IRAQ: St. Elijah’s Monastery, the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq, has been destroyed by members of the Islamic State according to both local church leaders and satellite imagery obtained by the Associated Press. The monastery was originally constructed over 1400 years ago.
RUSSIA: The Ruble has collapsed to its lowest value ever, reaching just 1/82 of a U.S. dollar. This crash is likely related to huge decreases in the price of oil, one of Russia’s primary industries. Oil prices have decreased from $100 per barrel to $27 per barrel in the last 18 months.
AUSTRIA: The Austrian government has announced that it will limit the quantity of refugees granted asylum in the nation to 1.5% of Austria’s population over the next four years. This will have the effect of limiting incoming refugees to 37,500 per year, less than half of the 90,000 asylum seekers that entered the country in 2015.
EAST ASIA: China has agreed to participate in United Nations (U.N.) sanctions against North Korea following the latter’s fourth nuclear weapons test, which violated a U.N. Security Council resolution.
JAPAN: Japan experienced a drop in crime in 2015, bringing crime to a new post-World War II low. Only 1,099,048 violations of Japanese law were reported over the entire year. Crime dropped in all categories, and the ratio of violent crime reports resolved rose to 32.5%.