Japanese PM visits Pearl Harbor: In a historical first, a sitting Japanese prime minister will visit the American naval installation at Pearl Harbor.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to accompany President Obama to Hawaii on Dec. 26.
The visit follows Mr. Obama’s trip to Hiroshima earlier this year where he delivered an address to the Japanese people on the horror of nuclear weapons.
Imperial Japan attacked the Pacific naval base in 1941, triggering America’s entry into the World War II.
ISIS re-enters Palmyra: After several days of fierce fighting near Palmyra, Islamic State (ISIS) forces have reentered the ancient city, which was recaptured by Syria from the terror group in March.
After launching a surprise offensive Thursday capturing vital oil fields surrounding the city and threatening a Syrian-held airbase, ISIS militants drove Syrian troops from the city on Saturday.
After the ISIS offensive was briefly stalled, Syrian officials claimed Russian airstrikes killed hundreds of ISIS fighters, but according to Russian media citing Kremlin military sources, ISIS terrorists regrouped and launched a second offensive, driving Syrian troops from the city.
Saudis to reduce oil shipments to U.S., Europe: Ahead of Saturday’s meeting between Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC members in Vienna, the Saudi government has announced it will cut its petroleum exports to the United States and Europe.
The reductions in deliveries are expected to begin at the beginning of 2017.
The decision to curtail the export of petroleum products by Saudi Arabia follows the decision to cut production by OPEC members last week.
Italian PM to step down: Following a crushing defeat in which a referendum seeking to curb the powers of the Italian Senato della Repubblica, Prime Matteo Renzi announced his resignation.
Renzi strongly backed the constitutional reform measure, which is viewed as a referendum on Italy remaining inside the European Union.
After three days of discussion, President Sergio Mattarella appointed Paolo Gentiloni, the current Italian Foreign Minister, as the new premier. Renzi is expected to remain as the head of the Partito Democratico.
South Korea impeaches President Park: South Korea’s National Assembly voted forcefully on Friday to remove President Park Geun-hye over the political leverage exercised by Choi Soon-sil, a South Korean influence peddler. The vote was 234–56.
Although not an official member of Park’s government, it is theorized Choi used her prestige within Park’s circle of advisers to extort ₩77 billion from large family-owned businesses to fund the construction of cultural buildings and foundations.
Although Park has dismissed several top ministers allegedly involved in the erupting scandal, two close Park aides have been arrested in the last month; both deny wrongdoing.
Following the impeachment vote, Park was stripped of presidential powers.
[RT News] [Reuters]