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Monday, December 22, 2014

World briefs

China
The Chinese government is continuing its search for attackers that killed 29 people in a stabbing rampage in a train station in the province of Yunnan. The government has claimed the attackers were part of a separatist group from Xinjiang, according to the Agence France-Presse. The attack, in which the perpetrators, who were dressed in black and carried knives, attacked people in a ticket line in the city’s Kunming Station, happened on Saturday. Police shot four attackers dead, arrested one and are hunting for more. About 130 people were wounded in the incident, AFP reported.

Germany
After U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry questioned the legitimacy of Russia’s membership in the Group of Eight leading economies amid political crisis in Ukraine, a German official on Sunday defended the country. German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said members of the G8 should not impulsively expel Russia from the group, according to Reuters. He said that through the G8, “we in the West can speak directly with Russia,” and that Ukraine and Russia should talk their problems out. Russia has been a member of the G8 since 1998.

Israel
Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews stormed the streets of Jerusalem en masse on Sunday to protest a potential policy that would require them to be drafted in Israel’s military. While other Israeli men have been subject to compulsory military service, ultra-Orthodox men have been allowed to skip service as long as they choose to pursue religious studies instead since Israel’s founding in 1948, according to the Associated Press. Despite the push from center-right officials, the ultra-Orthodox population claims that compulsory service will disrupt their mission to preserve Jewish religion and culture.

Nigeria
A series of violent attacks from Islamist militants in the city of Maiduguri over the weekend left at least 85 civilians dead, Nigerian authorities announced on Sunday. According to Reuters, two bomb explosions killed at least 46 people in the city on Saturday. In a simultaneous incident, militants gunned down civilians in a farming village near the city and shot dead at least 39.

The incidents have put pressure on current Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan with his four-and-a-half year battle against Boko Haram. Jonathan will run for re-election next year, Reuters reported.

Ukraine
The Ukrainian military on Sunday mobilized for war against Russia after Russian president Vladimir Putin declared that he had the right to invade the territory. Ukraine’s mobilization came amid threats of economic sanctions from the United States to Russia, Reuters reported. Russia has already seized several military bases in Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula on the Black Sea that contains an ethnic Russian majority. However, no violent standoffs among the two sides have been reported in Crimea at the moment, according to Reuters. “This is actually the declaration of war to my country,” Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told Reuters.

Venezuela
As the Carnival weekend kicked off in Venezuela, protesters brought placards and chants with them to the beach. According to Reuters, protesters have temporarily moved to La Morena, a small beach 25 miles northeast of the capital Caracas. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro declared Thursday and Friday to be part of the Carnival weekend, making this year’s celebrations into a four-day event. The anti-government protests have been going on since February, and 17 people have already been killed during the political turmoil.