- AFRICA: Talks to ease DR Congo President Joseph Kabila out of power next year are hanging by a thread, opposition leadership said.
- AMERICAS: The discovery of a burned-out car in Brazil’s Rio state with a body inside has sparked fears that it might be that of Greek ambassador Kyriakos Amiridis.
- ASIA: Australian anti-terror police have charged a man for making threats against Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
- EUROPE: The Turkish parliament approved a draft constitutional reform law, paving the way to expand presidential powers.
- MIDDLE EAST: A new nationwide ceasefire between Syrian government forces and rebel groups appears to be largely holding.
- TECHNOLOGY: Hackers have targeted Ukrainian state institutions about 6,500 times in the past two months, including incidents that showed Russian security services were waging a cyberwar against the country, President Petro Poroshenko said.
- Russia: The United States expels 35 Russian diplomats in response to alleged Russian election meddling.
- The US is unleashing a string of punitive measures against Russia amid allegations that it engaged in cyber-meddling in the US presidential campaign.
- The actions amounted to the strongest American response yet to a state-sponsored cyberattack.
- The Russian foreign ministry called for the expulsion of 35 US diplomats in response to a similar move by Washington.
- Russia’s moves must be approved by President Vladimir Putin, but given their national television broadcast, they seemed sure to be adopted.
- The Obama administration’s actions could restrict President-elect’s Donald Trump’s efforts to repair relations with Moscow and puts the president-elect on a collision course with Republican lawmakers.
- Trump edged away from his dismissive stance on American assessments of Russian hacking, and will meet with intelligence officials next week.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement, vowing not to expel any US diplomats in a shock move by Moscow.
- Coverage: AFP, BBC, NBC, NYT, NYT-2, WP
- DR Congo: Talks to ease President Joseph Kabila out of power next year are hanging by a thread, opposition leadership said. (Reuters)
- Nigeria: The Nigerian Army described the latest video purportedly showing Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau as “mere terrorist propaganda.” (Xinhua)
- Somalia: Four militants and three Somali soldiers were killed after Al-Shabaab insurgents attacked an army checkpoint in Afgoye. (Xinhua)
- Argentina: An Argentine appeals court ordered a new investigation into charges that ex-president Cristina Kirchner obstructed a probe into a 1994 bombing. (AFP)
- Brazil: The discovery of a burned-out car in Rio state with a body inside have sparked fears that it might be that of Greek ambassador Kyriakos Amiridis. (AFP)
- Mexico: The country’s National Human Rights Commission says soldiers employed “illegitimate use of force” against civilians at a 2015 protest in which a 12-year-old boy was shot dead. (AFP)
- Region: US President-elect Donald Trump will name former US Marine Matt Pottinger as senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council. (Kyodo)
- Australia: Australian anti-terror police have charged a man for making threats against Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations. (BBC)
- China: Beijing pledged to open up more economic sectors to foreign investment, amid complaints of the country’s worsening business environment. (AFP)
- China: The Xinjiang regional procuratorate said it has set up a special team to handle cases related to terrorism. (Xinhua)
- Britain: PM Theresa May will put David Cameron’s plan to publish a British bill of rights on hold until after Brexit. (Guardian)
- Turkey: The Turkish parliament approved a draft constitutional reform law, paving the way to expand presidential powers. (Reuters)
- Turkey: Turkish police detained some 40 suspected Islamic State group militants during raids in southern city of Adana. (AP)
- Romania: President Klaus Iohannis named social-democrat Sorin Grindeanu as the nation’s new prime minister. (AFP)
- Russia: One police officer and two suspected militants were killed in a shootout in the North Caucasus Dagestan region. (AP)
- Region: Saudi Arabia invited Iran to discuss a return of its nationals to next year’s hajj after Iranians were excluded from the pilgrimage following a major diplomatic row. (AFP)
- Region: A Palestinian woman was shot and wounded after approaching an Israeli security checkpoint near Jerusalem with a knife. (AFP)
- Syria: A new nationwide ceasefire between Syrian government forces and rebel groups appears to be largely holding. (BBC)
- Syria: Russian air forces conducted three separate airstrikes in southern al-Bab, killing 12 Islamic State terrorists. (Xinhua)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Technology: Hackers have targeted Ukrainian state institutions about 6,500 times in the past two months, including incidents that showed Russian security services were waging a cyberwar against the country, President Petro Poroshenko said. (Reuters)
- Cyclones: Nothing to Report
- Hurricanes: Nothing to Report
- Earthquakes: 33km S of Tolotangga, Indonesia
- Magnitude: 6.2
- Depth: 72.3 km
- Volcanoes: Bogoslof, Alaska
- Ash eruption six kilometers into the air. (AP)
- 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 29DEC: 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 29DEC: 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 29DEC: 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 (31DEC)
- Global: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to step down
- Global: New Year’s Eve
- Caucasus Region: US OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair James Warlick to step down.
- Cuba: End of year public holiday
- Europe Region: Serbia to relinquish chair of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation
- Nigeria: Anniversary of the coup d’etat, lead by General Muhammadu Buhari, that overthrew President Shehu Shagari – 1983