What's the state of NATO as the alliance turns 70?

What's the state of NATO as the alliance turns 70?

Well, it's starting to show its age. Doesn't have the same urgency of purpose that it did when we were fighting the Soviets against the Warsaw Pact. So, a lot of countries don't know why they're in it. Some don't want to spend the 2 percent that has been promised, the nominal goal of GDP that all these countries need to spend on GDP. The Turks hardly acting like an ally these days. And President Macron says is brain dead. Still, I don't see Trump really trying to destroy it and no one else is going to leave. These institutions are very sticky. I would say it is an organization not going anywhere but looking for a little more relevance.

Will the US-China trade dispute continue until after the 2020 election?

Well, it's a little more likely that it will, in the sense that you might not get this phase-one deal because the Chinese have offered very little and they know that Trump really doesn't want to escalate tariffs before his election hits because it hurts the US economy, it hurts the red states. I still think we'll get that deal. But I also think it won't bring the two sides closer together on all the issues that we see greater conflict on, like on Hong Kong, like on technology. And by the way, watch what happens with the CFO of Huawei when that case finally comes up and gets resolved in Canada come January. Much bigger deal for the Chinese than the tariffs are.

Will the US follow through on its threat to tax French goods?

Talking about 100 percent tax on luxury goods coming out of France, like champagne, in response to the French saying they're going to hit Amazon and other companies that are delivering goods because of all the traffic it's causing. Look, I feel that in New York, there's no question it's happening. And it's interesting to see Trump essentially defending Jeff Bezos. Something he doesn't do every day. But he certainly doesn't want to get into a big fight with a seriously large economy. It's very different than putting steel tariffs and aluminum against Brazil and Argentina who have to back down to the Americans. On this one, the Trump administration is not going to want to hit the French hard. French aren't going to want to hit the Americans hard. It's going to be an awful lot of posturing. And watch out for a Macron-Trump. I mean, these are two guys that are essentially leading their hemispheres and have a fair amount of ego around it. That's not going to get easier anytime soon.

The scientific consensus is clear. The world confronts an urgent carbon problem. The world's climate experts agree that the world must take urgent action to bring down emissions. Ultimately, we must reach "net zero" emissions, meaning that humanity must remove as much carbon as it emits each year.

While the world will need to reach net zero, those of us who can afford to move faster and go further should do so. That's why last week we announced an ambitious goal and a new plan to reduce and ultimately remove Microsoft's carbon footprint. By 2030 Microsoft will be carbon negative, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975. We are also launching an initiative to use Microsoft technology to help our suppliers and customers around the world reduce their own carbon footprints and a new $1 billion climate innovation fund to accelerate the global development of carbon reduction, capture, and removal technologies.

Read more on the Official Microsoft Blog.

A potentially deadly new coronavirus that can be transmitted from one person to another is now spreading across China. Chinese state media say it has infected about 300 people and killed six, but the number of undetected or unreported cases is certain to be much higher. Complicating containment efforts, millions of people are on the move across the country this week to celebrate the Chinese New Year with family and friends.


Norway's government breaks up over ISIS returnee – Norway's right-wing Progress Party said it will resign from the country's four-party coalition government over the prime minister's decision to bring home a Norwegian woman affiliated with the Islamic State in Syria. The woman, who left Norway for the conflict zone in 2013, was arrested shortly after arriving in Oslo with her two children, on suspicion of being a member of ISIS. Prior to her return, she had been held in the Al-Hol refugee camp in northeastern Syria, along with thousands of other family members of ISIS fighters. The defection of Norway's anti-immigrant Progress Party undercuts Prime Minister Erna Solberg's parliamentary majority, likely making it hard for her to pass laws in parliament. This case reflects an increasingly common problem for European countries: the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate has largely collapsed but what should countries do about the return of former fighters and their families to societies that don't want them?


20,000: Sri Lanka's president has acknowledged for the first time that some 20,000 people who disappeared during the country's brutal civil war are dead, dashing the hopes of families who had held out hope that their relatives were alive and in military custody. The conflict, which ended in 2009, split the country according to ethnicities, killing around 100,000 people, mostly Tamil rebels.


Since Martin Luther King Jr delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech in August 1963, the number of Black Americans elected to the United States Congress has dramatically increased. Still, it wasn't until last year, more than half a century later, that the share of Black members serving in the House of Representatives reflected the percentage of Black Americans in the broader population —12 percent. To date, only six states have sent a Black representative to serve in the US Senate, and many states have never elected a Black representative to either house of Congress. Here's a look at Black representation in every US Congress since 1963.