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New Arab Anti-Terror Coalition, Syrian Talks, Very Merry Junk

New Arab Anti-Terror Coalition, Syrian Talks, Very Merry Junk


Saudi Arabia announced today that it is leading a military coalition of Arab countries against Islamic terrorism, the Saudi Press Agency reports. Other alliance countries include Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and Gulf Arab and African states. A joint statement said that a joint operations center would be based in Riyadh to coordinate military engagement. Reuters notes that Saudi Arabia's arch Shia rival Iran, against which it is engaged in proxy wars in Syria and Yemen, is absent from the list of participants.


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Moscow today with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in preparation for Friday's meeting of world powers in New York, where they will discuss the war in Syria, Reuters reports. Kerry is also set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later today.

  • Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a warning from the Pentagon yesterday: "ISIS leaders cannot hide, and our message to them is simple: You are next." Read more from USA Today.


"There has been a complete and utter protection failure," The Guardian quoted Doctors Without Borders official Pete Buth as saying today of the UN's mission in war-torn South Sudan. "Civilians talk about the most horrendous incidents of sexual violence, and I'm sure we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg," he added. The civil war in South Sudan, now entering its third year, has displaced 2.2 million people inside and outside the country and left 4.6 million people hungry.


A week-long ceasefire between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition took effect in Yemen this morning, coinciding with UN-brokered talks in Switzerland between the warring sides, Al Jazeera reports. But fighting went on shortly before the ceasefire started early this morning. Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition carried out airstrikes in the southwestern city of Taiz as Houthis attempted to advance towards the loyalist-held northern neighborhood of al-Zonooj. According to the BBC, the coalition backing the government says it reserves the right to respond to any breach.


Photo: Daniel Reinhardt/DPA/ZUMA

Employees at a car junkyard in Hamburg, Germany, have piled up dozens of wrecked cars to create an impressive, if not particularly merry, Christmas tree.


A French kindergarten teacher's claim yesterday that he was stabbed in the throat early in the morning in his class by a man claiming to support ISIS turned out to be completely false. The man was indeed injured, but he admitted to French police that he invented the terrorist attack story. Le Monde reports that the teacher was due to undergo a National Education examination later that week, and had called in sick several times on previous occasions.

  • Meanwhile, Le Parisien reports that French authorities arrested two people this morning who may have supplied weapons that were used in the attacks on a kosher store outside of Paris in January.
  • French television network iTELE also reported that another man, this time linked to last month's attacks in Paris, was also arrested this morning. He was reportedly planning to travel to Syria.


The European Commission pledged yesterday to provide Greece with 80 million euros to help house asylum seekers through rent subsidies and family programs, a statement says. "Today we stand in solidarity with Greece and with children, women and men seeking refuge in Europe," European Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva said in the statement.

  • Meanwhile, the European Commission is also set to launch new, controversial plans for an EU Border and Coast Guard force in an attempt to curb a record number of refugees, the BBC reports. The force would be given a stronger mandate than the current Frontex border team. Several countries such as Poland have opposed these new plans, claiming they would violate national sovereignty.



Once again in France, voters of traditional parties, left and right, combined their votes in Sunday's elections to withstand a thriving far-right party, ultimately denying any side a true victory. "In the wake of the second round, these symmetrical ebbs and flows, the seemingly predictable reflexes, might seem reassuring, as if the old electoral clockwork of the past 30 years was still functioning — for better or worse. As if the National Front's time was bound never to arrive," Le Monde writes in an editorial. "And yet, the results are in fact as worrying as they were after the first round. Now we see more clearly just how broken our democratic machinery is, even as we may be lulled again to not feel the urgency to repair it before it disintegrates completely."

Read the full article, Have No Illusions, France's Far Right Is Still A Huge Threat


Sitting Bull, the Tower of Pisa and John Paul Getty III — all in today's 57-second shot of history.


New Zealand has confirmed the winning design for what could become the country's new flag. A March vote will determine whether the black, white and blue silver fern will replace the current Union Jack-inspired symbol.

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Modi Is Wrong: Russia's War Also Creates Real Risks For India

By shrugging aside Russia’s aggression, India has shown indifference to fears that China could follow Russia’s example.

Photo of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi Visits Russia

Anita Inder Singh*


NEW DELHI — India is wrong to dismiss Russia’s war in Ukraine as Europe’s problem. The illegality and destructiveness of the invasion, and consequential food and energy crises, have global ramifications.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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This explains why 143 out of the 193 member-states of the UN General Assembly voted against recognizing Russia’s illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions after holding sham referenda there. Ninety-three voted in favor of expelling Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

India has abstained from every vote in the UN condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The reason? Moscow is India’s top arms supplier and some 70% of India’s military platforms are of Russian origin.

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