Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has secured her third consecutive term with a landslide victory, Bangladesh’s Election Commission said on Monday. The opposition has condemned the vote as “farcical,” marred by violence, intimidation and vote rigging claims. At least 17 people have been killed in clashes between ruling party supporters and the opposition. “We urge the election commission to void this farcical result immediately,” opposition leader Kamal Hossain said.
Russia’s domestic security service, the FSB, has detained a US citizen accused of spying, it announced on Monday. The FSB, the successor of the Soviet-era KGB, said in a statement that the American was arrested on Friday “while carrying out an act of espionage”. News of the detention comes on the day after Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, expressed a desire for better relations with the US in 2019. Russia has sought to improve relations with the west after a year in which diplomacy was at its frostiest since the cold war.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has sent a “conciliatory message” to U.S. President Donald Trump amid stalled nuclear negotiations, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported on Monday. On Sunday, the office of South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said Kim had sent a letter to his counterpart in Seoul saying he wants to hold more inter-Korean summits next year to achieve denuclearization of the peninsula. At a summit with Trump in Singapore in June, Kim vowed to work towards denuclearization.
A 14th person was arrested Saturday in connection with the beheading deaths of two Scandinavian tourists, according to the state-run Maghreb Arab Press. The news agency described him as a “Swiss man who holds Spanish nationality with residence in Morocco.” Authorities have already arrested 13 suspects connected to the killings, state-controlled news agency 2M reported. Four were suspected on killing the women, and appeared to pledge allegiance to ISIS in a video.
Tropical Storm Usman, which entered the Philippines on Christmas Day, emerged as the deadliest weather disaster for the country this year following Typhoon Mangkhut in September. Usman, a slow-moving storm with winds of up to 55 kilometers (34 miles) an hour, killed at least 61 people as it triggered floods and landslides and forced thousands to flee to safer grounds. More than 6,600 people were stranded in various ports, while Cebu Air Inc. and Philippine Airlines Inc. canceled more than a dozen flights from Dec. 27 to Dec. 30.