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Pope Francis' Disturbing Cuba Activism

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would be changing its policy toward Cuba, opening a Havana embassy and expanding travel. Pope Francis apparently initiated the negotiations himself. 17 Dec 2014

India Bans ISIS After Arrest of Shami Witness

India officially banned the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) after a top executive was arrested for spreading propaganda on behalf of the terrorist group. Medhi Masroor Biswas’s Twitter account @ShamiWitness was one of the most influential accounts affiliated with the jihadist group. 17 Dec 2014

Raul Castro Demands Obama Executive Action on Embargo in Victory Lap Speech

The people of Cuba received unprecedented news today, though they were unable to hear of the United States' reforms in diplomacy with Cuba from President Barack Obama. Instead, they were treated to an address by dictator Raúl Castro, in which he celebrated that the reforms will lead to "sustainable socialism" and urged President Obama to lift the embargo entirely through executive action. 17 Dec 2014

ISIS Executes Thirteen Men in Tikrit, Iraq

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group released pictures of militants executing thirteen men in Tikrit, Iraq, who allegedly belonged to an anti-jihadi Sunni tribe. The jihadists published the gruesome pictures on jihadist forums and social media. 17 Dec 2014

Cuba: A Good Deal, a Bad Deal

The surprise deal with Cuba announced Wednesday morning, which will bring American Bill Gross home and begin normalizing relations, could be the first real and significant foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration. Alternatively, it could be another Bergdahl deal, in which the U.S. gave up five Taliban leaders--in contravention of the law--in exchange for an alleged deserter and zero diplomatic gains with a terrorist army. 17 Dec 2014

'Green' Christmas Carols Replace Christ with Climate Change

What the New Yorker is calling "Climate Change Carols" are a series of Christmas songs whose lyrics have been rewritten to focus on environmental issues, gutting the carols of any relationship to the season of Christ’s birth. Not only that, but the hope and joy characteristic of Christmas has also given way to gloom and doom. 17 Dec 2014

AP Sources: US, Cuba Seek to Normalize Relations

The United States and Cuba will start talks on normalizing full diplomatic relations, marking the most significant shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island in decades, American officials said Wednesday. The announcement comes amid a series of new confidence-building measures between the longtime foes, including the release of American Alan Gross and the freeing of three Cubans jailed in the U.S. 17 Dec 2014

EU Removes Hamas from Terror List Due to 'Paperwork'

The European Union has removed Hamas from its list of terror groups after a court ruled that the correct paperwork had not been filed. According to a decision Wednesday, the Palestinian group, which has murdered hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians in suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and executions, was listed as a result of "factual imputations derived from the press and the Internet," instead of investigation by EU bureaucrats. 17 Dec 2014

Dick Cheney May Have Just Saved Lives

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has defended the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and its enhanced interrogation program--what critics (and even some supporters) have called "torture." Cheney's defense--that what the terrorists did was worse--was a non sequitur, albeit expressing what the majority of Americans feel. More broadly, he may have just saved lives--even assuming, for argument's sake, that the program was wrong. 16 Dec 2014

America's Fatal Flaw in the War on Terror: Underestimating the Jihadist Enemy

Hillary Clinton recently gave a foreign policy speech in what seems to be part of her early groundwork for an eventual 2016 Presidential candidacy.  In a speech widely panned by conservatives and foreign policy hawks, the former Secretary of State called out for more "smart power", specifically encouraging that in the pursuit of peace the United States should be, 16 Dec 2014

Reaction Mixed Among ISIS, Taliban Supporters Towards School Attack in Pakistan

Taliban militants slaughtered over 141 people, mostly children, in a raid on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan on Tuesday. Radical Islamists took to social media to either condemn, praise, or remain neutral on the attack. The following accounts on Twitter regularly tweet about jihad and show support for radical Islamic groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and the Taliban. Nonetheless, some condemned the Taliban. 16 Dec 2014

Invisible Children, Group Behind Kony 2012, to Shut Down

The charity Invisible Children, most famous for releasing the wildly popular, and later wildly unpopular, viral video "Kony 2012," is significantly reducing its operations, and a spokeswoman for the group says it will probably not exist in any form once its workers in Africa are released. 16 Dec 2014

Female Peshmerga Martyrs Lead the War for Kurds in War on ISIS

“We wanted to have what the civilized nations do,” Col. Nahida Ahmed Rashid, the head of her brigade of the Kurdish YPJ, or female Peshmerga forces, tells the Daily Beast's Susannah George. Like their male counterparts, the female Peshmerga fighting the Islamic State see the cause of women on the front lines as a symbolic fight against a repressive, and regressive, ideology. 16 Dec 2014

Sydney Archbishop: 'Hell Has Touched Us'

In his first major public act as the new Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher told the congregation present for a memorial service Tuesday that “hell has touched us,” adding that “the heart of our city is broken by the deaths of two innocent hostages.” 16 Dec 2014

The Battle of the Bulge: The Importance of Never Underestimating a ‘Defeated’ Enemy

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, one of the greatest victories in the history of the United States military. However, if not for a few brilliant maneuvers by Allied commanders and the incredible bravery and fighting spirit of the common fighting man, the history of World War II may very well have ended in a truce with Nazi Germany rather than its unconditional surrender. 16 Dec 2014

Two Heroes Emerge in Sydney Siege

Lindt Chocolate Café manager Tori Johnson and barrister Katrina Dawson died in the 17-hour hostage situation, but both will be remembered for their sacrifices to save those in the café. 16 Dec 2014

China Continues Rapprochement with Vatican

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang expressed his appreciation for Pope Francis’ decision not to meet with the Dalai Lama, who was in Rome for a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners. Qin said Monday that China had “noticed” the Holy See’s attitude. 16 Dec 2014

Report: Qatar Serves as 'ATM for Terrorists'

The country of Qatar, an Arab partner in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, IS), fosters a “permissive jurisdiction” that allows private donations to the jihadists group and other terrorists in the Middle East, a report by a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank found. 16 Dec 2014

Sydney Hostages Pleaded for Sick, Elderly, Young

SYDNEY (AP) — The Sydney hostages pleaded for help — for those among them who were pregnant, sick and elderly. Also for those who were young and deserved a shot at a decent life. 16 Dec 2014

Belgian Police Detain 3 After Apartment Siege

GHENT, Belgium (AP) — Belgian police detained three men after reports of a hostage taking in an apartment building in the western city of Ghent on Monday. No one was injured in the incident. 16 Dec 2014

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