- The US and the Philippines held the largest-ever annual military exercises with a greater focus on the defense of northern Philippines and preparations for conflict with China over Taiwan.
- The exercises on Basco Island, south of Taiwan, also focused on defending the strategic Bashi Channel, the most direct access point for any American forces sent to the Taiwan Strait.
- The Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong transited the channel earlier this month before conducting jet-fighter drills to the east of Taiwan.
- The exercises involved US Marines and Army troops running out of MV-22 Osprey aircraft with weapons, including Javelin and Stinger missile launchers, and bringing ashore a Himars rocket launcher, a system that could give US forces the ability to target ships up to a few hundred miles away.
- The Philippines is concerned about tensions in the Taiwan Strait and is pursuing an independent foreign policy to uphold its commitment to strategic independence, while Beijing's strategy is to try to cut off Taiwan from outside support during any attempt to take control of it.
Central banks around the world are pausing tightening campaigns as inflation eases and economies slow. Inflation-targeting regimes are keeping their own houses in order, while the US Fed's key inflation gauges fell to the slowest annual paces since late 2021.
Two massive earthquakes on Monday have devastated cities and towns across Turkey and Syria, with death toll of over 16,000. This is one of the worst natural disasters this century, alongside the 2004 Sumatran Tsunami, 2010 Haiti earthquake and 2008 Cyclone Nargis.
A raft of U.S. data and European inflation numbers will give guidance on how the world's top central banks will navigate the way ahead, including the hotly debated "no landing" scenario. Reports on U.S. durable goods orders, home prices, manufacturing and consumer confidence threaten to cement expec