European powers have warned Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro that he must call elections within eight days or they will officially recognize the opposition’s claim of leadership. Mr Maduro is under pressure after his rival Juan Guaidó declared himself “acting president” on Wednesday. Venezuela later rejected the ultimatum at a UN meeting, where divisions between world powers were laid bare. Also on Saturday, Venezuela’s defense attache in Washington, Col José Luis Silva, said he now recognized Mr Guaidó as interim leader and that fresh elections were needed.
Brazilian rescuers searched into the night on Sunday for hundreds of people missing after a burst mining dam triggered a deadly mudslide, as the death toll rose to 58 and was expected to keep climbing more than two days after the disaster. The collapsed dam at Vale SA’s Corrego do Feijao mine buried mining facilities and nearby homes in the town of Brumadinho, killing dozens and leaving the community in shock.
The prominent Chinese rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for subversion. A court in Tianjin heard on Monday that Wang had been found “guilty of subversion of state power”. Wang, a lawyer who defended political activists, victims of land seizures, and members of the banned religious group Falun Gong, was tried in a closed hearing at the second intermediate people’s court on 26 December. He was one of approximately 250 lawyers and activists detained in 2015, as part of what is now known as the 709 crackdown, and was the last of the group still awaiting trial.
Two bombs tore through a Roman Catholic cathedral in southern Philippines on Sunday, killing at least 20 people and leaving dozens wounded, authorities said. ISIS on Sunday claimed responsibility for the bombings via its Amaq News Agency. In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana condemned the bombing and said he has directed troops to “heighten their alert level” and secure places of worship and public spaces.
Technology giant Facebook has announced plans to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger. The merger is intended to create “the best messaging experiences” for the billions of users around the world who use the Facebook-owned apps. The apps will remain distinct from each other, although the underlying messaging infrastructure would be unified, according to people familiar with the matter.