Apple apologizes to consumers for iPhone slow down; Trump says China provides oil to North Korea

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  • Republican candidate for Alabama senator Roy Moore, who narrowly lost to Democrat rival  Doug Jones, filed a last minute lawsuit to try to change the result. Moore’s lawsuit alleges that voting irregularities require a fraud investigation and a new election. His own campaign, marred by allegations of past child sexual misconduct, ended in a shock defeat on December 13. Moore’s lawyer said part of the lawsuit’s purpose was to “postpone the certification of Alabama’s Special Election by Secretary of State John Merrill until a thorough investigation of potential election fraud,” which is due today. However, Merrill said “Doug Jones will be certified at 1 pm [today] and he will be sworn in by Vice-President Pence on 3 January.” Merrill also said he had found no evidence of voter fraud, but promised Moore’s complaint would be investigated.
  • President Donald J. Trump tweeted that China was “caught red-handed” exporting fuel to North Korea, thus violating UN sanctions meant to isolate North Korea. On December 26, the South Korean publication Chosun Ilbo released U.S. satellite photos, saying unnamed South Korean government officials claim the photos show Chinese ships delivering oil products to North Korean ships. Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang denied that China was flaunting any UN efforts.  Meanwhile, the hermit nation continues to develop a nuclear warhead that could reach the U.S.
  • U.S. missions in Turkey will resume full visa services and the Turkish embassy in Washington said visa restrictions for U.S. citizens would also be lifted. This development comes after Turkey’s government assured the U.S. that their staff could perform official duties freely. There are at least 11 U.S. citizens currently under arrest in Turkey, according to the BBC, but Turkey assured the U.S. that no additional American employees were under investigation.
    • The U.S. had suspended all non-immigrant visa services after Washington condemned the arrest of a consulate employee in October. Turkey said the employee was detained for suspected links to U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who they allege played a role in the failed 2016 coup.


  • A suicide attack in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul killed at least 40 people and wounded at least 84 according to Waheed Majrooh of the ministry of public health, as reported by Reuters. Several explosions occurred in the offices of the Afghan Voice news agency and a neighboring Shiite cultural center where a ceremony for the 38th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was being held. The Islamic State said in an online statement that it was responsible for the attack, and that the cultural center’s connection with Iran was the motivation.
    • In recent months, the Islamic State has attacked a number of Shiite targets in Kabul. There is growing fear that IS is trying to force divisions between Sunni and Shiite populations. Afghanistan’s Shiite minority are also increasingly dissatisfied with the government’s failure to protect them, according to the BBC. This is a story under construction which is open to you to TALK about or CONTRIBUTE to.
  • A 2015 deal between Japan and South Korea to create a 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) fund to compensate “comfort women”, forced to work in brothels during World War II, is in tatters. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the agreement, reached by his predecessor, failed to adequately meet the needs of the victims, who numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Japan responded by saying any attempt to revise the pact would make relations between the two countries “unmanageable.”
  • Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi refused to engage in “any substantive discussion” about reports of Rohingya women and girls being raped by Myanmar troops and police when she met a senior UN official, according to reporting by the Guardian. UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict Pramila Patten visited Myanmar in December to discuss reports of sexual violence by soldiers, border guard police and Rakhine Buddhist militias in northern Rakhine state. According to an internal UN memo, Aung San Suu Kyi was told by senior regional officials that reports of atrocities were “exaggerated and fabricated by the international community.” Read WikiTribune reporter Charlie Turner’s report about the precedent for the Rohingya crisis.

What we’re reading

  • How rich are the world’s wealthiest people? They became at least $1 trillion richer in 2017, according to Bloomberg, the financial news service that keeps daily tabs on the globe’s billionaires. Among the richest people getting richer were the likes of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, and as a group, Chinese billionaires, who surpassed their U.S. counterparts in sheer numbers for the first time. Bloomberg credited robust stock markets for fueling the increases. – Jodie DeJonge
  • In much of the world, people whose livelihoods depend on paychecks are increasingly anxious about unemployment. The myth persists that globalization and automation force people in the U.S. and UK to compete directly with machines and cheap labor in Asia and Latin America, sowing joblessness. There is another way to explain the job losses. And as this report from the New York Times displays, Sweden works it out. – Charles Anderson

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