Each week, we bring you a roundup of some of the biggest stories making headlines around the world.
Here are nine things that happened last week that you should know about (in no particular order):
1. Tragedy in Aleppo
Aleppo, formerly the most populous city in Syria, has fallen. President Bashar al-Assad’s forces recaptured control of the rebel-held eastern region of Aleppo. A plan to allow thousands of rebels and civilians to evacuate broke down as Assad’s forces have been killing an unknown amount of people (including women and children) on the street. Thousands remain trapped in the last remaining neighbourhoods in the eastern part of the city.
2. Bombing at Coptic Christian cathedral in Egypt kills 25
Twenty-five people are dead after a bombing at Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral in Cairo on December 11. The bombing is considered one of the worst attacks on a religious minority in recent history. The bomb exploded while a mass was being held in the chapel. Thirty-five people were injured in the blast.
3. Plane carrying 47 people crashes in Pakistan
On December 15, Pakistan mourned the 47 victims of the country’s deadliest plane crash in four years. The plane is believed to have crashed due to engine failure, but officials are still investigating the cause. The aircraft smashed into the side of a mountain near the town of Havelian on December 14.
4. Extreme smog alert issued in China
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) December 17, 2016
Beijing and other northern cities in China have banned almost half of all vehicles from city streets and factories and schools have been closed after a five-day smog red alert has been issued. Smog levels in Beijing are 10 times over the level considered safe by the World Health Organization. The smog alert came into effect on December 16 and will run until December 21.
5. Giraffes at risk of extinction after population plunges 40 %
According to scientists, the giraffe is in danger of a “silent extinction” after losing 40 % of its population in 30 years. The giraffe population in 1985 was numbered between 150,000 and 163,000 but the number has fallen to an estimated 97, 562 in 2016. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) placed the giraffe on its “Red List” for animals at risk of extinction.
- Read more on BuzzFeed News
6. Venezuela’s most-used banknote becomes worthless
Venezuela’s economic crisis is getting so bad that some parents are giving their children to neighbors or shelters. pic.twitter.com/hhAcjopmNd
— AJ+ (@ajplus) December 16, 2016
Venezuela’s most-used banknote has become void prompting protests and looting around the country. The higher-denomination bills that were meant to replace the 100-bolivar bills have not yet arrived at banks or ATMs. This has forced people to rely on bank cards and bank transfers to purchase items.
7. Car bomb targets off-duty military killing 13
Turkey car bombing kills 13 soldiers just a week after twin blasts killed 44 people outside a stadium in Istanbul https://t.co/dV1utctm1m
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) December 17, 2016
A car bomb killed 13 off-duty soldiers in the Turkish city of Kayseri on December 17. The bomb targetted a bus carrying off-duty personnel, injuring 56. The blast occurred near a university campus and comes just one week after twin bombings targetted police in Istanbul.
8. Humanitarian help needed for Nigeria famine
According to global security monitors, Nigeria’s Borno state is at an increased risk for a famine.”There is an elevated likelihood that famine is ongoing and will continue in the inaccessible areas of Borno State assuming conditions will remain similar or worse to those observed in Bama and Banki towns from April to August of 2016,” said the Integration Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) which is backed up by the UN.
9. Donald Trump denies Russia hacking claims
— Slate (@Slate) December 18, 2016
Donald Trump and his transition team are challenging the CIA over claims that Russia was trying to hack the November federal election in favour of the Republican party. The CIA is highly confident that Moscow was involved with tipping the US election to the Republicans. Trump and his team have denied the accusations.