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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson pose after signing a document during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain.

REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura

What We're Watching: Turkey backs off, Texas migrant tragedy, bombshell Jan. 6 testimony, Iran woos BRICS

Turkey opens NATO door to Finland and Sweden

The first day of the NATO Summit in Madrid brought concrete results. Turkey, Finland, and Sweden came to an agreement that addresses Ankara’s security concerns and paves the path to Finland and Sweden joining NATO. The Nordics’ joint bid for membership, inspired by Russian aggression in Ukraine, was at the center of the summit’s agenda. Accession demands consensus, and Turkey had raised objections, making security-centric demands from Stockholm and Helsinki that threatened to slow the process. In response, Sweden and Finland have suspended a 2019 arms embargo against Ankara and agreed to cut assistance to the People’s Protection Units, an armed group affiliated with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, Turkey’s enemy. Some of Ankara’s requests still need to be discussed, but Turkey is walking away from its veto option, swinging the doors open to Finland and Sweden’s membership in NATO. Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has said the expansion doesn’t threaten Russia but warned that Moscow would respond to any extension of military infrastructure into that region.

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Luisa Vieira

Should NATO watch its southern flank?

As NATO leaders gather this week in Madrid for their first summit since the war in Ukraine began, they will talk mainly about the immediate bogeyman, Russia, and the long-term strategic rival, China. Meanwhile, host Spain is seizing the opportunity to get the alliance to pay at least some attention to Africa and parts of the Middle East, where Russia and jihadists are stirring up trouble that could impact Mediterranean countries.

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Abortion-rights activists protest outside the US Supreme Court after it overturned Roe v Wade.

REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

What We’re Watching: The future of abortion in America, Madrid hosts NATO summit

US states fight over post-Roe abortion rights

In case you've been living under a rock, on Friday the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that protected abortion rights in America for almost 50 years. The decision, as expected, caused an outcry among abortion-rights activists and sparked jubilation for those in the anti-abortion camp. Now, the center of attention shifts to individual US states since 13 Republican-led ones had so-called "trigger laws" to prohibit or severely restrict abortion in case Roe was overturned. Although the verdict is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states, when and how those laws will go into effect — and potential legal challenges to them — make the timeline hard to predict. Conversely, several states governed by Democrats are taking steps to codify Roe into law, ushering in an uncertain period of legal fights between states to determine whether those who perform and assist abortions can be prosecuted out-of-state, and over access to anti-abortion pills. Politically, the ruling is a double-edged sword for the GOP, which hopes it'll fire up social conservatives, but also fears the Dems could use the verdict to energize their own base and make inroads with suburban women in swing states ahead of the November midterms. Moreover, the ruling has already become a major battleground of the larger culture wars for corporate America.

Check out more of our coverage on the historic SCOTUS reversal:

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EU/NATO Summits Intensify Support for Ukraine | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

EU/NATO summits intensify support for Ukraine

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Doha on European support for Ukraine.

Is European support for Ukraine holding up?

I mean, the answer is, very distinctly, is yes. There was a remarkable, you can call it the summit of summits, in Brussels on Thursday, where we had, first the NATO summit with President Biden as well, we had the G7 summit and we had the EU summit with President Biden as well. There's never been, to my knowledge, any summit of summits of that particular sort. And that took place on the day, one month after President Putin started his aggression against Ukraine. Sanctions are being intensified. Weapons deliveries to Ukraine are intensified. The thing that worries the Europeans somewhat is, of course, energy dependence and energy prices. And you've seen a lot of people coming to--quite high up--at the moment Doha in Qatar, in order to secure supplies of natural gas and other energies in order to get Europe off its dependence, or the dependence of some of the country's, on natural gas from Russia.

That will happen as well. So support, certainly holding up.

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European Support for Ukraine Remains Strong Ahead of Biden's Visit | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

European support for Ukraine remains strong ahead of Biden's visit

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Stockholm on the Russian war against Ukraine.

Is European support for Ukraine holding up?

I would say it is. It is by far the dominating political issue on the horizons of all of the political debates in Europe at the moment, and this week will be very important. We have on Thursday, first, the NATO Summit with President Biden coming over, and then President Biden continues from the NATO Summit to the EU Summit and meeting the same leaders and some additional ones once more, and then he continues to Warsaw in order to reassure those countries in the east that feel threatened by the Russian onslaught on Ukraine. So it is a transformative period for Europe. It's a transformative period for European security and for transatlantic cooperation. But support for Ukraine, yeah, it's certainly holding up.

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