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US: Pentagon Announces 11,900 Troops To Be Moved From Germany

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The United States Defense Secretary Mark Esper has on Wednesday announced the US military presence in Germany will be slashed by 11,900 troops, relocating some to Italy and Belgium in a major shift of Washington’s NATO assets.

In a repositioning that could start within weeks, of the 34,500 US military personnel in Germany, the Pentagon will be sending home about 6,400 of its military personnel in Germany, and move nearly 5,600 to other NATO countries.

Esper said at a news conference on Wednesday that a key aim of the rotation is to reinforce NATO’s southeastern flank near the Black Sea, he added some military personnel could also go to Poland and the Baltic states if Warsaw follows through on an agreement already sketched out by the two sides.

Esper said “these changes will unquestionably achieve the core principles of enhancing US and NATO deterrence of Russia; strengthening NATO; reassuring allies; and, improving US strategic flexibility”.

The move could have a significant economic and strategic impact in Germany, where tens of thousands of US troops have been stationed since the end of World War II.

The repositioning plan leaves just under 25,000 troops in Germany and US officials have said that the moves would likely send air and ground forces to countries that already have an American troop presence.

On Wednesday, US President, Donald Trump told reporters outside the White House said “Germany is delinquent; they’re at one percent, not two percent,”. “They’ve taken advantage of us for many years.”

There has been pushback against the move within the US from the opposition Democrats as well as high-profile members of Trump’s own party.

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UK Cuts Overseas Aid After Worst Recession In Over 300 Years

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The British government is facing so much criticism over its decision to cut overseas aid and divert the funds to finance other spending priorities in the wake of what it described as the deepest recession in more than three centuries.

Treasury chief, Rishi Sunak, says the move is widely expected to free up at least five and a half billion dollars for the conservative government to use for other concerns.

Sunak says government needed to make tough choices at a time of unprecedented crisis.

He said the government aims to return to the target introduced by the labour government of Tony Blair around two decades ago, but that even with the new target, the U.K. Will still be the second biggest aid spender among the group of seven leading industrial nations.

Critics from inside the political spectrum indicate the decision goes against the government’s promise in last year’s general election to maintain the aid target.

Chief executive of the non-governmental organization, save the children, Kevin Watkins, says the NGO is deeply disappointed by the cut, and that, the UK had “broken a promise” to the world’s neediest people that could lead to “100,000 lives not saved by immunization.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the world’s Anglican communion, Justin Welby, said the cut “is shameful and wrong,” and against the teaching of Jesus Christ.

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Turkey Jails Hundreds For Life Over 2016 Failed Coup Attempt

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A Turkish court has jailed for life, three hundred thirty-seven former pilots and other suspects over an unsuccessful plot to overthrow president Recep Tayyip Erdogan four years ago.

475 defendants were accused of carrying out the attempt to overthrow the government in 2016, from an airbase near the capital Ankara.

More than 250 persons were killed in the attempt as rogue soldiers commandeered warplanes, helicopters and tanks in a bid to take control of key state institutions.

Of the 337 life sentences given, 291 were aggravated life sentences, the most severe punishment in Turkish courts. This means there is no possibility of parole.

State news agency, Anadolu, and other sources, said at least 25 F-16 pilots were given aggravated life sentences.

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Smaller Thanksgiving Gatherings Disrupt US Turkey Market

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Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States—a day when millions of families get together, share turkey meals and revel. And it is a day of the famous Macy’s parade. But it’s a smaller occasion this year as COVID-19 has put a damper on large celebrations.

The turkey industry in the country is seeing both a shortage of smaller turkeys and a surplus of the bigger ones as more Americans plan to hold smaller gatherings for Thanksgiving as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Americans heed the advice of health authorities to hold smaller gatherings, they have had to downsize their turkeys from the usual thirty-pound birds.

A recent survey conducted by the American turkey and poultry company, butterball, found that three out of four of its respondents are opting for simpler, smaller dinners this year, which is in line with recommendations from the centers for disease control and prevention.

But that creates a problem for America’s turkey industry where at least forty million turkeys are usually consumed every Thanksgiving. The national turkey federation says most of the frozen turkeys one would find in the supermarkets now had gone into the field before the pandemic hit.  Now, there is a huge backlog, especially of the big size birds that people are not buying because of reduction in crowd sizes.

Nonetheless, Americans say they will make the best of this thanksgiving day and pray that next year would be coronavirus-free. Then, life can return to normal.

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