Medicating mosquitoes to fight malaria

first_imgMosquitoes that landed on surfaces coated with the antimalarial compound atovaquone were completely blocked from developing Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum), the parasite that causes malaria, according to new research led by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.The study showed that atovaquone — an active ingredient in medication that’s commonly used in humans to prevent and treat malaria — can be absorbed through mosquitoes’ tarsi (legs) and prevents the insects from developing and spreading the parasite. The findings indicate that treating bed nets with atovaquone or similar compounds would be an effective way to reduce the burden of malaria while significantly mitigating the growing problem of insecticide resistance.“Mosquitoes are amazingly resilient organisms that have developed resistance against every insecticide that has been used to kill them. By eliminating malaria parasites within the mosquito rather than killing the mosquito itself, we can circumvent this resistance and effectively prevent malaria transmission,” said Flaminia Catteruccia, professor of immunology and infectious diseases. “Ultimately, the use of antimalarials on mosquito nets could help eliminate this devastating disease. It’s a simple but innovative idea that’s safe for people who use mosquito nets and friendly to the environment.”The study will be published online today in Nature. “By eliminating malaria parasites within the mosquito rather than killing the mosquito itself, we can circumvent this resistance and effectively prevent malaria transmission.” — Flaminia Catteruccia Malaria poses a risk to nearly half of the world’s population. Annually, more than 200 million people become sick with malaria and more than 400,000 people die from it. During the past 20 years, bed nets treated with long-lasting insecticides that kill mosquitoes have significantly reduced the global malaria burden. It’s estimated that the nets are responsible for 68 percent of all malaria cases averted since 2000. Recent years, however, have seen a surge in mosquitoes that are resistant to the most commonly used insecticides. In some malaria hot spots, there is near total resistance to pyrethroids, one of the key groups of insecticides currently in use. The waning effectiveness of insecticides is a public health emergency that threatens to undo decades of progress toward controlling malaria, and highlights the urgent need to develop new approaches to stop the spread of the disease.For this study, the researchers reasoned that they could introduce antimalarial compounds to Anopheles mosquitoes in a way that’s similar to a mosquito making contact with insecticides on a bed net. Rather than kill the mosquitoes, the aim was to give them a prophylactic treatment so they could not develop and transmit the malaria-causing parasite.To test the approach, they coated glass surfaces with atovaquone and covered them with a plastic cup. Female mosquitoes were then introduced into the cup. Prior to or immediately after the mosquitoes made contact with the atovaquone-coated glass, the researchers infected them with P. falciparum. Over the course of the study, mosquitoes were exposed to different concentrations of atovaquone and were kept in the cup for different amount of times.The study found that P. falciparum development was completely blocked at relatively low concentrations of atovaquone (100 μmol per m2) when mosquitoes were exposed for just six minutes, which is comparable to the time wild mosquitoes spend on insecticide-treated bed nets. The researchers had similar success when using other compounds similar to atovaquone. While atovaquone effectively killed parasites, it had no effects on mosquito lifespan or reproduction.“When we put these data into a mathematical model using real-world data on insecticide resistance, bed net coverage, and malaria prevalence, it showed that supplementing conventional bed nets with a compound like atovaquone could appreciably reduce malaria transmission under almost any conditions we had data for in Africa,” said Douglas Paton, research fellow and lead author of the paper. “What got us really excited is that it also showed that this new intervention would have the greatest impact in areas with the highest levels of mosquito insecticide resistance.”Other Harvard Chan School co-authors included Maurice Itoe, Inga Holmdahl, and Caroline Buckee.Funding for this study came from a joint Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant OPP1158190 (Catteruccia), National Institutes of Health grants R01 AI124165 and R01 AI104956 (Catteruccia), Simons Foundation Collaboration grant 524390 (Childs), and National Institute of General Medical Sciences grant R35GM124715-02 (Buckee).last_img read more

Chilean Skiing Has A Promising Future

first_imgBy Dialogo February 17, 2010 Chile, which has competed in fourteen Winter Olympic Games and never won a medal, aspires to ascend the Olympic podium in a few years in skiing, a sport with a “promising future” in the country, according to Luis Alberto Santa Cruz, president of the Chilean skiing federation. “At these Olympic Games (Vancouver-2010) we have three representatives, but in the near future we hope to have more, given the work that is going on with children and young people throughout the country,” Santa Cruz explained to AFP. “We’ve been working, and today we have around a thousand boys and girls between nine and fourteen years old training in various places. I believe that the future of skiing in Chile will be promising,” he emphasized. At the Whistler satellite location, where the Alpine skiing competitions are being held, Chile is represented by Jorge Mandru, Maiu Gayme, and the young Noelle Barahona, all of whom have experience at the previous Winter Olympics in Turin in 2006. According to the official, the three are competing in the downhill, Super-G, giant slalom, and combined events. Mandru and Gayme have already tried their luck in the downhill race and finished in 49th and 56th place, respectively. In both cases, they finished behind their results in Turin, although Santa Cruz explains that the conditions in the Italian city were very different from those at the Canadian site. “The two Games can’t be compared, since 55 competitors participated in Turin, and here there were 64, on a much more difficult course,” the federation president concluded. The best finish by a Chilean skier at the Winter Olympics was in the Japanese city of Nagano in 1998, where Thomas Grob finished eleventh in the combined event. Santa Cruz specified that there are high hopes in Vancouver for Barahona, a nineteen-year-old from Santiago, who has been training in Whistler for over a month and who was the youngest athlete at the Turin Games. He emphasized that in Chile “there’s a tradition of winter sports, above all Alpine skiing, since we have 5,000 km of snow-covered mountain ranges and good places to practice these sports.” Nevertheless, he indicated that in order to achieve a real leap forward, the material conditions in these centers need to be improved, as well as the transportation facilities that could make them accessible to the majority of those interested in the sport. He indicated that with the support of the Chilean Olympic Committee, the sports ministry, and private sponsorship, “it was possible to obtain resources for the preparation of these kids who are here in Vancouver, but we need a regular source for this assistance.” Chile’s efforts to develop this pursuit earned the country the right to host the Junior World Ski Championships, which will be held at Termas de Chillán, 1,600 meters above sea level and 490 km south of Santiago. Nevertheless, the Chilean official dismissed reports that have appeared on the Internet about the possibility that Chile could be a candidate to host the Winter Olympics. “That’s absolutely false. We have not been able to determine who put that page up on the Internet, but as president of the Chilean skiing federation, I categorically deny that Chile aspires to organize the Winter Olympic Games, or even to be a candidate for them,” he stressed.last_img read more

Mertesacker expresses loyalty to Arsenal

first_imgGerman defender Per Mertesacker has rejected suggestions he was set to quit Arsenal and return to the Bundesliga in the summer. Most of Arsenal’s first-team squad, including England’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, are now away on international duty. Midfielder Jack Wilshere, however, will continue his rehabilitation after spending time in Dubai to aid recovery from an ankle problem which Arsenal hope will clear up for the resumption of Barclays Premier League action against Reading on March 30. Santi Cazorla has joined up with Spain for their games against Finland and France. The 28-year-old has enjoyed a successful first season in the Premier League following his summer move from Malaga. Cazorla has chalked up 11 goals for the Gunners, including a hat-trick in the 5-2 league win at Reading before Christmas. The creative midfielder hopes that tally will be extended as Arsenal look to close back in on the top four and Champions League qualification once again. “It’s an aspect of my game I’ve always tried to improve,” said Cazorla on the club’s official website, www.arsenal.com. “Last season at Malaga I hit nine and my target was to go beyond that. I think a figure of 11 goals this season is good for a midfielder, but I think I can score more and improve in that facet of the game. “Everything influences it (the improvement in front of goal). You have to try and improve as an individual and, ultimately, if you’re better, the team makes you better too. It all works in tandem and you need the two to come together, the individual and the collective.” With Gunners boss Arsene Wenger warning no one’s place in the side was guaranteed after dropping captain Thomas Vermaelen and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny for the Champions League game at Bayern Munich, there had been suggestion Mertesacker could find himself surplus to requirements should Arsenal recruit a new defensive line. However, the 28-year-old – signed from Werder Bremen in August 2011 – insists he has no intentions of leaving the Emirates Stadium, and told German newspaper Sport-Bild: “A change is not an issue. Our manager Arsene Wenger gives me absolute confidence, I play every game. I can think of nothing else, but to stay at Arsenal.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Wildcats show signs of improvement, move into top 10 of Single-A provincial poll

first_imgThe Mount Sentinel Wildcats moved up the confidence ladder to place in the gold tier at the 48-team Best of the West High School Girl’s Volleyball Tournament Saturday in Kelowna.”It was a good weekend overall for us,” said Mount Sentinel head coach Joe Moreira. “(We) took some baby steps forward.”The Wildcats lost all three games in the round of 16 gold tier, but Moreira was more than pleased with the improvement of his young team.”We competed against teams that are better than us,” Moreira explained. “We lost to McMath (of Richmond #3 – AAAA), Trinity from Edmonton, and St. Thomas Moore (of Vancouver #8-AA). We had only one (poor game) . . . the first set versus STM. The rest we played with only a minimum of fear.”The Wildcats opened the tournament Friday reeling off three impressive wins, including an upset of sixth-ranked White Rock Christian. The Warriors are ranked four spots ahead of Mount Sentinel in the more recent High School Single-A Girl’s poll.”We played well and with confidence,” said Moreira of his team of Grade 9s and 11s.After three weeks of tournaments the Cats get a breather before heading to the South Okanagan to play in the Pen Hi Lakers tournament Oct. 28-29.The Kootenay High School Single-A volleyball playoffs is set for mid-November. The B.C. High School Single-A Volleyball Championships are December 1-4 in [email protected]last_img read more

Mount Sentinel edges Wolves to capture WK Junior Boy’s Basketball crown

first_imgIn the contest Mount Sentinel went to the free throw line 21 times to LVR’s six and the Bombers were called for 19 fouls to the Cats nine.Abrosimoff was the top scorer for Mount Sentinel with 15 points while Sookeroff had seven and Miller five.For the Bombers Brock Dixon had eight points while Curtis Young and Dixon’s brother Dyllen each added six points.LVR, which lost to Stanley Humphries Rockers 52-24 in the consolation final to finish fourth in the tournament, advanced to the semi final round by stopping the J. Lloyd Crowe Hawks 40-20 Friday.The Bombers led 11-8 after one quarter and 20-11 at the half.In the third quarter, LVR out scored the Hawks 10-4 to put the game away.Dyllen Dixon led all scorers with 17 points, including three baskets from behind the arc.Jairo Mangapot and Young each added four points.In the consolation final, Aject Dhaliwal scored 11 points and Morgan Lynn added eight to spark the Rockers to the lopsided win over LVR.The Rockers, taking third place, built a 21-3 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.Dyllen Dixon scored eight points for LVR while power forward Jack Roberts had five points, including a three-pointer at the buzzer. Brandon Sookeroff scored 14 points to lead the Mount Sentinel Wildcats to the West Kootenay Junior Boy’s Basketball Championship with a 36-33 win over host Grand Forks Wolves Saturday in the Boundary City.The Wildcats, the top ranked team going into the seven-team tournament, needed a late rally to secure the win as Mount Sentinel trailed the Wolves for most of the contest.Aaron Abrosimoff added nine points and Kie Miller had eight.Mount Sentinel advanced to the final with a thrilling 31-29 victory over the L.V. Rogers Bombers.In the game, the Bombers had a chance to tie the game but LVR was called for a lane violation with less than three seconds remaining in the game.Mount Sentinel, entering the contest with three straight regular season wins over LVR, led 8-6 after one quarter before LVR took a 14-12 advantage into recess.Mount Sentinel, trailed 29-27 late in the fourth period before reeling off four straight free throws to secure the lead and the win.last_img read more

Eric Kelly vows he’s a changed man after bad habits slowed down MMA career

first_imgFil-Australian diver excited to come home for PH debut of Red Bull Cliff Diving series “I lost focus and I got into vices. That’s when I started fighting without training. I really lost focus on my career,” Kelly said.READ: Eric Kelly falls to Brazilian foe in ONE Manila undercardWhat changed for Kelly was the change of scenery when he moved to Dubai and leave his troubled past behind in the Philippines.“I trained in Dubai. I fixed myself. I lost focus here in the Philippines that’s why I lost five straight times. At least now I’m in a different environment and I’m focused on my training.”ADVERTISEMENT Kelly hopes to finally put an end to his miseries against Korea’s Kwon Won Il as he aims to show a new and improved version of himself in ONE: Roots of Honor Friday night at Mall of Asia Arena.READ: Tired of losing, Eric Kelly determined to stop 5-fight skid FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“I really trained hard for this fight. A new Eric Kelly will show up this coming Friday,” he said in Filipino during the Roots of Honor press conference Tuesday at City of Dreams.Eric Kelly thankful for the opportunity to fight again in Manila despite losing his previous five fights. pic.twitter.com/NdNbCiN2aT— MG (@MarkGiongcoINQ) April 9, 2019Feeling reinvigorated, the 36-year-old Kelly bared he got into trouble and into bad habits and vices that diminished his once-promising MMA career.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES After the Typhoon Part 2 PLAY LIST 05:18After the Typhoon Part 200:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READ Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games messcenter_img Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated MANILA, Philippines—Eric Kelly has been on a seemingly interminable downward spiral since 2016 as he took one stoppage loss after another.ADVERTISEMENT Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View commentslast_img read more

10 months agoChelsea defender David Luiz: We must find consistency

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea defender David Luiz: We must find consistencyby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea defender David Luiz says finding a winning consistency is key to returning to the top.Luiz knows Chelsea need consistency, after their win over Manchester City was sandwiched between defeats against Wolves and Leicester.He said: “In those games we had the same problem after the goal we conceded. We changed our style. We have to be consistent in the way we play, and after that the results are going to come.”Luiz praised Eden Hazard, who has been playing as a false nine recently. “He’s a fantastic player, an intelligent player,” he said. “He is playing a different position but intelligent players can play anywhere. He is doing well and he deserves it.” last_img read more

In Photos: Everything You Need To Know About ESPN’s Dianna Russini

first_imgAn ESPN sign hanging that's very old Twitter/RussiniTwitter/RussiniIn just a few short weeks, Dianna Russini, a 32-year-old former sports anchor for NBC Washington, will be making her debut for ESPN. The news was announced back in mid-May, and Russini recently finished up her last day with her former employer. She’s expected to be an anchor for the Worldwide Leader’s SportsCenter program. How often she’ll be featured is still a mystery.Where is she from? How did she get her career started? Is she single? We’ve got all of those answers and more, along with a few photos of the rising star. In Photos: Everything You Need To Know About ESPN’s Dianna Russini >>>Pages: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7last_img

Trump rattles NATO knocking its value assailing Germany

first_imgBRUSSELS – Under fire for his warm embrace of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump jolted the NATO summit Wednesday by turning a spotlight on Germany’s ties to Russia and openly questioning the value of the military alliance that has defined American foreign policy for decades.Trump declared that a joint natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Angela Merkel’s government “totally controlled” and “captive to Russia.” So, in a stroke, he shifted attention away from his own ties to the Kremlin just days before he meets one-on-one with Putin.With scorching language, the president questioned the necessity of the alliance that formed a bulwark against Soviet aggression, tweeting after a day of contentious meetings: “What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?”German Chancellor Merkel hit back immediately, not only denying Trump’s contention but suggesting that his comfortable upbringing in the U.S. gave him no standing to spout off on the world stage about Germany.Drawing on her own background growing up in communist East Germany behind the Iron Curtain, she said:“I’ve experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union, and I’m very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that’s very good.”Trump demanded by public tweet that members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025” for their military efforts. He then rattled U.S. allies further by privately suggesting member nations should spend 4 per cent of their gross domestic product on the military — more than even the United States currently pays, according to NATO statistics.It was just the latest in Trump’s demands and insults that critics fear will undermine a decades-old alliance launched to counter-balance Soviet aggression after World War II. And it came just days before Trump planned to sit down with Putin in Finland at the conclusion of what has become a contentious European trip.Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to increase military spending, accusing Europe of freeloading off the U.S. and even raising doubts about whether he would come to members’ defence as required if they were ever attacked.Trump’s tongue-lashing accelerated during a pre-summit breakfast, when he traded his usual long-distance Twitter attacks for a face-to-face confrontation with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.“We’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that’s very inappropriate,” Trump said, repeatedly describing Germany as “captive to Russia” because of the energy deal. He urged NATO to look into the issue.Trump’s harsh words for Merkel, whose country has hosted tens of thousands of U.S. troops that have been key to post-WWII stability in Europe for seven decades, struck at the core of the alliance. West Germany joined NATO in 1955 and was a critical factor in the alliance’s success in facing down the Soviet Union until its collapse. Reunified with the East, Germany became the largest European economy in NATO in 1990.The president’s beef was with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russia to Germany’s northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany. The vast undersea pipeline is opposed by the U.S. and some other EU members, who warn it could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe. It’s expected to be online at the end of 2019.Environmental-conscious Germany is trying to reduce its reliance on coal and is phasing out nuclear power by 2022, so it hopes to use natural gas to partially fill the gap until the country’s electricity grid can cope with fluctuating levels provided by renewable energy.Hours after the breakfast, Merkel and Trump appeared to play nice as they met along the summit’s sidelines. Trump told reporters the two had a “very, very good relationship” and congratulated Merkel on her “tremendous success.”While Trump went after Germany for its ties to Russia, he himself has been accused by critics of being too eager to improve relations with Moscow. He’s also dismissed the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia tried to undermine Western democracy by meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help him win.Trump also lobbed fresh complaints about allies’ “delinquent” defence spending and suggested at one point that NATO allies commit to spending 4 per cent of their GDP on defence — twice the goal they’ve set for 2024.“I have great confidence they’ll be spending more,” he said.However, a formal summit declaration issued by the NATO leaders Wednesday reaffirmed their “unwavering commitment” to the 2 per cent pledge set in 2014 and made no reference to any effort to go higher.Trump has repeatedly mischaracterized the spending target, wrongly describing it as a fee that countries pay to NATO or the U.S. rather than their own military. NATO estimates that 15 members, or just over half, will meet the benchmark by 2024 based on current trends.Back in the U.S., Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement describing Trump’s “brazen insults and denigration of one of America’s most steadfast allies, Germany,” as “an embarrassment.”“His behaviour this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the president is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies,” they wrote.Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, also criticized Trump’s rhetoric.“I do believe everybody should get to 2 per cent quickly, but the NATO alliance is something that’s very important to the United States and our citizenry, and things that are said to try and create instability, all that it does is strengthen Putin,” Corker said, describing concerns “about conciliatory things that could occur in Helsinki” when Trump sits down with the Russian president.But Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, a strong supporter of the president, said the pipeline issue strikes at the “heart of NATO unity.”“The pipeline gets cheap Russian gas to Germany while bypassing smaller Eastern European nations, allowing Russia to pressure them while Germany is held harmless,” he tweeted, adding: “No amount of preening in Berlin will cover this nakedly selfish policy.”___Associated Press writers Ken Thomas, Darlene Superville and Zeke Miller in Washington, Matthew Lee in Brussels and Maria Danilova in Moscow contributed to this report.___Follow Colvin and Lemire on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj and https://twitter.com/JonLemirePresident Donald Trump barrelled into a NATO summit Wednesday with claims that a natural gas pipeline deal has left Germany “totally controlled” and “captive to Russia” as he lobbed fresh complaints about allies’ “delinquent” defence spending during the opening of what was expected to be a fraught two-day meeting.Trump also suggested that NATO allies commit to spending 4 per cent of their gross domestic product on defence — double the current goal of 2 per cent by 2024.The president, in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that kicked off his visit, took issue with the U.S. protecting Germany as it strikes deals with Russia.“I have to say, I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia,” Trump said at a breakfast with Stoltenberg. “We’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that’s very inappropriate.”Trump repeatedly described Germany as “captive to Russia” because of the energy deal and urged NATO to look into the issue.German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back firmly, insisting that Germany makes its own decisions and drawing on her own background growing up in communist East Germany behind the Iron Curtain.“I’ve experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union and I’m very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that’s very good,” she said.The president appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russia to Germany’s northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany. The vast undersea pipeline is opposed by the U.S. and some other EU members, who warn it could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe. It’s expected to be online at the end of 2019.Environmental-conscious Germany is trying to reduce its reliance on coal and is phasing out nuclear power by 2022, so it hopes to use natural gas to partially fill the gap until the country’s electricity grid can cope with fluctuating levels provided by renewable energy. The alternatives, including U.S. supplies, are more expensive.In their back-and-forth, Stoltenberg stressed to Trump that NATO members have been able to work together despite their differences. “I think that two world wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart,” he told the president, trying to calm tensions.Trump’s dramatic exchange with Stoltenberg set the tone for what was already expected to be a tense day of meetings with leaders of the military alliance as Trump presses jittery NATO allies about their military spending ahead of his meeting next week with Putin.“The United States is paying far too much and other countries are not paying enough, especially some. So we’re going to have a meeting on that,” Trump said, describing the situation as “disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States.”“They will spend more,” he later predicted. “I have great confidence they’ll be spending more.”And with that, he went on to push allies at the summit to double their commitment on defence spending.“During the president’s remarks today at the NATO summit, he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 per cent of their GDP on defence spending, but that they increase it to 4 per cent,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She said the president raised the same issue at NATO last year and that, “Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.”However, a formal summit declaration issued by the NATO leaders Wednesday reaffirmed their “unwavering commitment” to the 2 per cent pledge set in 2014 and made no reference to any effort to get to 4 per cent.Trump’s pipeline criticism was an unusual line of attack for a president who has proclaimed himself eager to improve relations with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and dismissed the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia tried to undermine Western democracy by meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Trump win. Trump has long argued that improving relaxations with Russia would be good for both nations.Back in the U.S., Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement describing Trump’s “brazen insults and denigration of one of America’s most steadfast allies, Germany,” as “an embarrassment.”“His behaviour this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the president is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies,” they wrote.Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch also took issue with Trump, saying “I don’t agree with that. Germans wouldn’t agree with that. They are a very strong people.”But Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, a strong supporter of the president, said the pipeline issue strikes at the “heart of NATO unity.”“The pipeline gets cheap Russian gas to Germany while bypassing smaller Eastern European nations, allowing Russia to pressure them while Germany is held harmless,” he tweeted, adding: “No amount of preening in Berlin will cover this nakedly selfish policy.”Despite Trump’s claims about Germany, Merkel served as a forceful advocate for imposing — and maintaining — sanctions on Russia after it annexed Crimea in 2014, arguing that it violated the principles of the international order established after World War II. The president is also not the first leader to point to the impact of Nord Stream 2 on Europe, echoing complaints from Eastern European allies who note it would cut out transit countries such as Poland and Ukraine.Trump and Merkel met later Wednesday on the sidelines of the summit and kept their remarks polite during a photo opportunity with the press.Trump told reporters the two had a “very, very good relationship” and congratulated Merkel on her “tremendous success.” Asked if they had discussed the pipeline, he said they had, but declined to elaborate.Merkel, for her part, called the two nations “good partners” and said “we wish to continue to co-operate in the future.”Trump then met with French President Emmanuel Macron, who said he disagreed with Trump’s pipeline assessment. But the two appeared on good terms, with Trump joking about the fact that Macron had been asked about it.Trump has long pushed NATO members to meet their agreed-to target of 2 per cent by 2024 and has accused those who don’t of freeloading off the U.S.He tweeted from the summit: “What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are their only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.”NATO estimates that 15 members, or just over half, will meet the benchmark by 2024 based on current trends.Brussels is the first leg of a weeklong European tour that will include stops in London and Scotland, as well as a highly anticipated meeting next week with Putin.__Associated Press writers Ken Thomas, Darlene Superville and Zeke Miller in Washington and Maria Danilova in Moscow contributed to this report.__Follow Colvin and Lemire on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj and https://twitter.com/JonLemirelast_img read more