US to cut carrier fleet in Persian Gulf to one
The Pentagon is cutting its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf region from two carriers to one, the Defense Department said Wednesday, in a move that represents one of the most significant effects of budget cuts on the U.S. military presence overseas. The decision comes as Washington struggles to find a way to avoid sharp automatic spending cuts set to strike the Pentagon and domestic programs next month.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta approved keeping just one carrier in the Persian Gulf region. The U.S. has maintained two aircraft carrier groups in the Gulf for most of the last two years.
Source: Lawmakers to get classified info
President Barack Obama has directed the Justice Department to give Congress’ intelligence committees access to classified legal advice providing the government’s rationale for drone strikes against American citizens working with al-Qaida abroad, a senior administration official said Wednesday.
Demands to see the document have grown on Capitol Hill in recent days as the Senate Intelligence Committee prepares to have a confirmation hearing for John Brennan, who helped manage the drone program, to be CIA director.
Tunisia remakes its government
Shaken by the assassination of a prominent leftist opposition leader that unleashed major protests, Tunisia’s prime minister announced Wednesday that he would form a new government of technocrats to guide the country to elections “as soon as possible.”
The decision by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali was a clear concession to the opposition, which long has demanded a reshuffle of the Islamist-dominated government. It also came hours after the first assassination of a political leader in post-revolutionary Tunisia.
The killing of 48-year-old Chokri Belaid, a secularist and fierce critic of Ennahda, the moderate ruling Islamist party, marked an escalation in the country’s political violence and sparked allegations of government negligence — even outright complicity.
Study: Earth-like planets aren’t far
cape canaveral, fla.
Earth-like worlds may be closer and more plentiful than anyone imagined.
Astronomers reported Wednesday that the nearest Earth-like planet may be just 13 light-years away — or some 77 trillion miles. That planet hasn’t been found yet, but should be there based on the team’s study of red dwarf stars.
Galactically speaking, that’s right next door.
If our Milky Way galaxy were shrunk to the size of the U.S., the distance between Earth and its closest Earth-like neighbor would be the span of New York’s Central Park, said Harvard University graduate student Courtney Dressing, the study’s lead author.
Komodo attack leaves 2 hospitalized
A park official says two people have been hospitalized after being attacked by a giant Komodo dragon that wandered into the office of a wildlife park in Indonesia.
An official at Komodo National Park, Heru Rudiharto, said Wednesday the 61/2 -foot-long Komodo dragon attacked a park ranger after walking into the office Tuesday. It then attacked another park employee who came to help him. Both were badly bitten and were evacuated to a hospital. Rudiharto said the park ranger also was attacked by a Komodo dragon in 2009.