Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
NATO’s paradox: united against Russia but divided by Trump
To the pomp of brass bands and a fly-past of fighter jets, the NATO alliance holds a two-day summit from Wednesday looking stronger militarily than at any time since the Cold War and with plans to expand further to curb Russian power. But though NATO has much to be triumphalist about as it stages its first biennial summit at its new billion dollar headquarters in Brussels, many summit leaders paradoxically appear anxious as they face the alliance’s de-facto leader, Donald Trump, who brings with him tough talk on defense spending.
Mexico president-elect strikes upbeat tone on Trump ahead of talks
Mexico’s incoming president on Tuesday thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for his “respectful attitude” toward the next Mexican administration and held out hope for joint progress on tackling illegal migration ahead of a major meeting this week. Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is due to meet on Friday with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and others for talks in Mexico City.
Rescuers gear up for final push to save remaining five from Thai cave
Thais reacted with relief, gratitude and exhilaration on Wednesday after the successful rescue of the last group of 12 boys and their soccer coach from the flooded, labyrinthine Tham Lung cave complex, ending a 17-day ordeal that gripped Thailand and the world. The last members of the group were taken by helicopter and then by road to a hospital, where they will be joining their teammates in quarantine.
After discouraging year, U.S. officials expect review of Afghan strategy
The United States is preparing to undertake a review of its strategy in Afghanistan, U.S. officials told Reuters, a year after President Donald Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend America’s involvement in the 17-year-old war. Officials said Trump has shown signs of frustration over the lack of progress since he unveiled a strategy last August that committed to an open-ended deployment of U.S. military advisers, trainers and special forces and increased air support for Afghan security forces. The goal was to force the Taliban militants to open peace talks with the Kabul government.
Assad, aided by Russia, poised to seize ‘cradle’ of revolt
President Bashar al-Assad is poised to snuff out the Syrian rebellion in the city where it began more than seven years ago, as rebels said on Tuesday they were seeking to withdraw with Russian guarantees. Government forces backed by Russia have seized most of Deraa province in the campaign that got under way last month and on Monday encircled rebel-held parts of Deraa city and seized the entire Jordanian frontier, which was once in opposition hands.
Iran vows to sell as much oil as it can despite U.S. sanctions
Iranian vice president Eshaq Jahangiri acknowledged on Tuesday that U.S. sanctions would hurt the economy but promised to “sell as much oil as we can” and protect its banking system. Jahangiri said Washington was trying to stop Iran’s petrochemical, steel and copper exports, and to disrupt its ports and shipping services. “America seeks to reduce Iran’s oil sales, our vital source of income, to zero,” he said, according to Fars news agency.
Trump seen likely to support NATO’s Article 5 but wants more spending
President Donald Trump will likely declare U.S. support for NATO’s mutual defense doctrine while pressing for increased spending commitments from NATO allies at a high-stakes summit in Brussels, a senior administration official said on Tuesday. Trump arrived in Brussels on Tuesday night for what is shaping up to be an unpredictable day of talks on Wednesday with North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders given his volatile attitude toward allies he believes are not contributing enough to the collective defense.
Suicide bomber kills 12 at anti-Taliban party rally in Pakistan
A suicide bomber blew himself up at an anti-Taliban political party’s rally in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing 12 people, including a candidate in July 25 elections, police said. The attack on a meeting of the Awami National Party (ANP) in Peshawar also injured nearly 50 others, city police chief Jamil Qazi said.
Britain to almost double troops in Afghanistan after U.S. request
The British government is planning to almost double the number of its troops in Afghanistan after a request from U.S. President Donald Trump for reinforcements to help tackle the fragile security situation there. Prime Minister Theresa May announced the government will send an extra 440 troops, which would bring Britain’s total to about 1,100, to help Afghan troops fighting Taliban and Islamic State insurgents.
May presses on with Brexit plan after high-profile resignations
British Prime Minister Theresa May won the support of senior ministers and an endorsement from Europe’s most powerful leader, Angela Merkel, on Tuesday, surviving the explosive resignations of two top cabinet members in protest at her Brexit plans. May’s government was rattled on Monday by the departures of foreign minister Boris Johnson – the face of Brexit for many – and her chief Brexit negotiator David Davis. Both fiercely criticized her negotiating stance. — Reuters