TL;DR – TOP 10 STORIES FOR THE WEEK

  1. USA announces sanctions versus Russia over alleged hacking
  2. Obama creates new national monuments in Utah/Nevada
  3. Minimum wage increases for 20 states
  4. Nationwide ceasefire for Syria
  5. Israel announces plans to ignore UN resolution condemning settlements
  6. Terrorists strike Turkey
  7. Bombs explode in Iraq
  8. Russian plane with choir crashes
  9. India tests nuclear missile
  10. First trial using gene editing to attempt combating cancer

A number of celebrations occurred around the globe for Christmas, Hanukkah, News Years, and others.

Further information and more stories:

UNITED STATES

A strong winter storm temporarily knocked out power for thousands of people.

“In an extraordinary development Thursday, the Obama administration announced a series of sanctions against Russia. Thirty-five Russian nationals will be expelled from the country. President Obama issued a terse statement seeming to blame Russia for the hack of the Democratic National Committee emails.” (RS) “…Putin indicated he plans to ignore Obama’s final diplomatic moves and focus on working with the Trump administration going forward.” (CN)

“The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday released a joint report detailing how federal investigators linked the Russian government to hacks of Democratic Party organizations…. But security experts say that the document provides little in the way of forensic ‘proof’ to confirm the government’s attribution.” (TH) One cybersecurity consultant said the report “adds nothing.” A more in-depth critique from another cybersecurity expert said the report “does not meet its stated intent” and is “trying to cover too much while saying too little.”

“President Barack Obama has created two new US national monuments, bringing vast desert areas under federal protection. Bears Ears and Gold Butte National Monuments protect over one million acres… in the desert landscapes of Utah and southern Nevada….” (AFP)

The Washington Post ran a piece of Fake News falsely claiming that Russia hacked into the U.S. electricity grid. This shoddy article was briefly popular, so it’s not clear how many people saw the corrections and refutations.

A number of celebrities died. This included George Michael, along with Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds.

“Minimum wages will increase in 20 states at the start of the year, a shift that will lift pay for millions of individuals and shed light on a long-running debate about whether mandated pay increases at the bottom do more harm or good for workers.” (WSJ)

germany

“Explosives experts on Sunday defused a large World War II aerial bomb in the southern German city of Augsburg — clearing the way for thousands of evacuated residents to return to their Christmas celebrations at home.” (AP)

syria

“The Syrian government and rebel groups have agreed a nationwide ceasefire…. The deal was announced by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and confirmed by Turkey. The two nations, which back opposing sides, will act as guarantors.” (BBC)

“UN adopts resolution supporting efforts by Russia and Turkey to end violence in Syria and jump-start peace negotiations.” (AP)

Israel

“The Israeli government says it plans to build thousands of new housing units in East Jerusalem despite a United Nations Security Council vote last week to condemn such settlements.” (TH)

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly ordered the Foreign Ministry to suspend relations with 12 nations that voted at the UN Security Council in favor of criticizing the Jewish state’s settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. ” (TA)

“An Israeli TV channel reported Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of receiving valuable gifts… [the segment] was the latest in a series of reports in Israeli media saying that police are close to opening a criminal investigation against the prime minister.” (AP)

Turkey

“At least 35 people were killed and 40 wounded in a terror attack in Turkey’s biggest city on New Year’s, according to Istanbul’s governor.” (WSJ)

Iraq

“At least 28 people have died in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in a double bombing claimed by so-called Islamic State (IS). The explosions happened one after another in the busy al-Sinak market. More than 50 people were injured.” (BBC)

Russia

A Russian plane crashed into the Black Sea, killing 92 people. Emergency teams were dispatched and recovered two flight recorders. “[T]he plane was reportedly carrying members of a military choir, the famed Alexandrov Ensemble, who were to perform in a holiday concert for Russian service members deployed in Syria.” (NPR) The investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing and bodies are being retrieved.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

“India has tested a nuclear-capable ballistic missile with a range of over 6,000 kilometers” (TIS)

“In a first, oncologists and geneticists have edited a patient’s own immune cells using CRISPR and injected them as a treatment for an aggressive form of lung cancer. The trial, conducted at West China Hospital in Chengdu, is the first of what is expected to be many that will test the safety of using the gene editing technique to alter a person’s cells. U.S. trials are expected to begin in early 2017.” (PBS)