AFRICA: An Egyptian court confirmed death sentences against 183 men convicted of killing 13 police officers in a town near Cairo in August 2013.
AMERICAS: Venezuelan President Maduro accused US VP Biden of heading a “bloody” plan to overthrow his government, which he said was announced to presidents and prime ministers of Caribbean countries.
ASIA: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe defended his policy toward terrorism and his handling of the hostage crisis to parliament.
EUROPE: The Greek government said that it will not take any actions that would hurt the share values of the country’s banks and does not plan to appoint party officials at key management posts.
MIDDLE EAST: A senior Yemeni politician said Shiite rebels in control of Sanaa are demanding their militia becomes part of the country’s army and police as a precondition for talks on releasing the nation’s president and cabinet members from house arrest.
TECHNOLOGY: FireEye researchers released a new report on cyber attack and espionage tactics used by opposing factions in the Syrian conflict.
Ukraine: US considers assisting government as separatists voice plan for mobilization.
Rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko told the separatist news agency DAN that “there will be general mobilization in the (separatist) Donetsk People’s Republic in 10 days’ time, we plan on mobilizing up to 100,000 men”.
Media reported that NATO’s military commander GEN Breedlove now supports providing defensive weapons to Kiev’s forces, and US Secretary Kerry is open to fresh talks about sending lethal aid.
US Secretary Kerry is set to visit Kiev on Thursday to pledge Washington’s support during talks with President Poroshenko and PM Yatsenyuk.
Rights activists reported that Russian conscripts are coming under growing pressure to sign up as professional soldiers and fear they might be dispatched to fight alongside separatists in Ukraine.
The military reported that five soldiers were killed and 29 wounded in fighting against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in the past 24 hours.
Egypt: A court confirmed death sentences against 183 men convicted of killing 13 police officers in a town near Cairo in August 2013. (AFP)
Lesotho: The government said that two soldiers have been shot outside the royal palace gates. (AP)
South Sudan: The country’s warring factions signed another peace deal in the latest effort to end hostilities. (AP)
Tunisia: PM Essid announced a new coalition government including secular party Nida Tounes, its main rival, the Islamist Ennahda, and smaller political parties.(Reuters)
Uganda: Attorney General Nyombi said the country had assured the ICC of “full cooperation” on the case of LRA commander Dominic Ongwen. (AP)
Brazil: The Lower House elected Eduardo Cunha, a critic of President Rousseff, as its president for the next two years with 267 out of 513 votes. (Reuters)
Colombia: Representatives conducting peace talks with the FARC traveled to Havana for the first round of this year’s negotiations with the aim of accelerating an agreement. (EFE)
Venezuela: President Maduro accused US VP Biden of heading a “bloody” plan to overthrow his government, which he said was announced to presidents and prime ministers of Caribbean countries. (Xinhua)
Afghanistan: Taliban attacks on police checkpoints in Kandahar and Herat provinces killed at least nine policemen. (AP)
Australia: PM Abbott said that he had not contemplated stepping down, as pressure mounted on his leadership following his decision to knight Britain’s Prince Philip. (AFP)
China: A firm has won a contract to supply cabling for a second aircraft carrier, with news of the development swiftly deleted online. (Reuters)
Japan: PM Shinzo Abe defended his policy toward terrorism and his handling of the hostage crisis to parliament. (AFP)
Philippines: The government said that rebels who signed the ceasefire agreement must cooperate with an investigation into the killing of 44 policemen by some of their fighters. (AFP)
Cyprus: President Anastasiades met with Greek PM Tsipras in Nicosia on bilateral and economic issues. (AFP)
France: Nicolas Sarkozy, now heading the main conservative opposition, came under pressure to endorse rival Socialists in a by-election runoff to ensure the defeat of the National Front. (Reuters)
Greece: The government said that it will not take any actions that would hurt the share values of the country’s banks and does not plan to appoint party officials at key management posts. (Reuters)
Bahrain: The new Al Arab news channel ceased broadcasting following an interview with a government opposition figure less than 24 hours after launching. (WSJ)
Iran: The US Treasury Department’s outgoing sanctions czar David Cohen said the country’s economy is now “fundamentally” incapable of recovery without a nuclear accommodation with the West. (WSJ)
Israel: PM Netanyahu criticized the UN force in Lebanon just days after a Spanish peacekeeper was killed by what Madrid said was Israeli fire. (Reuters)
Syria: US President Obama said the US is doing everything in its power to try to rescue an American woman being held by Islamic State militants. (AP)
Yemen: A senior politician said Shiite rebels in control of Sanaa are demanding their militia becomes part of the country’s army and police as a precondition for talks on releasing the nation’s president and Cabinet members from house arrest. (AP)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Cybersecurity: FireEye researchers released a new report on cyber attack and espionage tactics used by opposing factions in the Syrian conflict. (NYT)
Suspected Cases as of 29DEC: 1,091,612 (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, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.) Confirmed Cases: 22,796
Deaths as of 29DEC: 169 (Colombia, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Grenada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
Cases as of 23JAN: 955 (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 US)
Deaths as of 23JAN: 351 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman)
Argentina and China: Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will pay a state visit to China
Europe Region: UN’s highest International Court of Justice to hand down a ruling on a long-running genocide case relating to Croatia’s war of independence following the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.
Mozambique: Mozambique Heroes’ Day
Turkmenistan: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to visit