Key Storylines

  • AFRICA:  The death toll from a recent armed attack in western Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz regional state has risen to 207, the country’s federal rights group confirmed.
  • AMERICAS: Millions of Americans saw their jobless benefits expire after U.S. President Donald Trump refused to sign into law a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package, claiming that it did not do enough to help everyday people.
  • ASIA: Chinese Communist Party leaders have congratulated themselves on their “extremely extraordinary” success in controlling the Covid-19 outbreak domestically, ahead of a World Health Organization probe into the disease’s origins.
  • EUROPE: Several people were shot in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, Germany in undisclosed circumstances, police reported.
  • MIDDLE EAST: Moroccan King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held their first official phone call since the two countries decided to normalize relations earlier this month.
  • TECH & COMMUNICATIONS: For the first time, Sudan has a submission for the Academy Awards produced by a consortium of European and Egyptian companies but with a Sudanese director and cast, the film “You Will Die at Twenty” will compete in the Best International Feature Film category.

Top Story

  • Worldwide: The new United Kingdom-based strain of COVID-19 has spread beyond the nation. 
    • France has confirmed the first case in the country of the more contagious coronavirus variant recently identified in the UK.
    • Two more people were confirmed on Saturday to have been infected with a new coronavirus variant identified in Britain, while Tokyo posted a record of 949 new coronavirus infections, local media reported.
    • The United Kingdom will have new restrictions today as tier changes come into force in England, and new restrictions are imposed in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
    • Los Angeles County public health officials are asking testing labs to look for a variant of COVID-19 — reported in the United Kingdom — that appears to be more contagious than other strains.
    • Reporting: BBC, DPAThe Guardian, Daily News,

Africa

  • Central African Republic: Three Burundian peacekeepers have been killed by “unidentified armed combatants” in the country, the United Nations reported. (AFP)
  • Ethiopia: The death toll from a recent armed attack in the western Benishangul-Gumuz regional state has risen to 207, the country’s federal rights group confirmed. (Xinhua)
  • Nigeria: Local road safety corps confirmed that at least 10 people were killed. and 16 others injured in a road accident in the western state of Kwara. (Xinhua)

Americas

  • Mexico: Four people have been arrested in connection with the 2018 crash of a helicopter that killed a central Mexican governor and her husband — who had preceded her as governor — authorities reported. (AP)
  • United States: An early morning explosion on Christmas Day in downtown Nashville, in the state of Tennessee, was an “intentional bombing incident,” local authorities said, and three people were hurt in the blast. (DPA)
  • United States:  Millions of Americans saw their jobless benefits expire after President Donald Trump refused to sign into law a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package, claiming that it did not do enough to help everyday people. (Reuters)

Asia  

  • China: The country will overtake the United States to become the world’s largest economy in 2028, five years earlier than prior estimates due to the contrasting recoveries of the two countries from the COVID-19 pandemic, a think tank said. (Reuters)
  • China: Communist Party leaders have congratulated themselves on their “extremely extraordinary” success in controlling the Covid-19 outbreak domestically, ahead of a World Health Organization probe into the disease’s origins. (AFP)
  • India: Total COVID-19 cases increased to 10,169,118 as 22,273 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours, said the latest data from the country’s health ministry. (Xinhua)
  • South Korea: The nation reported more than 1,100 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, adding pressure on authorities to tighten social distancing rules to flatten the curve of infections. (YNA)

Europe

  • Region: The UK and EU will be able to enjoy a “special relationship” as a result of the post-Brexit trade deal, Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove has said. (BBC)
  • Belarus: A surge of COVID-19 has hit prisons in the nation that are filled with people in custody for demonstrating against the nation’s authoritarian president during recent protests. (AP)
  • Germany: Several people were shot in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin in undisclosed circumstances, police reported. (DPA)
  • Russia: The nation approved its main COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, for use by people over the age of 60, domestic news agencies cited the health ministry as saying. (Reuters)

Middle East

  • Iran: A one-month lockdown has led to a decrease in total COVID-19 cases in the nation. (DPA)
  • Israel: Moroccan King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held their first official phone call since the two countries decided to normalize relations earlier this month. (Xinhua)
  • Israel: Israel has targeted a number of sites in Gaza after the army said Palestinian militants had fired rockets into the south of the country. (The Guardian)

Tech & Communications

  • Media: For the first time, Sudan has a submission for the Academy Awards produced by a consortium of European and Egyptian companies but with a Sudanese director and cast, the film “You Will Die at Twenty” will compete in the Best International Feature Film category. (AP)

World

  • Cyclones:
    • Tropical Cyclone Chalane
      • Location:16.1S 52.4E
      • Movement: W
      • Wind:40 mph
      • Map
    • Tropical Cyclone Yasa
      • Location:23.3S 178.1W
      • Movement: SSW
      • Wind:60 mph
      • Map
  • Hurricanes: Nothing to report.
  • Earthquakes: Nothing to report.
  • Volcanoes: Nothing to report.
  • Global Disease Outbreaks:
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease: Global
    • Confirmed Cases as of 26DEC20: 79,917,523
    • Total Recovered Cases as of 26DEC20: 45,069,126
    • Deaths as of 26DEC20: 1,751,864
    • Countries with Confirmed Cases: 191
    • Sourcing: John Hopkins University

Tomorrow’s Outlook (27DEC20)

  • Europe: EU due to start COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Central African Republic: Presidential and parliamentary elections first round
  • Niger: Presidential and legislative elections first round

END