1) ISIS released a new video of Japanese hostage, Kenji Goto, late yesterday. The audio is reportedly spoken by Goto, in English. Goto says that Islamic State will execute him and Muadh al-Kasasbeh, a Jordanian pilot, unless Jordan releases the terrorist Sajida al-Rishawi in the next 24 hours. A campaign for Goto, to raise awareness and show solidarity against terrorism, is happening on social media with the hashtag #IAmKenji.
1) Kurds fighting in Syria have retaken the strategic town of Kobani from ISIS. Syrian President Bashar Assad told U.S. journalists he would be willing to cooperate with any country trying to defeat the Islamic State, including the U.S (a change in his previous position). Meanwhile, non-essential opposition members have met with the Syrian government at Moscow-arranged peace talks. Expectations for this meeting are not high since few key figures of the opposition movement have agreed to attend.
1) Left-wing Syriza party won Greek elections this weekend by 36%, making Alexis Tsipras the next Prime Minister. Syriza will reject austerity measures and challenge the European Union. The only question that remains is if Syriza will need a coalition or will be able to rule on their own as a single party.
1) A suicide car bomb attacked a hotel in Somalia, where Turkish delegates were meeting. While none of the delegation was harmed, two policemen were killed in the attack which is being claimed by al Shabaab. President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey had planned to arrive in Somalia tomorrow.
1) Houthi rebels in Yemen have taken over government buildings and the President’s residence in the past few days. U.S. Sec. of State Kerry told news outlets that President Hadi was planning on accepting most of the rebel demands for changes in the government.
1) After spending last week terrorizing Nigeria, Boko Haram made good on its threat and crossed over into Cameroon to attack a village. The ensuing battle with Cameroon’s soldiers did not go well for the militants. The current death toll is 143 members of Boko Haram, plus one soldier from Cameroon.
1) Ukraine has experienced a shift in its internal conflict in the past month. Dozens of small bombings have happened across the country, with 6 in Odesa during December. Most have threatened pro-Kyiv organizations. In eastern Ukraine, shelling of military outposts are on the rise. Today, Kyiv says their positions were targeted more than 50 times.