Live Coverage

Today's News: Dec. 17, 2016

Trump spars with China, an earthquake strikes Papua New Guinea, and more from the United States and around the world.

Rebel fighters sit on the rubble of damaged buildings as they wait to be evacuated from a rebel-held sector of eastern Aleppo. Abdalrhman Ismail / Reuters

—President-elect Donald Trump criticized China’s “unprecedented” seizure of an underwater U.S. Navy drone in a Saturday morning tweet. More here

—A 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea on Saturday, causing minimal damage. More here

—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).


This live blog has concluded

Trump Says China Should Keep the U.S. Navy Drone It Seized

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

President-elect Donald Trump responded to China’s seizure of an unmanned underwater U.S. Navy drone by calling it an “unprecedented act” on his Twitter account on Saturday morning.

The seizure took place in international waters Friday in the South China Sea, where China and neighboring countries have been sparring over disputed territorial claims. According to the U.S. military, the drone was part of an oceanic research project carried out by the Navy research vessel USNS Bowditch. The Chinese Defense Ministry accused the U.S. of “hyping up” the drone’s seizure on Saturday and said it would be returned “in an appropriate manner.” Trump’s tweet comes just two weeks after the president-elect spoke with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen by phone, the first contact of its kind between Taiwanese leaders and a U.S. president in almost four decades.

Update, 9:01 p.m. ET: President-elect Trump has revised his position on the drone’s status. In a tweet Saturday evening, he wrote China should keep the seized U.S. Navy property because “we don’t want the drone they stole back.”

Trump did not elaborate on his view. The stance marks a shift away from one taken earlier by Jason Miller, the Trump transition team's communications director, who credited the president-elect for China's announcement it would return the seized drone.

Suicide Car Bomb Kills At Least 14 Turkish Soldiers

Turan Bulut / Reuters

At least 14 off-duty Turkish soldiers were killed Saturday by a suicide car bomb, Turkish officials said. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said another 56 people were injured. The explosion occurred next to a bus carrying the soldiers as it drove through Kayseri, a city in central Turkey. According to Agence-France Press, local officials blamed the attack on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known as the PKK, a Kurdish separatist movement that has battled the Turkish government for years. No public claims of responsibility have been made. The BBC reported that Turkish officials instituted a temporary press blackout shortly after the bombing, an increasingly common practice in the country. The bombing comes one week after two blasts outside Istanbul’s Vodafone Stadium killed 44 people, most of whom were police officers, and wounded dozens more shortly after a soccer match between two of the country’s most well-known teams. A PKK splinter faction claimed responsibility.

Henry Heimlich, Anti-Choking Maneuver's Inventor, Dies at 96

Henry Heimlich in 2014. (Al Behrman / AP)

Henry Heimlich, whose eponymous technique of using abdominal thrusts to save a choking person’s life became an international first-aid staple, died Saturday at a Cincinnati hospital. He was 96 years old. Heimlich, a thoracic surgeon, first published a paper about the method in 1974. The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association added it to their guidelines for treating choking victims two years later, leading to its wide use throughout the world. According to the BBC, the maneuver is believed to have saved over 100,000 people in the U.S. alone since its adoption. Heimlich himself performed the maneuver earlier this year at age 96 to save the life of a fellow retirement-home resident who had begun choking at dinner. Alongside the maneuver and his work on a chest valve to re-inflate collapsed lungs, Heimlich also received criticism for his controversial support of malariotherapy, in which weaker strains of malaria are used as treatments for illnesses ranging from cancer to HIV/AIDS. Its efficacy remains unproven.

7.9-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Papua New Guinea

In this 2009 file photo, a geophysicist studies earthquake readings at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. (Hugh Gentry / Reuters)

A strong 7.9-magnitude tremor struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea on Saturday night local time, causing minimal damage and no reported injuries so far. The earthquake occurred 29 miles east of New Ireland, a Papua New Guinean island in the eastern Bismarck Archipelago, at a depth of about 61 miles beneath the Earth’s surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. As the Associated Press noted, tremors at lower depths tend to cause less damage. The quake nonetheless prompted tsunami warnings throughout the southwestern Pacific Ocean, including in Indonesia, Nauru, and New Zealand. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, those warnings have now ended without signs of serious waves.