(Bloomberg) -- Buzzing through the sky in the shadow of Mount Olympus, Greek and American attack helicopters completed a live-fire exercise last week as the two NATO allies strengthened their military cooperation. But the timing of the joint maneuvers was more testament to the geopolitics of an increasingly volatile region—and a message to rival powers—than a mark of any great friendship.Greece has emerged as key to American plans to counter the influence of China and Russia in the Eastern Mediterranean as countries jostle for energy resources and infrastructure.For the Greeks, the U.S. is the only country that can contain the expansionism of Turkey, which last week sought Washington’s military help as it gets mired in the war in Syria where it’s fighting Russian-backed forces. Turkey, which is also NATO member, requested a meeting with its allies in Brussels on Friday after an airstrike in Syria killed at least 33 Turkish soldiers.Read More: Turkey on Verge of Military Confrontation with Russia in SyriaThe U.S. ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt, said during the exercises on Feb. 19 that the relationship was “stronger than it has ever been” and defense cooperation was an “essential component of that.” A mutual accord was ratified this year in Athens weeks after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis held talks in Washington with President Donald Trump.A beefed up partnership with Greece is aligned with Trump’s National Defense Strategy, a policy shift that aims to prevent Russia and China from expanding in countries where the U.S. has had long-term military and economic ties. Greece is also a relatively pro-American nation in Europe, where many leaders are pushing back against demands to pay more for U.S. military support.“It’s great power competition,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said last week during a briefing with reporters in Washington. “If you aren’t there partnering with them and working with them, someone is going to try to fill the void.” The U.S. and British intervened in Greece after World War II to stop the country from falling behind the Iron Curtain. By 1952, it was a member of NATO, joining alongside neighbor and traditional foe Turkey.Greece spent the last 10 years battling an economic crisis. During that time it sold its largest port, the facilities at Piraeus adjacent to Athens, to China’s state-run operator as it sought to raise money. Such investments are of particular interest to the U.S., according to McCarthy. The Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement, which Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said was “truly a pivotal point” when he signed it in Athens in October, increases military cooperation by expanding infrastructure and making other improvements at the Souda base in Crete. It also allows the U.S. to use the Alexandropouli port in the north.For the Trump administration, Greece also is one of Europe’s big spenders on defense traditionally, given its location. The country already allocates more than 2% of its gross domestic product, a demand from the administration that has irked other members, like Germany. Mitsotakis also is upgrading Greece’s U.S.-made F-16 fighters.What worries Greece is that Turkey is growing more assertive in the eastern Mediterranean. While Turkey and Russia have been on opposing sides in Libya and Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has formed a closer relationship with Vladimir Putin as they carve up the region.Tension between Greece and Turkey is at the highest since the 1990s because of a dispute over maritime borders included in a recent Turkish deal with war-torn Libya and Turkish plans to explore for gas in sea areas claimed by Greece. Athens is also looking to help reduce the region’s dependency on Russian gas and is working on a pipeline project linking the Aegean with Bulgaria to the north.Cagatay Erciyes, a senior Turkish foreign ministry official, questioned last week Greek maritime claims around its islands in the Aegean and the Mediterranean. He asserted that Turkey would maintain energy exploration offshore the south of Cyprus until Turkish Cypriot rights were guaranteed.International pressure won’t “bend Turkey’s arms,” Erciyes said. “The U.S., our American friends, can support dialogue between Turkey and Greece.”Indeed, the mood music around Mitsotakis and Trump is in stark contrast with Erdogan, who has often had an acrimonious relationship with his American counterpart.The U.S. responded to Turkey’s decision to buy the S-400 missile system from Russia by suspending it from the F-35 program. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper questioned in December Ankara’s commitment to the NATO alliance after Erdogan threatened to close two critical installations if it’s sanctioned for growing military ties to Russia.Washington questioned the decision by Erdogan to send in troops to bolster the United Nations-backed government in Libya, a move that has upset the balance of power in the region. “The U.S. has always had a balance of power approach, especially when an ally like Turkey is trying to assert itself unilaterally,” said Kamran Bokhari, director of analytical development at the Center for Global Policy in Washington. “Turkey has a lot more to offer to the U.S. than Greece, but stronger ties with the Greeks are useful as Washington doesn’t want Turkey to get too comfortable in the Eastern Mediterranean region.”\--With assistance from Paul Tugwell and Selcan Hacaoglu.To contact the author of this story: Glen Carey in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Bill Faries at firstname.lastname@example.org, Rodney JeffersonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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The World Health Organization’s warning on Friday that the coronavirus was now a “global level” risk intensified fears for the global economy.
- WorldThe New York Times
In Anyang, China, five members of a family came down with the coronavirus after hosting a guest from Wuhan in early January. But the visitor, a 20-year-old woman, never got sick herself.Some individuals who are infected with the coronavirus can spread it even though they have no symptoms, studies have shown.Asymptomatic carriers are a well-known phenomenon. But the coronavirus is a new pathogen, and these cases may complicate scientific efforts to detect cases and to curb transmission."I don't think there's any question that someone who is without symptoms and carrying the virus can transmit the virus to somebody else," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases."The question is, how prevalent is that phenomenon? Is that becoming an important driver of the outbreaks, or is it an unusual occurrence?"When asymptomatic carriers are important factors in an outbreak, he said, "you are going to put greater emphasis and burden on testing people."At the moment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allows for testing only symptomatic people who traveled to China recently or those who have had contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus. (Officials have said the criteria may be reevaluated.)"We could be missing a great number of cases that don't fit into those criteria," said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota."I suspect there are a number of additional cases in this country that are transmitting this virus, just like we're seeing in other countries. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."People who are infected but asymptomatic can spread disease efficiently. They are hardy and mobile. They have no reason to avoid crowds or kissing. They don't know they are sick, and no one else does.These individuals are also hard to detect, suggesting that the current policies to try to contain the spread of the virus may not be adequate. Simply screening international travelers with symptoms of illness -- and explicitly precluding tests of patients without a known link to China -- may mean new cases are missed.In February, Germany flew 126 people home from the Wuhan area. Ten passengers were segregated from the others because they didn't feel well or thought they had been exposed to the coronavirus. But everyone was offered testing.The 10 isolated patients tested negative, but two people -- who felt fine -- surprised scientists by testing positive. They were hospitalized, monitored and tested repeatedly.While one developed a mild rash and slightly sore throat, neither became ill.There have been 59 confirmed coronavirus cases so far in the United States, but little testing has occurred for a country of this size. The CDC has run only 445 tests, not counting tests on people who were repatriated.Most of the confirmed cases are passengers repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The CDC reported Wednesday that two more passengers under quarantine have become ill.Federal health officials warned Tuesday that hospitals, schools and businesses needed to start preparing for outbreaks in the United States. Containment strategies may have to expand to include steps like closing schools, ordering people to work from home and restricting public gatherings.The secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, said he was alarmed by the infections occurring in some parts of the world that have no clear link to confirmed cases.Until now, the vast majority of infections and deaths have been in China, where the coronavirus originated in Wuhan before spreading to about 40 other nations.So far, at least 81,109 people have been infected, and at least 2,718 have died.But other countries may not have confirmed cases because they haven't tested very many people or don't have the resources to run tests.Some public health experts fear stealth transmissions may already be occurring in communities in the United States. But if sick individuals have no direct link to China, they will not be eligible for testing, so they will not be detected. That may help spread the disease."To our knowledge there is no sustained transmission in this country at this point unless it is under the radar," Fauci said.In Italy, health officials in some regions have taken a different approach.After 10 deaths attributed to the new coronavirus, health officials started aggressive and widespread testing in some regions. They turned up hundreds of other infections, including many in people who did not display any symptoms.Quarantines have been imposed on at least 10 towns, and the movement of tens of thousands of people has been limited. There have been no deaths attributed to the coronavirus in the United States.Earlier reports about asymptomatic transmission -- including a published report about a Chinese woman who visited Germany for a few days in January, infecting several colleagues there and not realizing she was ill until she returned home -- have been criticized.A follow-up report said the woman had vague symptoms, like fatigue, though not the kind of symptoms typically associated with the coronavirus.If it is true that asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic people can transmit the disease frequently and efficiently, testing may need to be broadened, experts said."This implies we may need many more tests that can be used out in the field, at the point of care," said Dr. Judith N. Wasserheit, co-director of the University of Washington MetaCenter for Pandemic Preparedness and Global Health Security. "We're still learning about the biology of this virus and how it causes disease."Dr. Sandra Ciesek, of the Institute of Medical Virology at University Hospital Frankfurt, who was one of the authors of a letter in The New England Journal of Medicine that described the German patients who did not become ill, said the problem was that "normally, you don't screen asymptomatic healthy people for the virus because it's too expensive.""This shows we might have more infected people already all over the world than we expect," she said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
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The captain of the Braemar reported four Filipinos, two UK citizens and two US citizens were under medical observation.
The S&P 500 index saw its quickest 10% decline from an all-time high. The rate at which the index declined over the past week surpassed the Black Monday plunge of October 1987.
Touted as the holy grail of clean energy, nuclear fusion is now closer than it’s ever been thanks to a new development 40 years in the making
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A woman’s “perfect” proposal quickly went downhill after a discovery about her engagement ring sparked a series of lies from her fiancé. The proposal began when the woman got engaged on Christmas day. Her ring came inside a Tiffany and Co. box, but was just a bit too big, so the woman went to get it resized at one of the brand’s stores. The manager of the store told the woman it wasn't a Tiffany and Co. ring, showing her there was no engraving on the inside. the ring was fake, which the woman believed was probably the result of her fiancé getting scammed. she asked him where he bought the ring. He responded that he’d bought it at a specific Tiffany and Co. location, but she revealed her issue at the store. The woman's fiance flipped out, accusing her of checking up on him. He told her the Tiffany's employees were wrong and he had gotten it there. days later after snooping through the search history on her fiancé’s iPad, she’d found the actual ring he ordered — on Amazon for about $6. she confronted her fiancé again — this time over the phone — saying that she didn’t care about the ring’s price but was “devastated by the lies”. Her fiancé confessed, revealing that he borrowed the box from his friend, who had proposed with a Tiffany ring a few years prior. the woman hung up and texted him that she needed some space and time, and that she was going to go stay at a hotel to just chill for a day. Posting the experience on Reddit, users urged the woman to “Hold out for your real diamond and your real love.”