1) Due to fears of Russian aggression, Lithuania has reinstated compulsory military conscription. The Baltic region of Europe that borders Russia has placed a new priority on strengthening their military. The draft previously ended in 2008.
1) A number of bombings hit Iraq in the past day, killing 26 people and wounding 20. At least seven separate bombs went off. The region is very close to where Iraqi forces are still fighting off the threat from ISIS in Anbar. So far, no group has claimed credit for the attacks.
1) ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, took 90 Christians captive today in an early morning raid on villages in the northeastern part of the country. The nearest major city, Hasaka, is controlled by the Kurds. U.S. airstrikes and Kurdish fighters have been attacking the nearby ISIS position over the weekend.
1) Al-Shabaab attacked a luxury hotel in Somalia over the weekend, killing 25, including multiple senior level government officials such as the Mayor and two members of parliament. Al-Shabaab also called for attacks on malls, specifically the Mall of America, much like their attack on Westgate Mall in 2013.
1) Venezuela has arrested the Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, for “disturbing the peace.” Authorities claim he was part of a US-backed attempt at a coup to overthrow the government. Ledezma is a member of an opposition party calling for the exit of President Maduro. Venezuela is facing tough economic issues, including a quick devaluation of their currency. The U.S. State Department has denied any attempt of plotting a coup in Venezuela, but renewed calls for the release of jailed political opposition member, Leopoldo Lopez, and other political prisoners.
1) Despite steps towards an Aleppo ceasefire yesterday between the U.N. and the Syrian government, battles have continued. At least 70 pro-government soldiers were killed in the city. Additionally 66 members of the opposition were killed and 20 militants from Al Nursa.
1) Egypt is urging the U.N. to intervene in Libya. Egypt started bombing ISIS militant positions in Libya over the past two days and is now calling for the U.N. to mandate international action. Libya has been collapsing under violence and political uncertainty, the U.N. has been unable to mediate a resolution.