13th January 2017

  • Morocco banned the production and sale of burqas, for security reasons.
  • An interview with Tunisian prime minister Youssef Chahed.
  • Germany will deploy helicopters and more soldiers to Mali.
  • The US will lift trade sanctions on Sudan.
  • The Ivory Coast reached a deal with soldiers who revolted, demanding better pay and living conditions.
  • Nigeria’s legislature voted to grant asylum to Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh in hopes he’ll take the offer and relinquish power.
  • The Islamic State is suspected in a checkpoint attack in Sinai.
  • There are 6 Israeli football clubs operating out of illegal West Bank settlements, and now there are calls for FIFA to take action.
  • Gazans only have a few hours of power a day.
  • Israel says that Hamas hacked the Facebook accounts and cell phones of Israel soldiers.
  • 70 top diplomats will gather in Paris on Sunday in support of the two-state solution, a conference boycotted by Israel.
  • Despite saying it’s drawing down, Russia sends 12 more warplanes to Syria.
  • The Syrian regime is battling to retake Wadi Barada, and the Damascene water supply, from rebels.
  • Syria accused Israel of firing rockets at a major military airport west of Damascus.
  • There has been a recent surge in targeted killings of Al Qaeda operatives in Syria.
  • The US sanctioned 18 Syrian government officials, Syria’s military, and a tech company over the use of chemical weapons
  • Iraqi forces push on toward western Mosul, still under Islamic State control.
  • An (unknown) number of prisoners are on hunger strikein Iran to protest prison conditions.
  • The USS Mahan fired warning shots at four Iranian boats near the Strait of Hormuz.
  • Former Iranian leader Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died at 82.
  • The Iran nuclear deal may not survive the Trump administration.
  • Two Taliban bombers in Kabul and Kandahar killed more than 30 people and wounded many, including the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Afghanistan and Kandahar’s provincial governor.
  • United States military investigation concluded that a joint operation between US and Afghan forces in Kunduz in November left 33 civilians dead.
  • “Afghanistan is experiencing significant, year-on-year increases in the number of families driven from their homes.”
  • A Taliban video shows American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, both professors abducted in Kabul in August, pleading for a prisoner exchange.
  • The Islamic State ramps up recruitment in Pakistan.
  • Malnutrition rates among the Rohingya are on the riseamid Myanmar’s military campaign against them.
  • More than 65,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh to escape the military crackdown.
  • Chinese state media warned that any US attempt to blockade islands in the South China Sea would risk “large-scale war,” after comments made by Rex Tillerson in confirmation hearings.
  • Under President Park Geun-Hye, currently facing impeachment proceedings, thousands of artists have been blacklisted.
  • Russia is lashing out at the deployment of 4000 US troops to Poland, the largest America deployment in Europe since the end of the Cold War.
  • Interactive map: the NATO-Russia missile defense stand-off.
  • A deal between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to end a four decade deadlock could be near.
  • Northern Ireland’s power sharing agreement is in jeopardy after the protest resignation of deputy first minister Martin McGuinness.
  • El Salvador recorded its first day without any murders in two years.
  • The White House ended the long-running “wet foot, dry foot” policy for Cubans arriving on US soil.
  • John Kerry apologized for the persecutions of LGBT employees at the State Dept during the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Human Rights Watch released its “World Rights 2017″ report, in which it warned about the consequences of increasing “infatuation with strongman rule” evident in the US, Russia, and elsewhere.
  • Obama issued an executive order allowing the FBI, CIA, and other agencies more access to raw communications data collected on foreign targets without a warrant.
  • FBI Dir. James Comey is under internal review for his actions during the election.
  • Sen. McCain passed on to the FBI a dossier compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele alleging ties between Russia and Trump, and that Russia had collected blackmail evidence against the incoming president. The dossier, which circulated Washington for weeks, was published by BuzzFeed with this week with the caveat that it contained “unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations.” The immediate aftermath of the dossier was a public flameout between Trump and the intelligence community and between Trump and the press, as well as mixed messages and accusations about who knew what and who leaked what.
  • Background: the art of kompromat in Russia.
  • Confirmation hearings for the incoming Trump cabinet, overshadowed by the publication of the dossier, included Rex Tillerson for State (here’s some added background on Exxon’s dealings with Iran, Syria and Sudan, Gen. Mattis for Defense, Sen. Sessions for Attorney General, Rep. Pompeo for CIA, and Gen. Kelly for Homeland.
  • Former Indiana Senator Dan Coats is Trump’s pick for Director of National Intelligence. He’s extremely homophobic, so there’s that.
  • At 91, a gay veteran finally has an honorable discharge.
  • Chelsea Manning is reportedly on the White House shortlist for clemency.
  • The ACLU released a national report on the impact of solitary confinement on prisoners with disabilities.
  • Clare Hollingworth, the reporter who broke the news of Hitler’s coming invasion of Poland and the start of World War II, died at 105.

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