Thursday, January 18, 2018
News Roundup

Hagel: Defense budget cuts will affect readiness

Washington

Hagel: Cuts will affect readiness

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the military faced one of two options in order to meet mandatory budget cuts: chopping the number of personnel or limiting its technological edge. That might mean reducing as much as 29 percent of soldiers, 18 percent of Marines and three Navy carriers through 2019. The budget cuts have forced the Pentagon to craft contingency plans, all of which Hagel says will affect readiness. On Wednesday, Hagel said there was a tradeoff between cutting either the number of personnel or modernization capabilities. They must consider "what's preferable, what are the threats, what are the resources on capability versus capacity," Hagel said. "As I said, no decisions have been made." There are about 535,000 Army personnel, 182,000 Marines and 11 Navy carriers. The review suggests cutting that to as few as 380,000 Army personnel, 150,000 Marines and eight Navy carriers.

Baghdad

Shootings, bombings leave 26 dead in Iraq

Attacks including bombings of Shiite and Sunni mosques left 26 dead in Iraq, the latest in a surge of bloodshed that is raising fears of a return to widespread sectarian killings, officials said Wednesday. Most attacks on Shiites are presumed to be carried out by the country's branch of al-Qaida, which claimed credit on Tuesday for a wave of bombings the day before that killed at least 58 people. It said the attacks were carried out on behalf of "oppressed Sunnis," suggesting the group is trying to capitalize on Sunnis' complaints of being treated as second-class citizens by the Shiite-dominated government. The uptick of violence is dampening hopes for a return to normal life nearly two years after the last U.S. forces withdrew from the country.

New Orleans

Halliburton to plead guilty in BP oil spill

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing on Sept. 19 for Halliburton Energy Services to plead guilty to destroying evidence after BP's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The company was arraigned Wednesday ion a misdemeanor charge. Although company attorneys entered a plea of not guilty during the arraignment, Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to one count of destruction of evidence in a deal with the Justice Department. Halliburton was BP's cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded, triggering an explosion that killed 11 workers and spilled millions of gallons of oil into the gulf.

Cleveland

Kidnapped Ohio women kept diaries

Three women held captive in a run-down home for a decade kept diaries documenting the physical and sexual abuse they suffered, prosecutors said Wednesday. The women's kidnapper, Ariel Castro, lured one of them into his Cleveland home with the promise of a puppy for her son and later locked all of them in a vehicle in his garage for three days when someone visited him, prosecutors said. Castro claimed he didn't have an exit strategy from his complicated double life and finally gave the women a chance to escape by leaving a door unlocked, they said in a court document. Castro has pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, assault and aggravated murder. He's being sentenced today.

Elsewhere

WASHINGTON: Members of Congress gathered in the stately Statuary Hall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in 1963, which helped to pressure Congress to pass the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts.

Times wires

Comments

High school scoreboard for Jan. 17

Wednesday’s scoreboardBoys basketballBoca Ciega 62, Clearwater 52Boys soccerPalm Harbor U. 3, Dunedin 0Girls soccerPalm Harbor U. 5, Dunedin 0
Updated: 5 hours ago
‘All I see is fire’: 911 calls released from Florida casino boat fire

‘All I see is fire’: 911 calls released from Florida casino boat fire

PORT RICHEY — The first call came into emergency dispatch at 4 p.m. on Sunday from shore, reporting a ‘giant’ boat on fire in the Pithlachascotee River."It’s urgent," the caller said.Others followed quickly, one woman crying as she described from her...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Shelters offer escape from the cold for those who need it

Shelters offer escape from the cold for those who need it

On warmer nights, Jerry Hardison can sleep for a few hours at the recycling center. He works 11-hour shifts there. He gets off at 2:30 a.m., then waits until the buses start running again.But not Wednesday."Getting out that time of the morning in the...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Apple to build second campus, hire 20,000 in $350B pledge

Apple to build second campus, hire 20,000 in $350B pledge

Associated PressSAN FRANCISCO — Apple is planning to build another corporate campus and hire 20,000 workers during the next five years as part of a $350 billion commitment to the United States that will be partially financed by an upcoming windfall f...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Michigan father deported after three decades in community; AIDS crusader Mathlide Kim dies; more in U.S. news

Michigan father deported after three decades in community; AIDS crusader Mathlide Kim dies; more in U.S. news

Michigan This was his home for 30 years, then ICE forced dad from familyWith two immigration agents hovering nearby, Jorge Garcia pulled his wife and their 15-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son close for a final hug at the Detroit airport. Soon af...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Gibsonton man faces 50 counts of child porn

Gibsonton man faces 50 counts of child porn

GIBSONTON — A 46-year-old man was arrested Wednesday by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents on 50 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of promoting a sexual performance by a child.Authorities said they received several tip...
Updated: 9 hours ago

He still has nightmares: Deckhand recalls prior casino boat fire

Cory Byrd said he still has nightmares about the smoke. In them, he is back in the cabin of the Express Shuttle II, scrambling to reach the white rectangle of an open door. The smoke was so thick, he said, you could barely see an outstretched hand. ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Wallaby bounds down Sydney Harbour Bridge; North, South Korea to march as one in Olympics; more in world news

Wallaby bounds down Sydney Harbour Bridge; North, South Korea to march as one in Olympics; more in world news

AustraliaWallaby infiltrates Sydney bridgeA wayward wallaby disrupted downtown traffic by bounding across the Sydney Harbor Bridge on Tuesday with police in pursuit. The adult male was captured without any apparent serious injury and is expected to b...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Pinellas sheriff, feds announce changes to controversial immigrant detention policy

Pinellas sheriff, feds announce changes to controversial immigrant detention policy

LARGO — For years, county sheriffs in the United States have faced a quandary when asked by federal officials to hold undocumented immigrants in their local jails. They could continue to hold them for up to two days past the time they were legally fr...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Water Street Tampa developers seek artist and design for $600,000 outdoor art near USF med school

Water Street Tampa developers seek artist and design for $600,000 outdoor art near USF med school

TAMPA — Water Street Tampa called Wednesday for artists to send in their ideas for a big piece of public art for the outdoor plaza between one of the $3 billion project’s office buildings and the new University of South Florida Morsani College of Med...
Updated: 10 hours ago