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World Briefing December 11 - 17 | The World Weekly

AFRICA

Bujumbura, Burundi - Friday: Gunfire breaks out as anti-government rebels attack army barracks in the capital, and the violence continues after the security forces repel the assault. Learn more

South Africa - Friday: The cabinet approves a white paper for a National Health Insurance Fund in the first step towards universal health coverage. Learn more

Gambia - Saturday: Gambian President Yahya Jammeh declares the country an “Islamic state”, stressing the need for the West African nation to move away from its colonial past. Learn more

Bangui, Central African Republic - Sunday: Heavy fighting breaks out in a Muslim enclave of Bangui, in the midst of a referendum on the constitution, leaving two people dead and 20 injured. Learn more

Libya / UN - Sunday: Representatives of 17 countries, including China and Russia, sign a call for an immediate ceasefire and the formation of a national unity government in Libya. Learn more

Johannesburg, South Africa - Sunday: South African President Jacob Zuma faces criticism after he replaces Finance Minister David van Rooyen, after just four days in office, with Pravin Gordhan. Learn more

Gitega, Burundi - Monday: The trial of 28 suspected plotters of the May coup attempt against President Pierre Nkurunziza begins. Learn more

Kaduna, Nigeria - Tuesday: Shia Muslims come out to protest against a military crackdown, which they claim has killed 200 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria. Learn more

Buratai, Nigeria - Wednesday: Boko Haram militants attack three villages in northeast Nigeria, killing 30 people and injuring 20 with machetes. Learn more

Johannesburg, South Africa - Wednesday: Mass demonstrations are held under the banner ‘Zuma Must Fall’ in a call for President Jacob Zuma to step down. Learn more

Morocco / Libya : Representatives of the rival Libyan governments, the Council of Deputies (CoD) and the General National Congress (GNC), sign the UN-brokered peace deal forming a unity government for the first time in over a year. Learn more

AMERICAS

US - Friday:  Two of the largest companies in the US, DuPont and Dow Chemical Company, agree to merge in an all-stock deal valued at $130 billion, with a view to a later division into three independent public companies - a move expected to face intense scrutiny from federal antitrust regulators. Learn more

Washington DC, US - Friday: Researchers at Washington State University report they have invented a new catalyst which enables the production of bio-based chemicals and plastics from bio-based ethanol rather than superheated crude oil. Learn more 

Houston, US - Saturday: Veteran Democratic legislator Sylvester Turner defeats independent Bill King, a businessman pledging to fix city finances, in a run off to become mayor of the country’s fourth-largest city. Learn more  

Brazil - Sunday: Tens of thousands of Brazilians protest in cities around the country to demand the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, though the turnout is notably lower than at previous mass rallies. Learn more  

Salta, Argentina - Monday: At least 42 people, most of them police officers, are killed after a bus crashes into a ravine in northwest Argentina. Learn more 

New York, US - Monday: The former president of Honduras Rafael Callejas, and Juan Angel Napout, the head of South American soccer’s governing body, plead ‘not guilty’ to US charges they took part in FIFA’s wide-ranging bribery conspiracy as the US Justice Department continues to expand its investigation. Learn more 

Fort Bragg, US - Monday: United States Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl will face a court martial on charges of misbehaviour before the enemy and desertion, related to his capture by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani Network in Afghanistan in June 2009. Learn more 

US - Monday: Oil prices briefly dip to their lowest level since December 2008 as the market anticipates the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate rise. Learn more 

Colombia - Monday: The government of Colombia and FARC rebels announce another milestone in their ongoing peace negotiations with an agreement over the reparations to be paid to the victims of the country’s 50-year internal conflict, one of the final sensitive issues to be decided by the two parties. Learn more 

Brazil - Tuesday: The homes of Eduardo Cunha - the speaker of the Brazil’s Congress who earlier this month initiated impeachment proceedings against the country’s President Dilma Rousseff - and of several other leading political figures are raided by police investigating the vast kickback scheme centred on state-run oil giant Petrobras. Learn more 

Los Angeles, US - Tuesday: Over 1,000 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District are closed after receiving an unspecified ‘electronic’ threat. Learn more 

US - Tuesday: Congressional leaders announce agreement on a year-end spending and tax deal that would prevent a government shutdown and extend a series of tax breaks that benefit businesses and individuals, provided Congress votes to approve the measure on Thursday. Learn more 

Las Vegas, US - Tuesday: The 5th Republican debate sees candidates for the US presidency clash over foreign policy with emerging favourites, senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, frequently sparring. Learn more 

Baltimore, US - Wednesday: A mistrial is called in the case of William Porter, one of six officers charged with the unlawful killing of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man whose death in April while in police custody sparked riots in Baltimore. Learn more 

Guerrero, Mexico - Wednesday: Forensic experts find the remains of at least 19 people outside a village in the Mexican state of Guerrero, but it yet to be established if the bodies belong to any of the 43 students who went missing in the province last year. Learn more 

Cuba / US - Wednesday: The US and Cuba agree to resume regularly scheduled commercial flights between the two countries. Learn more 

US - Wednesday: The US Federal Reserve Board raises interest rates from the 0 - 0.25% range to the 0.25 - 0.50% range. Learn more

ASIA-PACIFIC

Kaesong, North Korea - Friday:  Delegates from North and South Korea met at the North's industrial complex of Kaesong to begin rare high-level talks aimed at easing tensions, but they end on Saturday without agreement or plans for further dialogue. Learn more 

Beijing, China - Friday: The People's Bank of China announces the value of the yuan will be measured against a basket of major international currencies instead of being pegged to the US dollar. Learn more 

India / Japan - Saturday/Sunday: India and Japan sign multibillion dollar agreements to enhance cooperation between Asia’s second and third-largest economies, and to counter China’s dominance. Learn more

Parachinar, Pakistan - Sunday: At least 25 people are killed and 62 others injured in a bomb explosion at a makeshift market in Parachinar in northern Pakistan. Learn more

Thailand - Tuesday: Migrant workers are being sold to factories in Thailand and forced to peel shrimp sold to supermarkets and restaurants around the world, an AP investigation reveals. Learn more 

The Philippines - Tuesday: More than 730,000 people are evacuated as authorities prepare for Typhoon Melor, before it sweeps through the central Philippines. Learn more 

Zhejiang, China - Wednesday: Chinese President Xi Jinping calls on countries to respect one another’s cyber sovereignty regulations and Internet governance models. Learn more 

Taiwan / US - Wednesday: The US announces plans to make its first major arms sale to Taiwan in four years, prompting an angry reaction from China, which sees the island-state as a breakaway province. Learn more

EUROPE

Kiev, Ukraine - Friday: A fight erupts in the lower house of Parliament after a member tries to drag Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk away from the podium as he gives a report on his embattled government’s first year in office. Learn more

EU / France - Friday: Reports suggest Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party, could become embroiled in a fresh fraud scandal over suspicions another member of the European Parliament voted in her stead. Learn more

Paris, France - Saturday: Representatives from 195 countries reach the first truly global climate deal after two weeks of negotiations at the COP21 UN climate conference. Learn more

Russia / Turkey - Sunday: A Russian warship fires warning shots at a Turkish fishing boat in the Aegean Sea as tensions between the two countries continue to run high. Learn more

Pristina, Kosovo - Monday: Kosovo’s political impasse shows no sign of abating as opposition politicians again fire tear gas in Parliament. Learn more

The Baltics - Monday: The Baltic states take a step towards energy independence from Russia when two power lines linking them to European energy markets go live. Learn more

Germany - Monday: Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to unite her Christian Democratic Union party after months of discord over the refugee crisis. Learn more

Diyarbakir, Turkey - Tuesday: Three policemen are killed in a clash with militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir. Learn more

EU - Tuesday: In a controversial bid to save the visa-free Schengen Area, the European Commission unveils a plan to scrap the EU’s current border agency and create a new one that could take control of a country’s borders against its will. Learn more

Portugal - Tuesday: The OECD urges Portugal to raise its overseas aid spending. Learn more

Poland - Tuesday: Fifteen prominent politicians, including former presidents, write a letter denouncing the new government’s attempt to extend its influence over the Constitutional Treaty, fuelling a constitutional crisis dividing the country. Learn more

FYR Macedonia / Greece - Wednesday: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia could change its name to end a 24-year dispute with Greece that has put its EU membership bid on hold, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski says. Learn more

Russia / Ukraine - Wednesday: Russia suspends its free trade agreement with Ukraine as the countries' tit-for-tat trade war escalates. Learn more

Russia / Ukraine - Thursday: Russian President Vladimir Putin admits for the first time that the Russian military has been present in eastern Ukraine. Learn more

EU - Thursday: The final summit of EU leaders of 2015 begins, with the refugee crisis again topping the agenda. Learn more

France - Thursday: Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, is to stand trial in France's Court of Justice of the Republic over her handling of the so-called Tapie Affair as finance minister in 2008, it is reported in the French media. Learn more

MIDDLE EAST

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - Friday: A team of opposition and rebel delegates will meet the Syrian government early next month, the chairman of an opposition conference held in Riyadh says. Learn more 

Tel Tamer, Syria - Friday: A triple suicide truck-bomb attack late on Thursday in the northern Syrian town of Tel Tamer, claimed by Islamic State, kills at least 50 people and wounds 80 others, a spokesman for the People’s Protection Units says. Learn more 

Russia / Syria - Friday: Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia is supporting the Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) with air support, weapons and ammunition, in joint operations with Syrian government troops against Islamist militants; FSA rebels later deny having received direct Russian support. Learn more 

Saudi Arabia - Saturday: In a first in the country’s history, at least 17 women are voted into public office in municipal elections. Learn more 

Douma, Syria - Sunday: At least 45 people are killed in airstrikes on a besieged rebel stronghold east of Damascus, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Learn more 

Mosul, Iraq - Monday: Some Turkish troops reportedly start to leave the Bashiqa camp near the Islamic State-held city of Mosul after a spat with the Iraqi government over the deployment, according to a Turkish military source and a senior official. Learn more  

Taiz, Yemen - Monday: Two senior commanders from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are among Gulf, Yemeni and Sudanese soldiers killed in a rocket strike on a Red Sea army camp south-west of the besieged city of Taiz. Learn more 

Egypt - Monday: Egyptian officials say they have found no evidence of terrorism or other illegal action linked to the mid-air explosion aboard a Russian passenger jet over the Sinai Peninsula that killed some 224 people on October 31. Learn more 

Damascus, Syria - Monday: Syrian troops reportedly backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters recapture a military airport and a nearby town east of Damascus, according to a military source, over three years after rebels overran the area. Learn more 

Beirut, Lebanon - Monday: Lebanese authorities charge Hannibal Gaddafi, a son of late Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, in connection with the disappearance of Shia Imam Musa Sadr after a visit to Libya. Learn more 

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - Tuesday: Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman announces the formation of an Islamic anti-terrorism coalition, consisting of 34 countries. Learn more 

Yemen / Switzerland - Tuesday: Warring Yemeni factions begin talks in the Swiss town of Biel as a seven-day ceasefire begins. Learn more 

Beirut, Lebanon - Wednesday: Lebanese lawmakers for the 34th time fail to elect a new president, leading Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to adjourn the vote until January 7, 2016. Learn more 

Iraq - Wednesday: Islamic State militants and members of the Shia Kataeb Hezbollah group fire rockets at a training camp in northern Iraq for fighters battling the group, killing three people and wounding 10 others, including four Turkish trainers. Learn more  

Syria - Wednesday: After nine months of research based on photos provided by a Syrian military defector, Human Rights Watch releases “damning evidence” it says proves the Syrian government has starved, tortured and executed possibly thousands of prisoners. Learn more 

Syria - Wednesday: The US has delivered ammunition to Syrian Arab fighters in the country’s northeast ahead of an expected push to seize the key Islamic State logistics hub of al-Shahadi, US officials tell Reuters. Learn more 

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