First up, the G7, in short for group of seven.Its annual meeting is going on right now in the nation of Japan.
The G7 is a membership of seven major world economies, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.It used to be known as the G8 and included Russia.But after that country's controversial annexation of Crimea in 2014, the other nations suspended Russia's membership.G7 leaders meet each year to talk about the global economy and international security.As part of that, a big focus this year is going to be on terrorism, as well as last Thursday's mysterious crash of an Egypt air flight in the Mediterranean Sea.Other topics for the leaders include uncertainty in the global economy, climate change and infectious diseases.
Earlier this week, we discussed the Obama administration's decision to remove a ban on U.S. weapon sales to Vietnam.One aspect we haven't talked about, though, the economic one.
And who is the world's largest arms exporter is right in the middle of it all?It's the United States, dealing in weapons ranging from assault rifles to fighter jets and armored tanks.So, who is on the receiving end?With escalating situations in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, it may not surprise you that the U.S. sells most of its weapons to its Middle Eastern allies.Saudi Arabia was the top recipient of U.S. arms.Between 2011 and 2015, they had purchased everything from American made F15 fighters, M1 Abrams tanks, Apache attack helicopters and Patriot missile batteries.The United Arab Emirates, Turkey and many other countries are also big customers.Now, these governments are essentially being given the arms as the U.S. government contributes billions to foreign military financing.Roughly $5.7 billion is planned for 2017.Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Iraq are the top recipients of this U.S. largesse.This trade is not just in the Middle East.
In terms of weather, it's been a rough week in the Central U.S.There were at least eight tornadoes reported, as the storm system rumbled across Kansas.Vehicles, including a tractor trailer were flipped over.Several people were injured and some homes were damaged.