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1. Inauguration 

China, Russia and Iran are holding four days of joint military drills in the Gulf of Oman starting today. The Gulf of Oman, one of the world’s key trade routes and an economically important region, has been a point of tension between Iran and the United States this year. After two oil tankers were attacked in the narrow strait in June, the US blamed Iran. Tehran denied the allegations. The drills by the three American rivals come not long after the US flexed its own naval muscle in the Middle East. According to a Chinese official, the exercises are a normal military exchange between the three armed forces. But Washington and President Donald Trump, who earlier this year proposed a US-led naval mission to the Gulf of Oman to protect economic interests in the region, probably won’t see it that way.

Remember that “Christmas gift” that North Korea said it would send to the US? We now have a new idea of what it could be. North Korea is planning to adopt a hard-line policy that involves abandoning negotiations with the US and taking denuclearization off the table, according to a source familiar with its thinking. Diplomats from Pyongyang and Washington have been trying to negotiate a trade that would see North Korea give up its nuclear arsenal in exchange for relief from punishing sanctions that have hurt the North Korean economy, but the rhetoric on both sides has ramped up in recent weeks. And as the clock ticks closer to North Korea’s self-imposed end-of-year deadline for negotiations, it appears less and less likely that North Korea will cut a deal with the US anytime soon. That’s partly because Kim Jong Un sees Trump as politically vulnerable right now because of his impeachment and the looming 2020 presidential election, the source said.

2. White House transition 

3. Coronavirus 

Dozens of people have been killed by a wave of bombardment in Idlib, Syria, according to the White Helmets, a local volunteer search and rescue group. Airstrikes and artillery fire have killed at least 33 people since Friday. The Syrian army, with support from Russian air power, has stepped up its attacks on the northwestern province, the country’s last major bastion of opposition and home to more than 3 million Syrians. The government has said that it is targeting terrorists in Idlib. But if the violence continues, hundreds of thousands of civilians could be forced to flee their homes in the coming weeks, international aid organizations warn.

4. ‘El Chapo’ trial

Scientists and environmentalists are not going to be happy about this. Emergency teams in the Galapagos Islands are working to contain a 600-gallon oil spill after a cargo vessel overturned early Sunday, officials said. The spill happened on San Cristobal Island after a crane appeared to lose control of a large container that was being loaded onto the ship’s deck. Video shows the crane and container falling onto the ship, causing it to tip into the ocean and forcing the crew to jump off as it began capsizing. San Cristobal is just one of the islands that make up the volcanic archipelago located hundreds of miles off Ecuador’s coast. Conservationists have gone to great lengths to protect the Galapagos, which is home to many species that can’t be found anywhere else on Earth.

5. Uganda


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