US secures deal on bases to complete arc around China
BBC reported that the United States has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines – a key bit of real estate which would offer a front seat to monitor the Chinese in the South China Sea and around Taiwan.
With this deal, Washington has stitched the gap in the arc of US alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south.
The missing link had been the Philippines, which borders two of the biggest potential flashpoints, Taiwan and the South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea as Manila insists on calling it.
The US already had limited access to five sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) – the new additions and expanded access, according to a statement from Washington, will “allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in the Philippines, and respond to other shared challenges”, likely a veiled reference to countering China in the region.
The statement came after Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in Manila on Thursday.
Deepest ever fish caught on camera off Japan
BBC reported that scientists have filmed a fish swimming at an extraordinary depth in the ocean, making it the deepest observation of this nature that has ever been made.
The species – a type of snailfish of the genus Pseudoliparis – was filmed swimming at 8,336m (27,349ft).
It was filmed by an autonomous “lander” dropped into the Izu-Ogasawara Trench, south of Japan.
The lead scientist said the snailfish could be at, or very close to, the maximum depth any fish can survive.
The previous deepest fish observation was made at 8,178m, further south in the Pacific in the Mariana Trench. This discovery therefore beats the depth record by 158m.
Thousands protest in Israel despite judicial overhaul pause
Aljazeera reported that thousands of Israelis have protested in Tel Aviv for the 13th straight week against a controversial judcial overhaul that has now been suspended by the government while talks are held with party representatives.
Carrying Israeli flags on Saturday, people marched through the centre of Israel’s commercial hub, chanting “democracy” and carrying placards condemning the hard-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
‘I’m still alive’ jokes Pope as he leaves hospital
BBC reported that Pope Francis has joked that he is “still alive” as he left hospital in Rome after a three-day stay.
Pope Francis was admitted to Gemelli Hospital on Wednesday with breathing difficulties, and later diagnosed with bronchitis.The Vatican had earlier said the pontiff would be released on Saturday if his latest test results allowed it.
The Pope, 86, was pictured smiling and waving from a car that drove him from the hospital.
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