These three things will change the world today.
1. Nato’s Annual Report for 2016 will be released today
Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stolberg, will hold a press conference today at the alliance’s headquarters.
Stolberg will announce the release of the group’s annual report for 2016. This addresses how Nato prompted and supported peace and security over the past 12 months.
The document will include details on the challenges and threats Nato faces, such as the growing threat from North Korea’s nuclear capability to the war in Syria.
It will also contain statistics on the financing of joint activities as well as each member-state’s investments in defence capabilities. This has been a hot topic recently as US president Trump has criticised the other members of Nato for not contributing enough to defence in the alliance.
Each country in the alliance is expected to pay two percent of its GDP towards modernising and improving defence. Bulgaria is among the countries which are spending a lot less than this figure on defence, and is at the source of the president’s frustration with the alliance.
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Trump has called for schedules for the step-by-step increase in payments by each country.
2. Brexit bill returns to the House of Commons for vote
The Article 50 bill has made its way through the House of Lords and will now return to the Commons where MPs will vote on the peers’ amendments.
One of the amendments wants to guarantee the rights of overseas EU nationals in the UK. However, this could be overturned by a vote in the Commons which would see it return to the Lords for a final vote.
If the House of Lords backs down on the amendments and the bill becomes law, Theresa May is expected to trigger Article 50 and formally begin the process of Britain leaving the EU.
However, if there is a delay in accepting the Brexit bill in the upper chamber, this process could be delayed until the last week of March. This is in order to avoid the clash with elections in the Netherlands, due to take place later this week, and the 60th anniversary of the treaty of Rome, the first treaty that eventually lead to the formation of the EU.
Sources told the Guardian there is a high chance the bill will be accepted tonight, which means Article 50 could be triggered on Tuesday.
3. Boaty McBoatface makes it maiden mission
Boaty McBoatface, the National Environment Research Council’s (NERC) robot submarine named by the British public, is ready to make its first mission.
The autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is being sent to Antarctica to investigate water flow and turbulence in the Orkney Passage, a 3.5km deep region of the Southern Ocean.
The data it collects will help scientists study how the ocean is responding to the effects of global warming and climate change.
The submarine was christened with its unusual name after the NERC asked the public to name a new polar research ship. A former BBC Radio Jersey presenter, James Hand, suggested Boaty McBoatface and it quickly became the most popular choice.
However, the NERC overturned this decision to name the ship after the broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. But, the new AUV was named in honour of the public’s choice instead.
Despite the amusing name, the NERC has big plans for Boaty. It is expected to be used to attempt the first-ever crossing of the Arctic Ocean under ice, which could deliver significant information to inform scientists about the changes the region is experiencing.