2017 Week 51

This includes material from Sunday Dec 17, 2017 through Saturday, Dec 23, 2017.



Sunday December 17, 2017 International relations Positions on Jerusalem Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey says "the day is close when officially, with God's permission" his nation will open an embassy to Palestine in East Jerusalem. (The Hill) Eighty-thousand Muslims demonstrate in Jakarta, Indonesia, against the U.S recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. (Voice of America) China–Russia relations The Russian Ministry of Defense says that Russia and China concluded a five-day computer-generated air defense drill in Beijing. (Newsweek) 2017 St. Petersburg raid Russian President Vladimir Putin thanks U.S. President Donald Trump for sharing intelligence from the Central Intelligence Agency which they say helped prevent a terrorist attack in Saint Petersburg. (Los Angeles Times)

Sunday December 17, 2017 Politics and elections Chilean general election, 2017 Voters choose Sebastián Piñera over Alejandro Guillier as their next president in a run-off election. (Deutsche Welle) (CNN) Ukrainian crisis Several hundred people take part in clashes between Ukrainian police and anti-Petro Poroshenko protesters (led by opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili) demanding the president's resignation at the October Palace in Kiev. (VOA)

Sunday December 17, 2017 Armed conflicts and attacks 2017 Quetta church attack A suicide bomb and gun attack on a Methodist church in Pakistan kills nine people. (BBC) (Dawn) Libyan Civil War (2014–present) Gunmen shoot dead the Mayor of Misurata, Libya, Mohamed Eshtewi, and wound his brother, after they chase down his car. (Reuters) Syrian Civil War A Russian airstrike using napalm kills at least ten civilians, including four children and six women from one family, in Idlib's town of Khan Shaykhun, according to the leader of the White Helmets. (Anadolu Agency)

Sunday December 17, 2017 Law and crime Australia–North Korea relations Australian Federal Police arrest naturalized North Korean Chan Han Choi for violating UN and Australian sanctions by acting as an economic agent for North Korea. (BBC)

Sunday December 17, 2017 Business and economy Russia–Venezuela relations Venezuela and Rosneft sign agreements on gas exploration and exploitation. (Marine Link) Disasters and accidents Six people are killed in a multiple-vehicle collision in Birmingham, England. (BBC) A power failure at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport results in the cancellation of more than 1,100 flights, and leaves hundreds of passengers stranded. (The New York Times)

Sunday December 17, 2017 Sports Sailing François Gabart from France sets a new solo around the world sailing record after he circumnavigates the globe in 42 days and 16 hours in his trimaran Macif. This is six days faster than the previous record held by fellow Frenchman Thomas Coville. (The Guardian)

Monday December 18, 2017 Arts and culture Twitter suspends the accounts of well-known white nationalists per recently implemented new offensive content rules. (AP via Time) Texas Rangers baseball pitcher Cole Hamels and his wife Heidi donate their mansion and 100 acres of land in southwestern Missouri, valued at nearly $10 million, to Camp Barnabas, a charity with camps in the Missouri Ozarks for children with special needs and chronic illnesses along with their siblings. (New York Post) (ESPN) Disasters and accidents 2017 Washington train derailment At least three people are killed and 77 injured when an Amtrak passenger train derails on an Interstate 5 overpass in Pierce County, Washington. This train is part of a new Cascades service from Tacoma that launched the same morning. (CNN) (CBS News) (The Olympian) A Polish MiG-29 crash lands in a forest near Minsk Mazowiecki. The pilot survived despite not ejecting. (TVN24) International relations United States recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital The Unites States vetoes an United Nations Security Council resolution calling for it to withdraw its declaration of a capital in Jerusalem, which was approved by the other 14 members. (Reuters) United States–North Korea relations The United States and the United Kingdom claim North Korea is directly responsible for the WannaCry ransomware attack which occurred earlier this year. (BBC) Law and crime Weinstein effect U.S. radio preacher Brother Stair (host of The Overcomer Ministry) is arrested on seven charges of sexual assault and one county of burglary. (Walterboro Live) (The Post and Courier). The show will discontinue its radio broadcasts on January 1, 2018 but will continue on satellite and its website.(The Overcomer Ministry) Aftermath of the Unite the Right rally Charlottesville Police Chief Alfred Thomas announces his retirement. He was previously criticized for his poor handling of the rally and counterprotests. (NPR) (WTVR) Politics and elections Austrian legislative election, 2017 Sebastian Kurz becomes the new Chancellor of Austria and a new government is inaugurated. (Bloomberg) Politics of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa becomes president of the African National Congress (ANC), defeating Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma by 2,440 votes to 2,261. (News24) Politics of the United States President of the United States Donald Trump presents a new National Security Strategy document that labels China and Russia as the primary threats to U.S. economic dominance. (BBC) Science and technology Earliest known life forms University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers report, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that microscopic fossils discovered in a nearly 3.5 billion-year-old piece of rock in Western Australia are the oldest fossils ever found and the earliest direct evidence of life on Earth. (Phys.org) (The Times)

Tuesday December 19, 2017 Armed conflicts and attacks Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen Houthis say that they launched a Volcano H-2 missile targeting at the Al-Yamamah Palace in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh. According to the Saudis, the missile was intercepted south of Riyadh and caused no casualties. (Reuters) The Secretary-General of the OIC, Yousef Al-Othaimeen, says the repeated launch of ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia served to confirm the Houthis' "hostility and criminality" and further claimed "The Houthis are trying to destabilize Saudi Arabia and the entire region." (Anadolu Agency) Disasters and accidents 2017 Washington train derailment An NTSB spokesperson says that preliminary indications are that the train was travelling at 80 miles per hour (130 km/h) on a 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) track. The Positive train control (PTC) safety system was not operational on the train, says Amtrak. (BBC) A tour bus crash in Mexico leaves at least 12 people dead and 18 injured. The cause of the crash is under investigation. (The Washington Post) International relations Canada–United States relations, North Korea and weapons of mass destruction Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announce the formation of an international group that seeks to increase pressure on North Korea regarding their nuclear program. The group, comprised of 18 countries, will meet for the first time on January 16, 2018 in Vancouver. (AFP) Law and crime Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 The United States House of Representatives passes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 by 227 votes to 203. After being sent to the United States Senate for a vote, the Senate's parliamentarian found that several provisions in the House bill violated Senate rules, which forced the House of Representatives to call a second vote on an altered version of the legislation that has the violating provisions removed. The second vote by the House of Representatives is expected to take place on December 20, 2017. (NBC News) Taxation in the Philippines Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act. (The Philippine Star) Sports In U.S. college women's basketball, two Hall of Fame coaches win their 1,000th career games—first Sylvia Hatchell of North Carolina, followed a few hours later by Geno Auriemma of Connecticut. Auriemma becomes the fastest coach to reach the mark in NCAA Division I history for either men or women, doing so in his 33rd season and 1,135th game. (ESPN)

Wednesday December 20, 2017 Business and economy Uber protests and legal actions The European Court of Justice (ECJ) rules that Uber is officially a transport company and not a digital service, thus requiring it to accept stricter regulation and licensing within the European Union. The case arose after Uber was told to obey local taxi rules in Barcelona. (The Guardian) International relations Foreign policy of the United States President Trump suggests that the United States could withhold foreign aid for countries that vote in favor of a United Nations resolution calling on the U.S. to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. (The Hill) China–South Korea relations South Korea's coast guard says it fired 249 warning shots over a group of Chinese fishing boats "swarming around" one of its patrol ships in South Korean waters. (The Independent) Law and crime Poland in the European Union, Judiciary reforms in Poland The European Commission invokes Article 7 of the European Treaty against E.U. member Poland, denouncing recent judiciary reforms putting it under the political control of the ruling majority and citing "serious risk to the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers". (Le Monde) (The Guardian) Cannabis in New Zealand Terminally ill patients in New Zealand are now able to take medicinal cannabis. (The New Zealand Herald) (Newshub) Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 The United States Senate and House of Representatives pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which sends it to United States President Donald Trump for signing. This comes after a previous and different version of this legislation was passed by the House yesterday. The law removes the individual insurance mandate from Obamacare. (ABC News) Israel–Palestine relations 16-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi, daughter of Bassem al-Tamimi, is arrested on December 19 in a pre-dawn raid on her home in Nabi Salih by the Israeli army after being suspected of assaulting an Israeli soldier. Later in the day, her mother Nariman is allegedly arrested too when visiting her daughter at a police station. (Al Jazeera) Presidency of Donald Trump U.S. President Donald Trump commutes the prison sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, who in 2009 was sentenced to 27 years in prison for bank fraud and money laundering. (USA Today) Science and technology The National Institutes of Health lifts a three-year ban on scientists experimenting with lethal viruses in the United States, saying the potential benefits of disease preparedness outweigh the risks. (BBC) Sports Association football Belgian First Division A Reigning Belgian champion R.S.C. Anderlecht agrees to be sold to the highest bidder, Marc Coucke, just before a January 1 fiscal deadline. (Het Laatste Nieuws) Expansion of Major League Soccer Major League Soccer announces that Nashville has been selected to host a new MLS franchise. No definite timetable for the team's first season has been set. (ESPN)

Tursday December 21, 2017 Armed conflicts and attacks December 2017 Melbourne car attack Nineteen people are injured after a car crashes into pedestrians at the corner of Flinders Street and Elizabeth Street in Melbourne, Australia. The driver is arrested. Victoria Police believe that the incident was a "deliberate act" but not terrorism-related. (The Age) (The Observer) Border incidents involving North and South Korea A Korean People's Army soldier defects to South Korea after crossing the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). South Korean border guards fired warning shots at North Korean troops who approached the Military Demarcation Line, in search of the missing soldier. He is the fourth North Korean soldier to defect this year. (Reuters) Arts and culture The wreckage of the HMAS AE1, the first submarine to serve in the Royal Australian Navy, is found near the Duke of York Islands after a 103-year search. (BBC) Business and economy Papa John's Pizza founder John Schnatter announces he will step down from his position as CEO on January 1, 2018. The move comes two months after he criticized NFL leadership over national anthem protests by NFL players. He will be succeeded by COO Steve Ritchie. (Chicago Tribune) Alphabet Inc. announces Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who has been chief executive of Google/Alphabet since 2001, will step down in January 2018. Schmidt will continue to serve on Alphabet's board of directors. (Reuters) Disasters and accidents A ferry sinks off the coast of Luzon in the Philippines with 251 passengers on board. At least four people are reported to have died. The toll is expected to rise, as many are still missing. (NPR) 2017 Jecheon fire A fire at a fitness center in Jecheon, South Korea, kills at least 29 people and leaves 26 others injured. (AFP via Rappler) International relations United Nations General Assembly resolution ES-10/L.22 The United Nations General Assembly votes 128–9, with 35 abstentions, in a nonbinding resolution to demand that the United States rescind its December 6th declaration on unilaterally recognizing the holy and contested city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. (Canoe.com) Law and crime Slender Man stabbing Judge Michael Bohren rules Anissa Weier will spend 25 years in institutional care after she was previously found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect of the 2014 stabbing of her classmate. (WITI) Politics and elections Catalan regional election, 2017 Spanish constitutional crisis Voters in Catalonia go to the polls for a snap election called by the Spanish government after the former regional government unsuccessfully declared independence. (BBC) Elections in Cuba The Cuban Parliament approves moving the country's municipal elections to March, and the presidential election to April, when President Raúl Castro is expected to step down. (ABC News) Government shutdown in the United States House and Senate pass a continuing resolution bill to avert a government shutdown until January 19, 2018. (NPR) Science and technology Life expectancy The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports life expectancy in 2016 in America declined for the second year in a row because of the opioid crisis. (Reuters)

Friday December 22, 2017 Armed conflicts and attacks Yemeni Civil War (2015–present) After 1,000 days of civil war in Yemen, eight million people are at risk of starvation. (BBC) Protests on U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital Two Palestinians are shot dead and about 60 others are wounded by Israeli troops gunfire as thousands protest along the Gaza border fence, in all seven West Bank cities and in East Jerusalem, against the U.S. declaration. (Reuters) Business and economy Economics of bitcoin The digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin loses a third of its value within 24 hours. (CNN) CSX Corporation names chief operating officer Jim Foote its new chief executive officer, succeeding E. Hunter Harrison who died last week. Harrison had started a restructuring campaign less than a year ago. (Reuters) Apple Inc. litigation Apple Inc. faces backlash and lawsuits after admitting to slowing down the speed on some of their older phones deliberately. (CNET), (Business Insider) Disasters and accidents The Philippine Coast Guard reports that 252 passengers and crew have been rescued while five people were killed when a ferry capsized Thursday east of Manila. (Reuters) International relations United States recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will not accept any U.S. plan for peace with Israel, because it recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. (BBC) North Korea and weapons of mass destruction The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposes new sanctions on North Korea that caps refined petroleum product imports to 500,000 barrels a year, a 90 percent cut, and demands the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within 24 months. (Reuters) Ukraine–United States relations The U.S. agrees to supply Ukraine with more lethal weapons, now including Javelin anti-tank missiles. (AP via New York Daily News) Law and crime The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests Everitt Aaron Jameson, a 25-year-old former Marine, on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack in the Pier 39 area over Christmas.(BBC) Politics and elections Catalan regional election, 2017 Pro-independence parties retain their absolute majority in the regional parliament, while the unionist Citizens party secures the highest number of seats. (BBC) The political situation means that there is no clarity as to which party is given the right to form the government. (BBC) The voter turnout reaches a record high for a Catalan regional election of over 83%. (Reuters) Brexit The United Kingdom's Home Office confirms the return of the blue British passport after the UK leaves the European Union. The new passports will be issued from October 2019. (BBC) Tax reform in the United States President Donald Trump signs the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 into law. (CNN)

Saturday December 23, 2017 Disasters and accidents 2017 Pacific typhoon season Tropical Storm Tembin More than 200 people are dead in the southern Philippines as a result of floods and mudslides caused by Severe Tropical Storm Vinta. (Reuters) London Zoo fire A fire breaks out at a café and shop at the London Zoo. An aardvark is killed and four meerkats are missing. (Sky) (Reuters) December 2017 Southern California wildfires The Thomas Fire becomes the largest in Californian state history. (BBC) Rajasthan bus crash Thirty-three people are killed and 15 injured as a bus falls 65 feet into the river in Rajasthan, Western India. (Sky News) 2017 Davao City mall fire Thirty-seven people, mostly call centre workers, are missing and presumed dead in a fire in the Davao City Mall in the Philippines. (The Express) (The Free Press Journal) International relations Foreign relations of France French President Emmanuel Macron says he will help strengthen the military forces of the G5 Sahel fighting Islamist militants in the Northern Mali conflict. (Reuters) Law and crime A mail carrier from Dublin, Ohio, (told that he would lose his job) allegedly kills 2 of his supervisors. (AP via ABC News) (The Columbus Dispatch) Politics and elections Previously secret documents from Alan Ewen Donald, the United Kingdom's ambassador to China between 1988 and 1991, regarding the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, are released after being declassified in October, putting the death toll from the protests at 10,000 people. (BBC) Former Peru president Alberto Fujimori is taken, from prison, to a local hospital for treatment for abnormally low blood pressure. (Reuters) Sports 2017–18 La Liga For a record third time in a row, FC Barcelona wins the El Clásico away match versus Real Madrid C.F.. With a 3–0 score, they extend their lead over Real Madrid at the top of La Liga to 14 points. (The Guardian)

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Created 19 Dec 2017 Last updated 11 Feb 2018