AFRICA: The leaders of Libya’s rival parliaments rejected a UN peace deal a day before moderates from both sides were due to sign it.
AMERICAS: Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has said an agreement signed with FARC rebels on reparations and justice for victims of the country’s civil war is an “important step” towards peace.
ASIA: China said it is actively consulting with authorities in Taiwan on setting up a communications hotline between both countries.
EUROPE: Amnesty International says Turkey has rounded up scores of refugees and asylum-seekers and transported them to detention centers where some were mistreated or forcibly returned to Syria and Iraq.
MIDDLE EAST: A draft resolution to be submitted to the UN Security Council takes “explicit” aim at the Islamic State group and its lucrative trade in oil, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said.
TECHNOLOGY: Chinese President Xi Jinping called on all nations to respect each other’s cyber sovereignty and said there should be no Internet hegemony.
Iraq: US Defense Secretary Ash Carter visits to review campaign against ISIS.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter traveled to Iraq on an unannounced visit to find new ways to hasten the destruction of the Islamic State group.
Carter was expected to meet with Iraq leaders as well as his commanders to get their assessment of the campaign and what else could be done.
Carter was also due to meet with Iraqi PM Haider Abadi but a bad sandstorm was throwing his plans into doubt.
Carter said his trip was also aimed at asking US allies for greater contributions in the military campaign against the Islamic State group.
Burundi: African Union rights investigators have expressed “great concern” over an “escalation of violence” in the country after some of the heaviest fighting in months. (AFP)
Libya: The leaders of the country’s rival parliaments rejected a UN peace deal a day before moderates from both sides were due to sign it. (Reuters)
Mali: SITE Intelligence Group says extremist group Ansar Dine has attacked a military barracks in the country’s north. (AP)
Seychelles: Voters in the Indian Ocean archipelago go to the polls, with incumbent president James Michel facing the first serious challenge to his decade-long rule. (AFP)
Region: US prosecutors are preparing to unveil drug trafficking charges against the head of Venezuela’s National Guard Nestor Reverol. (Reuters)
Colombia: President Juan Manuel Santos has said an agreement signed with FARC rebels on reparations and justice for victims of the country’s civil war is an “important step” towards peace. (BBC)
United States: Los Angeles schools to reopen after email threat was deemed ‘not credible.’ (LAT)
Region: China said it is actively consulting with authorities in Taiwan on setting up a communications hotline between both countries. (Xinhua)
Region: Chinese police handed over a Korean fugitive on Interpol’s Most Wanted List to South Korea at Nanjing airport in east China’s Jiangsu Province. (Xinhua)
Japan: The Abe administration plans to keep the country’s financial support for US forces at around the current level for the next five years. (Kyodo)
Philippines: The Supreme Court put off for a second time a decision on the legality of a new security agreement that would give US forces access to military bases. (Reuters)
Region: Europe and other Western countries are likely to review and revise their economic sanctions against Russia in the coming months, Italian PM Matteo Renzi said. (Reuters)
Region: Lithuania and Poland have warned Brussels against sending “encouraging” signals to Moscow over closer trade ties with a Russian-led bloc amid tensions over Ukraine. (AFP)
Germany: The country’s military staged its first aerial refueling mission of allied fighter jets targeting Syria’s ISIS terror group. (AFP)
Turkey: Amnesty International says the country has rounded up scores of refugees and asylum-seekers and transported them to detention centers where some were mistreated or forcibly returned to Syria and Iraq. (AP)
Region: A draft resolution to be submitted to the UN Security Council takes “explicit” aim at the Islamic State group and its lucrative trade in oil, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said. (AFP)
Region: Clashes erupted after Israeli soldiers raided a refugee camp near Ramallah and shot dead two Palestinians who sought to ram their cars into troops. (AFP)
Qatar: Turkey will establish a military base in the country as part of a defense agreement aimed at helping them confront “common enemies,” Turkey’s ambassador, Ahmet Demirok said. (Reuters)
Yemen: Despite a truce largely holding, the Houthi group and President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government have accused each other of violating a ceasefire. (Reuters)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Internet Security: Chinese President Xi Jinping called on all nations to respect each other’s cyber sovereignty and said there should be no Internet hegemony. (Xinhua)
Suspected Cases as of 16DEC: 607,306 (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, Spain, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.)
Confirmed Cases: 34,507
Deaths as of 16DEC: 77 (Colombia, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Grenada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
Cases as of 16DEC: 1621 (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 16DEC: 584 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman, South Korea)
Cuba and United States: Anniversary of Havana and Washington respectively and officially resuming diplomatic relations after Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced the thaw in simultaneous speeches – 2014
Indonesia and Japan: Indonesia’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministers will meet their Japanese counterparts in a two-plus-two meeting in Tokyo
Japan and Australia: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to visit Japan (to 19DEC)
North Korea: Anniversary of North Korean leader’s Kim Jong Il’s death – 2011