AFRICA: Following talks hosted by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), participants agreed on an agenda form a consensual national unity government.
AMERICAS: A delegation of American legislators led by Senator Patrick J. Leahy arrived in Cuba to discuss greater cooperation and remaining areas of disagreement.
ASIA: US academics and former senior officials met with North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator in Singapore amid a standoff over the North’s nuclear weapons buildup.
EUROPE: A recent poll found that 42 percent of the French people believe Mohammed cartoons are offensive to Muslims and should not be published.
MIDDLE EAST: A “perfect storm” of conflict and the breakdown of state health care left IS-occupied Syria and Iraq vulnerable to outbreaks of infectious disease.
TECHNOLOGY: Bangladeshi telecoms authorities shut down smartphone messaging and voice services Viber and Tango, which have become a popular communication medium for supporters of the anti-government protests now in their third week.
Indonesia: Brazil and the Netherlands recalled diplomats and condemned the country after six foreigners convicted of drug-related offenses were executed.
Six foreigners convicted of drug offences were executed by firing squad in Indonesia under its new hardline President Joko Widodo.
Brazil and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors in Indonesia after the Southeast Asian nation ignored their pleas for clemency.
Brazil’s President was “distressed and outraged” after Indonesia defied her repeated pleas and executed one of her countrymen convicted of drug trafficking.
“The use of the death penalty, which the world society increasingly condemns, affects severely the relationship of our countries,” Brazilian President Roussef said in a statement published by the country’s official news agency.
Human rights group Amnesty International urged the Indonesian government to halt executions immediately, and eventually abolish the death penalty.
Libya: Following talks hosted by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), participants agreed on an agenda form a consensual national unity government. (XIN)
Mali: The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon slammed an attack on the country’s UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). (XIN)
Niger: At least three people have been killed and six churches attacked amid fresh protests against Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad. (BBC)
Zambia: Citizens prepared for Tuesday’s high-stakes special election to choose a new President to replace deceased former President Sata. (AFP)
Cuba: A delegation of American legislators led by Senator Patrick J. Leahy arrived in the country to discuss greater cooperation and remaining areas of disagreement. (NYT)
Guyana: Protesters, descendants of African slaves and indentured laborers from India, gathered in a show of unity against the country’s president. (NYT)
United States: President Obama proposed closing tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans as part of the new economic strategy he plans to unveil. (AFP)
Afghanistan: 23 militants who were active in the Jurga district over the past couple of years surrendered to the government and handed over their weapons to police. (XIN)
Japan: The Saga Prefectural Govt. began culling about 72,900 chickens at two poultry farms in Arita after confirming a bird flu outbreak there. (Kyodo)
Korean Peninsula: A North Korean gulag survivor whose torture and daring escape was detailed in a best-selling book admitted that he lied about details of his story. (AFP)
Philippines: Pope Francis delivered Mass for millions, appealing to the world to “learn how to cry” over the plight of poor, hungry, homeless, and abused children. (REU)
Singapore: US academics and former senior officials met with North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator amid a standoff over the North’s nuclear weapons buildup. (AP)
Belgium: 300 troops were deployed across the country to guard potential targets of terrorist attacks, following a series of anti-terror raids and arrests. (BBC)
France: A recent poll found that 42 percent of the French people believe Mohammed cartoons are offensive to Muslims and should not be published. (AFP)
United Kingdom: A British official confirmed that a meeting will take place at Lancaster House between Foreign Secretary Hammond and US Secretary of State Kerry. (AFP)
Region: A “perfect storm” of conflict and the breakdown of state health care left IS-occupied Syria and Iraq vulnerable to outbreaks of infectious disease. (IND)
Iraq: Kurdish military officials in the country said at least 350 people from the minority Yazidi group have been released from captivity by the Islamic State. (NYT)
Saudi Arabia: A delegation of US senators met with Crown Prince Salman and Qatar’s emir, part of a Middle East tour focusing on training Syrian rebels. (AP)
Syria: The Syrian wing of al Qaeda, the Nusra Front, said it shot down an army cargo plane filled with food and ammunition overnight in the northwest of the country. (REU)
Syria: A Syrian opposition party agreed to attend the Russia-mediated preliminary and consultative conference to settle the Syrian crisis. (XIN)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Communications: Bangladeshi telecoms authorities shut down smartphone messaging and voice services Viber and Tango, which have become a popular communication medium for supporters of the anti-government protests now in their third week. (AFP)
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 05JAN: 960 (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 05JAN: 354 (Saudi Arabia, France, Qatar, United Kingdom, UAE, Oman)