Newsletter: Iran And Iraq Condemn U.S. Airstrikes

Fighters from the Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades militia, inspect the destruction at their headquarters in the aftermath of a U.S. airstrike in Qaim, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. (AP Photo)
Fighters from the Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades militia, inspect the destruction at their headquarters in the aftermath of a U.S. airstrike in Qaim, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. (AP Photo)
Fighters from the Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades militia, inspect the destruction at their headquarters in the aftermath of a U.S. airstrike in Qaim, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. (AP Photo)
Fighters from the Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades militia, inspect the destruction at their headquarters in the aftermath of a U.S. airstrike in Qaim, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. (AP Photo)

Newsletter: Iran And Iraq Condemn U.S. Airstrikes

Hey, it’s Monday! Need ideas for a New Year’s resolution? Consider an epic long con like this one. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. Iran calls U.S. airstrikes acts of ‘terrorism

American fighter jets conducted airstrikes on five sites across Iraq and Syria on Sunday, killing at least 24 people and injuring 50 others, according to local media quoting Iraqi and Syrian spokespeople.

Today, Iraqi President Barham Salih called the attacks a “violation of Iraqi sovereignty” while a spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said they were “an example of terrorism.”

The U.S. said it targeted weapons depots linked to Iran-backed militias who recently launched rockets at coalition bases. One attack killed a U.S. contractor Friday. Iran has denied it was behind those attacks. [NBC News]

2. Prisoners in Illinois will no longer have to pay to see a doctor

Inmates in Illinois prisons will no longer have to pay a $5 copay to see a doctor behind bars after a change in state law that takes effect next month.

An Illinois prison watchdog group praised the change, stating that $5 can be a lot for prisoners, who receive only $10 a month in “state pay.” The watchdog group says prisoners typically use such funds to buy necessities like hygiene items and stationery for letters.

Advocates say the change will encourage prisoners to seek health care before problems get too serious or expensive. [WBEZ]

3. Two weekend attacks at places of worship

On Saturday, a man wielding a machete attacked a group celebrating the seventh night of Hanukkah at a rabbi’s home north of New York City. The alleged attacker stabbed and wounded five people before fleeing the scene. He was arrested two hours later in Manhattan.

Federal hate crime charges were filed against the man today after authorities found handwritten journals containing anti-Semitic references. [AP]

On Sunday, a gunman opened fire during a church service outside of Fort Worth, Texas, killing two people before members of the congregation fatally shot him, authorities say.

The shooting, which was captured on the church’s livestream, was over in six seconds. The gunman fired a shotgun twice before a member of the church’s volunteer security team returned fire, killing him. [Dallas Morning News]

4. Chinese scientist sentenced to 3 years in prison for editing babies’ genes

A court in southern China issued a three-year prison sentence to He Jiankui, the scientist who stunned the medical community last year when he claimed to create the world’s first genetically edited babies.

Jiankui said he used a technique called CRISPR to edit the genes of twin girls with the intention of protecting them from HIV infection. But other scientists worried the process — untested on human embryos — could cause unintended side effects that could then be passed down to future generations. [NPR]

5. Legal weed in Illinois is right around the corner

We’re just days away from legal cannabis in Illinois, and we know you still have questions. Among them: Where can you use marijuana and where can you not? Where does all that tax money go? And, if I have a cannabis offense on my record, how can I get it expunged?

WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel answered 37 frequently asked questions about legalization. Read up before Wednesday. [WBEZ]

And for those interested, here’s a statewide map of where cannabis sales will be legal Jan. 1. (Gov. JB Pritzker says you can expect long lines and waits.) [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning premieres on Lifetime this Thursday. [AP]

Illinois’ population dropped for the sixth straight year, according to new census estimates. [Chicago Tribune]

When it comes to Chicago sports, “The women dominated 2019. The men? Not so much.” [WBEZ]

This year was a big one for federal corruption investigations. [WBEZ]

Oh, and one more thing …

Mitoshi Matsumoto is Japan’s “most famous 7-Eleven convenience store owner,” according to The New York Times. That’s because he wants to close shop for a day and he says 7-Eleven won’t let him.

In November, Matsumoto announced he would close his 7-Eleven franchise on New Year’s Day so he and two employees could rest. The company told him on Dec. 20 that his store had more complaints than any other in Japan and it would close in 10 days if he doesn’t address them.

The standoff has captivated the country and fueled a national debate “over the business practices of the country’s 24-hour convenience store industry.” [New York Times]

Tell me something good …

We’re in peak self-betterment season, so let’s keep last week’s question going: What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Maureen writes:

“Resolution: take better care of my feet.”

Send us your resolutions for 2020 and we might share them here.