Six In The Morning Monday December 7

San Bernardino attack: Obama vows to overcome terror threat

US President Barack Obama has made a rare Oval Office address after the San Bernardino shootings that left 14 dead.

He said the killings were “an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people”.

But “freedom is more powerful than fear,” said President Obama, warning that falling prey to divisiveness in American society would play into the hands of extremists.

He also said the US must make it harder for potential attackers to obtain guns.

Mr Obama vowed that the US would overcome the evolving threat of terrorism, but warned that Americans “cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam”.

“If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism, we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate,” Mr Obama said.

The needless interrogation of a Belgian academic is exactly what Isis wants from us

Watching our Parliament’s grotesque debate on Syrian airstrikes last week (which had more to do with the destruction of Corbyn than the destruction of Isis), I do wonder what the future holds for Britain

Now that we’re all supposedly involved in the world battle against the worst enemy since Hitler – not climate change, of course, but Isis –  it’s time to understand just how the forces of law, order and security, who are supposed to protect us, can do more to recruit European Muslims to the Islamist cause than all the Isis videos combined.

It’s a tale of how policemen, through ignorance and racism, provoked Isis into sending sneering messages to a young man who probably does more to prevent “terror” on the streets of Brussels than anyone else.

Montasser al-De’emeh is a Palestinian academic and writer, a Belgian citizen and specialist in that one subject of which all policemen now regard themselves as experts: “radicalised” or “home grown” Isis “terrorists”.

Opinion: Impeaching Rousseff, destabilizing Brazil

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is unpopular – but that in itself is not a crime. Plans to instigate impeachment proceedings against her are only deepening the country’s political crisis, Rodrigo Abdelmalack writes.

The ice has begun to melt in Brasilia. After months of threatening to do so, National Congress President Eduardo Cunha has instigated impeachment proceedings against Dilma Rousseff. It is a clear abuse of Cunha’s political power in order to save his own skin. Cunha is at the heart of a corruption scandal involving Brazil’s state-run oil company, Petrobras, which has shocked the whole country. He is being investigated by the parliamentary ethics commission.

It is no coincidence that Cunha gave the go-ahead to the impeachment proceedings on the very day that members of the governing Workers’ Party voted in favor of the investigation into his activities.Cunha does not acknowledge any connection. He stated on Facebook that the impeachment proceedings were in response to “the voice of the street” and the protests of March, April and August. Given that several months have passed since then, this suggests a delay atypical for a politician who is otherwise capable of very swift maneuvers.

Devastation unfolds as flood waters recede in Chennai

As flood waters receded in some parts of rain-ravaged Chennai, the impact of the devastation has slowly begun to emerge with rescue teams stumbling upon a few bodies inside buildings that were marooned.

The most tragic among them was the drowning of an engineer-couple trapped inside their office in Ekkatuthangal here. Just two days ago, rescue personnel found the body of an elderly couple at Defence Colony in Nandambakkam.

With many parts of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore still submerged, it is feared that the scale of such human tragedy could be higher. Sunday’s rains and the forecast of a wet Monday and Tuesday have heightened the anxiety of the National Disaster Response Force, the Coastal Security Group and the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services personnel making their rescue and relief missions much more complex.

Venezuela’s opposition party wins parliament in a blow to Maduro

Updated 0658 GMT (1458 HKT) December 7, 2015

Venezuela’s opposition party has claimed the majority of seats in the National Assembly in elections held Sunday, the first major shift in power in the legislative branch since the late President Hugo Chavez took office in 1999.

The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) took 99 seats to just 46 for the United Social Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Tibisay Lucena, president of Consejo Nacional Electoral announced.

“Venezuela, we won!” said opposition key figure Henrique Capriles, governor of the state of Miranda. “I always told you all, this was the way! Humility, maturity and serenity. Long live the people of Venezuela!”

Setback for Chavismo

The election results are seen as a major setback to the ruling party. This is the first time in 17 years that Chavismo has not won a nationwide election in Venezuela.

Beijing’s airpocalypse drags on, minister vows punishment


Schools in Beijing were shut on Monday after China issued a smog warning, with the thick shroud of grey cloud expected to hang over northern cities until Thursday.

State media outlet Xinhua reported that China’s National Meteorological Center had issued a yellow alert for moderate to heavy smog, and said that the air pollution would only be dispersed on Thursday by a cold front.

The country has a four tier color-coded weather alert system, with red as a warning of extreme weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

In February, China’s state council announced a new contingency plan for environmental emergencies, setting out details such as the responsibilities of authorities, monitoring and reporting duties and response procedures.

Chinese Environment Minister Chen Jining threatened on Sunday to punish agencies or personnel who failed to initiate the emergency response plan in a timely manner.