February 15, Thursday, 2024

1. The unseasonably warm winter in Japan this years has put a damper on a traditional snow festival in a city in the country’s northeast. An annual festival featuring “Kamakura,” or igloo-like snow huts, kicked off in the city of Yokote in Akita Prefecture on Thursday, despite the absence of accumulated snow on the ground.
2. Japan has lost its place as the world’s third-largest economy to Germany. The Japanese economy was the world’s second largest for decades from 1968. But China surged past in 2010, leaving Japan third until 2022. Germany’s population is about two-thirds the size of Japan’s.
3. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has pushed back against former US President Donald Trump. He took aim at comments suggesting member nations would not defend one another.