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NATO says China presents ‘systemic’ challenges

Beijing’s ‘assertive behaviour’ is challenging the ‘rules-based international order’, transatlantic security alliance says.NATO has moved to confront China’s military ambitions for the first time, issuing a communique that said Beijing presents “systemic challenges” for the transatlantic security alliance. The communique followed a summit of NATO leaders in Brussels on Monday and marked a diplomatic victory…

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Beijing’s ‘assertive behaviour’ is challenging the ‘rules-based international order’, transatlantic security alliance says.NATO has moved to confront China’s military ambitions for the first time, issuing a communique that said Beijing presents “systemic challenges” for the transatlantic security alliance.
The communique followed a summit of NATO leaders in Brussels on Monday and marked a diplomatic victory for US President Joe Biden, who had urged the 30-member strong alliance to stand up to China’s burgeoning military, political and economic might.
The language will now set the path for alliance policy and comes a day after the Group of Seven wealthy nations issued a statement on alleged human rights abuses in China and Taiwan that Beijing said slandered its reputation.
“China’s stated ambitions and assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security,” NATO’s 79-point communique said.
It accused Beijing of “rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal” and being “opaque in implementing its military modernisation”, as well as highlighting China’s military cooperation with Russia in exercises in the Euro-Atlantic region as a concern.
“We call on China to uphold its international commitments and to act responsibly in the international system, including in the space, cyber, and maritime domains, in keeping with its role as a major power,” the communique said.
Addressing reporters following the summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there was a “strong convergence of views among allies” regarding the challenges posed by Beijing’s behaviour.
“Leaders agreed that we need to address such challenges as an alliance and that we need to engage with China to defend our security interests,” he said.
In other developments, NATO’s communique said the alliance would adapt to climate-related security challenges, called on Russia to drop its designation of two allies – the United States and the Czech Republic – as “unfriendly countries” and urged Iran to stop all ballistic missile activities.
The alliance also said it was committed to providing transitional funding for the Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, after the US-led withdrawal of allied troops from the country.

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‘We have been hit by a fish!’ Lest we forget the great submarine vs. swordfish battle of 1967

Marvin McCamis, Valentine Wilson, and Edward Zarudzki comprised a three-man crew operating the Navy-owned deep-sea submersible ALVIN (DSV-2) in July 1967 when they were attacked by an unusual enemy.“We have been hit by a fish!” one of the sub’s pilots shouted.At a depth of approximately 2,000 feet off the coast of Florida, the research submersible,…

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Marvin McCamis, Valentine Wilson, and Edward Zarudzki comprised a three-man crew operating the Navy-owned deep-sea submersible ALVIN (DSV-2) in July 1967 when they were attacked by an unusual enemy.“We have been hit by a fish!” one of the sub’s pilots shouted.At a depth of approximately 2,000 feet off the coast of Florida, the research submersible, best known for exploring the wreck of the HMS Titanic, was conducting an up-close investigation of a curious coral specimen when it was suddenly blindsided by an aggravated swordfish (no relation to the catastrophic John Travolta and Halle Berry disaster of 2001).The scraping noise bewildered the crew, each believing the sound to be the result of drifting or a depth miscalculation. Looking out the porthole, however, they saw the sub was stationary.“The co-pilot who was watching out through the starboard porthole … recoiled from it,” Zarudzki recalled in a written statement. “Outside the starboard porthole I saw a large fish, apparently captive, violently trying to disengage itself and in the process tearing some of the skin and flesh [from] its back.”Thanks to ALVIN’s curvaceous disposition, the blow delivered by the swordfish glanced from its intended target before becoming wedged in a crevice between the upper and lower sections of the sub’s fiberglass hull.Never having been briefed on what to do in the event of encountering a kamikaze swordfish, the crew launched into a quick conference to ensure there were no leaks or debilitating damage. When they discovered there was, in fact, a minor — albeit unthreatening — leak, the team opted to surface.As the sub ascended from the watery depths, “the pilot requested the swimmers who attach the mooring lines to ALVIN to throw a noose around the fish’s tail, securing it to the [ship],” Zarudzki’s account read. “The submarine was then guided onto the cradle and hoisted aboard the catamaran mother ship.”There, the crew came face-to-face with their sabre-snouted foe, a 196-pound catch measuring 8 feet long that the crew surmised had rammed ALVIN after the sub startled it from its deep-sea vibe sesh.The now-surfaced fish fought violently, severing its own sword before being hoisted by its tail aboard the catamaran.It took the crew two hours to separate fish from sub. Afterward, it was “dressed aboard and over 100 lbs. of steak was deep frozen,” Zarudski wrote.“The following day delicious steaks were enjoyed by the crew.”Mariner myth suggests it was this very incident that yielded the old seaman’s proverb, “I love the fishes ‘cause they’re so delicious. Gotta go fishin’. I could eat them everyday, and my mom says that’s OK.”Remember that? Pepperidge Farm remembers.Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.

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NatGeo’s ‘9/11: One Day in America’ is a painstaking portrait of horror, resilience & hope

“Are you ready? Okay, let’s roll.”The final words of Todd Beamer, one of the four men believed to have overpowered hijackers on United Airlines Flight 93, match the sustained tone of National Geographic’s latest six-part memorialization of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.9/11: One Day in America, an all-new, comprehensive retelling of the infamous day…

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“Are you ready? Okay, let’s roll.”The final words of Todd Beamer, one of the four men believed to have overpowered hijackers on United Airlines Flight 93, match the sustained tone of National Geographic’s latest six-part memorialization of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.9/11: One Day in America, an all-new, comprehensive retelling of the infamous day that launched a forever war and shocked the world, can only be described as heartbreakingly thorough. With never-before-seen footage and all-new interviews, the documentary series from the production team of Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin (“Undefeated” and “LA 92”) is a devastating yet mesmerizing portrait of America on perhaps the nation’s worst day in generations.While the documentary begins like many accounts that preceded it — imagery of New York City firefighters and businessmen who worked at the World Trade Center — little time elapses before realizing this series is different.Image taken by NOAA’s Cessna Citation Jet on Sept. 23, 2001, from an altitude of 3,300 feet. (NOAA) Audio and video footage spans past and present narratives while highlighting vantage points that range from the casual New Yorker standing horrified outside of a taxi to the frantic personnel inside the actual towers.Calls previously released from American Flight 11 are included, as is an account of one man working in the WTC whose sister and niece were onboard the plane that hit the North Tower. There’s the fire chief who lost his brother after giving him one final order, a mother who hoped her kind-hearted son could be a killer when he needed to be, a security officer who sang people to safety, a man buried alive and left behind, a fighter pilot faced with a decision to kill innocent Americans — and herself with them — before another plane reached its target.Still, perhaps the most beautiful aspect of this oft-agonizing and meticulous series lies not within the footage of witnesses, but in the moments of hope and resiliency that underscore those fateful events and the days that followed.Viewers will watch horrified one moment as clouds of ash, smoke and debris swallow screams and people alike, only to be rejuvenated the next by a woman, who should have died, sitting in a hospital bed happily showcasing a gift from her fiancé, or even a former Marine-turned-firefighter recounting the heroism of a colleague who saved his secretary.Every viewer may know how the story ends, but this immersive retelling leaves no doubt as to why that day 20 years ago should remain prominent in our memories.“This was my world, never to be the same again,” one interviewee says.That same sentiment will no doubt resonate with viewers.National Geographic’s 9/11: One Day in America is currently available to stream on Hulu, and will air in three-episode segments on the National Geographic channel on Sept. 10 and 11.Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran and Master’s candidate at New York University. She’s currently an Editorial Fellow for Military Times.

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The Best Digital Cameras for Taking Gallery-Ready Black-and-White Photographs

When it comes to monochromatic digital cameras, seeing the world in black and white isn’t a fault—it’s an asset. To take black-and-white or monochrome shots on most conventional digital cameras, you’re forced to pick between two imperfect options: You can turn on monochrome shooting mode, which often just re-filters the color in black and white,…

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When it comes to monochromatic digital cameras, seeing the world in black and white isn’t a fault—it’s an asset. To take black-and-white or monochrome shots on most conventional digital cameras, you’re forced to pick between two imperfect options: You can turn on monochrome shooting mode, which often just re-filters the color in black and white, or you can color-correct your pictures in postproduction. However, because of the way most camera sensors encode light—and in turn color—both processes tend to rob the image of crispness and depth. True monochrome shooting offers a solution: Light is directly recorded on the sensor rather than filtered by a Bayer mosaic, the traditional digital color encoding technology. Monochrome-only cameras lack Bayer filters altogether, and some multipurpose mirrorless cameras have “true” black-and-white modes that sidestep color encoding. Both options are capable of capturing hyper-detailed images, all in shades of gray. Here are the five best monochrome shooters on the market.

1. Fujifilm X-Pro3 Mirrorless Digital Camera
Commit fully to the retro bit with this high-end offering by Fujifilm, consistently the most photogenic (har, har) camera brand on the market. This model is available in black, silver, and “Dura Black,” but the real highlights are the blacks and silvers it can render through its top-of-the-line X-trans CMOS 4 sensor (APS-C). In fact, the X-Pro3 is the first in Fujifilm’s Pro line to offer a dedicated monochromatic color mode. That doesn’t just mean black and white: You can choose a focal color from an on-screen spectrum and snap away. With its advanced sensor and low-light capabilities, the raw image processing of this camera has to be seen to be believed.

Buy:
Fujifilm X-Pro3 Mirrorless Digital Camera

$1,799.95

2. Sony a7R III Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera
At its launch in 2015, the Sony 7R II was a towering presence at the intersection of hobbyist and professional-quality mirrorless cameras, and the Sony 7R III features small but appreciable improvements, including faster autofocus and longer battery life. Not everyone may know that 7R series cameras are amazing not only for color but for black-and-white shots as well. You can shoot in one of two monochrome modes: rich tone and high contrast. Rich tone essentially operates like an HDR shot, combining three successive black and white images to create a smoother, softer, lower-contrast hybrid image. For images that are crisper and less textured, high-contrast mode is your best bet.

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Buy:
Sony a7R III Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera

$2,298.00

3. Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera
The a6000 takes some of the muscle of the Sony a7R II and squeezes it into a more affordable (albeit slightly older) package. Released in 2014, this camera also offers high-contrast and rich-tone monochrome modes, plus all manner of other color-adjusted shooting options: posterization (in both B&W and color), pop color, retro effects, partial color (R/G/B/Y), HDR painting, and more. And boy, does it punch above its weight—or rather, its price tag. Its Exmore CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processing technology still stack up against newer cameras. This is your one-stop camera for achieving all kinds of unconventional effects without sacrificing image quality, and it’s compatible with any E-mount series lens.

Buy:
Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera

$2,298.00

4. Leica Q2 Monochrom Full Frame Compact Digital Camera
It’s in the name: This is the truest monochrome camera on our list. The Leica Q2 completely lacks color filters, meaning black-and-white images are captured directly on its 47.3 full-frame monochrome sensor. Unlike the mirrorless cameras on our list, this is a point-and-shoot digital camera with a fixed lens (Summilux 28 mm f/1.7 ASPH). But it’s going to blow any other point-and-shoot you’ve owned out of the water. Its extremely fast-acting autofocus homes in on subjects in 0.15 second, it can shoot in 4K video, and it boasts an amazingly broad ISO range of 100 to 100,000. You can preview your shots on a 3-inch touchscreen LCD display, then share them via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Plus, it’s resilient, with a compact, weather-sealed body.

Buy:
Leica Q2 Monochrom Full Frame Compact Digital…

$6,164.02

5. Sigma DP3 Quattro Compact Digital Camera
The DP3 Quattro may be one of the most difficult to pin down cameras on the market. It’s nominally a point-and-shoot, with a fixed 50mm F2.8 lens (equivalent to a 75mm lens on a 35mm SLR camera). But, like the Q2, it’s not your mom’s digital camera. Its finesse in monochrome shots comes from its unique Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor: Rather than process color through a pixel-based Bayer filter, it captures light through a three-layered sensor, one for each base color (red, green, blue). This gives colors a depth and richness equivalent to 39 megapixels in conventional color filter array sensors, and it lends extra oomph to monochromatic shots. It’s not going to be the best pick for low-light (high ISO) or action shots, but for portraits, landscape, and detail work, it really shines. And if you like to stand out from the crowd, you’ll also like its unconventionally thin and wide body design.

Buy:
Sigma DP3 Quattro Compact Digital Camera

$1,122.86

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