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Trump's threat to NATO allies sparks fierce backlash in Europe

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Trump's threat to NATO allies sparks fierce backlash in Europe

European leaders have decried Donald Trump’s suggestion the US would not protect NATO members failing to meet the alliance’s spending target.

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The former US president and current Republican frontrunner suggested in a South Carolina rally he would “encourage” Russia to attack any NATO country that does not contribute 2% of its GDP to the alliance’s coffers.

He claimed the president of an unnamed “big country” in Europe had asked him: “If we don’t pay, and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?”

Trump said his response was: “No I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them (Russia) to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills.”

Speaking in Brussels on Monday morning, the EU’s foreign policy and defence chief Josep Borrell said: “Let’s be serious. NATO cannot be an ‘à la carte’ military alliance. (It) cannot be a military alliance that works depending on the humour of the President of the US on those days.”

“I’m not going to spend my time commenting on any silly idea that comes during this campaign in the US,” he added.

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Trump’s inflammatory comments were also censured by Charles Michel, president of the European Council. “Reckless statements on NATO’s security and Art 5 solidarity serve only Putin’s interest,” Michel said on social media platform X.

Article 5 requires each of the military alliance’s 31 countries to come to the aid of any member who becomes a victim of an armed attack. It has been invoked only once in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the US.

“They do not bring more security or peace to the world,” Michel went on. “On the contrary, they reemphasise the need for the EU to urgently further develop its strategic autonomy and invest in its defence. And to keep our Alliance strong.”

The European Commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton, told French TV channel LCI that Trump’s comments showed that American democracy was “sick.”

“We cannot gamble our security every 4 years,” Breton said, referring to the US presidential elections.

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He also claimed Trump’s comments related to a conversation he had with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen whilst he was in office in 2020. Trump reportedly told her the US would not help Europe if it was attacked.

“You need to understand that if Europe is under attack we will never come to help you and to support you,” Trump said during the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, according to Breton, adding that “by the way, NATO is dead.”

The foreign ministry of Germany – one of NATO’s biggest spenders whose expenditure nonetheless does not reach the target of 2% of GDP – said that “this NATO creed keeps more than 950 million people safe – from Anchorage to Erzurum.”

Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who sits on the parliament’s delegation for relations with the United States, also took to X to call on the EU to “coordinate and integrate defence efforts from procurement to deployment,” to reduce reliance on Washington.

Officials in Brussels are increasingly nervous that a Trump comeback could severely disrupt the West’s tightly aligned policy on Ukraine and erode NATO’s influence.

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The bloc is looking to scale up its defence industry and military capabilities in a bid to boost its so-called “strategic autonomy.”

Fears that Trump could re-impose punitive trade tariffs on EU products entering the US are also raising the alarm. Trump has vowed that if elected he will raise a 10% tax on all foreign imports, and even higher levies on China-made goods.

A spokesperson of the European Commission said on Monday that the executive is “setting up a structured internal process to prepare for all possible outcomes of the US presidential elections,” but no further details were provided.

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List of winners at the 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards

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List of winners at the 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The list of winners so far at the 30th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which are being presented live Saturday in Los Angeles.

MOVIES

FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers”

MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Robert Downey Jr., “Oppenheimer”

STUNT ENSEMBLE

“Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning – Part I”

TELEVISION

COMEDY ENSEMBLE

“The Bear”

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MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Pedro Pascal, “The Last of Us”

MALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Jeremy Allen White, “The Bear”

FEMALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Ayo Edebiri, “The Bear”

FEMALE ACTOR IN A LIMITED TV SERIES OR MOVIE

Ali Wong, “Beef”

MALE ACTOR IN A LIMITED TV SERIES OR MOVIE

Steven Yeun, “Beef”

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STUNT ENSEMBLE

“The Last of Us”

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Reporter's Notebook: Aboard the USS Dwight D Eisenhower in the Red Sea: 'Constant self-defense'

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Reporter's Notebook: Aboard the USS Dwight D Eisenhower in the Red Sea: 'Constant self-defense'

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It’s the dark of night, the middle of the Red Sea, but it’s not quiet. The whine of several F-18 super hornet fighter jets produce an ear-splitting sound on the deck of the USS Dwight D Eisenhower. 

In bright primary-colored shirts, sailors on the flight deck tend to their specific jobs. The munitions officers, in red shirts, flip a switch that engages the sidewinder missiles on the outside of the fighter jet’s wings. It’s like taking the safety off your gun. The missiles are now ready to be fired. The pilot inches his jet forward so catapult officers can hook the tow-bar on his front wheel to the shuttle which runs down a steaming slot to the end of the flight deck.  

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Through a series of hand signals, a deck officer with yellow flashlights tells the pilot it’s time. He throttles the jet engines to full power and everyone’s rib cages shake on deck. An officer with the title shooter triggers the catapult and with a mighty roar the super hornet is launched into combat over the Red Sea.

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: EMBEDDED WITH THE IDF DEEP INSIDE HAMAS TUNNELS UNDER UNRWA HQ

Fox News correspondent Mike Tobin on board the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea (Fox News)

Each takeoff is a launch into combat. Everything happens in the “weapons engagement zone,” close enough to Houthi controlled Yemen that they are in range of hostile fire.  

“We are in constant self-defense out here when it comes to threats that can be shot at us,’ says Rear Admiral Marc Miguez, commander of the strike group. 

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Self-defense does not mean they don’t go on the offensive. Often times, the F-18s launch with a planned target. Captain Marvin Scott, commander of the air wing on the carrier says his pilots have already degraded the ability of the Houthis to fire at cargo ships and warships crossing the Red Sea. “By targeting their ability to see us, their surveillance radars, and now we’re primarily focused on their military capabilities,” he says.

USS Dwight Eisenhower

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea (Fox News)

Many of the targets are “dynamic targets”, something that presents itself after the F-18 is in the air. U.S. Central Command says on Thursday U.S. forces struck four drones and two anti-ship cruise missiles that were prepared to launch. On Friday, they shot down three drones near commercial ships in the Red Sea.  

US, COALITION FORCES DESTROY 6 HOUTHI ONE-WAY ATTACK DRONES

Oil tanker on fire

In this photo provided by the Indian Navy on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, a view of  the oil tanker Marlin Luanda on fire after an attack, in the Gulf of Aden. The crew aboard a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker hit by a missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels is battling a fire onboard the stricken vessel sparked by the strike. (Indian Navy via AP)

The threats are constant and while the sailors have proven to be effective at shooting missiles out of the sky, it’s not an easy task and failure is not an option. “We have to be right 100% of the time and they only have to be right once,” says Miguez.

The USS Eisenhower is one of six ships in strike group two. One of them is a cruiser, the USS Philippine Sea. It serves as a sentinel for the strike group, with layers of sailors who monitor high-tech electronics that detect incoming threats. In a matter of seconds, the “watchstanders” determine the nature of the threat and how to respond. 

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“It just depends what the threat is and what’s coming at us,” Says Captain Steve Liberty who defined what his ship is ready for, “Anything they can throw our way,” he says.

 

USS Dwight D Eisenhower

Sailors on the flight deck of the USS Dwight D Eisenhower. (Fox News)

In the end, their mission is as old as the Navy itself. Protecting safe maritime trade is the reason the Navy was created in the first place. “Freedom of Navigation,” Says Captain Chris Hill, Commander of the Dwight D Eisenhower, “It’s something we’ve been doing since 1775, and it’s something we’re really good at.”

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Angry french farmers greet President Emmanuel Macron at major fair

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Angry french farmers greet President Emmanuel Macron at major fair

Farmers across the EU argue the bloc’s environmental regulations, including initiatives like the Green Deal, hamper their operations and render their products less competitive against non-EU products.

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French President Emmanuel Macron was on Saturday welcomed at the annual Agricultural Fair by angry farmers calling for more government support and simplified regulations.

During talks on-site with farmers’ representatives, Macron stressed that resolving this crisis would not happen quickly and highlighted the fair as a crucial moment for farmers, who have invested a lot of effort to showcase their animals and products. 

The annual fair opens a day after frustrated farmers returned to Paris with their tractors to demand increased government support and simplified regulations.

The latest protest comes three weeks after farmers lifted roadblocks around Paris and throughout the country following a government pledge to spend €400 million to address concerns regarding low incomes, excessive regulation, and perceived unfair competition from abroad.

“Save our agriculture,” declared the Rural Coordination, echoing their sentiment on social media. Among the demonstrators, one tractor bore a poster reading: “Death is in the field.”

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The convoy briefly disrupted traffic on the A4 highway to the east of Paris and the city’s ring-road earlier in the day.

The grievances expressed by French farmers are part of a broader movement across Europe protesting against EU agricultural policies, bureaucratic hurdles, and overall business conditions.

Farmers argue that EU environmental regulations, including initiatives like the Green Deal, which advocate for restrictions on chemical usage and greenhouse gas emissions, hamper their operations and render their products less competitive compared to imports from outside the EU.

Similar protests are unfolding across France as farmers ramp up pressure on the government to fulfill its commitments. Government officials have engaged in ongoing discussions with farmers’ unions in recent weeks to draft a new bill aimed at safeguarding France’s “agricultural sovereignty,” which will undergo parliamentary debate this spring.

The government’s proposed measures include significant financial assistance, tax incentives, and a pledge not to prohibit pesticides in France that remain permissible elsewhere in Europe. French farmers argue that such bans place them at an unfair disadvantage.

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