Aleppo evacuation: thousands wait to leave as ‘new deal reached’.

Injured children are being treated in a field hospital near Idib. (Image courtesy of Reuters)

Civilians and rebels trapped in east Aleppo in Syria are waiting to leave after a new deal was reached. Government officials and rebel sources say that the agreement between the two parties will allow people to leave besieged cities in Syria. Yet, hours after the announcement, aid agencies were still waiting for the process to start. Around 6,000 people left east Aleppo during a truce on 15 December 2016, but the operation was halted a day later. The area has seen rapid government advances in the past few weeks.

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7.9 magnitude earthquake strikes near Papua New Guinea, tsunami threat issued.

A powerful earthquake struck off the coast of the Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea on Saturday.  (Image courtesy of Ashley Gilbertson)

An earthquake struck the coast of the Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea on Saturday, 17 December 2016. In addition to this, tsunami threats were issued to all areas near the epicenter. The 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck 46 kilometers east of Taron in Papua New Guinea. The original reported magnitude was 8.0, but was downgraded to 7.9. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damages. Papua New Guinea sits on the Ring of Fire, which is the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific ocean, where earthquakes are common.

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Last of the first-ever astronauts passes away.

Glenn climbs into his Friendship 7 capsule for his historic flight on 20 February 1962. (Image Courtesy of NASA)

Former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Herschel Glenn Jr. passed away Thursday, 8 December 2016, at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus at age 95. Glenn, who served four terms as a U.S. senator from Ohio, was one of NASA’s original “Mercury 7” astronauts: the first manned spaceflight program of USA. His flight on shuttle Friendship 7 on 20 February 1962, showed the world that America was a serious contender in the space race against the Soviet Union. His mission of almost nine days on the space shuttle orbiter Discovery, launched 29 October 1998, when he was 77, made him the oldest human to venture into space. Glenn is described as “humble, funny, and generous” by Trevor Brown, Dean of the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University.

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Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe meet for breakthrough economic deal, eludes islands dispute.

Russian President Vladimir Putin [left] and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [right] review the guard of honour during a meeting in Tokyo, Japan, 16 December 2016. (Image Courtesy of Reuters)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin wrapped up two days of talks on 16 December 2016, with numerous economic deals. However, the two did not settle any breakthrough agreements on a territorial row that has weakened ties since World War Two. Experts commented that, through this meeting, Putin decreased the international isolation Russia faces (caused by the Western condemnation over the destruction of eastern Aleppo). Russian officials said the two sides had signed a total of 80 documents, including 68 on commercial matters. However, Putin faced strong opposition from protesters and opposition politicians during his visit.

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Seattle Sounders beat Toronto FC on penalties to win 2016 MLS Cup.

Toronto FC players look in defeat as the Seattle Sounders score the winning penalty. (Image Courtesy of CBC News)

The Seattle Sounders beat Toronto Football Club (TFC) 5-4 in a penalty shootout on Saturday to win the 2016 Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup for the first time in team history. The Sounders had endured a 120 minute game without a single shot on goal. At the final penalty kick, however, Seattle’s Roman Torres scored after TFC had missed their previous shot. Toronto FC is considered the best club in the Eastern conference who has never won the MLS Cup.

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