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US to enhance military presence in Europe as NATO bolsters its eastern side

NATO leaders agreed to move towards putting more than 300,000 troops at higher readiness

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US to enhance military presence in Europe as NATO bolsters its eastern side
GNN Media: Representational Photo

US President Joe Biden pledged more American troops, warplanes and warships for Europe on Wednesday as NATO agreed the biggest strengthening of its deterrents since the Cold War in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Biden's commitment at the Madrid summit "to defend every inch of allied territory" came as the U.S.-led military alliance also set in motion a new plan to reinforce the Baltic states and Poland against any future Russian attack.

With more German, British and other allied troops to be on alert to deploy eastward, the United States is also adding to the 100,000 personnel already in Europe by sending more warships to Spain, planes to Britain, pre-positioned weapons to the Baltics and more soldiers to Romania.

"We mean it when we say an attack against one is an attack against all," Biden said. read more

However, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi played down a threat of a near-term armed confrontation between NATO and Russia. "There is no risk of a military escalation. We must be ready, but there is no risk," he said.

The Baltics originally sought permanent NATO bases and as much as a tenfold increase to NATO's troop presence from around 5,000 multinational soldiers prior to the Ukraine invasion, as well as adding air and maritime defences.

What NATO agreed on Wednesday falls short of that, but it means more allied troops in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, more equipment, weapons and ammunition sent to the region, and setting up a system of rapid reinforcements.

NATO leaders agreed to move towards putting more than 300,000 troops at higher readiness.

In the past, the alliance relied on far fewer troops - some 40,000 - to be first in line to respond to any Russian attack or other crises.

"President (Vladimir) Putin's war against Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe and has created the biggest security crisis in Europe since the Second World War," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference. "NATO has responded with strength and unity."

The United States will also create a new permanent army headquarters in Poland, which was immediately welcomed by Polish president Andrzej Duda, as Warsaw long sought a permanent U.S. military base on its soil. "It is a fact that strengthens our safety a lot ... in the difficult situation which we are in," Duda said. read more

As NATO also agreed a long-term military and financial aid package for Ukraine, Ukrainian refugees gathered in central Madrid to call for more arms for their nation, which is now facing a war of attrition against superior Russian artillery in the east of the country.

Ukrainian student Kateryna Darchyk, 20, told Reuters: "We ask for NATO to give us weapons because we have soldiers, we have people ready to fight for Ukraine, men and women who are ready to protect their country."

END OF NORDIC NEUTRALITY

In addition, NATO's 30 leaders invited Finland and Sweden into the alliance, a decision that once ratified would end decades of Nordic neutrality by putting the two countries under the United States' nuclear umbrella. read more

"The significance of this really can't be overstated," Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters. "We're seeing the expansion of the alliance, which is exactly the opposite of what Putin wanted. He wanted less NATO, he's getting more."

That was made possible after Turkey dropped its veto against the two countries' progress to membership following four hours of talks on Tuesday evening in Madrid, ending weeks of drama that threatened allied unity.

As part of the deal, Sweden and Finland agreed not to support Kurdish militant groups.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had threatened to block their bids over Ankara's accusations the two countries supported a Kurdish militia in northern Syria. Turkey views the militia as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which is also deemed a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.

Both Finland, which has a 1,300 km (810 mile) border with Russia, and Sweden, home of the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize, are now set to bring well-trained militaries into the alliance, possibly giving NATO Baltic Sea superiority.

"We are not yet covered by NATO's Article 5," Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told Reuters, referring to NATO's collective defence clause. "Our aim is that period should be as short as possible," he said.

SOURCE: REUTERS 

Pakistan

More rain expected from August 10-13: PMD

Travelers and tourists are advised to remain more cautious

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More rain expected from August 10-13: PMD

Islamabad: Pakistan Meteorological Department has predicted more rains in Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad, and Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, and parts of Balochistan from August 10-13 with occasional gaps.

The monsoon currents continuously penetrating the country are likely to become stronger from August 10.

About the possible impacts of rain, the met office revealed that heavy rains may generate urban flooding in Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Faisalabad, Lahore and Gujranwala from August 10-12.

Flash flooding is expected in local Nullahs of Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Shakargarh, Sialkot, Narowal, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Dir, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Bannu, and Kashmir from August 10-12.

Heavy Rains may generate urban flooding in Karachi, Thatta, Badin, Hyderabad, Dadu, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad, and Mirpurkhas from August 11-13.

Flash flooding is expected in Qilla Saifullah, Loralai, Barkhan, Kohlu, Mosa Khel, Sherani, Sibbi, Bolan, Kalat, Khuzdar, Lasbela, Awaran, Turbat, Panjgur, Pasni, Jiwani, Ormara, Gwadar and hill torrents of Dera Ghazi Khan during the forecast period.

Catchment areas of Ravi, Jhelum and Chenab may receive heavy downpours causing the water levels to rise significantly during the forecast period.

The rainfall may trigger landslides in Kashmir, hilly areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Galiyat, Murree, Chillas, Diamir, Gilgit, Hunza, Astore, Ghizer, and Skardu during the forecast period

Travelers and tourists are advised to remain more cautious during the forecast period.

All concerned authorities are advised to remain alert and to take necessary precautionary measures during the forecast period.

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Pakistan

Parliament can ensure prosperity, inclusive development in country: NA Speaker

"The parliament being representative of masses can ensure prosperity and inclusive development in the country"

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Parliament can ensure prosperity, inclusive development in country: NA Speaker

Islamabad: Today marks the diamond jubilee of 1st Constituent Assembly of Pakistan which held its first session on 10th August 1947.

On the occasion, Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said the parliament being representative of masses can ensure prosperity and inclusive development in the country.  

He said the incumbent parliament is cognizant of its responsibilities and exercising its parliamentary oversight of the executive.

He said both the treasury and opposition benches have a vital role in strengthening parliament as it is the place where decisions are made based on the aspirations of the masses.

Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani said the incumbent parliament is a true representative of people who would strengthen democracy and democratic norms in the country.

He said the coalition government is especially focusing on bringing positive changes in the lives of common man.

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Sports

‘Countdown’ to retirement has begun: Serena Williams

She won the last of her 23 Slams at the 2017 Australian Open

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‘Countdown’ to retirement has begun: Serena Williams

California: US tennis great Serena Williams announced on Tuesday that “the countdown has begun” to her retirement from the sport.

“There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction,” the 40-year-old, 23-time Grand Slam winner said in a post on Instagram.

“That time is always hard when you love something so much. My goodness do I enjoy tennis. But now, the countdown has begun.

“I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena. I’m gonna relish these next few weeks.”

Williams won the last of her 23 Slams at the 2017 Australian Open when she was already pregnant with daughter, Olympia.

However, she has failed to add a 24th major which would take her level with Margaret Court’s all-time record.

Her final attempt will come at the US Open in New York later this month.

Williams stepped onto a hardcourt for the first time in a year and a half on Monday in the WTA Toronto tournament where she fought through to the second round with a straight sets victory over Nuria Parrizas Diaz.

It was her first singles victory since the 2021 French Open, some 14 months ago.

The former world number one had played her first singles match in a year following a lengthy injury layoff during a first round defeat at Wimbledon in June.

Earlier Tuesday, Williams wrote in the September edition of Vogue where she featured on the cover that she was “evolving away” from the sport after the US Open where she has won six of her major singles titles.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year,” she wrote in Vogue.

“And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try. And the lead-up tournaments will be fun. I know there’s a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, 3See ya!3 I get that. It’s a good fantasy.

“But I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”

SOURCE: AFP

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