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Defense Secretary Ash Carter Says US, Partners Need To Stay In Iraq After ISIS Defeat
The American military, along with its international partners, will need to remain in Iraq even after the expected defeat of the Islamic State group, outgoing Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Saturday. Carter said the U.S. and its coalition partners must not stop after completing the current campaign to expel ISIS from Iraq's second largest city of Mosul. He said the militants are on a path to lasting defeat. "But there will still be much more to do after that to make sure that, once defeated, ISIL stays defeated," he said, using an alternative acronym for ISIS. "We'll need to continue to counter foreign fighters trying to escape and ISIL's attempts to relocate or reinvent itself. To do so, not only the United States but our coalition must endure and remain engaged militarily." Fox News

Stop Unwanted Calls And Texts From Hitting Your Cellphone
If you get an unsolicited marketing call on your cellphone, first ask the caller how they got your number and firmly tell them you don't want to be contacted again. If they call back, file a complaint with the FTC at or 1-888-382-1222. But these days, many companies find it cheaper, easier and more profitable to send advertisements by text. You may also receive a host of "robocalls," pre-recorded messages that automatically play when you pick up. With so many cellphone numbers being collected in databases, companies have a massive list of potential customers. Fox News

Trump's Campaign Style Lost In Translation
Donald Trump anchored his presidential campaign on defying convention and flouting political norms, and it worked better than anyone ever expected. But now the President-elect is applying the same unorthodox, off-the-cuff style of leadership to sensitive diplomatic procedure and it's causing a storm at home and overseas. Trump flew in the face of four decades of international protocol and precedent Friday when he became the first President or President-elect known to speak directly to the leader of Taiwan since the US established formal relations with Beijing in 1979. CNN

Mook: Clinton's 'Deplorables' Comment 'Definitely Could Have Alienated' Voters
Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook acknowledged the former secretary of state calling half of Donald Trump's supporters "deplorables" alienated voters, saying that's why the Democratic presidential nominee publicly expressed regret over the remarks so quickly thereafter. "Hillary apologized right away after that and said that she misspoke and that she regretted the comment. That's something that Donald Trump wouldn't do, you know," he told CNN's Jake Tapper during a special edition of CNN's "State of the Union," filmed at Harvard University's Institute of Politics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The event, "War Stories: Inside Campaign 2016," also included Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and was the first time that the two managers appeared together alone since the presidential campaign. CNN


Pentagon Arms Buyer 'Hopeful' That Lockheed F-35 Block Buy Will Proceed
Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's chief arms buyer, said on Saturday he was hopeful that a proposed three-year block buy of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, expected to generate large savings, would go ahead."I can't say what's in the final budget, but I'm very hopeful that the block buy will proceed as planned, Kendall told Reuters at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in southern California. Kendall said Pentagon officials had debated postponing or scrapping the block buy, which would cover more than 400 aircraft and includes purchases by the U.S. military and other countries participating in the F-35 program, until after operational testing and evaluation had been completed. Reuters

Guantanamo Detainee Released To Cabo Verde
The U.S. Defense Department on Sunday announced that a long-held inmate at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, Shawqi Awad Balzuhair, had been transferred to the government of Cabo Verde. Balzuhair, a citizen of Yemen, was arrested in Pakistan on Sept. 11, 2002, and arrived the following month at the U.S. military facility in Cuba. Last July, the Obama administration found that Balzuhair did not present a significant threat to national security. He had been described by U.S. officials as a "low-level Yemeni militant" who received basic training at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan in mid-2001. Reuters

Petraeus On Mishandling Classified Information: 'I Made A Serious Mistake'
Gen. David Petraeus faces a unique hurdle while auditioning for the job of Donald Trump's secretary of state: His guilty plea for mishandling classified information.
The former CIA director and retired general insisted Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that he has learned from what he called a "serious mistake" while seeking to place the scandal in the context of his career. "Five years ago I made a serious mistake," Petraeus said. "I acknowledged it, I apologized for it, I paid a very heavy price for it and I've learned from it. And again, they'll have to factor that in and also obviously 38 and a half years of otherwise fairly, in some cases, unique service to our country in uniform and at the CIA." MSNBC

Democrats' Popular Vote Advantage Is Growing But That May Not Equal Election Wins
In the seven presidential elections since 1992, the Republican candidate has won the popular vote just once but has prevailed in the Electoral College three times — and the trends show that the Democrats' edge in the popular vote may be growing. When the final tally is in from the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton is likely to win the popular vote by about 2.5 million votes. Donald Trump, of course, won the Electoral College and the White House. Population shifts and changing political divisions in the United States over the past few decades show a definite trend. Since 1992, Democratic White House winners have won the popular vote by an average of 7.1 million votes while Republican White House winners have won the popular vote by an average of 84,000 votes. MSNBC


Democrats' Popular Vote Advantage Is Growing But That May Not Equal Election Wins
In the seven presidential elections since 1992, the Republican candidate has won the popular vote just once but has prevailed in the Electoral College three times — and the trends show that the Democrats' edge in the popular vote may be growing. When the final tally is in from the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton is likely to win the popular vote by about 2.5 million votes. Donald Trump, of course, won the Electoral College and the White House. Population shifts and changing political divisions in the United States over the past few decades show a definite trend. Since 1992, Democratic White House winners have won the popular vote by an average of 7.1 million votes while Republican White House winners have won the popular vote by an average of 84,000 votes. Washington Times

Paul Ryan Says Border Wall Could Include Fencing, No Deportation Force
House Speaker Paul Ryan discussed Donald Trump and his incoming administration’s immigration plans in an interview with “60 Minutes” airing Sunday evening, giving more details about what the Republican party plans to do to secure the border. “No, we’re not working on a deportation force,” Ryan told CBS News’ Scott Pelley. The Wisconsin Republican emphasized that those with criminal records would be the focus of enforcement resources. “Here’s what we’re working on with respect to immigration, securing our border, enforcing our current laws,” Ryan said. “He talked about criminal aliens. That’s just enforcing laws for people who came here illegally, who came and committed violent crimes. We should enforce those laws. But really, what we’re focused on is securing our border.” CBS

Nancy Pelosi: Democrats Won't Work With Trump To Privatize Medicare, VA
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that Democrats could find common ground with President-elect Donald Trump for some policy issues -- but the party will draw the line when it comes to privatizing Medicare and the VA. “We first of all respect the office that he holds and the people who elected him to the office,” Pelosi said. “We will engage where we can, and we will oppose where we cannot.” On those policies that the Democrats could engage with the Republican president-elect, Pelosi pointed to infrastructure, child care, and early childhood education. CBS

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46 Claims Filed In 2 Months To Priest Abuse Victims Program
It took 30 years for a former student to be ready to report he'd been sexually abused by a respected Roman Catholic priest on high school trips. But it didn't take long to realize the priest wouldn't be held accountable in court. Though the church said investigators found the allegations credible, the accuser couldn't sue or press criminal charges, mainly because of the passage of time. Instead, he's looking to a new compensation process set up by the Archdiocese of New York, potentially the most extensive effort of its kind to date. Some 46 people have filed claims in under two months, and the total could at least triple. ABC

Vice President-Elect Defends Trump's Unsubstantiated Claim Of 'Millions' Of Illegal Votes
Vice President-elect Mike Pence defended President-elect Donald Trump's recent tweet claiming without evidence that "millions" of fraudulent votes were cast in the 2016 election. "It's his right to express his opinion as President-elect of the United States," Pence told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" on Sunday morning. "He’s going to say what he believes to be true, and I know he is always going to speak in that way as president." When pressed about whether he believes the claim is accurate, Pence said, "I think one of the things that’s refreshing about our president-elect and one of the reasons why I think he had an incredible connection with people all across this country is because he tells you what's on his mind." ABC

Dubai Stocks Rise Third Day As Key Indicator Signals More Gains
Dubai stocks were the biggest gainers across Gulf markets after oil, the region’s main source of revenue, capped its best week since 2009. The DFM General Index climbed a third day to the highest level in more than two months, triggering a technical pattern that suggests bulls have taken control. Emaar Properties PJSC was the biggest contributor to the gauge’s 1.7 percent advance after Al Khaleej newspaper reported the developer signed an insurance settlement of 1.2 billion dirhams ($327 million) for a fire that engulfed one of its hotels on New Year’s Eve. Bloomberg


Asian Stock Futures Tip Gains Amid Italy Vote; Dollar Holds Drop
Asian stocks were poised for a cautious open as traders brace for the results of Italy’s referendum on constitutional reform, with the dollar nursing losses following payrolls data in the U.S. Futures on equity gauges from Japan to Hong Kong signaled gains after the variable jobs data sparked a rally in Treasuries Friday, while damping gains in U.S. shares. The dollar maintained declines versus the yen, while the euro flirted with losses after Austrian voters bucked the global trend, spurning the anti-establishment, nationalist candidate for president in favor of the Green Party-backed Alexander Van der Bellen. The pound also edged lower in the last hours of voting in Italy. Oil starts the week at its strongest point in 16 months. Bloomberg

Overdose Epidemic: Fentanyl Is A Growing Threat To Public Health And Safety
Fentanyl is a drug so deadly, a tiny fleck equal to three grains of salt could kill a healthy adult. Last year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency issued a nationwide alert, calling fentanyl a threat to health and public safety. During the past two years, the narcotic has been linked to an unprecedented epidemic of overdose deaths, which are increasing at an alarming rate. Law enforcement officials say it’s only a matter of time until fentanyl use becomes as rampant in Nevada as it has in other parts of the country. Las Vegas Sun

Trump Faces Pushback From Base, Allies Over Romney Musings
As President-elect Donald Trump stood onstage during the debut night of his "Thank you" tour and teased that he was about to announce a surprise Cabinet pick, some in the Ohio crowd bellowed: "No Romney! No Romney!" Trump's administration selections have largely been cheered by close allies and supporters. Many have deep ties to Washington and Wall Street that would seem contradictory to the populist, outsider campaign Trump ran with a promise to "drain the swamp" of corruption and elitism in government. But the possible selection of Romney, who is on Trump's shortlist for Secretary of State despite being a forceful critic throughout the campaign, has been met with trepidation from many of the working-class voters that propelled the Republican to his astonishing victory. Las Vegas Sun

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Austria's Far-Right Norbert Hofer Concedes In Election Re-Run
Far-right candidate Norbert Hofer conceded defeat against independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen in a re-run election Sunday. Official results are not expected until Monday, but exit polls announced by state broadcaster ORD showed with Van der Bellen with 53.6 percent of the vote compared with 46.4 for Hofer. Polls before Sunday's vote suggested the result was too close to call. In May, Van der Bellen, a former Green Party leader, defeated Hofer by little more than 30,000 votes in a tightly fought contest decided by mail-in ballots. But Hofer and his party challenged the results and they were annulled because of concerns of how the ballots were handled. UPI

United Nations To Stop Reporting Military Casualties In Iraq
The United Nations mission in Iraq said it will stop reporting military casualty figures after Iraq's military complained the numbers were exaggerated. In a press release published Sunday, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, or UNAMI, said it "acknowledges that the military figures were largely unverified." The agency said it will discontinue the reporting "unless a sound methodology of verification can be found to better substantiate the figures being reported." UNAMI said it will continue to publish civilian casualty figures because they are "subjected to a rigorous methodology based on a range of sources, triangulation of sources and assessment of credibility, among other things." It noted its figures are "conservative" because they "do not include many of the reports received by the Mission that do not meet verification criteria, and hence should be considered as minimums." UPI

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Kerry Says Would Be Valuable For Trump To Seek Advice Before Calls
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday it would be valuable for President Donald Trump's transition team to seek State Department recommendations before contacting foreign leaders, but there have been no requests for such talking points. "We have not been contacted before any of these conversations," Kerry told a think tank conference. "I do think there is a value, obviously, of having at least the recommendations, whether you choose to follow them or not is a different issue, but I think it's valuable to have people who work the desk ... their input on what's the current status of some particular issue at the moment, I think that's valuable, and I would certainly recommend it, but, obviously, that hasn't happened." Jerusalem Post

Kerry: 'Israel Heading To A Place Of Danger' Over Settlements
After four years as secretary of state that featured 375 public conversations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and 40 in-person visits, John Kerry appeared frustrated Sunday that more than 130 hours of conversation have failed to slow Israel’s settlement construction in the West Bank. Israel is “heading to a place of danger,” Kerry told the Saban Forum in Washington, warning of “an erosion over a period of time” of the chances for a real and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace “by virtue of this continued settlement process.” Jerusalem Post

US Election Recount: Greens Change Tactics In Pennsylvania Bid
The US Green Party led by Jill Stein has changed its strategy in seeking a state-wide recount in Pennsylvania. The campaign says it will go to the federal courts, hours after dropping an appeal in a Pennsylvania state court. The party had earlier said voters could not afford the $1m (£785,000) bond ordered by the state court. Ms Stein has tried to force recounts in Michigan and Wisconsin as well; all three were narrowly won by President-elect Donald Trump. BBC

Venezuela Issues New Banknotes After Inflation
A backpack full of cash is often required to pay bills at a restaurant or supermarket. The central bank said that six new bills ranging from 500 to 20,000 bolivars would come into circulation on 15 December. Currently the largest note is 100 bolivars and worth about two US cents. Over the past month, the currency has tumbled by 60% against the dollar on the black market. "[This] will make the payments system more efficient, facilitate commercial transactions and minimize the costs of production, replacement and transfer ... which will translate into benefits for banking, trade and the general population," the central bank said. BBC

Apple Confirms It Is Working On Self-Driving Cars
Apple has said for the first time that it is working on technology to develop self-driving cars. The company, which has been rumoured to be interested in the automated car market for the past two years, confirmed its previously secret initiative in a statement to the US highways regulator. “The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation,” said the letter from Steve Kenner, Apple’s director of product integrity, to the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Guardian

Benjamin Netanyahu To Discuss 'Bad' Iran Nuclear Deal With Donald Trump
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said he and Donald Trump will discuss the “bad” nuclear deal with Iran after the US president-elect enters the White House. During the US election campaign, Trump called the nuclear pact a “disaster” and “the worst deal ever negotiated”. He has also said it would be hard to overturn an agreement enshrined in a United Nations resolution. Speaking to the Saban Forum on the Middle East in Washington via satellite from Jerusalem, Netanyahu said: “Israel is committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons ... That has not changed and will not change. Guardian

Rebel-Held Eastern Aleppo Runs Out Of Space To Bury The Dead
The Syrian Army warned Aleppo’s rebels to leave the city or face “inevitable death” yesterday, as gravediggers said they had run out of space to bury their dead. A two-week offensive has pulverised what was left of east Aleppo after four years of opposition control, and slashed the territory held by rebels by nearly two-thirds. Government forces would "continue fighting until they restore stability and security to all neighbourhoods," Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Samir Suleiman said. Telegraph

Trump Attends "Villains And Heroes" Costume Party Dressed As...Himself
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump attended a "Villains and Heroes" costume party at a major donor's Long Island home on Saturday night, but declined to don any garb that was in keeping with the theme. Trump entered the party hosted by the Mercer family, one of his biggest donors, at their home in the village of Head of the Harbor in St. James, N.Y., wearing a suit and a blue and white checked tie. Security guards at the event however were dressed as biker gang members Hell's Angels. Telegraph

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