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News Article | November 14, 2016

The UNFCCC’s Standing Committee on Finance presented its second Biennial Assessment of climate finance flows* to COP22 on Monday afternoon, November 7. The finance flows assessment found that in 2013/14, an average of $41 billion per year in public finance was reported flowing from developed to developing countries. 75% went to mitigation and only 25% for adaptation, reflecting the priorities at the time. The Biennial Assessment measured global spending on climate change to be $714 billion a year in 2013/14. It increased 15% from 2011/12 — a positive direction. However, as the SCF indicates, annual investment in fossil fuel energy is $1.6 trillion, more than double the climate change amount. An in-session workshop on Tuesday, November 8, considered modalities for accounting of public finance, with a view toward making a recommendation for consideration and adoption by CMA1. Standing Committee on Finance co-chairs Outi Honkatukia (Finland) and Rafael da Soler (Brazil) facilitated this event. Active participation of the wider climate finance community — multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, international organizations, think tanks, the private sector, academia, and civil society organizations — enriched the discussions. A technical paper summarizing information from the in-session workshop will be prepared for a UN meeting next May. Delegates spent much of Wednesday discussing Donald Trump’s US election victory and its implications for both the Paris Agreement and American domestic policy. COP youth demonstrated notable frustration and outrage with the election result. On Thursday, nations agreed to establish contact groups to work on these agenda sub-items: Honkatukia reported on the Biennial Assessment and overview of climate finance flows and the 2016 SCF Forum. GCF Board Co-Chair Zaheer Fakir (South Africa) reported a balanced portfolio within the fund, with resources dedicated as follows: Bolivia reminded of Paris Agreement decisions on developing guidance to the GCF to provide finance for alternative policy approaches, and lamented that the GCF postponed considering this issue to its next board meeting. Nicaragua invited the GCF to reassess the membership of private banks to avoid “some embarrassing entries” and, with India, highlighted insufficient funding of the GCF. The contact group will follow up. Chizuru Aoki of the GEF reported its contributions. Among them: India expressed regret at the downward trend in allocation of resources. The contact group will follow up. Finally, on Friday, the long-term climate finance contact group, co-chaired by Georg Børsting (Norway) and Andrés Mogro (Ecuador), began identifying elements for a draft long-term finance decision. The components included: The group then focused on the upcoming 2017 workshop on long-term climate finance. Members commented on the workshop’s scope. The Philippines, for the G-77/China group, called for the next meeting to: The European Union said the workshop should help understanding the “apparent gaps” in clarity. Canada noted submissions on strategies and approaches that can increase clarity. Australia made reference to the October climate finance “Roadmap to US$100 Billion.” Egypt, for the African Group, suggested reflecting Decision 1/CP.21 paragraphs 53 (on the existing collective mobilization goal) and 55 (information in parties’ communication on providing financial resources to developing countries and mobilizing climate finance). Switzerland opposed. The co-chairs will collect submissions to structure further discussions. Delphine Eyraud of France chaired the Report of the SCF and review of the functions of the SCF. At this session, parties commented on the draft decision. Many welcomed the report, though some urged inclusion of nonmarket approaches. The group acknowledged a useful forum on loss and damage that engaged with the private sector, and it recognized the SCF’s achievements in building linkages with other bodies (such as the Technology Mechanism). One subgroup felt the SCF would benefit from engaging with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the private sector in developing countries. Another called for clear timelines and outputs from this session on how to advance adaptation in developing countries. Green Climate Fund contact group co-chair Richard Muyungi of Tanzania called for initial reactions to the draft decision text. Many welcomed the SCF’s report and draft guidance. The Philippines, for the G-77/China, stressed the need to ensure that the GCF continues to serve all developing countries. Egypt, for the African Group, suggested highlighting that the GCF is “an institution to stay.” The Like Minded Group of Developing Countries sought ways to help the GCF Board with transforming the pledges made by countries into finalized support. Maldives, for Alliance of Small Island States, and South Africa felt that accreditation remains too complex. The US and New Zealand highlighted the important role of the private sector in ensuring that the fund functions. Nicaragua said that private sector investments in general could be best directed toward renewable energy, energy efficiency, reforestation, and avoidance of deforestation. Co-Chair Muyungi invited written submissions on the draft decision text to structure further discussions. GEF contact group Co-Chair Stefan Schwager (Switzerland) introduced the items to be considered (FCCC/CP/2016/6 and Add.1 and 2, FCCC/CP/2016/8 and FCCC/CP/2016/INF.1) and invited written submissions on the draft decision text to structure further discussions. For the G-77/China, the Philippines underscored the need for coherence of financing and “enhanced support to enable enhanced actions.” Canada suggested focusing on areas of congruence and on increased effectiveness. Discussions will continue. Friday afternoon also marked the first of two facilitative dialogues on Enhancing Ambition and Support: Assessing Progress in Implementing Paragraphs 3 and 4 of Decision 1/CP.19. The second will be held during week 2 of the conference. Important financial considerations will also be discussed next week at the High Level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance on Wednesday, November 16. *Descriptions of the initial report and other developments during COP22 come primarily from the IISD Reporting Services Coverage of UNFCCC COP22, Earth Negotiations Bulletin, the World Resources Institute, and other online sources. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

Past those few centimeters, however, the laser pulse weakens and energy gain stalls. LPAs will have to get off the tabletop if they are to rival proposed conventional colliders, such as 30-kilometer-long electron-positron linear colliders or circular proton colliders 100 kilometers in circumference, with electron-volt energies in the trillions (TeVs), not billions. Only by coupling a hundred LPAs in series, each powered by a BELLA-class laser in series, and accelerating a well-shaped beam from one stage to the next, will such high energies be achieved. "Long before planning began for BELLA, we'd set our sights on staging as the way to achieve energies needed for compact particle colliders, free-electron lasers, and other tools of future science," says Wim Leemans, Director of Berkeley Lab's Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division (ATAP)and Director of the BELLA Center. But because of the daunting technical challenges, including maintaining electron beams with dimensions measured in millionths of a meter and laser pulses measured in quadrillionths of a second (femtoseconds), Leemans says, "Lots of people told us we'd never be able to do it." In an experiment packed with scientific firsts, Leemans and his BELLA Center colleagues have now demonstrated that a laser pulse can accelerate an electron beam and couple it to a second laser plasma accelerator, where another laser pulse accelerates the beam to higher energy—a fundamental breakthrough in advanced accelerator science. The results are reported in the Feb. 1 issue of Nature. Sven Steinke, lead author of the Nature paper, says that to achieve staging wasn't about huge energy gains; the challenge was handing off a useful beam. "A billion electron-volts wouldn't matter," he says. "What mattered was stability," an experiment that would work reliably for days at a time and many thousands of laser shots. "You don't want to spend three-quarters of your day tuning your beam injector, with no time left to do an experiment." The solution was to use two different kinds of LPA. The more advanced but more finicky type is a discharge capillary, a block of sapphire with a thin horizontal tube through it. Hydrogen gas fills the tube; a potent electrical discharge ionizes it, separating electrons from their nuclei and forming a plasma. Almost instantly this discharge arc heats the plasma and forms a laser waveguide, a cylindrical channel of thinner plasma in the center; the incoming laser pulse drives through it like a speedboat on water, picking up free electrons in its wake and hurling them forward like a surfer on a following wave. Another kind of LPA is a jet of supersonic gas a few hundred micrometers in diameter. The laser pulse drills through the gas, simultaneously ionizing it to form a plasma and leaving a wake to accelerate the free electrons. The gas jet, conceptually simple but still capable of beam energies of over a hundred million electron-volts, was the team's choice for stage 1, the beam injector. The more powerful discharge capillary, similar to the kind used in BELLA, would be Stage 2. A critical challenge was how to introduce the second laser pulse, using a mirror, within the few-millimeter space between the two stages. The electron beam would have to pass through a hole in the mirror. The reflected laser pulse would come close behind. Unfortunately, to focus enough power to accelerate the electron beam, the laser focus would have to be so close to the mirror it would blow it to pieces. "We decided from the beginning of the project that instead of worrying about blowing up the mirror, we'd blow it up with every shot," says Leemans. They first developed a prototype mirror of water film, he says, "but settled for much more robust VHS tape." Video cassette players may be out of fashion, but VHS tape is thin, stretch-resistant, and capable of running for hours at a time. The electron beam pierces the tape virtually untouched. On the opposite side, in the merest fraction of a second before the laser pulse can penetrate the tape, it ionizes the surface to form a dense, perfectly flat plasma: a highly efficient mirror. Steinke, whose dissertation involved plasma mirrors and who was a postdoc at the Max Born Institute in Berlin before joining the BELLA Center, characterized the mirror system for the staging experiment. Previous plasma mirrors were based on expensive solid optics made for completely different purposes. Steinke and Leemans agree: "This was the first use of a continuous, high-repetition-rate, disposable plasma mirror." The staging system was ready for its first test. In the gas-jet LPA, the first laser pulse created an electron beam that passed through the tape, while the plasma mirror reflected the second laser pulse. Electron beam and laser pulse both entered the stage 2 capillary. No beam came out. "We were stunned," says Jeroen van Tilborg, a long-time member of the BELLA Center and its predecessor, the LOASIS Program, where he earned his PhD from Eindhoven Technical University. "Suddenly there were four or five of us sitting around scribbling on the backs of envelopes." ATAP scientists had used discharge capillaries to inject and accelerate electrons for over 10 years, but this was the first time anyone had shot an external electron beam into one. They'd never dealt with the full effects of the powerful discharge current: it ionizes the gas and forms an optical waveguide through the plasma, but also creates a strong magnetic field that can blow apart a pre-existing electron beam. Or, more optimistically, can shape and focus it. Van Tilborg called dibs on studying the problem and soon realized the pulsed magnetic field would make an excellent plasma lens. Such a fast-acting lens could find many uses, for example by conditioning beams of existing free-electron lasers. Its immediate application was to tightly focus the staging experiment's injector beam. The final configuration—gas-jet injector, plasma lens, plasma mirror, discharge capillary second stage, and diagnostics—showed energy gains, for significant portions of the electron beam, of around a hundred million electron-volts. The success of the experiment resulted from on-the-job discoveries plus continuous feedback between experimental observations and computer modeling. Running on a Cray supercomputer at DOE's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Berkeley Lab, the highly efficient INF&RNO code for modeling laser and plasma interactions could turn a day's experimental data into a simulation almost overnight, like "dailies" on a movie set. Among many other questions, intricacies of laser timing could be explored; focusing the energetic but ragged beam from the gas jet could be simulated even as the serendipitous discovery of how to actually do it was becoming a reality. "Through matching to the experimental observations, simulation can see everything," says Carlo Benedetti of the BELLA Center's simulation team, who led development of INF&RNO. "We can see how the laser beam is behaving and understand which electrons are the ones being accelerated." The first successful coupling of two independent laser-plasma accelerators has proven the principle. Next comes the real thing. "We're ready for staging BELLA," says Leemans, using two charge-capillary LPAs. "We'll split the BELLA laser beam," capable of a quadrillion watts (a petawatt) per 40-femtosecond pulse every second. "The first stage should bring up the beam to about 5 GeV. We will do the bunch transport with our capillary lens and play around with the timing of the second pulse. We should come out of the second stage with 10 GeV. And, while in the staging experiment we're only trapping about three or four percent of the electrons available, in BELLA we'll be able to trap 100 percent of the charge." Even better, says Steinke, "BELLA is much simpler. The effects of the tape on beam quality should be much less, and the beam is much 'stiffer,' easier to handle." Van Tilborg concurs: "At 5 GeV per stage there may be no problem. The higher energy saves you." "Many groups around the world are working on different aspects of LPA development, and I am confident that we will see the first applications of LPAs in the coming decade," comments James Symons, Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences at Berkeley Lab. "As with all new technologies, the nature of those applications may surprise us." Challenges remain, but the era of accelerators that are not only compact but can achieve extraordinary energies is upon us. Explore further: BELLA laser achieves world record power at one pulse per second More information: S. Steinke et al. Multistage coupling of independent laser-plasma accelerators, Nature (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nature16525

News Article | February 15, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia has deployed a cruise missile in violation of a Cold War-era arms control treaty, a Trump administration official said Tuesday, a development that complicates the outlook for U.S.-Russia relations amid turmoil on the White House national security team. The Obama administration three years ago accused the Russians of violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by developing and testing the prohibited cruise missile, and officials had anticipated that Moscow eventually would deploy it. Russia denies that it has violated the INF treaty. U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed that the missile became operational late last year, said an administration official, who wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the matter and demanded anonymity. The deployment may not immediately change the security picture in Europe, but the alleged treaty violation may arise when Defense Secretary Jim Mattis attends his first NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday. It also has stirred concern on Capitol Hill, where Sen. John McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, called on the Trump administration to ensure U.S. nuclear forces in Europe are ready. "Russia's deployment of nuclear-tipped ground-launched cruise missiles in violation of the INF treaty is a significant military threat to U.S. forces in Europe and our NATO allies," McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement Tuesday. He said Russian President Vladimir Putin was "testing" Trump. Trump's White House is in a difficult moment, with no national security adviser following the forced resignation Monday night of Michael Flynn. He is accused of misleading Vice President Mike Pence about contacts with a Russian diplomat while President Barack Obama was still in office. Meanwhile, a U.S. defense official said Tuesday that a Russian intelligence-collection ship has been operating off the U.S. east coast, in international waters. The official was not authorized to discuss an intelligence matter and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The ship had made a port call in Cuba prior to moving north, where it has been monitored off the coast of Delaware, the official said. The New York Times, which was first to report the missile deployment, said the Russians have two battalions of the prohibited cruise missile. One is at a missile test site at Kapustin Yar and one was moved in December from the test site to an operational base elsewhere in the country. The State Department wouldn't confirm the report. It noted that last year it reported Russia was in violation of its treaty obligations not to possess, produce or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, or to possess or produce launchers for such missiles. "The administration is undertaking an extensive review of Russia's ongoing INF treaty violation in order to assess the potential security implications for the United States and its allies and partners," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. John Tierney, executive director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said strategic stability on the European continent is at stake. "If true, Russia's deployment of an illegal ground-launched cruise missile represents a very troubling development and should be roundly condemned," Tierney said. Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, sees little reason for the U.S. to continue adhering to the INF treaty, in light of Russia's violations. He has recommended building up U.S. nuclear forces in Europe, which currently include about 200 bombs that can be delivered by aircraft. The U.S. withdrew land-based nuclear-armed missiles from Europe as part of the INF deal. The treaty has special significance in the recent history of arms control agreements. Signed in December 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, it has been credited with helping accelerate an end to the Cold War and lessening the danger of nuclear confrontation. It stands as the only arms treaty to eliminate an entire class of U.S. and Russian weapons — nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles of intermediate range. The Obama administration had argued for maintaining U.S. compliance with the treaty while urging the Russians to halt violations. At the same time, the Pentagon developed options to counter Russian cruise missile moves, some of which would have involved bold military action. At his Senate confirmation hearing in February 2014, Ash Carter, who headed the Pentagon until last month, said disregard for treaty limitations was a "two-way street," opening the way for the U.S. to respond in kind. He called Russia's violations consistent with its "strategy of relying on nuclear weapons to offset U.S. and NATO conventional superiority."

Pagano A.,INF
EPJ Web of Conferences | Year: 2012

The experimental activity of CHIMERA in recent years has been characterized by a steady progress in the detection technique and data analysis. Since 2008 the detector system benefits of new implementations: a new reaction chamber, a new charged particle identification in silicon detector made by an extended pulse shape method and an efficient system for the identification of exotic beams produced by projectile-like fragmentation (In-flight method). These implementations appear to be promising tools in view of further exclusive experiments in the field of isospin physics. The coupling of CHIMERA with other equipments (such as interferometers and highly segmented arrays, magnetic elements, neutron detectors, etc.) is also envisaged in order to extend the studies of the reaction mechanism in heavy ion physics. © Owned by the authors, 2012.

Jensen A.D.,INF | Munter M.W.,INF | Bischoff H.G.,Thoraxklinik | Haselmann R.,INF | And 5 more authors.
Cancer | Year: 2011

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate efficacy and toxicity of radioimmunotherapy with intensity-modulated radiation (IMRT) and cetuximab in stage III nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC). METHODS: NEAR was a prospective, monocentric phase II trial including patients unfit for chemoradiation regimen; treatment consisted of IMRT and weekly cetuximab followed by a 13-week maintenance period. Primary endpoints were toxicity and feasibility; secondary endpoints were remission rates at completion of the planned treatment according to Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumor (RECIST), local/distant progression-free survival, and overall survival. RESULTS: Thirty patients (median age, 71 years) were treated within the protocol. Overall response rate was 63% (partial remission: 19 of 30) patients. Median locoregional, distant, overall progression-free survival was 20.5, 10.9, and 8.5 months. Median overall survival was 19.5 months, with an estimated 1- and 2-year survival of 66.7% and 34.9% respectively. Stage (IIIA vs IIIB) and histologic subtype did not have a significant impact on survival rates in our patients. Treatment was tolerated well with only mild toxicity (°3 pneumonitis: 3.3%, any °3 acute toxicity: 36.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Combined radioimmunotherapy with cetuximab was safe and feasible, especially in elderly patients with multiple comorbidities. A more intensified regimen warranted investigation. Copyright © 2011 American Cancer Society.

Jensen A.D.,INF | Nikoghosyan A.,INF | Ellerbrock M.,Heidelberg Ion Therapy Center | Ecker S.,Heidelberg Ion Therapy Center | And 2 more authors.
Radiotherapy and Oncology | Year: 2011

Background: Treatment of surgically unresectable recurrence in the head and neck region remains a therapeutic problem with the only curative option being a second course of radiation with a tumouricidal dose. We report initial toxicity and efficacy of charged particle therapy in this situation. Methods: Treatment-related side-effects of patients treated with charged particle beams for recurrent tumours of the head and neck were prospectively collected and patient data was retrospectively analysed with regard to toxicity and efficacy of the treatment according to CTCAE v. 4.03 and RECIST. Results: Treatment was tolerated well without any severe acute toxicity. In non-chordoma/chondrosarcoma patients, overall response rate was 53.3% at 8 weeks post RT. 4/5 chordoma/chondrosarcoma patients showed no signs of further tumour progression. Conclusion: Initial experience of re-irradiation with scanned particle beams in recurrent tumours of the head and neck seems feasible and encouraging. Further follow-up is needed to investigate potential late effects. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Samumed presented at the 2016 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting results from in vitro and in vivo studies regarding the use of its small molecule compound SM04755 as a potential topical treatment of chronic tendinopathy. SM04755 is one of two small molecule Wnt pathway modulators (together with SM04690, which is in clinical trials for osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease) about which Samumed has presented clinical and preclinical data across five different rheumatic diseases. Chronic tendinopathy is a degenerative and fibrotic condition caused by injuries or overuse; it is characterized by pain and impaired function. (Khan KM, et al. BMJ. 2002;324.2; Kountouris A and Cook J. Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2007; 21(2):295-316; Maffulli N, et al. Arthroscopy: The J of Arthro and Rel Surg. 1998;14(8):4.) In preclinical studies, SM04755 demonstrated potential to promote healing in chronic tendinopathy. Specifically, in vitro testing demonstrated that SM04755 prevented and reversed fibrosis and promoted the formation of tendon cells. From in vivo studies, SM04755 topically applied to rat tendinopathy models reduced markers of tendon inflammation in plasma, showed evidence of tendon regeneration, and increased tendon health scores compared to rats treated with inactive vehicle. Samumed presented, inter alia, the accompanying data and images related to its in vivo studies as part of its abstract for ACR on this potential treatment for chronic tendinopathy. In vivo efficacy of topical SM04755 was evaluated in an intra-tendon collagenase-induced rodent tendinopathy model by scoring (range 5-20) several histological indicators of tendon health. Inflammation in the rodent model was measured by chemokine ligand 1 (CXCL1) levels in plasma by ELISA and other inflammatory markers in the tendon by qPCR. Tendon regeneration was evaluated by qPCR based gene expression of tenocyte differentiation markers scleraxis A and tenascin C. In the collagenase-induced model, compared to vehicle, SM04755 treatment significantly increased the mean tendon health score (p<0.01, n=6), decreased the plasma levels of CXCL1 (p<0.05, n=6), reduced gene expression of pro-inflammatory markers (IL-6, TNF-a, IL-1b, INF-g, IL-8) (p<0.05, n=3), and increased expression of scleraxis A and tenascin C in tendon (p<0.05, n=6). The abstract for the presentation is available at ACR’s website here: Discovery of a Small Molecule Inhibitor of the Wnt Pathway (SM04755) As a Potential Topical Treatment for Chronic Tendinopathy. Details of methodology and results are covered in the poster presented at ACR available here. “Based on our preclinical study results, we are extremely excited about SM04755’s potential as a treatment for chronic tendinopathy, for which current therapeutic options focus on alleviating the symptoms and pain rather than treating the underlying disease,” said Yusuf Yazici, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Samumed. “For this potential treatment, we just opened an IND, and we are planning to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial before the end of 2016.” Based in San Diego, CA, Samumed ( is a pharmaceutical platform company focused on advancing regenerative medicine and oncology applications through research and innovation. Samumed has discovered new targets and biological processes in the Wnt pathway, allowing the team to develop small molecule drugs that potentially address numerous degenerative conditions as well as many forms of cancer.

The International Nurses Association is pleased to welcome Troy D. Wilson, INF/RN, MSN, to their prestigious organization with his upcoming publication in the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare. Troy D. Wilson is a Registered Nurse currently serving patients at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota. Troy holds over 24 years of experience and an expertise in all facets of nursing, especially trauma nursing, informatics, and burn unit nursing. Troy D. Wilson graduated with his Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Riverland Community College in Austin, Minnesota in 1992, becoming a Registered Nurse. An advocate for continuing education, Troy obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Information Systems and Management Information Systems from the National American University, followed by his Master of Science Degree in Nursing Informatics in 2013, from the University of Phoenix. In his long and successful nursing career Troy has worked in many areas, and is now an expert in trauma nursing and burn unit nursing. To keep up to date in his challenging field, Troy maintains a professional membership with the American Nurses Association. He attributes his great success to his ability to to accept and embrace change, and adapt to new technologies. When he is not assisting patients, Troy enjoys watching hockey, motorcycle touring, and camping. Learn more about Troy D. Wilson here and read his upcoming publication in Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare.

News Article | February 17, 2017

US Defence Secretary James Mattis addresses the press at NATO headquarters in Brussels on February 15, 2017 (AFP Photo/EMMANUEL DUNAND) Brussels (AFP) - US Defence Secretary James Mattis hailed NATO as the "fundamental bedrock" of transatlantic security as he sought to reassure allies Wednesday about President Donald Trump's committment to the alliance. Mattis, who has been on the job less than a month, spoke as a scandal over White House officials' ties to Russia gripped the Trump presidency and claimed the job of the national security adviser. "The alliance remains a fundamental bedrock for the United States and for all the transatlantic community, bonded as we are together," Mattis said as he met his counterparts in Brussels for the first time. "As President Trump has stated, he has strong support for NATO," said Mattis, a former Marine general who has himself previously served with NATO. Mattis however stressed that the Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, expected NATO allies to boost their defence spending. "It's a fair demand that all who benefit from the best defence in the world carry their proportionate share of the necessary cost to defend freedom," he added. The 28-member organization is trying to portray unity after Trump's previous comments that the alliance was "obsolete." Since his inauguration, Trump has taken a more orthodox stance on NATO and reaffirmed long-standing US commitment to the alliance. Mattis has consistently voiced support for NATO and has been tougher on Russia than his boss, whose views worry the alliance's eastern European member states in particular. But Mattis's visit has been overshadowed by the resignation of Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn over allegations he had discussed US sanctions with Russia's ambassador before taking office. NATO chief Stoltenberg insisted the Flynn scandal was not a further cause for concern for the alliance, which has underpinned transatlantic security since the aftermath of World War II. "I am absolutely certain that the message from this meeting will be a message of transatlantic unity," Stoltenberg said when asked about Flynn's resignation. Stoltenberg said the ministers will also stress "the importance that we stand together and protect each other and a very strong commitment of the United States to NATO." Mattis said on the flight to Brussels that Flynn's departure would have "no impact" on the US message to NATO. Mattis meanwhile praised the alliance for its enduring help for the United States in Afghanistan. "This has been the most successful alliance in military history," he said. Also hanging over the meeting was a New York Times report that Moscow had deployed a new cruise missile, raising fears it would violate the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Like the US State Department, the NATO chief said he would not comment on intelligence matters but warned that "any non-compliance of Russia with the INF treaty would be of serious concern for the alliance." Despite the message of unity, Mattis is still set to push the rest of the 28-nation group to meet their increased military spending pledges, despite many in Europe facing hard economic times. In a sign that the Trump administration's pressure on the issue is bearing fruit, Stoltenberg said on the eve of the meeting that boosting spending was a top priority. "The most important thing is that we increase defence spending and that is exactly what we are doing," Stoltenberg told reporters at alliance headquarters. Stoltenberg said the alliance in 2015 had stopped military budget cuts and last year actually increased spending by 3.8 percent, or $10 billion, but still needs to do more. Washington has long insisted that NATO members should spend two percent of their GDP on defence, a goal that few meet despite agreeing on it at a summit in Wales in 2014. NATO leaders are expected to meet Trump for the first time at a summit in Brussels on May 25.

NASHVILLE, TN--(Marketwired - February 28, 2017) - INFINITI launched its 2017 Q60 sticker pack in the iOS App Store, becoming the first luxury auto brand to utilize iMessage Stickers. The downloadable sticker pack allows iOS users to personalize the exhilarating INFINITI Q60, drag and drop them into messages, and layer them over their own unique pictures. The sticker pack includes 26 different iMessage stickers, including different body color stickers, animated speedometer, tachometer and steering wheel stickers, V6 twin-turbo and turbocharged engine animated stickers, interior leather seat stickers and trim, sport and engine body badges. The launch comes at a time when usage of stickers within messenger platforms is at an all-time high, with over 1,200 sticker packs available in the iOS App Store. "We developed the Q60 sticker pack so consumers can integrate INFINITI into their messaging in creative and unique ways," said Allyson Witherspoon, director, Marketing Communications and Media at INFINITI Americas. "This is a rapidly growing way for people to communicate and we're thrilled to give INFINITI fans an opportunity to incorporate the brand's distinct style into their day-to-day conversations." The brand's first sticker pack is based on the all-new 2017 INFINITI Q60 sports coupe, which hit INFINITI retailers nationwide in September 2016 and is offered in a range of grade levels, including all-new advanced turbocharged engines and rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations. It also features adaptable chassis technologies, including the second-generation Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) and all-new Dynamic Digital Suspension, which enhanced steering feel and provides a more secure ride. About INFINITI INFINITI Motor Company Ltd. is headquartered in Hong Kong with representations in 50 markets around the world. The INFINITI brand was launched in 1989. Its range of premium automobiles is currently built in manufacturing facilities in Japan, the United States, United Kingdom and China. INFINITI plans to also expand manufacturing into Mexico by 2017. INFINITI design studios are located in Atsugi-Shi near Yokohama, London, San Diego and Beijing. INFINITI is in the middle of a major product offensive. The brand has been widely acclaimed for its daring design and innovative driver-assistance technologies. From the 2016 season, INFINITI is a technical partner of the Renault Sport Formula One team, contributing its expertise in hybrid performance. More information about INFINITI and its industry leading technologies can be found at You can also follow INFINITI on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and see all our latest videos on YouTube. Image Available: Image Available: Image Available:

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