RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?/December 2018

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December 2018[edit]

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8United StatesRussiaUS citizen arrested in Moscow on suspicion of spying.
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-15United States How legal marijuana failed on its promises of racial equality
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9Vatican CityThe Vatican spokesman and his deputy resign over strategy disagreements.
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13United StatesSaudi Arabia Arab Regimes are using White Nationalist lies to attack Muslim-American politicians
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18United StatesElizabeth Warren announces her intention to run for President in 2020
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18United States To the surprise of no one, Trump continues to act like a fucking child and not the mature adult one would expect the POTUS to act like by denying responsibility for the deaths of migrant children at the border, conveniently blaming the Democrats instead.
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14United Kingdom There has been criticism of a ferry company that has received a public contract to produce ferry services between Ramsgate and Oostende in case of a no-deal Brexit. The company has never run services in the past, doesn’t own any ferries and the port is currently unsuitable to provide shipping services. Fingers are being pointed at the closeness between the ferry company and a large donor to the Conservative Party.
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13United StatesVideos from a shelter for migrant children that has since been shut down show staffers dragging and pushing children.
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22ChinaSlime mold solves traveling salesman problem in linear time.
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14CanadaChinaRetrial ordered for Canadian sentenced in China for drug smuggling.
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13BangladeshBangladesh shuts down mobile internet in lead up to election day.
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15United StatesMexicoLeader of ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect and three followers accused of child kidnapping.
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19Saudi ArabiaSudanYemenSaudi Arabia has been using Sudanese child soldiers in Yemen.
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11United KingdomPhysicians and food scientists call for a ban on nitrites, used as a colouring and preservative in processed meat, due to mounting evidence that they cause cancer and other health problems.
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13United StatesTrump threatens to close the border with Mexico unless the border wall is given funding.
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11RussiaRussia to deploy a hypersonic missile system in 2019.
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10United StatesRichard Overton, Oldest American veteran dies at the age of 112.
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11North KoreaSouth KoreaPersonal data of almost 1,000 North Korean defectors leaked.
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15United StatesMichael Cohen filings renew discussion of Trump's impeachment
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31United StatesMSNBC beats Fox News in key ratings for the first time in 17 years.
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19BelgiumBelgium's Flemish Christian-Democrats say they would like to expand the laws governing medicinal cannabis to include plant cannabis. Currently only Sativex cannabis spray is allowed in the country, in limited circumstances for people with epilepsy and multiple-scoliosis.
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15Tunisia Protests in the city of Kasserine have turned violent in the background of the funeral of Abdel Razaq Zorgi, who had set himself on fire over harsh living conditions in the country. It was the self-immolation of a street vendor in Tunisia eight years ago in protest at police harassment that sparked Tunisia's revolution and the Arab Spring uprisings across the rest of the region the next year.
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18ThailandThailand becomes the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical marijuana.
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16United StatesMedical checks ordered for all kids held in US custody after death of second immigrant child this month.
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16IraqIraq officially makes Christmas a national holiday.
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9AfghanistanMilitants storm government building in Afghan capital, taking civilians hostage.
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12IsraelBenjamin Netanyahu has dissolved the Knesset, leading Israel to have general elections in early April.
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10Norway Russia A man has been arrested and taken in to Tromsø police station after he tried to rob the bank in the remote community of Longyearbyen, the northernmost settlement in the world. Update: Police have announced that gentleman is a 29-year-old Russian tourist.
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16IndonesiaHundreds dead, more injured after tsunami hits Indonesia
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12PolandIsraelSimcha Rotem, one of the last surviving fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, has died.
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13GermanyGermany's last black hard coal mine Prosper-Haniel closes, ending over 150 years of black coal mining in the country. However, the country is expending lignite (brown coal) mining, which is ironically dirtier than black coal.
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13RussiaRussia has banned outdoor exchange rate advertising boards which are common throughout the Eurasian region, except legitimate retail banks. It is speculated the reason is to prevent the bad publicity of the falling rate of the Russian ruble.
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13CubaCuban lawmakers have approved a new constitution that will head to referendum in February.
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15United StatesBrett McGurk, the special envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, has resigned in protest of President Trump's withdrawal order.
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8United Kingdom Paddy Ashdown, Lord Ashdown, former leader of the Liberal Democrats and former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, has died of bladder cancer aged 77.
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19United StatesGovernment shutdown begins as talks falter over Trump's border wall.
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19GhanaA Gandhi statue has been removed from the campus of the University of Ghana due to derogatory comments he made about black Africans.
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11United StatesOhio has passed a law banning the method used for most second term abortions, though a bill to ban abortion after a heartbeat is detected was vetoed.
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17United StatesThe Supreme Court rejected a request from the Trump administration to restart an asylum ban that would have prevented migrants who enter the country illegally from applying for asylum.
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16United KingdomUnited StatesIt was revealed by Greenpeace's Unearthed team that lobbyists from American agribusinesses and Atlas NetworkWikipedia-linked think-tank Institute of Economic AffairsWikipedia (IEA) paid for former Brexit secretary David Davis and influential backbencher Owen Paterson to visit Washington and Oklahoma, a major beef producing state.
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5United StatesThe USDA has announced that all GMO products must be labeled by 2022.
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25Vatican CityPope urges predator priests to turn themselves in.
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14United KingdomPorn sites will require proof of age in the UK starting April 2019.
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16United States Defense secretary James Mattis has resigned as Pentagon chief after Trump disagreements
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11United StatesAfghanistanPresident Trump "to pull thousands of troops" from Afghanistan.
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16United StatesAlabama police department blames crimes on rejection of God.
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16JapanJapan to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission in a bid to resume commercial whaling.
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15DenmarkThe Folketing has approved funding to turn the small island of Lindholm into a holding centre for failed asylum seekers and immigrants that Denmark cannot extradite. Controversially, Lindholm was previously used by scientists as a laboratory to test toxic pathogens such as swine flu and foot-and-mouth.
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12United KingdomAfter repeated near collisions with aircraft at Gatwick airport, police and Army units are now hunting down careless or malicious drone users in the area, with all flights suspended for the duration. Update 2 arrests have been made
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15United StatesUnited KingdomChina The US and UK have accused China of state-sponsored hacking of aerospace and pharmaceutical corporations to steal hundreds of gigabytes of information to keep up with foreign powers.
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14United StatesThe Illinois attorney general says the Catholic Church dramatically underreported the number of priests in the state with sexual misconduct allegations.
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12United StatesRussiaLibel suit against BuzzFeed thrown out.
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24United StatesSyriaUS plans full withdrawal of troops from Syria.
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25United States Huge bipartisan criminal justice bill passes Congress, reducing sentences for drug offenders.
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17SwedenSwedish women-only music festival found guilty of discrimination for banning men, although this referred to its promotional material rather than its admission policies (apparently they didn't check genders at the entrances.)
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7CubaIn a rare U-turn, the constitutional commission for Cuba’s new constitution has removed an article which will allow constitutional provision for same-sex marriage due to pressure from the country's growing evangelical churches. However, the government will put forward legislation for same-sex marriage in the future.
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15United States83 judicial ethics complaints against Brett Kavanaugh have been dismissed because he's on the Supreme Court.
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9Belgium Following the vote of no confidence of the government tabled by the socialists and greens, Charles Michel has stood down as prime minister. King Philippe I is now looking for a new prime minister to replace him.
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6United States A Bankrupcy Court approves a $25 million bonus for the executives of bankrupt department retailer Sears, while thousands of laid off workers will not get severance
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26United StatesThe Trump administration has instituted a nationwide ban on bump stocks.
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18United StatesTrump charity agrees to dissolve amid allegations of a "shocking pattern of illegality."
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21United Kingdom3500 troops to be put on standby in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
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9Turkey Turkey announces that cigarettes will be sold in plain packaging from 2019, and later plans to raise the minimum age for buying tobacco to 21, which would be the highest in the world.
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19United StatesA deer poacher has been ordered to watch Bambi at least once a month for each month of his year-long prison sentence.
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12IsraelIsrael’s prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's son Yair was banned on Facebook for 24 hours for posting Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian messages.
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18United StatesCRISPR used (in vitro) to remove evolved chemotherapy resistance from cancer
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16United States the World A large scale study has found genetic networks can be linked to a number of mental illnesses.
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8GuernseyUnited Kingdom The Channel Island of Guernsey has quietly changed its local referendum laws, leading to speculation that an independence referendum in on the cards in the future.
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11MalaysiaUnited States Malaysia is filing charges against the American investment bank Goldman Sachs after allegations of impropriety of the 1MDB scandal.
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14BrazilA Brazilian faith healer accused of sexually abusing more than 300 women has handed himself in to police.
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13United StatesRussiaNew report on Russian disinformation around the 2016 election shows the operation's scale and sweep.
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9Sri LankaThe Sri Lankan PM who was sacked by the president has been reinstated, ending a 51-day constitutional crisis.
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12United KingdomEuropean Union Theresa May's most senior allies accused of "betrayal" over "secret second referendum plot".
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18United StatesUnited Kingdom A 90 year old US Army veteran has been stranded in Manchester with his wife, as a Chechen DAESH fighter once used his name as an alias.
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16United StatesFacebook bug exposed up to 6.8 million users' unposted photos to app developers.
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7UkraineUkraine announces the creation of an independent Orthodox church.
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23United StatesCongress has voted to legalize hemp nationwide.
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12United NationsNations at UN climate talks back universal emissions rules.
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17United StatesA Texan federal judge has ruled Obamacare unconstitutional. As a result, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could end up at the Supreme Court for a third time.
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2AustraliaIsraelAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, causing some criticism from Netanyahu for them not recognising the whole of Jerusalem.
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11United States Roy Moore, the disgraced U.S. Senate candidate from Alabama, was duped into appearing on the Showtime satire series Who Is America?Wikipedia Now he's suing actor Sacha Baron Cohen, saying he was "defrauded."
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8United States Mick Mulvaney is to become the Acting White House Chief of Staff.
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14United StatesDeVos cancels $150 million in student loan debt after losing court battle.
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10FranceA Jewish cemetery in Strasbourg has had thirty-seven gravestones defaced with Nazi phrases and symbols.
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18IrelandThe Seanad has passed the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018. It is now in the hands of the President, which means that Ireland will soon legalize abortion for up to 12 weeks, enabling the 36th amendment.
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19United States Despite Trump's attempts by trying to get rid of federal tax credits for vehicles, according to Politico he can't kill off the electric car.
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14SyriaThe Syrian Democratic Forces have captured the last town held by ISIS.
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20United StatesMark Green, recently elected U.S. Representative from Tennessee, states "there is some concern that the rise in autism is the result of the preservatives that are in our vaccines."
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24United KingdomAdverts that promote gender stereotypes (including men being useless at housework) will be banned in the UK from next year.
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19CanadaNew class of eukaryote discovered by Nova Scotia researchers.
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15HungaryProtests in Hungary as a result of a law being passed allowing employers to demand 400 hours of overtime a year and go up to three years without paying it.
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12United StatesRussiaAlleged Russian agent Maria Butina pleads guilty to engaging in conspiracy against the US.
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9Sri LankaSri Lanka’s supreme court has ruled that the president's order to dissolve parliament and hold snap elections was unconstitutional.
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9YemenThe warring sides in the Yemeni Civil War have agreed to a ceasefire for the crucial port city of Hodeidah.
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13United StatesThe FCC affirms that wireless carriers can block unwanted text messages.
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12United States Newt "Moon Base" Gingrich is apparently under consideration as a potential candidate for Trump's next chief of staff.
UPDATE: Gingrich dismissed speculation that he's in the running for the position.
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10China Canada United States The chief financial officer of Huawei, a Chinese tech giant, was arrested while transferring flights in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, at the request of U.S. authorities. She was released on bail but could be extradited to the U.S. on charges of Iran sanctions dodging and fraud. In response, China demanded her immediate release and has detained a former Canadian diplomat. Update: another Canadian in China has disappeared.
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22Vatican CityAustraliaThe third most powerful Vatican official has been convicted on charges of sexually abusing two choir boys.
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31United StatesMichael Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison.
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10Belgium According to statistics released by the Catholic Church in Belgium, only 17% of marriages are celebrated in church today compared to 77% forty years ago in the 1970's.
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12United KingdomTheresa May now faces a vote of no confidence. A vote of confidence scheduled for 12 December, 2018 from 06:00PM(18:00) to 08:00PM (20:00) GMT. May has stated that she "will contest that vote with everything I have got." So far 28 MPs have publicly acknowledged that they have sent in a 'no confidence letter'. If May wins the vote of confidence on 12 December, she is safe from a leadership challenge for 1 year. Update: She won with 200 votes to 117.
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15ArgentinaTwo former executives of an Argentine Ford Motor plant have been convicted of human rights crimes during the Dirty War.
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15United StatesTrump threatens partial government shutdown if funding isn't provided for a border wall.
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10FranceStrasbourg shooting: At least three dead, several seriously injured in attack at Christmas market. UPDATE: The attacker, a radical Islamist named Cherif Chekatt, has been shot dead in a gunfight with police forces
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11YemenThe Yemeni government and the Houthis have agreed to swap 16,000 prisoners.
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12the World The Arctic is experiencing its "most unprecedented transition in history."
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18United States Scientist's accidental discovery could make coral grow 40x faster
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19United StatesThe Trump administration promoted coal at a climate change conference.
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17New ZealandNew Zealand passes laws to make medical marijuana widely available.
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26United States The Supreme Court declined to hear a case concerning Planned Parenthood, effectively allowing people to continue to use its non-abortion services with Medicaid funds. Notably, three conservative judges, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, dissented, but the other two, John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh, did not.
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22 United Kingdom After repeatedly saying she wouldn't delay the Brexit deal vote, Theresa May has delayed the vote.
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9 Spain According to a British academic, the rise of the far-right Vox party in the recent Andalusian regional elections in Spain, is due to a backlash against the Catalan nationalists.
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10 United Kingdom Concern is put on the public sector outsourcing company, Interserve on the worry that it might collapse like the noted company Carillion which happen earlier this year.
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16 European Union The EU’s court the European Court of Justice, based in Luxembourg City has said that the UK can revoke Article 50 without any permission from the other member states.
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18United StatesFederal investigators are looking into millions of fraudulent letters on net neutrality sent to the FCC during the public commenting period.
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11MalaysiaThe Malaysian government has decided against ratifying a key UN anti-discrimination treaty.
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38United StatesProsecutors connect Trump to illegal payments during the campaign.
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7United StatesThe head of the FBI in Oregon says that the Proud Boys were never designated as an extremist group.
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7ChinaHe Jiankui's claims of gene edited babies are sparking outrage, as He has at best protected only one of the twins and at worst caused irrevocable damage with CRISPR.
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16United Statesthe World Dow Jones plummets 800 points as bond markets signal looming recession.
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21United StatesJames Alex Fields Jr. has been convicted of first-degree murder.
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18GermanyAngela Merkel steps down as leader of the CDU.
UPDATE: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has been chosen as her successor.
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4United StatesA proposal to loosen restrictions on coal power plants has been unveiled.
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23United Kingdom Counterterrorism police have arrested three suspected members of the Neo-Nazi group Sonnenkrieg Division, following calls to assassinate the Duke of Sussex and murder police officers on Discord. Sonnenkrieg is affiliated with the American organisation Atomwaffen Division, and includes ex-members of National Action and System Resistance Network.
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29LuxembourgIn a bid to encourage people out of their cars, the government of Luxembourg has agreed to remove the charges and make all public transport completely free throughout the Grand Duchy from 2020 at a cost of €30 million.
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17United StatesThe Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature has passed a bill to weaken the incoming Democratic governor's powers.
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23United StatesFour have been criminally charged in the US government's investigation of the Panama Papers.
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30United KingdomTheresa May's government has been found in contempt of Parliament for refusing to publish legal advice received on Brexit.
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13United StatesThe emails of top National Republican Congressional Committee officials were stolen in a major hack.
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20United KingdomFormer UKIP leader Nigel Farage has quit the party in opposition to current leader Gerard Batten's decision to appoint Tommy Robinson as an advisor.
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16France In response to violent protests in many major cities across France, fuel tax hikes have been suspended for six months.
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16Poland The COP24 environmental conference in Katowice has been criticized for being literally a coal festival, with coal sponsorship, coal displays and coal miners brass band greeting the delegates.
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17Italy Italy's antivax health minister Giulia Grillo has sacked all of the members of the country's higher health board.
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15QatarQatar to withdraw from OPEC in January 2019.
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6the WorldSocial media platform Tumblr announces that is banning all adult content from the site from December 17th.
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14HungaryThe Soros-founded Central European University has been forced out of Hungary.
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26Germany Police have shut down a gig in Saxony after the audience began shouting "Sieg Heil".
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31IsraelIsraeli police recommends the attorney general to indict prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara for alleged bribery with a telecoms tycoon.
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15United StatesChinaTrump and Xi have reached a truce on the trade war.
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13DenmarkDenmark to banish foreign convicted criminals to deserted island.
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16United KingdomThe charities' ombudsman, the Charity Commission, has slapped the right-wing think tank the Institute of Economic AffairsWikipedia over publishing a pro-Brexit report as ‘overstepped the line of what is permissible charitable activity’. While another related think think the Adam Smith InstituteWikipedia has removed a section mentioning "cash-for-access" of power lunches with ministers.
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5United StatesFlorida Gov. Rick Scott has suspended the Broward County elections supervisor.
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11United KingdomTheresa May announces that the UK is to pull out of the European Galileo satellite navigation system, and plans for the UK to set up its own satellite system. This causes the UK to lose over a billion pounds worth of investment. This has, in turn, led to the resignation of science and universities minister Sam Gyimah.