Burundi ordered a security adviser at the United Nations mission in the country to leave on Thursday, escalating a row that started with a warning by the U.N. last week of a possible outbreak of political violence. Government officials in the tiny central African state reacted angrily to the warning by the U.N. mission (BNUB) on Wednesday, saying it was baseless and possibly spread to justify an extension of its mandate beyond its December expiration date. The warning was linked to a political crisis over planned changes to the constitution that could allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term. "A senior security adviser for the UN mission in Burundi has 48 hours to leave the country," said Willy Nyamitwe, deputy spokesman for Burundi's president.
Ukraine on Thursday disbanded an army unit that lost six armoured vehicles to pro-Russian militants, as Kiev's military reeled from a disastrous attempt to oust separatists in its eastern regions. "The 25th parachute brigade, members of which showed cowardice and gave up their weapons, will be demobilised and the guilty servicemen brought before court," acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told parliament. Ukraine's enfeebled army suffered a major embarrassment Wednesday as a much-hyped "anti-terrorist" operation to force pro-Moscow protesters out of a string of eastern towns descended into humiliating farce when separatists seized six armoured personnel carriers and forced another mechanised column of troops to disarm. Ukraine's defence ministry said in a statement Thursday that the column of armoured vehicles and soldiers blockaded a day earlier by pro-Russian activists in the town of Kramatorsk was returning to base after the tense stand-off.
NATO is sending part of its naval rapid reaction force to the Baltic Sea as part of measures to step up the defense of its eastern European allies in response to the Ukraine crisis, the alliance said on Thursday. A multinational group of five small ships - four minesweepers and a support vessel - will be sent to the Baltic Sea "for the foreseeable future", a spokesman for NATO's Maritime Command said. NATO has made clear it does not plan to get involved militarily in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member. But it said on Wednesday it would send more ships, planes and troops to eastern Europe to reassure allies worried by Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.
Americans are generally excited about the new technology they expect to see in their lifetimes. But when confronted with some advances that already appear possible -- from skies filled with drones to meat made in a lab -- they get nervous.
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