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Friday News Roundup - International

TOPSHOT - Afghan balloon vendors walk past the Ministry of Public Works a day after a deadly militant attack in Kabul on December 25, 2018. - An hours-long gun and suicide attack on a Kabul government compound killed at least 43 people, the health ministry said December 25, making it one of the deadliest assaults on the Afghan capital this year. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP)        (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Afghan balloon vendors walk past the Ministry of Public Works a day after a deadly militant attack in Kabul on December 25, 2018. - An hours-long gun and suicide attack on a Kabul government compound killed at least 43 people, the health ministry said December 25, making it one of the deadliest assaults on the Afghan capital this year. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump made a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq and Germany on Wednesday.

During the visit, he defended his decision to withdraw about 2,000 American troops from Syria, a move that spurred the resignation of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and was widely criticized by national security experts.

From The Associated Press:

[Trump] said the decision to leave Syria showed America’s renewed stature on the world stage and his quest to put “America first.”

“We’re no longer the suckers, folks,” Trump told U.S. servicemen and women at al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq, about 100 miles or 60 kilometers west of Baghdad. “We’re respected again as a nation.”

A White House official said the trip had been in the works for more than six weeks.

Brett McGurk, the president’s special envoy to coalition forces combating ISIS, also resigned over the troop withdrawal from Syria. But the president suggested he wasn’t familiar with McGurk.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2018

Anti-government protests have also gained more traction around the globe recently.

Police used tear gas and fired upon thousands of protesters in Sudan on Christmas Day. The protesters were attempting to march on the presidential palace of Omar al-Bashir, who has been Sudan’s president for 29 years. The Associated Press reported that Tuesday’s march came after “a week of protests initially sparked by rising prices and shortages of food and fuel, but which later escalated into calls for Bashir to go.”

And in Tunisia, photojournalist Abderazzak Zergui set himself on fire to protest social conditions in the country. Reuters reported that Zerguri posted a Facebook video before his death that “appeared to say that whenever the unemployed in his town prepare to protest, militant attacks are launched to silence them.”

A devastating tsunami in Indonesia killed more than 430 people on Saturday. The island is still on high alert as volcanic activity continues. Officials are still looking for survivors.

From NBC:

A tsunami hit the coast Saturday after a 158-acre section of rock from Anak Krakatau’s southwest side — the size of nearly 120 football fields — collapsed into the ocean. The shock, equivalent to a 3.4-magnitude earthquake, triggered the wave that hit land 24 minutes later.

Saturday’s disaster struck without warning, taking people by surprise in a country that regularly suffers landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. No big earthquake shook the ground beforehand, and the waves surged inland at night on a holiday weekend while people were enjoying concerts and other beach and resort activities.

And a small city in Minnesota is fighting back against a report by a Der Spiegel reporter. Journalist Claas Relotius “invented a condescending fiction” about Fergus Falls.

After two citizens published a lengthy fact-check of Relotius’ work called “Der Spiegel journalist messed with the wrong small town”, the magazine retracted the piece and investigated the reporter’s other work — a process which revealed fabrication in many of his other stories.

The venerated German magazine plans to press charges against Relotius.

We’re headed into the last weekend of 2018 with the global news that made headlines this week.

GUESTS

Ron Nixon, International investigations editor, Associated Press; author of “Selling Apartheid: South Africa’s Global Propaganda War”; @nixonron

Rosiland Jordan, State Department/specials correspondent, Al Jazeera English Television; @RosJordanAJE

Nathan Guttman, Washington correspondent, Israeli Public TV; @nathanguttman

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

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