Poland govt plans to raise defense spending to 2% of GDP in 2016
Poland’s government aims to increase defense spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product in 2016, Prime Minister Donald Tusk told parliament on Wednesday. The country currently spends 1.95 percent of its GDP on its armed forces. This is one of the highest rates of military spending in Europe.
UN panel warns increasingly likely that global warming could be irreversible
It’s increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible and global warming is human-caused, a draft of a new international science report says. The UN’s intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has sent governments a final draft of its synthesis report, which combines three earlier documents, but the new 127-page draft’s language is starker than previous reports. It says that continued emission of greenhouse gases “will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system.” Without changes in greenhouse gas emissions, “climate change risks are likely to be high or very high by the end of the 21st century,” according to the report.
China denies claims it breached Taiwan’s airspace
China has rejected Taiwan’s claim that two Chinese military aircraft had breached Taiwan’s airspace four times, Reuters reported. Taiwan said it scrambled its jets to intercept two Chinese military aircraft, identified as Yun-8 transport aircraft, on Monday. “Our military aircraft carried out a routine flight on the 25th in the relevant airspace, there was no occurrence of any abnormality,” China’s Defense Ministry said late on Tuesday.
UN civil aviation agency prepares plan for warning airlines of risks in conflict zones
The UN’s civil aviation body will launch two pilot projects to help airlines and states better share information about risks in conflict zones. The move came nearly six weeks after a Malaysian airliner was shot down over Ukraine. The first project will look at how the existing Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) system can be used to better share urgent and critical risk information, Reuters said. The second project will establish a new centralized system for the “prompt sharing of conflict zone information.”
At least 2,202 members of US military died in Afghanistan
At least 2,202 members of the US military have died in Afghanistan as of August 26, as a result of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, AP said. However, the military’s numbers show that at least 1,822 military service members have died in Afghanistan and at least 134 more members of the US military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom outside of Afghanistan. The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is five more than the Defense Department’s tally. Since the start of US military operations in the country, 19,952 US service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the military.
Dozens of demonstrators march in St. Louis over shooting death of black teen
Demonstrations have resumed in St. Louis as more than 100 protesters demanded the arrest of a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. On Tuesday, a small group also marched in Ferguson along the street that has been the center of protests since the death of Michael Brown, 18, almost three weeks ago. The atmosphere was subdued and police presence was limited, Reuters said. The protesters, who called for the removal of Ferguson police leaders, were blocked from walking up the courthouse steps by a group of police officers.
US Coast Guard clashes with Iranian vessel
The US Coast Guard fired on an Iranian fishing boat in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday after it reportedly drew a weapon against the American crew, CNN reports. According to the Pentagon, the Coast Guard was in the midst of a “routine maritime security operation” when the Iranian boat approached it, and a single shot was fired to reverse its progress. “The Iranian (dhow) pointed a machine gun … or a small arms weapon,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said. “I don’t know whether the shot was just a warning shot, or it hit the dhow. In any event, it pulled away and nobody was hurt.”
Key ministers keep positions in new French government
Francois Hollande appointed former banker and ally, Emmanuel Macron, economy minister as the new cabinet was announced in France, AFP reports. The top members of the government, including finance minister Michel Sapin and foreign minister Laurent Fabius remained unchanged, but three rebel ministers, who publicly attacked the President’s economic policy, lost their jobs. The emergency reshuffle in the government of Prime Minister Manuel Valls, is seen as the “last chance” to haul France out of the biggest crisis of Hollande’s presidency.
Seven European states to arm Kurds against Islamic State – Pentagon
Seven European countries have pledged to provide weapons and ammunition to Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq, Chuck Hagel, Pentagon chief, said. “In addition to support from the US, and the central government of Iraq in Baghdad, seven additional nations — Albania, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom — have committed to helping provide Kurdish forces urgently needed arms and equipment,” Hagel is cited by AFP.
Russian-piloted UN helicopter crashes in S. Sudan
A Mi-8 helicopter hired by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has crashed in the north of the country, leaving three of its crew dead, and another in hospital. The Russian helicopter was carrying out a scheduled cargo flight. UNMISS has said that it will investigate the causes of the crash. According to preliminary information from Russia’s UTAIR airline who owns the chopper, it may have been shot down.
WHO withdraws staff from Sierra Leone lab after doctor infected with Ebola
The World Health Organization has withdrawn staff from a laboratory testing for Ebola at Kailahun in eastern Sierra Leone. The decision was made after one of its medical workers there was infected during the worst ever outbreak of the disease, Reuters reported. “It’s a temporary measure to take care of the welfare of our remaining workers,” WHO spokesperson Christy Feig said. “After our assessment, they will return.”
Australia earmarks US$60mn for countering extremism and radicalization
The Australian government will spend 64 million Australian dollars ($60 million) on measures to counter violent extremism and radicalization, AP said. The move comes as Islamic State continues to recruit foreign fighters to its ranks in Iraq and Syria. The measures include strengthened community engagement programs aimed at preventing young Australians from becoming involved with extremist groups. New multi-agency investigation teams will be formed to disrupt foreign fighters and their supporters and to reduce the domestic terrorism threat created by homegrown extremists.
Taiwan ‘scrambles jets’ after Chinese military planes breach airspace
Taiwan said on Tuesday it had scrambled jets to intercept two Chinese military aircrafts, Reuters reported. Taiwanese airspace was breached four times, according to authorities in Taipei. The incident occurred Monday and the Yun-8 transport aircraft left without after Taiwanese fighter jets warned them off, said Xiong Ho-ji, major general of Taiwan’s Air Force Combatant Command. China’s Defense Ministry has not immediately commented on the incident.
WHO calls for tougher regulation of e-cigarettes
The World Health Organization has called for stiff regulation of electronic cigarettes as well as bans on indoor use, advertising and sales to minors, Reuters said. In a report to be debated by member states at a meeting in October in Moscow, the UN health agency also voiced concern at the concentration of the $3 billion market in the hands of transnational tobacco companies. The WHO launched a public health campaign against tobacco a decade ago, clinching the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. It entered into force in 2005, and has been ratified by 179 states. The US has not joined it.
Ukraine to ratify association agreement with EU in September – Poroshenko
Kiev is fulfilling all its commitments to ratify an association agreement with the EU according to schedule, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Tuesday, ITAR-TASS reported. They met in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on the sidelines of the summit between leaders of the Custom Union states and Ukraine. The agreement with the EU will be ratified in September, according to Valery Chaly, the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration.
Putin arrives in Belarus capital for Customs Union-Ukraine summit
President Vladimir Putin arrived in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on Tuesday. He will take part in a summit of the Customs Union heads of state, along with non-member Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. A bilateralmeeting between Putin and Poroshenko is expected. The Ukrainian president and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton have also arrived in Minsk, ITAR-TASS said. Media agencies