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On Friday, President Barack Obama announced his nomination of Ashton B. Carter, a physicist and former deputy defense secretary, to replace Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

Carter is widely seen in many ways as the opposite of Secretary Hagel, who is criticized as passive and who submitted his resignation under pressure from the Obama administration last week.

“Ash is rightly regarded as one of our nation’s foremost national security leaders,” said President Obama at the announcement. “He was at the table in the Situation Room, he was by my side in navigating complex security challenges.”

Carter worked in the Pentagon under the Clinton administration and later returned as the chief weapons buyer under former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, before becoming deputy defense secretary himself.


In an unprecedented case, a German court convicted Kreshnik Berisha, 20, of membership of a foreign terrorist organization and sentenced him to jail for three years and nine months last Friday.

Berisha, a member of the Islamic State, originally returned from fighting with the Islamic State militants in Syria in December 2013 and was put on trial this September.

After prosecutors promised Berisha a lighter sentence in exchange for confessing, he avoided the harsher 10 year prison sentence after admitting he spent six months fighting with the Islamic State last year.

German authorities believe that more than 500 German citizens have gone abroad to fight for the Islamic State and estimate that 60 have died in Iraq and Syria.


Officials from Cuba and Norway, the two countries brokering the peace process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), announced on Wednesday that a week of discussions would begin in Havana on December 10.

“We consider the crisis over and announce that we have agreed that the next cycle of conversations will take place between 10 and 17 of December,” read a joint statement delivered by a Cuban official.

Colombia’s president ended the most recent round of talks after the FARC seized General Ruben Dario Alzate and two others on November 16.

The negotiators said the next round of talks will focus on suppressing the conflict and meeting the relatives and loved ones of victims.