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Trump suggests NATO countries to double defence spending

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Donald Trump

Washington, July 12: US President Donald Trump suggested the NATO countries to increase their defence spending to 4 per cent — doubling the 2 per cent target that many members of the bloc were yet to meet.

“During the President’s remarks today (Wednesday) at the NATO summit, he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 per cent of their GDP on defence spending, but that they increase it to 4 per cent,” CNN quoted White House press secretary Sarah Sanders as saying in a statement.

She said Trump “raised this same issue” at NATO last year.

“President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations,” Sanders added.

But according to NATO data, the US doesn’t even spend as much as Trump is calling on other countries to.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump said the US “in actual numbers”, is spending 4.2 per cent of its GDP on defence.

However, according to numbers released by NATO on Tuesday, the US is expected to spend an estimated 3.5 per cent of the GDP on defence in 2018 which is lower than last year’s number, at 3.57 per cent.

Trump has long complained that NATO members were not meeting their fiscal obligations to the alliance, reports CNN.

“Many countries in NATO, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2 per cent (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made. Will they reimburse the US?” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Trump singled out Germany for particular criticism as he continued to assail NATO allies for failing to spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence spending, a target NATO allies agreed to meet by 2024.

“Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 per cent… So I think that’s inappropriate also. You know, we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France. We’re protecting everybody. And yet we’re paying a lot of money to protect” Trump said during a breakfast with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

Addressing the media following Trump’s comments, German Chancellor Angela Merkel touted the country’s contributions to NATO and in defence of US interests.

“Germany also does a lot for NATO. We are the second largest donor of troops, we put most of our military abilities into the service of NATO and we are strongly committed in Afghanistan, where we also defend the interests of the US,” Merkel said upon arriving at NATO headquarters Wednesday.

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Protests over Putin’s plans to hike retirement age

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Russia protest over pension age

Moscow, Sep 22 (IANS) Members and supporters of Russia’s Communist Party took to the streets of the capital on Saturday to protest unpopular pension reforms planned by President Vladimir Putin.

Putin took measures to soften his proposed hike in retirement age in August by limiting the increase for women to 60 — up from 55 — instead of the initial suggestion of 63, Efe news reported.

But the change of plan has so far failed to quell protests against it. He stood by plans to raise men’s retirement age from 60 to 65.

Protesters held signs emblazoned with slogans such as “Putin Lies”. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov also spoke at the rally.

The changes have been given a preliminary green-light by the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament, but have provoked widespread outrage. An opinion poll showed that about 90 per cent of Russians were against increasing the retirement age.

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Ready to boost anti-terror cooperation with Iran: Putin

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, Sep 23 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, over a deadly terrorist attack and reaffirmed readiness to intensify counter-terror cooperation, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

“We are outraged by this bloody crime. Hopefully, everyone involved will be held liable,” Putin said in his telegram to Rouhani, which was published by the Kremlin, Xinhua news agency.

At least 24 people were killed in a terror attack in a military parade in the southern Iranian Ahvaz city on Saturday, official IRNA news agency reported.

This incident is another proof of the need for “uncompromising war on any manifestations of terrorism,” Putin said.

“I would like to confirm our readiness to further enhance cooperation with our Iranian partners in the fight against this evil,” he said.

The President offered condolences to the relatives and friends of those killed in the attack and wished a speedy recovery to those injured, according to the Kremlin.

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Watch Prince Harry stealing samosa at Meghan Markle’s event

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New Delhi, Sep 22: Prince Harry was caught on camera sneaking samosas from her wife’s Meghan Markle’s cookbook event. 

The Duke of Sussex had hosted an event at Kensington Palace to mark the launch her book “Together: Our Community Cookbook” on
Thursday and in the quirkiest way her husband was seen stealing Indian Snack ‘Samosas’.

The British television network, ITV shared a video on the @itvnews Twitter account on September 20.

In the video, Harry can be seen trying to hide the samosa as he caught red-handed. Later, he smiled and casually walked away checking his surroundings.

Meghan’s book features recipes from a group of women whose community was affected by the Grenfell Tower fire that claimed more than 70 lives.

As the video went viral, Twitterati’s just can’t stop laughing at the Royal Prince’s cheeky act.

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