The relationship’s become even more special. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned envoy Daniel Shapiro after the U.S. abstained from Friday’s U.N. Security Council vote to condemn Israeli settlement activity. Previously, all U.S. administrations since 1980 had vetoed such resolutions. A State Department official said the abstention came after years of trying to convince Netanyahu, who called the resolution “shameful,” to pursue peace with Palestinians who see the settlement areas as their own. But President-elect Donald Trump has courted Israeli hardliners, vowing to relocate America’s embassy to disputed ground in Jerusalem.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The fingerprints are a match. Italian authorities say that Anis Amri, the 24-year-old Tunisian national suspected of killing 12 people by plowing a truck into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin Monday, was killed early this morning in a shootout with police in Milan. Amri had previously lived in Italy before arriving in Germany, and spent time in jail there for arson. Hours after his death, video footage emerged of Amri pledging allegiance to ISIS. Meanwhile, German authorities have arrested two brothers suspected of planning another attack, this one on a shopping mall.
He’s broaching explosive topics. Trump tweeted yesterday that America should step up its nuclear capability, just hours after Vladimir Putin said Russia should do the same. He also sent Lockheed Martin stock crashing with a tweet about cost overruns on F-35s and the possibility of replacing them with Boeing F-18s. Breaking a tradition of presidents-elect not opining on foreign policy, Trump called for a veto of a U.N. resolution condemning Israel’s settlements — and telephoned Egypt’s president, convincing him to postpone the vote until after Trump takes office.
“We won’t allow these criminals to disrupt our way of life.” So said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of the arrests made in early-morning police raids, which authorities say may have thwarted a Christmas Day terror attack on Melbourne. The men, all Australian-born, were reportedly self-radicalized and inspired by ISIS propaganda. Though they say the threat’s been neutralized, authorities are increasing security precautions for public spaces, including the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is expected to welcome 100,000 people for a Dec. 26 match between Australia and Pakistan.
They’ve reached a settlement. In September, U.S. authorities told Deutsche Bank to pay $14 billion over shady mortgage-backed securities. That sum, which could’ve been a critical hit for the bank, raised concerns over what Deutsche’s failure would mean for markets. Now it’s been negotiated down by nearly half, while Credit Suisse agreed to pay $5.3 billion in a similar deal. Shares in both banks leapt at the news, while Barclays stock dropped as regulators announced they’ll be suing the bank after talks in a similar probe broke down.
Know This: A Libyan flight carrying 118 people was hijacked and diverted to Malta, where the culprits surrendered to police. Mexico will rebuild the fireworks market where a massive explosion killed dozens this week. And a Brazilian photographer has captured images of a previously uncontacted Amazonian tribe.
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Take that, 2016. One of the only positive results of last year’s catastrophic outbreak — which killed more than 11,000 people — was an influx of money and attention dedicated to preventing or curing Ebola. Now it’s paid off: Researchers reported yesterday that in a new vaccine trial not one of 5,837 participants contracted Ebola. Next, scientists will turn to getting WHO and FDA approval, determining how long the vaccine remains effective — and figuring out how to save lives by developing new drugs before deadly outbreaks hit.
They guarantee life, liberty and the pursuit of YouTube. The Canadian government is spending $556 million to link up rural areas, after declaring that 50 Mbps download speeds and wireless access are a “basic telecommunications service” to which all citizens have a right in the 21st century. Telecom officials estimate that 18 percent of Canadians — about two million households — don’t have connections that meet this standard, and the ambitious five-year investment aims to get 90 percent of the country surfing at optimal speed.
They’re starting small. The Normandy village of Tourouvre-au-Perche is home to only 5,000 people, but it’s taking its place in energy history with the first road paved with solar panels, dubbed the “Wattway.” Solar has become increasingly popular as costs decrease, and this $5.2 million project, which will power the town’s streetlights, is a test drive for new technology. If this section of road produces adequate power, French officials say they may place solar panels all over the country’s highway system as they shift gears toward renewable energy sources.
It’s a hard act to follow. Barack Obama’s inaugurations were famously star-studded, but Donald Trump’s transition team has reportedly run into trouble booking celebrity guests — Elton John, Celine Dion, Garth Brooks and Andrea Bocelli were all floated as possibilities, but declined. No D.C.-area high school marching bands, which normally appear, even applied. The team has now announced the Rockettes and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform, and the Beach Boys are reportedly considering an offer. Trump tweeted that while “celebrities” are clamoring for tickets, “I want THE PEOPLE.”
Cleveland rocks again. The reported three-year, $65 million deal sends the first baseman to the defending AL champions. Encarnación, 33, batted .263, whacked 42 homers and drove in 127 runs last year for Toronto, which lost to Cleveland in the ALCS. He joins an offense that ranked fifth in the majors — and came incredibly close to a World Series title before falling to the Cubs. But the signing of one of baseball’s most consistent power hitters may send burly Indians first baseman Mike Napoli packing back to the Rangers.