- AFRICA: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a new video, disputing a claim by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that the jihadist group had been routed from its Sambisa Forest stronghold.
- AMERICAS: The Colombian congress approved legislation on amnesty for FARC leftist rebels under the government’s peace accord to end a half century of conflict.
- ASIA: South Korea protested Japanese defense minister Tomomi Inada’s visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.
- EUROPE: Russia said any new US sanctions over hacking allegations would be an attempt to disrupt possible bilateral cooperation.
- MIDDLE EAST: At least six people died in bombardments across Syria after a truce was struck between Russia and Turkey effective from midnight.
- TECHNOLOGY: US President Barack Obama’s administration is poised to announce a series of retaliatory measures against Russia over its cyber-meddling in the US election, reports said.
- Israel: US-Israel ties sour as world offers mixed reaction to Kerry speech.
- Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned as biased a speech by outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry on Israeli-Palestinian issues.
- Despite a new low in US-Israeli relations, President-elect Donald Trump vowed a fresh start when he takes office on 20JAN.
- Mr. Kerry’s speech – in which he defended a US decision to allow a UN resolution condemning Israel’s settlements – appeared equally intended as a message to the incoming Trump team.
- Kerry’s speech was criticized by US Republicans and Democrats, while greeted positively by Europe.
- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was ready to resume peace talks if Israel agreed to freeze settlement construction.
- Coverage: Al-Jazeera, BBC, Bloomberg, NYT, WSJ
- DR Congo: Floods triggered by heavy rains and a river bursting its banks have killed at least 50 people and left thousands homeless in the country’s southwest. (AFP)
- Nigeria: Police thwarted a plot to bomb a key bridge in Lagos, arresting the alleged mastermind and seizing a cache of arms and ammunition. (AFP)
- Nigeria: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a new video, disputing a claim by President Muhammadu Buhari that the jihadist group had been routed from its Sambisa Forest stronghold. (AFP)
- Brazil: Police and firefighters called on the authority of Rio de Janeiro to cancel the traditional beachfront New Year’s Eve celebration for security concerns. (Xinhua)
- Colombia: The congress approved legislation on amnesty for FARC leftist rebels under the government’s peace accord to end a half century of conflict. (AP)
- Colombia: Kidnappings in the country have dropped 92 percent over the past 16 years, according to the anti-kidnapping unit of the National Police. (Xinhua)
- Region: South Korea protested Japanese defense minister Tomomi Inada’s visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. (Yonhap)
- Region: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said there was no serious concern about China’s island building, militarization or reclamation work in the South China Sea. (Reuters)
- Korean Peninsula: North Korea has purged a total of 340 people since leader Kim Jong-un took control of the communist country in 2011, according to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service. (Yonhap)
- Philippines: At least 33 people have been injured in two separate bomb attacks on the islands of Leyte and Mindanao. (AFP)
- Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to throw corrupt officials from helicopters mid-air, saying he has done it before. (BBC)
- Region: The Russian military condemned cartoons about the Russian military plane crash published by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. (CBS)
- Germany: Anti-terrorism experts believed Berlin truck attack suspect Anis Amri was unlikely to commit an assault, even though he was a known Islamist. (AFP)
- Russia: The country said any new US sanctions over hacking allegations would be an attempt to disrupt possible bilateral cooperation. (Reuters)
- Turkey: Authorities detained journalist Ahmet Sik over a succession of tweets and articles for an opposition daily. (AFP)
- Ukraine: The country reported the first soldier death since Kiev’s “indefinite” ceasefire deal with pro-Russian insurgents in the separatist east last week. (AFP)
- Region: Oman, which generally stays neutral in the face of regional disputes, has joined a Saudi-led military coalition aimed at “fighting terrorism.” (AFP)
- Region: Turkey says Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad, should withdraw from Syria. (AP)
- Iraq: Iraqi troops pushed deeper into eastern Mosul after a two-week lull in the operation to retake the Islamic State-held city. (AP)
- Syria: At least six people died in bombardments across the country after a truce was struck between Russia and Turkey effective from midnight. (EFE)
- Syria: Turkey aims to establish a nationwide ceasefire before the new year, with Russia as a guarantor of the deal, Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu said. (Reuters)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Technology: US President Barack Obama’s administration is poised to announce a series of retaliatory measures against Russia over its cyber-meddling in the US election, reports said. (AFP)
- Cyclones: Nothing to Report
- Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
- Earthquakes: Nothing to Report
- Volcanoes: Nothing to Report
- Global Disease Outbreaks:
- Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
- Chikungunya Virus Disease (CHIK)
- Suspected Cases as of 23DEC: 347,555 (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 23DEC: 150,369
- Deaths as of 23DEC: 172
- 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 23DEC: 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 23DEC: 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 23DEC: 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 (30DEC)
- Iraq: Anniversary of the hanging of Saddam Hussein – 2006