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Ongoing news this morning: A hijacked Libyan plane with 111 passengers has landed in Malta. An Egyptian court
suspended novelist Ahmed Naji’s two-year sentence pending an appeal. Tuareg separatists in Mali have
withdrawn from the committee implementing the 2015 peace deal. Deadly
protests erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo after President Joseph Kabila refused to leave office. Politicians have now agreed in principle to a transition deal in which Kabila would leave office next year. Six were
killed and 150 injured in clashes between the Pygmies and Bantus, a persistent three-year conflict, in southeastern Congo. Gambian President Yahya Jammeh is refusing to bow to pressure from other African nations and continues to say he will
remain in power despite losing the election. South Sudanese refugees face
grim conditions in Uganda. Over the past year, a new armed group in the Central African Republic called 3R, for “Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation,” has
raped and killed civilians and caused significant displacement. The Russian ambassador to Turkey was
assassinatedwhile speaking at an art exhibit in Ankara.
Three photojournalists were at the exhibit and continued to take photographs, resulting in some incredible images and witness accounts. A new Islamic State propaganda film
shows two Turkish soldiers being burned alive (video not in link). Under pressure from Israel, and
apparently Donald Trump, Egypt postponed a UN Security Council vote on a resolution to condemn illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Obama administration was
planning to abstain in the vote, and Trump took to his favorite medium to warn the current administration against doing so. The Assad regime has taken complete
control of Aleppoand the final evacuees have left. The UN General Assembly
adopted a resolution to set up a panel to gather evidence of war crimes in Syria. 19 of the 57 journalists killed doing their job this year
died in Syria, most of them local reporters. A Syrian refugee
recounts his detention by Lebanese authorities, who interrogated, tortured, and raped him because they suspected he was gay. (He has since been resettled in Europe.) The death toll from Mediterranean crossings has
surpassed 5,000 this year, an awful annual record. In Iraq, armed groups associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party are
recruiting child soldiers. A
look at Iraq’s Shi’a militias. The Mosul offensive is at a
stalemate. 23 people were
killed in a bombing in the Gogjali district of Mosul, a district liberated from the Islamic State last month.
Fiction: Matt Gallagher’s futuristic “ Know Your Enemy: Celebrating 50 Years of the Forever War” in WIRED The Philippine Commission on Human Rights has announced an
investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte, after he bragged about having personally killed criminals as mayor of the city of Davao. Refugee accounts and satellite imagery from northern Rakhine state show that the Burmese army is
conducting a violent campaign of arson, murder, and rape against the Rohingya.
Infographic: A look at global aid donations in 2016 The US
returned nearly 10,000 acres of land on Okinawa to Japan amid tensions over continued American military presence. Tokyo’s turn away from pacifism continues with another
defense spending boost. Australian police say they have
foiled a series of Christmas Day bomb attacks in Melbourne. On Monday evening, an attacker
drove a truck into crowds at the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people. The suspect, a young Tunisian man named Anis Amri, died this morning in a shootoutat a routine checkpoint in Milan. The evergreen question about terror attacks:
could it have been prevented?
Analysis: Understanding the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility The cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike found
strong evidencethat a unit of the GRU (Russia’s military intelligence agency), referred to as Fancy Bear, was behind the hack of the DNC. The DNC was targeted
by the same unit and with the same code that also targeted Ukrainian artillery forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual press conference today. Here it is
as it happened. In their new report, “
Putin’s Undeclared War,” Bellingcat’s open source investigation details Russian artillery attacks against Ukraine in the summer of 2014. On the front lines in Ukraine, American-supplied drones are
vulnerable to jamming and hacking. Lithuania says it
found Russian spyware on government computers.
Infographic: European populism in the age of Trump Donald Trump tweeted an
alarming call for the expansion of American nuclear capability. A partially declassified House Intelligence Committee report
accuses Edward Snowden of being in contact with Russian intelligence agencies. NSEERS, a registry set up after 9/11 to track Arabs and Muslims in the United States and which lay unused since 2011,
is being fully dismantled by the outgoing Obama administration. Two of America’s deadliest law enforcement agencies, the Bakersfield Police Department and the Kern County Sheriff’s office, are being
investigated by the California Attorney General’s office.