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A NATO attempt to channel a cutesy Twitter meme sparked fighting in the replies, from calls to kick out Turkey and hopes for expansion in Ukraine, Georgia and the Balkans, to another warfront between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

On Monday, NATO posted the flags of its original 1949 members alongside the greatly expanded membership of today, hopping onto the three-week-old “How it started vs. How it’s going” meme train.

How it started How it’s going🇧🇪🇨🇦🇩🇰🇫🇷🇮🇸 🇦🇱🇧🇪🇧🇬🇨🇦🇭🇷🇮🇹🇱🇺🇳🇱🇳🇴🇵🇹 🇨🇿🇩🇰🇪🇪🇫🇷🇩🇪🇬🇧🇺🇸 🇬🇷🇭🇺🇮🇸🇮🇹🇱🇻 🇱🇹🇱🇺🇲🇪🇳🇱🇲🇰 🇳🇴🇵🇱🇵🇹🇷🇴🇸🇰 🇸🇮🇪🇸🇹🇷🇬🇧🇺🇸#WeAreNATO

— NATO (@NATO) October 12, 2020

The replies quickly became a virtual bloodbath, however. Among the most numerous were calls to kick out Turkey.

“Quite a success, having Turkey on board”… “Yeah, that country is a keeper”… “They definitely would never make trouble,” read some of the takes. Others simply featured the original meme with the Turkish flag crossed out.

Ankara has drawn the ire of the bloc’s allies for unilateral actions in Syria and Libya over the past year alone, not to mention intense diplomatic conflict with supposed NATO ally Greece in eastern Mediterranean. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also offered full-throated support to Azerbaijan, in the conflict with ethnic Armenians over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh which flared up last month.

While the tenuous ceasefire negotiated in Moscow may or may not be holding on the ground, it was definitely full Azerbaijani-Armenian war in NATO replies, however:

Greece has the S-300 gun. Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan, as all countries agree.

— Sakallı Nureddin Paşa 🇹🇷🇦🇿 (@pasa_nureddin) October 12, 2020

There were also those hoping to expand the alliance to Ukraine and Belarus (!), as well as Georgia. Some users from Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina and “Kosovo” also clamored for membership.

One user even expressed the naive belief that NATO should just “add all the countries so they don’t do any wars with each other.”

Why don’t you just add all the countries so they don’t do any wars with each other? Seems like the sort of th

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Pakistan blast: At least seven dead in Peshawar school attack

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At least seven people have died after an explosion during a class at a religious school in Pakistan, police have said.

Children of various age groups are among the dead, an officer at the scene told the BBC.

Dozens of others were injured in the attack, which took place in the northern city of Peshawar.

No group has yet claimed responsibility. An investigation has been launched.

The city of Peshawar, close to the Afghan border, has seen some of the worst of the violence during the Taliban insurgency in recent years.

Six years ago, gunmen stormed a military school in the city leaving more than 150 dead, including many children.

What happened?

The blast took place at about 08:30 local time (03:30 GMT), police told the BBC.

About 60 people are understood to have been in the class at the religious school, known as a madrassa.

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An eyewitness has told the police he saw a man enter the building with a bag of explosives shortly before the blast.

news agency that two teachers were injured.

Hospital officials told Reuters news agency that they had received dozens of injured, many with burns.

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Duterte seeks best Covid vaccine deal but ‘will not beg’ or allow private suppliers to rip off Philippines

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would pursue a direct government-to-government deal for a coronavirus vaccine with either China or Russia, warning that ‘corrupt’ private suppliers could try to swindle his country.

“Let me tell everybody that we will not beg, we will pay,” Duterte said in a televised address on Monday night, adding that while Manila is not seeking charity it also aims to sign a direct government-to-government deal without intermediaries.

The president did not indicate the status of vaccine negotiations with Beijing or Moscow, saying he merely mentioned the two countries as possible sources out of a “sense of urgency,” and that “all options” were still on the table. 

The one that could give us the best interest for the country will be chosen.

Duterte stressed the need to obtain an inoculation directly from a friendly foreign state, rather than a private business, warning that such transactions could only bring “trouble” and that a government deal would mean “no corruption.”




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Western pharma is ‘all about profit’: Philippines’ Duterte vows to solely procure coronavirus vaccines from Russia & China



Under its proposed national budget for 2021, Manila will devote some 2.5 billion Philippine pesos ($51.6 million) to vaccine procurement, which Duterte said would be overseen by Finance Secretary Carlos ‘Sonny’ Dominguez III.

“Since he is going to pay, I will listen to Sonny. If there are no funds, he will go to jail,” the president said, apparently threatening prison time for a member of his own cabinet.

Duterte previously torched Western pharma firms developing coronavirus immunizations, saying they were “all about profit,” pointing to some companies who asked for a “cash advance before they deliver the vaccine.” The leader gave a stern warning to any company who offered similar proposals, vowing “I’ll kick your a**.”

Though the president has offered to be the first in his country to take the jab developed in Russia, Sputnik V, it is not clear whether such an arrangement has been made. However, Moscow’s ambassador to the island nation, Igor Khovaev, recently stated the jab could be available to the Philippines by the end of the year.




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Sputnik V questions ANSWERED: Head of team financing world’s first Covid-19 vaccine explains formula to critics



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At least 7 killed, 70 wounded after bomb goes off at religious school in Pakistan – hospital official

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At least seven people were killed and more than 70 wounded in an explosion inside a seminary in northern Pakistan on Tuesday morning. Children are among the victims.

The blast took place in Peshawar, the capital of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Senior police official Wagar Azim told AFP that a bomb brought inside the Speen Jammat mosque, which also functions as a religious school for local children, went off in the middle of Quran studi

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