AFRICA: In Mali, Islamist rebel group Ansar Dine said it has suspended a ceasefire it agreed to with the government last month, accusing Bamako of making a mockery of peace talks by gearing up for war.
AMERICAS: In Honduras, thousands of protesters in Tegucigalpa blocked Supreme Court judges from entering the court’s building, saying they want to “clean up Honduras’ justice system.”
ASIA: The US could keep between 6,000 and 15,000 troops in Afghanistan after the official 2014 NATO withdrawal.
EUROPE: US troops arrived in Turkey to man Patriot missile defense batteries near the Syrian border.
MIDDLE EAST: In Syria, at 11 people were killed and 40 wounded when a car bomb exploded at a crowded gas station in Damascus.
TECHNOLOGY: Communications satellites will become legal for civilian export under legislation that President Obama signed into law.
Venezuela: According to the government, President Chavez is being treated for a severe “respiratory deficiency.”
“Chavez has faced complications as a consequence of a severe pulmonary infection. This infection has resulted in a respiratory deficiency, which requires … strict compliance with his medical treatment,” Information Minister Ernesto Villegas.
Questions are swirling about how the inauguration on 10JAN will proceed, if it happens, who will govern, and if there will be a power struggle.
VP Maduro stated Chavez authorized Venezuelan diplomats to have contact with their American counterparts.
The government accused the international media of waging a “psychological war” over President Chavez’s health to try to destabilize the government and bring down its socialist revolution.
Angola: Authorities arrested nine former DRC military officers who are suspected of hatching a plot to destabilize their homeland. (AFP)
Central African Republic: Rebels may hold peace talks with the government in Gabon on 10JAN. (Bloomberg)
Central African Republic: Rights groups accused both the government and rebels of committing abuses. (AFP)
DRC: The M23 rebel group threatened to pull out of peace talks unless President Kabila signs a ceasefire agreement. (BBC)
DRC: The US Treasury designated Mouvement du 23 Mars and the Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda for sanctions. (UPI)
Gambia: Police arrested two Nigerian nationals in possession of false gold worth thousands of dollars. (Xinhua)
Mali: Islamist rebel group Ansar Dine said it has suspended a ceasefire it agreed to with the government last month, accusing Bamako of making a mockery of peace talks by gearing up for war. (Reuters)
Nigeria: Seven died, including a soldier and policeman, in an attack on a military base. (Xinhua)
Nigeria: Gunmen killed four people and burned down a police station in northeast Adamawa State. (Reuters)
Cuba: The Committee for Human Rights and National Reconciliation claims political detentions surged 60% in 2012. (AFP)
Honduras: Thousands of protesters in Tegucigalpa blocked Supreme Court judges from entering the court’s building, saying they want to “clean up Honduras’ justice system.” (AP)
United States: Authorities busted a smuggling ring that brought narwhal tusks from the Canadian Arctic into Maine. (AP)
Venezuela: Security personnel arrested a group of suspected cocaine traffickers, among them four Nigerians, further illustration of the importance of drug smuggling routes from South America to West Africa, and then onto Europe. (CSM)
Region: Japan sent a special envoy to Seoul in an attempt to mend fences over a territorial dispute. (AFP)
Afghanistan: The US could keep between 6,000 and 15,000 troops in Afghanistan after the official 2014 NATO withdrawal. (CNN)
China: Press regulators will step up efforts to weed out unlicensed reporters. (Xinhua)
Hong Kong: The customs department seized 779 pieces of ivory weighing about 1,300 kilograms. (AP)
Indonesia: President Yudhoyono plans to pay frequent sudden visits in and outside the capital Jakarta during the last one and half years of his presidential term. (Xinhua)
Korea, North: The State Department has advised against a visit by former NM governor Bill Richardson and Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt. (NYT)
Pakistan: Deceased militant Mullah Nazir was replaced by a close associate and militant commander who goes by the name Salahuddin Ayubi. (AFP)
Pakistan: At least 20 militants were killed and 14 others injured when Pakistani army launched an operation in the country’s northwest tribal region. (Xinhua)
Philippines: A gunman opened fire in a town near Manila, killing at least five people and wounding 11 before being shot dead by police. (BBC)
Region: Spain to toughen Gibraltar stance with airspace veto. (Telegraph)
Northern Ireland: Eight police officers were injured and two people arrested in a protest over flying the British flag in Belfast. (UPI)
Spain: Batasuna, a Basque party linked to Eta, declares its own dissolution. (Guardian)
Turkey: US troops arrived to man Patriot missile defense batteries near the Syrian border. (CNN)
Turkey: Ex-general Ismail Hakki Karadayi was released after testifying about the 1997 coup. (AFP)
Region: Saudi Arabia has provided fighter jets to assist the US with its drone strikes against al Qaeda targets in Yemen. (AFP)
Iran: Agreed to hold talks about its nuclear program in January but the date and venue has yet to be decided. (Reuters)
Iraq: The government warned of possible “terrorist attacks” targeting mass protests being held by the country’s Sunni Muslims against Shiite PM al Maliki. (DPA)
Lebanon: The government will keep its border with Syria open to refugees but will seek more aid from other Arab states and the international community. (AFP)
Palestinian Territories: Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Fatah held their first mass rally in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. (Reuters)
Syria: At least 11 people were killed and 40 wounded when a car bomb exploded at a crowded gas station in Damascus. (Reuters)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Satellites: Communications satellites will become legal for civilian export under legislation that President Obama signed into law. (NYT)
Wikipedia: Old editors, impersonal rejection and restrictive rules are driving newcomers away from the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, report behavioral scientists. (USA Today)