STOCKHOLM: Military expenditure worldwide rose to nearly $2 trillion in 2020, defying the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, researchers said Monday. Global military spending increased by 2.6 percent to $1,981 billion (about 1,650 billion euros) in 2020, when global GDP shrank 4.4 percent, according to a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Diego Lopes da Silva, one of report's authors, told AFP the development was unexpected. "Because of the pandemic, one would think military spending would decrease," he said. "But it's possible to conclude with some certainty that Covid-19 did not have a significant impact on global military spending, in 2020 at least," Lopes da Silva said. He cautioned however that due to the nature of military spending, it could take time for countries "to adapt to the shock". The fact that military spending continued to increase in a year with an economic downturn meant the "military burden", or the share of military spending out of total GDP, had increased as well. The overall share rose from 2.2 percent to 2.4 percent, the largest year-on-year increase since the financial crisis of 2009. As a result, more NATO members hit the Alliance's guideline target of spending at
BEIRUT (AFP) - At least three people died when an Iranian tanker was attacked off Syria's coast on Saturday (April 24), in the first assault of its kind since the war started a decade ago, a war monitor said. "At least three Syrians were killed, including two members of the crew" in the attack that sparked a fire, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. It was not clear who carried out the attack, the war monitor said. "We don't know if this was an Israeli attack," Abdel Rahman told AFP, adding that "the Iranian tanker came from Iran and was not far from Banias port". It was also not clear if a drone or a missile was used in the attack, the Observatory said. State news agency Sana, quoting the oil ministry, said the fire erupted after "what was believed to be an attack by a drone from the direction of Lebanese waters". The flames were later extinguished. In a report published last month that cited US and Middle East officials, the Wall Street Journal said Israel had targeted at least a dozen vessels bound for
AMSTERDAM (REUTERS) - KLM flight KL1376 from Bucharest to Amsterdam was evacuated before departure on Saturday (Oct 3) following a bomb threat, which later appeared to have been a false alarm, a spokeswoman for the Dutch airline said. All passengers and crew left the plane safely, after which local authorities searched it without finding any explosives on board, spokeswoman Gerrie Brand told Reuters. The flight to Amsterdam will now leave on Sunday, Brand added.