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  • [POP MUSIC]

  • CARL AZUZ: It's been 70 years since NATO,

  • the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed.

  • The world's changed a lot since then.

  • The NATO alliance has grown a lot since then.

  • And yesterday's visit by its leader to the US capital

  • is our first subject on today's show.

  • Even though the United States was a founding member of NATO

  • in 1949, Wednesday was the first time

  • that a NATO Secretary General ever addressed

  • the US House and Senate.

  • During a speech that promoted the organization itself

  • and the unity of its members, Jens Stoltenberg

  • acknowledged that NATO countries have their disagreements.

  • But he said they've overcome them in the past,

  • and they'll have to do it again, because the challenges

  • that NATO faces can't be addressed by one country alone.

  • JENS STOLTENBERG: Questions are being asked

  • on both sides of the Atlantic about the strength

  • of our partnership.

  • And yes, there are differences.

  • This is democracy.

  • Open discussions and different views

  • is not a sign of weakness.

  • It is a sign of strength.

  • NIC ROBERTSON: What is NATO?

  • Why is it important, and what's its future?

  • [DELICATE MUSIC]

  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization

  • is a political and military alliance established in 1949

  • that seeks to promote stability in the North Atlantic area.

  • - It is the will of the people of the world for our freedom

  • and for our peace.

  • NIC ROBERTSON: Led by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg,

  • there are 29 member countries, and its HQ is in Brussels.

  • NATO doesn't have its own troops,

  • but relies on contributions of forces

  • from its member countries.

  • At NATO's core is Article V, which

  • states an attack on one member is

  • an attack on all NATO allies.

  • The collective defense principle was

  • to protect Western European nations

  • against the Soviet Union.

  • But when the Soviet Union collapsed,

  • NATO's new tasks ranged from being a bulwark

  • against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to fighting human trafficking

  • and intercepting refugees in the Mediterranean.

  • NATO is still extremely active, with some 4,000 US troops

  • in Poland and the Baltic states, and tens of thousands

  • on 48-hour standby, bolstering NATO's allies

  • and sending a clear message to Russia.

  • [THEME MUSIC]

  • CARL AZUZ: Secretary General Stoltenberg's speech

  • on Wednesday came a day after he met with US President Donald

  • Trump at the White House.

  • And Stoltenberg referred to the American leader in his speech.

  • President Trump's been skeptical of NATO and the past.

  • The defense alliance recommends its members spend at least 2%

  • of their gross domestic product on defense.

  • Only seven out of 29 actually do that.

  • The US does, and Stoltenberg credits

  • President Trump with getting other members to spend more.

  • Despite that and other international disagreements

  • over its policies, NATO has lasted longer

  • than any other defense alliance in recorded history,

  • and several international analysts say it's the most

  • successful alliance, too.

  • Next story, India has kicked off what's been called the world's

  • largest democratic exercise.

  • That exercise is voting.

  • And with a government that's a federal parliamentary republic

  • and a population of 1.3 billion people,

  • India is considered the world's largest democracy.

  • In this election, about 900 million people

  • are eligible to vote.

  • To give you a sense of that number,

  • it's almost three times the entire population

  • of the United States.

  • In order to give that many people the chance

  • to cast ballots, India plans to open about 1 million polling

  • stations across the country, and more than 10 million officials

  • will be working to manage them.

  • The election will take more than a month.

  • So what exactly will voters be choosing?

  • 545 seats have to be filled in India's lower

  • house of parliament, and all but two of them

  • are elected by a simple majority vote.

  • The others are appointed by the president.

  • The party that wins the majority in this election

  • forms the government that will rule for the next five years.

  • But India has hundreds of political parties.

  • So if a single one doesn't win enough seats,

  • then a coalition or alliance can form to choose

  • the nation's prime minister.

  • During the last general election in 2014,

  • 464 political parties took part.

  • And if that sounds like a lot, consider

  • the number of candidates.

  • There were more than 8,250 of them.

  • Lawmakers help determine what happens in India and in space.

  • AMARA WALKER: India is riding high

  • after a successful anti-satellite missile

  • test last week.

  • But new concerns may bring them back down to Earth.

  • Last Wednesday, India destroyed one of its own satellites

  • operating in a low orbit using a ground-to-space missile, an

  • accomplishment hailed by India.

  • INTERPRETER: India has registered

  • its name as a space power.

  • AMARA WALKER: Only the US, Russia,

  • and China have successfully carried out

  • anti-satellite missile tests.

  • But India's move has been strongly criticized

  • by NASA's top official, who says debris from the test

  • is a threat to the International Space Station.

  • JIM BRIDENSTINE: That is a terrible, terrible thing

  • to create an event that sends debris

  • in an apogee that goes above the International Space Station.

  • And that kind of activity is not compatible with the future

  • of human spaceflight.

  • AMARA WALKER: NASA says they have identified 400 pieces

  • of space debris from the test, and the chances

  • of small particles hitting the ISS

  • have increased by 44% over the next few days.

  • But they also point out that they

  • have everything under control.

  • JIM BRIDENSTINE: While the risk went up 44%,

  • our astronauts are still safe.

  • The International Space Station is still safe.

  • If we need to maneuver it, we will.

  • AMARA WALKER: India says it expects the objects to burn up

  • soon, and conducted the test at a lower altitude

  • so the debris would dissipate quickly into the atmosphere.

  • ARUN JAITLEY: In this case, our scientists

  • have taken all precautions.

  • And in a matter of three weeks, the whole environment

  • will be debris-free.

  • AMARA WALKER: NASA says the process takes time.

  • In 2007, China conducted a similar test

  • at a higher altitude, creating one of the largest

  • debris clouds in history, much of which

  • is still circling overhead.

  • Amara Walker, CNN

  • [PLAYFUL MUSIC]

  • [THEME MUSIC]

  • CARL AZUZ: If you're hoping to see a Komodo dragon

  • in its native habitat anytime soon,

  • you'd better do it before next January.

  • The government of Indonesia, where Komodo Island is located,

  • reportedly plans to close it to tourists for the year 2020.

  • It's a popular destination, but Komodo dragons are considered

  • to be a vulnerable species, and several people

  • were arrested last month and accused of smuggling them.

  • Authorities say 41 Komodo lizards were illegally

  • taken from the island and sold in other countries

  • for $35,000 each.

  • They don't make good pets.

  • Komodos can grow up to 10 feet long

  • and weigh more than 150 pounds.

  • They're the largest lizards in the world,

  • and their bite is so venomous that it can kill someone.

  • During the island's closure, Indonesian officials

  • hope to preserve the lizards' habitat

  • and help their population grow.

  • [ROCK MUSIC]

  • At first, it may look like a flock

  • of birds, a really bright, colorful, artificially

  • lighted flock.

  • But surprise, it's drones.

  • The technology company Intel put on a show to kick off a summit.

  • You're looking at 500 shooting star drones.

  • They're lightweight and have LEDs that you can see.

  • Intel says all they can really do is light up the sky,

  • but that they do that really well.

  • The display took place recently over Phoenix, Arizona.

  • As long as they all work, it's a bright idea, a reflection

  • of illuminating technology that plays

  • like a semiconducted light orchestra.

  • But no one would give them props if they were to get their wires

  • crossed and go boom.

  • Raining drones make for a bad forecast,

  • a worse spin class, and a generally cathodius experience.

  • We're glad no one crashed the party.

  • I'm Carl Azuz, and that's CNN.

  • [POP MUSIC]

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