Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs

Article excerpt

Sweden initiates military draft for men, women

Sweden's left-leaning government instituted a military draft for both men and women Thursday because of what its defense minister called a deteriorating security environment in Europe and around Sweden.

Sweden abolished compulsory military service for men in 2010 because there were enough volunteers to meet its military needs. It has never had a military draft for women.

The government said "the all-volunteer recruitment hasn't provided the armed forces with enough trained personnel. The reactivating of conscription is needed for military readiness."

In September, non-NATO-member Sweden stationed permanent troops on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland. Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist described the move as sending a signal after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and its "increasing pressure" on the neighboring Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Merkel to work with Egypt on refugee crisis * German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday pledged to boost support for Egypt's economic development and partner with Cairo to help address the region's refugee crisis, with an eye on stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.

After meeting President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Merkel told reporters she had discussed providing assistance and equipment to stop human traffickers from using Egypt as a transit country. Neither leader provided further details.

"There are a variety of refugees in Egypt, and we would like these refugees to have better opportunities as Egypt faces a big challenge, we are discussing concrete points," she said at a joint news conference in the presidential palace. "We can imagine further support but have not reached this point yet."

Airstrike kills al-Qaida leader * A U.S. airstrike in Syria earlier this week killed the deputy leader of al-Qaida, known as Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, the group confirmed on Thursday. The death brings a significant blow to the terrorist network and points to the central role Syria has taken in its operations.

Al-Masri, a veteran Egyptian militant, was the deputy of al-Qaida's leader Ayman al-Zawahri, and the organization's senior figure in Syria. …

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