Dozens of Afghan security personnel were killed by Taliban militants who overran a military intelligence base near Kabul, officials have confirmed. Insurgents blew their way into the base using a car bomb before opening fire. Some reports put the toll at over 100. It is one of the deadliest attacks on the secret service and follows a string of battlefield setbacks for the army. Monday’s attack on the National Directorate for Security (NDS) base in central Wardak province came hours before the Taliban held another round of peace talks with US diplomats in Qatar.
Kamala Harris announced Monday that she is running for president in 2020, arguing that the time has come to fight against what she views as the injustices of the past two years of the Trump presidency. Harris is the first African-American woman to announce a run for the White House in 2020, and the fourth woman in the field. While avoiding directly engaging Trump, Harris has accused the President of stoking racist and xenophobic rhetoric, while aligning his administration with white supremacists at home, and cozying up to dictators abroad.
An explosion and a fire involving two tanker ships near the contested Kerch Strait, the waterway separating Crimea from mainland Russia, left at least 11 sailors dead on Monday and several missing, according to Russian news reports. Initial reports suggested that a fire and an explosion on one ship had spread to the second. In late November, a clash between Russian and Ukraine naval forces not far from the bridge led to Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and the arrest of 24 sailors, who remain in jail.
WhatsApp users will be blocked from forwarding messages to more than five individuals or groups under new rules the messaging service is rolling out worldwide to fight the spread of misinformation. The five-recipient limit was initially put in place in India last July. A larger limit, of 20 recipients, was put in place globally. WhatsApp said at the time the limits would “help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app”.
China’s economy cooled in the fourth quarter under pressure from faltering domestic demand and bruising U.S. tariffs, dragging 2018 growth to the lowest level in nearly three decades and pressuring Beijing to roll out more stimulus to avert a sharper slowdown. Policymakers have pledged more support this year to reduce the risk of massive job losses, but have ruled out a “flood” of stimulus like that which Beijing has relied on in the past, which quickly juiced growth rates but left a mountain of debt.