Here’s what you need to know:
• The Obama administration struck back at Russia for its efforts to influence the 2016 election, listing a sweeping set of sanctions that could box in President-elect Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Trump, who has consistently cast doubt on a Russian role in the hacking, will now have to decide whether to lift the sanctions — effectively rejecting the findings of his intelligence agencies.
Mr. Trump responded to the Russian sanctions by reiterating his call to “move on.” But he pledged to meet with intelligence officials.
• The Syrian government and Russia announced a cease-fire with rebel groups and with Turkey — a potential game changer in a civil war that has lasted six years.
Many previous agreements have failed, but the dynamics have changed since pro-government forces fully retook Aleppo.
In Iraq, a long and difficult fight lies ahead for forces trying to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State. Our photojournalist documented what it’s like inside the fighting zone.
• Takata, the auto parts maker, is said to be nearing a sweeping settlement with U.S. prosecutors over airbags that can violently explode.
An agreement could come as early as the next few weeks, and Takata is expected to pay a penalty of up to $1 billion, according to people briefed on the matter.
• China’s “iPhone City” was built in large part on billions of dollars worth of perks, tax breaks and subsidies, our investigation reveals.
The world’s biggest iPhone factory, which can make 500,000 of the devices per day, illustrates how China not only provides a large pool of labor but also offers incentives that would be difficult to replicate in the U.S.
• “Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, reacting to Secretary of State John Kerry’s harsh rebuke of Israel’s stance on settlements.
Leaders from both sides of the settlement debate said Mr. Kerry had delivered a “eulogy” for a two-state solution. The address was criticized by U.S. lawmakers from both parties, and rejected by Mr. Trump even before it was delivered.
• As the Year of the Rooster approaches in China, a 23-foot-tall statue of one was installed in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan. It bears a remarkable resemblance to Mr. Trump.
The man who designed the statue declined to comment on why he gave the bird Trump-like features, but he remarked on Twitter that the statue was “way more yuge than I expected.”
• A campaign is underway to turn a 600-year-old fortress at the westernmost point of China’s Great Wall into a cultural oasis.
• Beijing’s new airport is China’s latest attempt to unclog its crowded airways. The $12 billion project could more than double the city’s air traffic capacity by 2019.
• Rex W. Tillerson, in line to be the U.S. Secretary of State, led an evolution of Exxon Mobil’s public stance on climate change. Yet the oil giant has done little or nothing to put carbon taxes into effect.
• U.S. stocks were mixed. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• A $1.9 billion water conservation project proposed for China’s largest freshwater lake, Poyang, has put scientists and environmentalists, who oppose the project, at odds with the local government. [The New York Times]
• Singaporean Amos Yee, 18, a former child actor turned online dissident, is seeking asylum in the U.S. after being convicted in his own country of “wounding the religious feelings” of Christians and Muslims. [The New York Times]
• Chinese parents in Shanghai are worried that a proposal to restrict international programs in the school curriculum will hurt their children’s chances to study overseas. [The New York Times]
• Israel released documents pertaining to the “Yemenite children” of the 1950s, whose families suspected their babies were abducted and given up for adoption. [The New York Times]
• A South Korean think tank says in a new report that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has ordered 340 people to be executed since he came to power in 2011. [CNN]
• Facebook’s Safety Check feature mistook firecrackers in Bangkok with an explosion earlier this week, raising questions over its reliability. [The New York Times]
• Carlos Tevez, the Argentine striker, became the latest high-profile international player to join the Chinese Super League.
• From the summit of a slumbering Hawaiian volcano, the Pan-Starrs, short for Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, has photographed the biggest ever digital map of the cosmos.
• Now is the time to see Indonesia, says an orangutan expert who is encouraging tourism to increase awareness of the orange-haired primates.
• After more than 100 years, Germany is close to recognizing the genocide of the Herero people in Namibia.
We know the drill by now — another new year, another exercise plan that fizzles before February. If you need inspiration to push yourself, take a cue from these athletes who aren’t letting anything, even age, get in the way.
Perhaps your goal is to start running. John Gilmour is a 97-year-old Australian who was captured by the Japanese during World War II. He’s still competitive, completing the 800 meters at the World Masters Athletics Championships in 9 minutes 19.53 seconds this year while running with a colostomy bag because of a bladder infection.
The Japanese adventurer Yuichiro Miura climbed Mount Everest at age 80 (and at 70, and 75.) He’s the oldest to reach the summit, and he’s planning a return trip at 90.
Then there’s Robert Marchand, a French cyclist. He set a world record by pedaling 16.7 miles in one hour at age 102.
And Täo Porchon-Lynch, born in India, who still teaches yoga at 98. She’s also a ballroom dancer, and performed on “America’s Got Talent” with a 26-year-old partner.
Ed Whitlock, an 85-year-old marathoner, has set dozens of age-group records. “He’s about as close as you can get to minimal aging in a human individual,” a doctor said.
The benefits of exercise, even light activity like walking, are scientifically proven. So go for it in 2017 and keep Mr. Miura’s words in mind: “If you have a dream, never give up.”
Des Shoe contributed reporting.
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