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FILE PHOTO - A Philippine flag flutters from BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated Philippine Navy ship that has been aground since 1999 and became a Philippine military detachment on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea March 29, 2014.

REUTERS/Erik De Castro/File Photo

Can the US and Philippines get Beijing to back off?

On Monday, 3,500 US and Filipino troops began what could become their largest-ever annual training exercises on the Philippine island of Luzon. This came a day after major multilateral naval drills in the South China Sea and just ahead of a trilateral US-Philippines-Japan summit in Washington on Thursday.

The message to China? Take the US-Philippines alliance seriously.

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Why Sweden and Finland joined NATO
TITLE PLACEHOLDER | Carl Bildt | Europe In :60

Why Sweden and Finland joined NATO

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Hanoi, Vietnam.

Was the Swedish and Finnish decision to move into NATO, was that driven by fear of Russia attacking them?

Not really. I don't think either of our countries feel any immediate threat by Russian aggression. But what happened when Russia, Mr. Putin, to be precisely, attacked Ukraine was a fundamental upsetting of the entire European security order. And although Mr. Putin's priority at the moment, he’s very clear on that, is to get rid of Ukraine by invading and occupying all of it, you never know where he's going to stop. And this led Finland and Sweden to do the fundamental reassessment of their security policies. Giving up, in Swedish case, we've been outside of military alliances for the last 200 years or something like that.

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US approves F-16s for Turkey, moving Sweden NATO membership closer
Turkey's ratification makes Sweden one step closer to NATO | Europe In :60

US approves F-16s for Turkey, moving Sweden NATO membership closer

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Stockholm.

How are things proceeding with the ratification of the Swedish membership in NATO?

Well, it’s been some back and forth. But now Turkey has ratified and that is important. That has to do with also the agreement with the US on deliveries of F-16s and modification kits of F-16s and deliveries of F-35s to Greece. A major package has been negotiated, so that should be okay. Now, remaining with Hungary. Prime Minister Orban is a slightly unpredictable fellow, but I would guess that he can't hold off for very long. So I would hope, expect this process to be wrapped up within a couple of weeks.

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Off to war again?
Paige Fusco

Off to war again?

No matter how cold it is in your community, it is even colder in the deep winter of discontent that has hit the 2024 political world … aka Mordor.

The year ahead presents two kinds of challenges to the US and Canada: external ones from growing conflicts and internal ones, from US isolationism and what I call “Canadian insulationism.” At the moment, it’s a toss-up which ones are more dangerous.

Let’s look at the external challenges, including the raging conflicts in Israel-Gaza, the Red Sea, and Ukraine – all of which look to worsen in 2024.

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Demonstrators gather for a 24-hour protest at "Hostages Square" calling for the release of Israeli hostages in Gaza and to mark 100 days since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

Disturbing Hamas footage sharpens focus on hostages in Gaza

As the Israel-Hamas War entered its hundredth day, Hamas broadcast a chilling video on Sunday of three Israeli hostages held in Gaza. Noa Argamani, Yossi Sharabi, and Itai Svirsky are seen pleading for their release, followed by the chyron: “Tomorrow we will inform you of their fate.” On Monday, Hamas released a video of Sharabi and Svirsky dead, with Argamani shown saying they were killed by strikes from the Israeli military.

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An AI-generated image of swarming drones.

Courtesy of Midjourney

Robots are coming to a battlefield near you

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing everything – from education, health care, and banking, to how we wage war. By simplifying military tasks, improving intelligence-gathering, and fine-tuning weapons accuracy — all of which could make wars less deadly – AI is redefining our concept of modern military might.

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How cyberattacks hurt people in war zones
How cyberattack immiserate people in war zones | Global Stage | GZERO Media

How cyberattacks hurt people in war zones

They may not be bombs or tanks, but hacks and cyberattacks can still make life miserable for people caught in the crosshairs of conflicts. By targeting key infrastructure and humanitarian organizations, warring governments can deny crucial services to civilians on the other side of no-man's-land.

And just like with conventional weapons, there can be collateral damage, said Stéphane Duguin, CEO of the Cyber Peace Institute. "We have 53 countries in the world targeted by these attacks across 23 sectors of critical infrastructure or essential services," he said. "At the end of the day, you end up having civilians who cannot benefit from essential services because of what has been escalated into another part of the world."

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FILE PHOTO: Guyanese Military members line up before Britain's Prince Harry laughs arrives for an official visit of Georgetown, Guyana December 2, 2016.

Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Venezuela and Guyana border dispute

As if Europe’s colonial-era mapmakers haven’t already bequeathed us enough wars. Now the long-running border dispute between Venezuela and its eastern neighbor Guyana is heating up again.

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