At least 281 people were killed and hundreds more injured on Saturday when a tsunami hit the Sunda Strait. There are currently 57 people reported missing with the number expected to rise. Indonesian rescue teams and military continue to search the area for survivors on Monday. The tsunami was triggered by an underwater volcano landslide.
President Trump announced on Sunday that he will replace James Mattis as Defense Secretary at the beginning of 2019 two months earlier than planned. Trump announced that Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan will take Mattis’ place. The replacement comes after Mattis announced his resignation on Thursday saying his views were not aligned with Trump’s.
Japan’s Emperor Akihito spent his last birthday before his abdication pushing for the proper education of younger generations about the trials of war. Emperor Akihito’s son Crown Prince Naruhito will take the Chrysanthemum throne on May 1, 2019. Akihito will become the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in 200 years since Emperor Kōkaku in 1817.
As President Trump’s third government shutdown continues the incoming chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said it is ‘very possible’ that the shutdown will last past December 28th. The shutdown came amid disagreements between Democrats and the Trump administration about the border wall. The shutdown could continue until the new Congress begins in January.
SpaceX on Sunday successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket, which is carrying a $500 million GPS satellite made by Lockheed Martin, in its first national security mission for the U.S. military. The blastoff, which had been delayed Tuesday because of an unspecified problem with the rocket and also delayed Saturday because of high winds, lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral at 8:51 a.m. ET.