Nation/World Briefly: Gates suggests Navy has too many ships and subs

  • Mon May 3rd, 2010 10:29pm
  • News

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday called into question the Navy’s heavy and expensive arsenal of ships and subs.

In a speech before naval officers and contractors, Gates did not say he was planning to cut any programs or its budget.

But he did say the military must rethink whether it can afford such a massive naval fleet at a time when the Army and Marine Corps need more money to take care of troops and their families.

“Do we really need 11 carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?” Gates asked.

U.S. says it has more than 5,000 nuclear warheads

The United States has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and “several thousand” more retired warheads awaiting the junkpile, the Pentagon said Monday in an unprecedented accounting of a secretive arsenal born in the Cold War and now shrinking rapidly. The Obama administration disclosed the size of its atomic stockpile going back to 1962 as part of a campaign to get other nuclear nations to be more forthcoming, and to improve its bargaining position against the prospect of a nuclear Iran. The Pentagon said the stockpile of 5,113 as of September 2009 represents a 75 percent reduction since 1989.

U.N.: Clinton, Iranian leader clash over nuke aspirations

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday demanded strong U.N. sanctions against Iran for defying demands to halt its enrichment of uranium after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted there was no “credible proof” his regime is seeking nuclear weapons. The public clash over the aims of Iran’s nuclear program dominated the opening day of a major U.N. review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the 40-year-old pact underpinning the global system to curb the spread of nuclear arms. U.S., French and British diplomats walked out of the U.N. General Assembly during Ahmadinejad’s morning address, in which he charged all the major nuclear powers were seeking to deny access to nuclear power in the name of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

California: Woman stabs four inside discount store

A 34-year-old woman who stabbed and wounded four people in a busy Target store in West Hollywood on Monday afternoon was arrested when an off-duty sheriff’s deputy pulled his gun and ordered the woman to the ground as screaming shoppers ran from the building, authorities said. Layla Trawick used a butcher’s knife and a carving knife to attack the victims, one of them holding a baby, using both blades at the same time. All four victims were expected to survive.

Pennsylvania: No spying in school laptop case, report says

There’s no evidence a Philadelphia suburban school district used school-issued laptops to spy on students despite its questionable policies and its lack of regard for students’ privacy, according to a report issued Monday by attorneys hired by the district. Concerns about an online chat captured in a screen shot of a school-issued computer led to public disclosure of the Lower Merion School District’s laptop tracking program, according to the report by the Philadelphia law firm Ballard Spahr. The firm recommended a ban on remote activations of webcams and remote capturing of screen shots from computers issued to students. The district said it secretly activated the webcams only to find missing laptops but admitted lax policies led it to capture 58,000 images.

Ireland: Airports shut down over volcano ash risk

All flights in and out of Ireland were canceled this morning because of the renewed risk of volcanic ash drifting south from Iceland, the Irish Aviation Authority announced. Experts said they couldn’t tell whether the shifting winds would lead to wider European airspace shutdowns, mirroring last month’s crisis, when more than 100,000 flights were canceled and airlines estimated they lost more than $2 billion in business. The shutdowns were the first in Britain and Ireland since April 22, a week after the Eyjafjallajokull (ay-yah-FYAH-lah-yer-kuhl) volcano erupted in Iceland.

Afghanistan: Video shows Pakistan Taliban boss alive

The leader of Pakistan’s Taliban appeared in a video Monday threatening attacks against the U.S. months after American and Pakistani officials believed he died in a U.S. missile strike. U.S. and Pakistani officials had been confident that 30-year-old Hakimullah Mehsud had been killed in a January strike.

From Herald news services