanyahu summoned US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro, two days after Washington abstained in a vote on a UN resolution against Israeli settlements. (AFP)
- Syria: At least 30 civilians were killed and many others were wounded after Islamic State launched an attack in the town of al-Bab to prevent people from fleeing, the Turkish military said in a statement. (Reuters)
- Syria: The Russian Defense Ministry says its troops have found mass graves in Aleppo with bodies showing signs of torture and mutilation. (AP)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Social Media: Israeli ministers have approved a bill that would allow a court to order sites such as Facebook and YouTube to remove material found to be “incitement,” which they say contributes to Palestinian violence. (AFP)
- Tropical Typhoon Nock-Ten
- Location: 67 NM SSE of Manila Philippines
- Movement: W at 17 mph
- Winds: 92 mph
- Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
- Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
- Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
- Suspected Cases as of 16DEC: 319,841 (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (French), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten (Dutch), Spain, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, UK Virgin Islands, United States of America, US Virgin Islands, Uruguay, and Venezuela)
- Confirmed Cases as of 16DEC: 121,801
- Deaths as of 16DEC: 133
- Deaths (01JAN15-31DEC15): 91 (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
- Novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV, SARS-related)
- Cases as of 20DEC: 1,864 (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 20DEC: 659 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2
- Zika Virus
- Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 15DEC: American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bonaire (Netherlands), Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cabo Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Montserrat, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Netherlands), Sint Maarten, Suriname, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, United States of America, Vietnam, United States Virgin Islands, and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).
- Outbreak Terminated as of 15DEC: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Gabon, Isla de Pascua (Chile), Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.
- Locally Acquired Without Vector Borne Transmission as of 15DEC: Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, Spain, and the United States of America.
- Sourcing: WHO, WHO-2, CDC, CDC-2
TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK (27DEC)
- North Korea: Constitution Day – 1998
- Moldova: Vadim Krasnoselsky to be inaugurated president of unrecognized Republic of Transdniestria
- Pakistan: Anniversary of Benazir Bhutto’s death – 2007
- Ukraine and Belarus: 25th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations