World news

Stan Smith / November 30,2019

NATO Readies a 70th Birthday Party, With Low-Key Celebrations

Category: 

BRUSSELS — For an anniversary bash, the guests are unusually anxious.

The leaders of NATO are traveling to London this week to commemorate the alliance’s 70th birthday — but they will do so at a carefully crafted, foreshortened gathering, not at a full-blown summit meeting.

The low-key celebration seems intended to avoid more awkward comments from President Trump, who nearly blew apart the last summit meeting in Brussels in July 2018, musing about quitting the alliance and walking out in the middle of a statement by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

Normally, the 70th anniversary, like the 50th, would have been held in Washington, where the alliance’s founding treaty was signed, with three days of pomp, substance and a White House dinner. But given Mr. Trump’s unpredictability and his doubts about the alliance, NATO countries decided to have only a foreign ministers’ meeting in Washington on the actual anniversary, in April.

Despite some misgivings, including from Berlin, this session in London was added because Britain wanted to prove that it still mattered in trans-Atlantic security, particularly with its withdrawal from the European Union looming, said Jonathan Eyal, assistant director of the Royal United Services Institute, a defense research institution based in London.

According to Mr. Eyal, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, also thought that some event should take place in Europe to mark the occasion.

“There were serious misgivings,” Mr. Eyal said. “After all, at the venerable age of 70, usually one birthday party is sufficient.”

Stan Smith / November 30,2019

Thousands Evacuated as Typhoon Kammuri Nears the Philippines

Category: 

More than 43,000 people have been evacuated and schools in six provinces have suspended classes as the eastern islands of the Philippines braced for Typhoon Kammuri to make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday.

The storm, packing wind gusts as high as 115 miles per hour, was barreling toward the Philippines on Monday with its eye 220 miles east of the city of Virac on the island province of Catanduanes, the national weather agency said.

The typhoon is poised to strike the Philippines just after President Rodrigo Duterte, joined by the politician and boxing star Manny Pacquiao, presided over the opening of the Southeast Asian Games, a biannual sports event that draws top athletes from 11 Southeast Asian nations.

The Games are scheduled to run through Dec. 11, and organizers have said that the typhoon may cause the cancellation of outdoor events on the island of Luzon in the country’s north. This year’s Games have been touted as the biggest yet, with more than 8,000 athletes competing and hundreds of millions of television viewers expected to tune in from around the region.

Heavy rains were expected in Manila and populous cities nearby, and disaster agencies have stockpiled food and medicine. The authorities have yet to issue mandatory evacuation orders, saying that all evacuations so far were pre-emptive. Residents were asked to check local weather advisories and government social media accounts as the typhoon continued to move toward landfall.

Subscribe to RSS - World news