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Macron describes NATO as ‘brain dead’

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Emmanuel Macron

Paris, Nov 8 : French President Emmanuel Macron has described NATO as “brain dead”, stressing what he sees as waning commitment to the trans-atlantic alliance by its main guarantor, the US.

“What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” the BBC reported citing Macron as saying in an interview to The Economist on Thursday.

He warned European members that they could no longer rely on the US to defend the alliance, established at the start of the Cold War to bolster Western European and North American security.

Article Five of NATO’s founding charter stipulates that an attack on one member will produce a collective response from the alliance.

But Macron appeared unsure whether it was still valid when asked as he replied “I don’t know”.

The alliance, Macron said “only works if the guarantor of last resort functions as such. I’d argue that we should reassess the reality of what Nato is in the light of the commitment of the US”.

The French leader urged Europe to start thinking of itself as a “geopolitical power” to ensure it remained “in control” of its destiny.

Responding to Macron’s remarks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while speaking in Berlin alongside visiting NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, said the French President “used drastic words – that is not my view of co-operation in NATO”, reports the BBC.

Merkel acknowledged that there were problems, but said she did not think that “such sweeping judgements are necessary”.

Stoltenberg said the alliance remained strong, adding that “European allies are stepping up, investing more in defence”.

Also reacting to Macron was Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who said in a Facebook post: “Well said. Truthful words, and ones that get to the nub of the matter… An accurate description of NATO’s current state.”

NATO members were taken by surprise when US President Donald Trump abruptly decided to pull most US forces out of north-eastern Syria in October.

The move paved the way for Turkey, also a powerful NATO member, to push into Syria and create what it termed a security zone along its border.

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N. Korea calls Joe Biden ‘rabid dog’

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Pyongyang: North Korea lashed out at former US Vice President Joe Biden for denouncing the communist regime , calling him a “rabid dog” that should be “beaten to death”, state media said on Friday.

“Biden bereft of elementary appearance as a human being, much less a politician, again reeled off a string of rubbish against the dignity of the supreme leadership of North Korea,” Yonhap News quoted Pyongyang’s state-run KCNA as saying said in a commentary.

“Rabid dogs like Biden can hurt lots of people if they are allowed to run about. They must be beaten to death with a stick, before it is too late.”

Biden, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, has been vocal about his criticism of US President Donald Trump’s approach to North Korea in negotiations to denuclearize the regime.

In July, he accused Trump of embracing “thugs” like North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and giving him the legitimacy he craves on the world stage.

He has called the two Trump-Kim summits made for TV shows.

KCNA on Friday described Biden as a “profiteer” who is greedy for power and “wandering about like a starving field dog”.

“He will be made to see even in a grave what horrible consequences will be brought about by his thoughtless utterances.”

In May, Pyongyang issued similar angry remarks at Biden and called him a “fool of low IQ” after he called leader Kim a “dictator and tyrant” during a campaign speech.

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Lightning kills 20 in Pakistan

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Lightning Strikes

Islamabad, Nov 15 At least 20 people were killed when lightning struck rural areas following heavy rains in Pakistan’s Sindh province, it was reported on Friday.

The lightning incidents took place in the areas of Mithi, Chhachhi and Ram Singh Sodho village in Tharparkar district after widespread rains began battering the desert region late Wednesday night and continued into Thursday, reports Dawn news.

There were also reports of hundreds of animals that have perished in the lightning strikes and fire that followed in the affected areas.

While three victims were killed on Wednesday night, the 17 others, including 10 women, died on Thursday.

At least 30 persons suffered injuries in lightning strike incidents and were brought to hospitals in Mithi, Islamkot and Chhachhro towns.

Authorities in the affected areas said that the toll was likely to increase.

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There is no India Without Kashmir”: Indian Columnist at US Congress

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Indian Army Van in Kashmir

Washington, Nov 15: India has successfully defeated insurgencies in Punjab and Northeast and now it is time to strengthen New Delhi’s fight against insurgencies in Kashmir, columnist Sunanda Vashisht told a US Congressional hearing on Human Rights in Washington on Thursday.

“India’s democratic credentials are unmatched. The country has successfully, in a democratic setup, defeated insurgencies in Punjab and northeast. It is time to strengthen India against such insurgencies and the human rights problems will be solved forever,” Vashisht told a Congressional hearing on Human Rights organised by Tom Lantos HR Commission in Washington on Thursday (local time).

“We are dealing with Islamic terrorism in Kashmir,” Vashisht told the panelists.

“We have to be cognizant of the fact. All deaths have been happening due to terrorists trained by Pakistan. This doublespeak is not helping India in any way,” the columnist stressed before the gathering.

She said that the international community has to assist India in eradicating radical Islamist terror that is when the human rights situation will be possible.

“Plebiscite in Kashmir is never going to happen,” she said.

A plebiscite requires the entire community to unite for a decision, but in this case, a part of Kashmir is in India, another in Pakistan, a part of it is also held with China, Vashisht added.

In her concluding remarks, the columnist further stated that India has “not occupied” Kashmir and that Kashmir was always an integral part of India.

“India is not just a 70-year-old identity, but a 5000-year-old civilisation. There is no India without Kashmir, and no Kashmir without India, she said.

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