John Beale, a former EPA senior policy advisor who pled guilty on September 27 to stealing nearly $900,000 from the agency over 13 years, was sentenced to 32 months in prison on December 18.
The United Nations announced on December 16 that it is asking for a total of $12.9 billion in aid, with $6.5 billion of that amount to go to refugees impacted by the ongoing civil war in Syria.
Ten years after the capture of Saddam Hussein by U.S. troops on December 13, 2003, observers have documented an Iraq that is still in turmoil, as al Qaeda militants wage an increasingly aggressive campaign to extend their influence over the country.
President Obama took to the stage to lavishly praise the recently deceased South African revolutionary Nelson Mandela at a December 10 memorial service in Johannesburg. But before doing so, he extended a welcome handshake to Cuban President Raul Castro.
Eight of the world’s largest technology companies have combined efforts to launch a website called “Reform Government Surveillance,” designed to expose and counter governmental violations of people’s privacy.
During a press conference at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, on December 6, Secretary of State John Kerry said, having met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the past two days, that he is “encouraged by the continued commitment of both leaders to the pursuit of peace.”
Hassan al-Laqis, a senior Hezbollah commander, was shot on December 3 outside his home two miles southwest of Beirut, dying a few hours later on December 4. A statement released by Hezbollah said that al-Laqis was killed as he returned home from work around midnight.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, during a recent public appearance in Kuwait City, extended an open invitation to Saudi Arabia to “work together in order to promote peace and stability in the region.” “We look at Saudi Arabia as an important and influential country in the region," he stated.
Yukiya Amano, the director general of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), announced on November 28 that Iran has invited his agency to visit the heavy water plant in the central city of Arak. Heavy water is commonly used in plutonium production.
In a 5-4 vote on November 19, the Supreme Court declined to block a new Texas law that imposes some moderate restrictions on abortion. Consequently, the law will remain in effect pending an appeal at the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.