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International News Updates – The Spectator


Nordic countries consider NATO

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, tension has skyrocketed in Eastern European countries. Sweden and Finland, two countries that have remained neutral so far, have announced that they consider joining NATO for fear of military pressure from Russia. Although this proposal garnered public support from some former US military officials and NATO allies, Russia recently presented a draft treaty to the organization that promised “military-technical” action in the event of aggression by the West. Experts noted that the unprecedented move would expand NATO’s borders and strengthen its military power, which could provoke a Russian response. Sweden and Finland meet the criteria to join NATO, but even a quick admission could take months.

Presidential election in the Philippines

Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, has been elected the country’s next president. Vice President Leni Robredo had won a wave of support of the young population of the Philippines. Although she was second to favorite Ferdinand Marcos Jr, her electoral base rallied behind her campaign. His supporters pointed to frustrations over President Rodrigo Duterte’s handling of the war on drugs and the COVID-19 pandemic. Marcos, the son of the country’s late 10th president, built his campaign on promising to continue his father’s legacy, which he describes as a “golden age”. Robredo’s critics and supporters consider this claim a distortion of history, but the candidate still managed to win the approval of the majority of voters.

Seattle spring showers

Although the city is known for its rainy and gloomy weather, the spring and summer months usually bring much appreciated sunshine. However, in a single week, Seattle beat its average monthly rainfall for May. Experts predict more are on the way for the next six to 10 days, with the weather remaining wet for at least a few more weeks. The rainfall comes with unusually low temperatures for this time of year, as the Seattle-Tacoma area is expected to stay below 60℉ for most of the month.

African art in the digital arena

Access to unique art in the digital world has become increasingly popular with the rise of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). Many are considering its real-world applications and implications. Nigerian creative designer Chidi founded Lootya “digital repatriation of art to the metaverse.He wants the website, which will be officially launched on May 13, to be a platform for accessing African art that was taken from the continent by British settlers and is currently housed in European museums and private collections. By visiting these museums and taking photos of the art, Chidi and his anonymous team reproduce the pieces in 3D digital renderings, which are then offered for purchase. This project raises questions about ownership, not just of NFTs and digital art, but of art removed from its original birthplace.

The international impact of scorching heat

This week, millions of people in India and Pakistan suffered record heat as the temperatures consistently reached 104℉ and 116℉ respectively. As schools closed and warnings to stay indoors spread, attention turned to the global climate crisis and its international impact. India is a major producer of wheat, relied upon by both global companies and individuals. The recent series of hot weather has damaged crops in some Indian states. Although experts predict that the coming weeks will offer some respite, climatologists warn that heat waves like this will only become more intense and frequent.

Seized yachts for sale

With President Joe Biden recent statement on the war in Ukraine, he commented on the House bill sell the yachts seized by the Russian oligarch and liquidate their assets. This would be part of the effort to fund military efforts in Ukraine. So far, the US response to Russia’s attacks on Ukraine has been economic, including sanctions imposed on the country for fear of a direct military response and its repercussions. Recently, the POTUS has encouraged lawmakers to wield their economic power more firmly.

“The cost of not resisting violent aggression in Europe has always outweighed the cost of standing firm against such attacks,” Biden wrote in a letter to Congress seeking approval for $33 billion in aid. to Ukraine.

The House legislation and the president’s remarks on the situation represent a shift toward a more aggressive stance toward Russia.