U.S. budget cuts prompt Pentagon review

Washington

Budget cuts prompt Pentagon review

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the Pentagon to reconsider a sweeping military strategy that the Obama administration unveiled just last year to determine whether it is still affordable in light of recent budget cuts. Hagel's move calls for a reassessment of a defense strategy that President Barack Obama presented at the Pentagon 14 months ago as the centerpiece of his administration's national security policy. The strategy declared that the government would shift its military, diplomatic and economic attention to Asia after a decade of absorption in the Middle East while scaling back its land forces and unilateral missions that had become too expensive. But the plan did not envision the recent budget cuts.

Mexico

Study charts large flow of guns from U.S.

About 2.2 percent of U.S. gun sales are made to smuggling rings that take firearms to Mexico, a scale of trafficking that's "much higher than widely assumed," an academic study released Monday found.

An average of 253,000 weapons purchased in the United States head south of the border each year, according to the study by four scholars at the University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute and the Igarape Institute, a research center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The study's conclusions are likely to add to controversy over what role U.S. weapons smugglers play in Mexico's drug violence. Mexican officials have long blamed lax gun laws in the United States for the availability of weapons in Mexico, which considers gun ownership a privilege, not a right.

The value of the annual smuggling trade is $127.2 million, says the study, "The Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Traffic Across the U.S.-Mexico Border."

Elsewhere

Nigeria: Suicide bombers crashed an explosives-laden car into a crowded bus Monday as it was parked at a depot in Kano, northern Nigeria's largest city, and officials said at least 20 people were killed. The terror group Boko Haram was suspected.

Egypt: Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki warned Monday that the lynching of criminals in the streets by angry citizens is a sign of the "death of the state." On Sunday, vigilantes killed two suspected thieves in a rural Nile Delta village as a crowd watched.

Somalia: Ten people died in a suicide bombing near the presidential palace in Mogadishu, officials said Monday.

Britain: British politicians struck a last-minute deal on press regulation Monday, unveiling new rules that aim to curb the worst abuses of the country's scandal-ridden media.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.: Heavy rain helped firefighters contain a wildfire Monday after flames burned nearly 60 rental cabins in a resort area outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Times wires

U.S. budget cuts prompt Pentagon review 03/18/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 12:27am]

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