They’re on high alert. German authorities say they have credible information of a pending attack and have evacuated two train stations, including the city’s main terminal. They have also stopped any trains approaching the stations as the threat is still considered active. No information has been released on who the attackers may be or what the exact threat entails but officials posted repeated warnings on Facebook and Twitter. Even with New Years celebrations wrapping up in the city, police advised revelers to avoid gathering in crowded areas until the potential threat has been resolved.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The night sky was illuminated but not by fireworks. Plumes of fire erupted from the hotel’s midlevel floors, just a short distance from the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa. Dubai officials said a planned New Year’s Eve celebration would still go on with an estimated two million in attendance for a fireworks show set to begin around midnight. Hotel staff reportedly safely evacuated people from the 1,000-foot-tall, five star hotel. So far there are no reports of injuries or deaths in connection with the blaze, nor have authorities determined a cause.
It’s ending on a sour note. Officials in Brussels have canceled events to ring in 2016, fearing terror attacks like those that killed 130 in Paris Nov. 13. Authorities arrested a 10th suspect in those attacks, a Belgian man in the capital who faces terrorism charges, just as Turkish authorities arrested two others this week in connection with an alleged plot to attack Istanbul New Year’s celebrations. After the attacks in San Bernardino and numerous plot discoveries, authorities across the United States are also vigilant, casting a pall over tonight’s festivities.
It’s official. Pennsylvania prosecutors filed sexual assault charges yesterday against the 78-year-old comedian over an alleged incident in 2004 involving former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, 42, who was the first of dozens of women to publicly accuse the TV father figure. Believing they had a “sincere friendship,” the charging document alleges, Constand took three blue pills and wine offered by Cosby and then experienced weakness and blurred vision before being assaulted. Cosby was released on $1 million bail. If convicted, the funnyman could face up to 10 years in prison.
It was the “flight from hell.” An Air Canada jet’s sudden, violent drop caused soda cans to float to the ceiling and left 21 passengers hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after forcing pilots to land their Shanghai-to-Toronto flight early in Calgary yesterday. “The girl beside me, she was thrown right out of her seat,” said one passenger. “We thought we were dying.” Canadian aviation investigators are trying to determine the cause, but one thing is certain: There are 332 passengers who will be much more vigilant about buckling up in the air.
Was it something they launched? Only weeks before the West and Iran are to implement a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons capability, the Obama administration is preparing its first new sanctions against companies it says are helping the Persian state arm itself. It’ll target nearly a dozen firms in three countries for enabling Iran’s efforts to develop ballistic missiles — unlike the unguided rockets reportedly launched near U.S. warships Saturday. The action is expected to strain the cooperation of Iran, whose supreme leader has said such moves would violate the accord.
Puerto Rico will miss its bond payments due tomorrow. (FT) sub
‘Affluenza’ teen fights deportation from Mexico. (LA Times)
Top Ben Carson staffers resign in campaign shakeup (Washington Post)
FBI offers reward after bacon found on Las Vegas mosque door handles. (AP)
University of Wisconsin beats USC 23-21 in Holiday Bowl. (USA Today)
Three, two, one … Happy New Year! There’s something about tonight’s particular crop of parties — an urgency, a romance — that makes them extra sparkly. Rather than popping your champagne, consider opening it with any old saber you happen to have lying around. Don’t know how? We’ve got a video that’ll help perfect your slicing technique. Then check out what used to be Crimea’s biggest rave — now Georgia’s biggest rave — and go find yourself a party worthy of sending off the old year.
The net is gone but there’s still a catch. Mirroring competitors like T-Mobile, the communications giant is ditching traditional contracts in early January. That’s good news for commitment-averse consumers, bad news for “free” hardware fans. Previously, carriers offered a phone at little or no immediate cost, but made up the difference with monthly service fees. Now customers will have to pay full price up front or via installments. Analysts say total expenses won’t change — but it’s unclear if users will upgrade as often once they embrace true phone ownership.
The heat is on. The National Climatic Data Center recorded temperatures at the North Pole above 32 degrees Fahrenheit after one of the strongest storms ever ravaged North America. As it moved north, it pushed up warmer air from the south. Typically, winter temperatures at the planet’s northernmost point are around minus 20 degrees this time of year. NOAA Ocean Prediction Center data indicates the offending storm may be one of the top five on record, and it’s creating Arctic temperatures likely to put global warming skeptics on very thin ice.
They’ve violated Hollywood’s prime directive. A crowdfunded, “professional” quality Star Trek prequel infringes on the networks’ co-owned copyright, and their attorneys have set phasers to “kill.” The suit alleges characters, images and themes in Axanar, such as a Vulcan’s pointy ears, violate trademarks. The owners had permitted enterprising fan fiction, but with $1 million raised and original cast member George Takei involved, they deduced that it’d boldly gone where no homage had gone before. Lead producer Alec Peters, also an attorney, doesn’t believe resistance is futile and predicts the studios will fail.
He’s back. Sort of. The 18-year-veteran will suit up, but Denver coach Gary Kubiak said he’s sticking with Brock Osweiler as his starting quarterback for Sunday’s regular season finale. It’s the first time in the five-time MVP’s professional career that he isn’t starting. But there’s no denying Brock’s superior stats: The 25-year-old prospect is 4-2 since stepping in, including an overtime victory over the Patriots. If the Broncos beat the Chargers, they’ll secure a first week bye and have a shot at securing home-field advantage.