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Paris Attacks Revelations, Apple's Tax Settlement, Saving Matt Damon

NOV. 13 ATTACKS COORDINATED IN REAL TIME

The three terrorist commandos that carried out the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, killing 130 people, were being coordinated in real time by at least one unknown man in Belgium, Le Monde reports. The three groups were in contact with the coordinator throughout the night using cell phones that had been activated just 24 hours before the attacks. The revelations shed a new light on how the attacks were planned and executed. They suggest that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind who died in a shootout with the police on Nov. 18, wasn't the sole coordinator.

  • A U.S. military spokesman said yesterday that Charaffe al-Mouadan, an ISIS fighter with a "direct link" to Abaaoud, was among several jihadists killed in recent airstrikes of the U.S.-led coalition in Syria.
  • Turkish police arrested two ISIS terrorists in Ankara who were reportedly planning suicide bomb attacks on New Year's Eve, tomorrow, according to Hürriyet.

SNAPSHOT

Photo: Lu Hanxin/Xinhua/ZUMA

Excavators and bulldozers are shown working at the site of the Dec. 20 landslide in the Hengtaiyu Industrial Park in Shenzhen, China, that left 7 people dead and 75 missing.


RUSSIA IMPOSES NEW SANCTIONS ON TURKEY

Turkish companies will be barred from construction, tourism, accommodations and guest services in Russia starting Jan. 1, as part of the latest wave of sanctions to hit Ankara after a Turkish forces shot down a Russian warplane in Syria, Sputnik News reports. The decree, signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, comes after similar sanctions against Turkish food products and charter flights to Russia.


VERBATIM

"I'll be spending a minimum of $2 million dollars a week — and perhaps substantially more than that," GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said yesterday, ahead of 2016 primaries. "I'm proud of the fact I can spend the least, but now I'm going to spend anyway," he continued, saying he didn't "want to take any chances." As is often the case, Trump saved his best punchline for opponent Jeb Bush. "He hasn't spent $40 million. He's wasted $40 million. There's a big difference."


CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC VOTES

Voters in the Central African Republic are hoping to put almost three years of deadly violence behind them during a presidential election that marks a first step towards reinstating democracy, France 24 reports. Thousands of people died, and one-fifth of the country's population was displaced after Muslim rebel groups ousted President François Bozizé in March 2013.


ON THIS DAY


To quote today's 57-second shot of history, "OH, WOW!"


U.S. SPIED ON NETANYAHU

The U.S. National Security Agency spied on Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite President Barack Obama's pledge to curtail surveillance of officials in allied countries, The Wall Street Journal reports. The eavesdropping took place while Washington was working to reach a nuclear energy agreement with Iran, a move that Israel strongly opposed. It covered the officials' private conversations with their aides, as well as with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Shocked as we are by each new terror attack, we are no longer surprised. From Worldcrunch headquarters in Paris, our editor Jeff Israely weighs this troubling year with others before it and how it will go down in history. "Living abroad helps to identify some of the differences in the way we view history and the human will on either side of the Atlantic," he writes. "Americans are taught that we are masters of our own destiny, and maybe yours too. Europeans are instead masters of perspective, believers that destiny is shaped by systems, interests and an endless supply of relativity that comes along that continuum of history. Still, despite absorbing some European attitudes, I can't help but fall victim to the vanity of our times. Maybe it's my American roots, or perhaps the effect of working in the news business, which needs a new front page every day. Or it might simply be a question for Yogi Berra: If we are not vain about ourselves, who will be?"

Read the full article, Paris 2015: Memory, Vanity And History's New Continuum.


$347 MILLION

Apple's Italian subsidiary will pay 318 million euros ($347 million) to settle an investigation into tax fraud allegations, La Repubblica reports. The Cupertino giant is accused of failing to pay 880 million euros ($962 million) in tax to Italian authorities between 2008 and 2013.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



SAVING MATT DAMON

Matt Damon's unquestionable acting talent is matched by his knack for roles in which he needs to be saved. And we now know just how much these rescue missions would cost if they were real. Hint: a lot more than you're thinking.

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 226: 'Armageddon,' 'Preemptive Strikes'  — A New Spiral Of Nuclear Warnings

“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” U.S. President Joe Biden declared.

U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 6

In less than 24 hours, new warnings and threats have heated up around the use of nuclear weapons.

U.S. President Joe Biden said during a Democratic fundraiser in New York Thursday evening that Vladimir Putin’s threats to use tactical nuclear weapons must be taken very seriously.

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

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“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” Biden said. “He is not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological and chemical weapons, because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming. I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily [use] tactical nuclear weapons and not end up with Armageddon.”

Meanwhile, the Russian government accused Volodymyr Zelensky of trying to provoke a nuclear war after his video comments at an event at the Lowy Institute in Australia. The Ukrainian president said he believed in the need for pre-emptive strikes and stated that NATO should make it impossible for Russia to use nuclear weapons. “We need pre-emptive strikes, so that they’ll know what will happen to them if they use nukes, and not the other way around,” Zelensky said via video link. “Don’t wait for Russia’s nuclear strikes, and then say, ‘Oh, since you did this, take that from us!’”

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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