10 things you need to know today: January 1, 2017
At least 39 killed in Istanbul nightclub attack, Trump suggests secret knowledge and handwritten messages to deal with hacking, and more
At least 39 killed in Istanbul nightclub attack
Armed attackers opened fire in an Istanbul nightclub just after midnight Sunday, according to Turkish officials. At least 39 people were killed and another 40 were injured. Several hundred people were reportedly packed into the Reina nightclub for New Year's celebrations when multiple gunmen "rained bullets" on the crowd, according to Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin, who called the incident a "terror attack." The Obama administration strongly condemned the murders. "That such an atrocity could be perpetrated upon innocent revelers, many of whom were celebrating New Year's Eve, underscores the savagery of the attackers," said National Security Council representative Ned Price. The gunman remains on the loose as of Sunday afternoon in local time.
Trump suggests secret knowledge and handwritten messages to deal with hacking
Speaking with reporters during the New Year's Eve celebration at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, President-elect Donald Trump said he has knowledge about alleged Russian hacking that others lack and suggested archaic communication methods for top security. "You know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way," he said. "Because I'll tell you what: No computer is safe." Trump, who rarely uses computers, also said he knows "a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove, so it could be somebody" other than Russia who attempted to interfere in the U.S. election. "I also know things that other people don't know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation," he added, indicating that he will share his secret information on "Tuesday or Wednesday."
U.N. Security Council unanimously endorses Syria cease-fire deal
The United Nations Security Council on Saturday voted unanimously to endorse the Syrian cease-fire deal negotiated by Russia, Iran, and Turkey. That agreement was reached Thursday between the Bashar al-Assad regime and Syrian rebel groups who previously controlled parts of the then-besieged city of Aleppo; the truce is tenuously holding. The U.N. resolution calls for "rapid, safe and unhindered" delivery of humanitarian aid throughout Syria and also endorses scheduled peace talks in Kazakhstan.
North Korea claims to be close to testing long-range missiles
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday claimed his government is nearly ready to do a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, a major development in his nuclear agenda if successful. Preparations for the test have "reached the final stage," Kim said, leading to speculation that a new test may be scheduled around his birthday on Jan. 8. This new technological prowess, he argued, will help North Korea "resolutely smash the enemies' despicable and vicious moves to dampen the pure and ardent desire of the people for the [Workers' Party of Korea] and estrange the people from it."
Federal judge blocks enforcement of transgender, abortion-related ObamaCare rule
A federal judge in Texas on Saturday granted a temporary injunction against enforcement of an ObamaCare rule concerning abortion and transgender patients. The Affordable Care Act prohibits "discrimination on the basis of gender identity and termination of pregnancy," a provision U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor said likely runs afoul of freedom of conscience protections guaranteed in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The plaintiffs in the case object that the rule forces "them to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender transitions and abortions, regardless of their contrary religious beliefs or medical judgment."
Pope Francis mourns Istanbul attack, prays for peace in New Year's address
Pope Francis on Sunday gave his annual New Year's address to about 50,000 people in St. Peter's Square, mourning Sunday's deadly terror attack in Istanbul, Turkey, and expressing hope for a more peaceful 2017. "Unfortunately, violence has stricken even in this night of good wishes and hope. In sorrow, I express my closeness to the Turkish people. I pray for the many victims and for the wounded and for the entire nation in mourning," he said. Still, the "new year will be good in the measure in which each of us, with the help of God, tries to do good, day by day," Francis charged. "That's how peace is created."
23 killed, dozens injured in Indonesian ferry fire
The Zahro Express, a tourist ferry operating near Jakarta, Indonesia, caught fire Sunday with about 250 people aboard. The blaze, which quickly spread over the whole boat, is believed to have been caused by a short on a power generator. Some 23 people were killed and dozens more hospitalized for their injuries. "All passengers panicked and ran up to the deck to throw floats into the water," said one survivor. "In a split second, the fire becomes bigger coming from where fuel is stored."
Donald Trump wishes Happy New Year to his enemies
President-elect Donald Trump sent out his well-wishes for the new year via Twitter Saturday morning, expressing his hope that even the haters will have a good 2017. "Happy New Year to all," he wrote, "including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do. Love!" Revelers welcomed 2017 around the globe Saturday night, celebrating the end of a year few believe has been good for the world.
Mariah Carey walks off stage during NYE show
Singer Mariah Carey walked off stage from her headline performance in Times Square Saturday evening after experiencing technical difficulties. When the audio track to which she was lip syncing malfunctioned, Carey stopped performing and asked the audience to sing the lyrics for her. "I'm trying to be a good sport here," she said. "It is what it is. It just don't get any better," Carey added as the error persisted. Then she left the stage. Carey's staffers were also reportedly confused about the night's events, asking organizers of "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest" what time the ball would drop.
M*A*S*H actor William Christopher dies at 84
Actor William Christopher, best known for his portrayal of Father John Mulcahy on M*A*S*H and AfterMASH, died Saturday of non-lung small cell carcinoma in his California home. He was 84. Aside from his role on what is still the most-watched scripted television series of all time, Christopher appeared in Murder, She Wrote, The Andy Griffith Show, and Days of Our Lives, among other series and films. A native of Illinois, he broke into show business on Broadway in the 1960s. He is survived by his wife of more than half a century and their two sons.