Colin Dwyer

In a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday, a special commission to South Sudan described the state of the country in the starkest terms possible. Atrocities like murder and gang rape are happening on an "epic" scale, reported the commission's chief, who warned that the world's youngest country now "stands on the brink of an all-out ethnic civil war."

Updated at 10:52 a.m. ET Dec. 11

Turkey has declared a national day of mourning after two explosions struck a large soccer stadium in Istanbul, leaving at least 38 people dead and 155 others wounded, according to the Turkish interior minister. Among those killed were 30 police officers.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, or TAK, released a statement claiming responsibility for the massive car bomb, which detonated outside the Besiktas stadium well after it had emptied of fans. The attack targeted the dozens of riot police stationed outside.

In 2010, Chris Bertish paddled into 25-foot waves en route to a win at the Mavericks Surf Contest, an annual competition at one of the world's most famous (and nastiest) big-wave breaks. On Tuesday, Bertish paddled out to conquer something even more massive — roughly 4,600 miles larger, in fact.

The 42-year-old South African surfer and sailor set out to become the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean unassisted on a stand-up paddleboard.

Italian voters have dealt a serious defeat to the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. In a referendum Sunday, they rejected Renzi's proposed constitutional reforms, which would have changed the balance of power between the executive and Parliament.

The "no" vote is expected to win by a margin of nearly 20 percentage points, in what is seen as a resounding message of discontent with Renzi's government. The lopsided result also signals the strength of anti-establishment sentiment in the country.

Indian moviegoers are set to get a hefty dose of patriotism with their big-screen previews.

According to an interim order handed down Wednesday by two justices on India's Supreme Court, movie theaters nationwide must play the country's national anthem before each feature film begins. What's more, the audience members must stand in observance, while an Indian flag is depicted on the big screen and the doors of the theater are temporarily closed to prevent distractions.

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