Romania–NATO relations

NATO's Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense System becomes partly operational at Romania's Deveselu airbase, as U.S. Navy personnel takes control of the site after years of construction. Aegis Ashore facilities in Romania form part of NATO's European missile defence system, with another site under construction in Poland expected to become operational by 2018. The United States Ambassador to Romania Hans G. Klemm says that they have explained to the Russians on numerous occasions that the missile system is, "not directed at Russia, nor does it have the capability to threaten Russia." The head of Russia's Strategic Missile Troops, Colonel General Sergei Karakayev, has dismissed the purported effectiveness of the missile defense system, saying Moscow develops “brand new and effective means and techniques to penetrate any missile defense system”.

Pollution in China

The Chinese government warns residents in Northern China to prepare for a wave of choking smog arriving over the weekend and lasting through Tuesday, with Beijing affected hardest. The capital city issues its second-ever "red alert" -- the first was announced on December 7, 2015. This alert triggers the odd-even license plate system to halve cars on the road, and recommends schools close. China's National Meteorological Center reports the pollution will stretch from Xi'an, across part of Central China, through Beijing and up into Shenyang and Harbin in China's frigid northeast.