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Bid to divide "countries"

Tensions are heating up over a US government summit on democracy. The White House decision to invite a number of countries and exclude others is drawing reactions. China has criticized the US for inviting Taiwan to the summit, saying the inclusion of Taipei is a mistake. It says the United States uses democracy as a tool to oppress other countries and divide the world. Russia has also reacted, after it was not included on the guest list. The Kremlin says Washington is trying to divide countries, and to privatize the term democracy. President Joe Biden has invited Taiwan, along with more than a hundred other governments, to attend the virtual summit in December. Taiwan says the event is an opportunity to show off its credentials on the world stage, and share its democratic success story.

Russia-NATO tensions

The Russian defense minister says his country needs to further boost its military in the face of what he calls increased NATO activities on its borders. Sergey Shoigu said the Russian armed forces should increase their effectiveness. He added, the other priorities should be to maintain the combat readiness of nuclear forces and strengthen the potential of non-nuclear deterrent forces. The remarks followed warnings by western countries over Russia’s alleged military activities along its border with Ukraine. The US also said that its real concern is a new buildup of Russian forces on the border. Moscow has dismissed western claims that Russia may be preparing to invade Ukraine. It says the military buildup is in response to growing NATO activities on its borders.

End of Merkel era

Germany is inching closer to a new coalition government, two months after the country’s parliamentary elections. The center-left Social Democratic party, the environmentalist Green party, and the business-focused Free Democrats have agreed to form a coalition. Each of the parties has to ratify the coalition agreement before a new cabinet is formed. The post of chancellorship is slated to go to Olaf Scholz from Social Democrats, the party which won the highest number of seats in September’s elections. The Greens will be in charge of a new ministry dealing with climate, as well as the foreign ministry. And, the Free Democratic Party will head the powerful finance ministry. The new government is expected to start its work in December, pending a parliamentary approval.

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