AFRICA: Tunisian ministers will meet to decide on an action plan against jihadists returning from foreign battlefields, a government source said, as fears mount they could destabilise the North African country.
AMERICAS: Police ordered Trump Tower evacuated after the discovery of a suspicious package, but the “all clear” was issued shortly thereafter, when the package was found to contain children’s toys, New York media outlets said.
ASIA: A member of Afghan parliament was injured together with four others after an explosion struck his vehicle at a busy road in western part of Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, police said.
EUROPE: Dutch police said they were investigating whether the man believed responsible for last week’s deadly Christmas market attack in Berlin may have traveled through the Netherlands.
MIDDLE EAST: Israeli PM Netanyahu requested a discussion planned for permits for hundreds of new settler homes be delayed to avoid further conflict with the United States, a Jerusalem official said.
TECHNOLOGY: Facebook users in Bangkok were falsely alerted to an “explosion” in the Thai capital, after the social network activated its Safety Check feature.
Syria: Turkish media claims ceasefire agreement reached.
The plan aims to expand a ceasefire in the city of Aleppo, brokered by Turkey and Russia earlier this month to allow the evacuation of civilians, to all of the country.
Like previous ceasefire plans that had been brokered by the United States and Russia, the agreement excludes “terror” groups.
It was not immediately clear if any of the Syrian rebel groups had agreed to the ceasefire plan.
Previously, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said Saudi Arabia and Qatar should join its meeting with Russia and Iran to discuss Syrian peace efforts.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the West was breaking promises in Syria, accusing Ankara’s partners of backing “terror groups” including IS jihadists in the country.
Russia and Turkey are wielding increasing influence over Syria’s fate, as the UN Security Council failed several times to find a political solution to end the brutal war.
Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, says Russia and Turkey are in “constant contact” to prepare for planned Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan, though he would not comment on the supposed ceasefire plan.
Libya: The bodies of 11 migrants who died trying to make the perilous journey to Europe have washed up on beaches around the capital Tripoli, the Red Crescent said. (AFP)
Niger: Dozens of Boko Haram fighters have given themselves up to authorities, the interior minister said, days after the Islamist group suffered key losses over the border in Nigeria. (Reuters)
Somalia: The African Union (AU) envoy in the country lauded the inauguration of the new parliament, terming it a symbol of progress and unity. (Xinhua)
Tunisia: Ministers will meet to decide on an action plan against jihadists returning from foreign battlefields, a government source said, as fears mount they could destabilize the North African country. (AFP)
Colombia: Kidnappings in the country have fallen 92 percent since 2000, a “historic” change, the authorities said as the government and FARC rebels implement a peace deal meant to end a half-century conflict. (AFP)
Mexico: Authorities say they have detained five people suspected of shooting at police in the state of Michoacan and are investigating whether they may have been involved in the killings of six men whose severed heads were discovered Christmas Day. (AP)
United States: Police ordered Trump Tower evacuated after the discovery of a suspicious package, but the “all clear” was issued shortly thereafter, when the package was found to contain children’s toys, New York media outlets said. (EFE)
Region: Four Bangladeshi fishermen were injured when Myanmar’s navy allegedly opened fire on them while they were fishing along the country’s’ troubled border in the Bay of Bengal, an official said. (AFP)
Afghanistan: A member of parliament was injured alongside four others after an explosion struck his vehicle at a busy road in western part of Kabul, police said. (Xinhua)
Hong Kong: Two ousted pro-independence lawmakers announced they were making a final bid to overturn a controversial Beijing-linked ban preventing them from taking up their seats in parliament. (AFP)
Japan: A cabinet minister offered prayers at a controversial Tokyo war shrine shortly after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a highly symbolic visit of reconciliation to Pearl Harbor. (AFP)
Region: Italian police on released a picture of the Berlin attack suspect, Anis Amri, walking through the main train station of Milan. (Xinhua)
Netherlands: Dutch police said they were investigating whether the man believed responsible for last week’s deadly Christmas market attack in Berlin may have traveled through the Netherlands. (Reuters)
United Kingdom: The government unveiled plans for mandatory ID checks for voters. (Xinhua)
Iran: A general says his country’s air defenses have warned off several US fighter jets and drones during an ongoing military drill in the country’s south. (AP)
Israel: PM Netanyahu requested a discussion planned for permits for hundreds of new settler homes be delayed to avoid further conflict with the United States, a Jerusalem official said. (AFP)
Lebanon: Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a national unity Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri. (AP)
TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Social Media: Facebook users in Bangkok were falsely alerted to an “explosion” in the Thai capital, after the social network activated its Safety Check feature. (BBC)
Cyclone: Nothing to report
Hurricanes: Nothing to report
Earthquakes: Nothing to report
Volcanoes: Nothing to report
Global Disease Outbreaks:
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
Cases as of 27MAR: 28,646 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Italy)
Deaths as of 27MAR: 11,323 (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, United States)
Suspected Cases as of 16DEC: 319,841 (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 16DEC: 121,801
Deaths as of 16DEC: 133
Deaths (01JAN15-31DEC15): 91 (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico)
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)
Reported autochthonous Transmission as of 15DEC: 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 15DEC: 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 15DEC: Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, Spain, and the United States of America.