Top News Stories For Today – Dec 29, 2017
India’s richest man buys brother’s business
Reliance Communications, owned by Indian billionaire Anil Ambani, will sell its mobile business to the rival Reliance Jio network owned by his older brother Mukesh, the companies announced Thursday. Jio will take over Reliance Communications’ wireless assets, including high-speed mobile bandwidth, over 100,000 miles of optic fiber and more than 43,000 cellphone towers.
Anil Ambani had announced his company’s exit from the mobile business earlier in the week, after months of struggling with the price war across India’s telecom industry. That price war was started by his brother, who is India’s richest man. The two siblings divided up the Reliance empire their father created, after a bitter succession battle following his death in 2002. CNN
Alabama certifies Doug Jones’ victory
Alabama officials certified the electoral victory of Democrat Doug Jones on Thursday, putting an end to a hotly contested race. An Alabama judge shortly before had shot down a lawsuit by the Republican candidate, Roy Moore, to deny the results of the state’s Dec. 12 special Senate election.
Jones defeated Moore more than two weeks ago with a margin of more than 20,000 votes. Moore’s suit, filed Thursday morning, called for an investigation into possible voter fraud and a new election. Montgomery County Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick on Thursday denied the effort, and Alabama officials certified Jones’ victory as planned Thursday afternoon. Jones will be sworn into the Senate by Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 3. NBC News, The New York Times
At least 4 killed in Egyptian church attack
A gunman who opened fire outside a church south of Cairo has killed at least four people and wounded five more. At least one of the dead was a policeman. Authorities say the attacker was shot dead, and say they are searching for a possible second gunman. There has been no immediate claim of responsibility.
The Islamic State group, however, has killed dozens of Christians in church shootings and bombings in the past year. VOA
Iranian protest for the second day
Anti-government demonstrators have taken to the streets of Iran for a second day, with protests being held in several cities. The protesters have been angered by rising prices and corruption. The biggest protest on Thursday was in the north-eastern city of Mashhad, where there were 52 arrests.
There have been calls on social media for protests up and down the country, despite warnings from the government against illegal gatherings. The governor-general of the capital, Tehran, said no permits had been issued for public demonstrations. He said such gatherings would be firmly dealt with by the police, who are out in force on main intersections. BBC
HK-flagged ship seized for shipping oil to N. Korea
South Korea’s foreign ministry says the country has seized a Hong Kong-flagged ship, Lighthouse Winmore, that transferred oil to a North Korean vessel in international waters despite United Nations Security Council sanctions.
Yonhap reports the Lighthouse Winmore was hired by the Billions Bunker Group, a Taiwanese company. The news agency said the ship’s “claimed destination” was in Taiwan, but instead the ship “transferred oil to a North Korean ship, Sam Jong 2, and three other non-North Korean vessels in international waters in the East China Sea.” The Lighthouse Winmore is reportedly on the list of ships the US has proposed blacklisting for their prohibited trade with North Korea. VOA
Bitter cold temperatures blanket most of US
Bitter cold weather has blanketed the Central and Eastern United States, and it will stay in place for days into the new year. Forecasters are warning people to be on alert for hypothermia and frostbite as the temperatures plunge below freezing. The National Weather Service reports that International Falls, Minnesota, plunged to minus 37 degrees Celsius, breaking the record of minus 32 degrees Celsius set in 1924.
Residents of Erie, Pennsylvania, on Thursday continued to dig out of the one-and-a-half meters of snow that fell earlier this week. Forecasters are predicting another 10 inches of snow to arrive soon. VOA
Trump believes he will be treated fairly in Russian probe
President Trump said he believes he will be treated “fairly” by the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US election. There has been tension between the White House and the inquiry and Trump has had to deny planning to fire lead investigator Robert Mueller.
Trump again denied there had been any collusion with Russian officials. He told the New York Times he did not know how long the inquiry would take, but it had made the US “look very bad”. Speaking in an interview at his golf club in West Palm Beach in Florida, Trump insisted he had the right to begin or end any justice department investigations. BBC
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