segunda-feira, 20 de dezembro de 2010
LONDON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The economic situation is forcing militaries around the world to cut back, Jane's Defence Weekly reports in its annual year-end survey.
Ambitious procurement projects are being scrapped and modernization programs postponed. Many countries will be unable even to maintain current weaponry levels, the report said.
In Britain, drastic cuts recommended in the Strategic Defense and Security Review will spell "nothing less than a substantial degrading of the nation's ability to act upon the world stage," Jane's said. The Royal Navy is mothballing or selling one of two carriers it ordered, and maritime reconnaissance aircraft will be canceled before they can even enter service.
Not all nations are reducing arms spending, however. In Asia, North Korea's aggressive moves and China's expansion are leading neighbors to boost their forces.
With the United States officially ending Iraq combat operations, the Afghan war was the world's largest active armed conflict in 2010.
The Pentagon is undergoing a major budget overhaul after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced an initiative to streamline spending and transfer funding from overhead to war-fighting. Gates is looking for $100 billion in savings over the next five years.
Whole units like the Joint Forces Command, which is charged with developing operating concepts, have been recommended for abolition.
Meanwhile, financial pressures forced the U.S. Navy to largely scale back its goal of a 313-ship fleet.
In the fiscal year 2011 budget, it is recommending a 30-year shipbuilding plan averaging $15.9 billion a year. The fleet would meet the 313-ship target between 2020 and 2026 but then fall to 288 vessels in 2032.
In Europe, Germany, Spain, Norway and the Czech Republic are joining Britain in various cutbacks, and NATO's Lisbon summit focused on cost savings.
NATO is reducing the number of headquarters in its command structure from 11 to seven, and personnel from more than 13,000 to 8,950. Russia is boosting cooperation with the alliance on both missile defense and Afghanistan.
With conflict zones from Israel-Palestine to Korea, Jane's termed Asia "the world's most eventful region".
India improved its ties with the United States in 2010 but saw relations with Pakistan and China deteriorate. And it faces persistent internal security crises from a widespread Maoist insurgency and a renewed campaign of resistance in Kashmir.
As for China, "a territorial row with Japan, obstruction over North Korea and saber-rattling over its 'sovereignty' of the East China and South China seas saw the Communist Party's carefully choreographed narrative of 'peaceful rise' take a series of hits to its credibility," Jane's said. UPI
EDMONTON, Alberta, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- A man was in custody Monday, the day after two children who were under government supervision were found dead in an Edmonton, Alberta, home, police said.
The names of the young boy and girl and the 31-year-old man, who had non-life threatening injuries, were not being released pending autopsies on the children, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Edmonton police found the children's bodies after being called to a townhouse at 11:30 p.m. Sunday to check on the welfare of its occupants, the CBC said.
The Edmonton Sun reported a Children and Youth Services spokesman said the children were "under our care" when they were killed.
"It is very sad, a tragedy," Sam Tarabain, a neighbor, said.
"They have not been here long. My children have not played with them".
Another neighbor, Patricia Antony, said the family had seemed peculiar, the newspaper said.
"They never used the front door and covered the windows, I've never seen them," Antony said.
"This is the first time something like this has happened. We have had small things but never a situation like this". UPI
MEXICO CITY, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The governments of the United States and Mexico have announced an agreement to ensure water gets to areas devastated by an Easter Sunday earthquake.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Mexican Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada said the agreement would adjust water deliveries from the Colorado River to areas damaged by the April 4 earthquake in Mexicali, an Interior Department release said Monday.
They also announced a commitment to initiate, in January, high-priority discussions between the two governments on a comprehensive long-term agreement on the management of the Colorado River.
"Through this water agreement, the United States, Mexico and the seven Colorado River Basin states are bringing resources together for our mutual benefit and for the benefit of our neighbors whose irrigation systems and livelihoods have been damaged by the Easter Sunday earthquake," Salazar said after meetings in Mexico City.
The agreement "is a remarkable achievement from a humanitarian perspective, but it also lays important groundwork for a much-needed comprehensive water agreement with Mexico on how we manage the Colorado River," he said. UPI
LONDON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Julian Assange in England says he is getting death threats from American soldiers and his appearance after his release was cut short for his safety.
In an interview with Spain's El Pais from the mansion where he is under house arrest, the WikiLeaks founder said, "I receive death threats all the time. My lawyer receives them, my son receives them. Most of them seem to come from members of the United States armed forces".
Assange's son Daniel, 20, who works for a software design company, is believed to be in hiding in Australia.
Assange said, "I feel very determined. I have seen that we received support on a global scale, especially in South America and Australia, and it seems as if everybody everywhere is supporting us".
He said police feared he would be assassinated when he left court after being granted bail Thursday.
Assange said he had been held in a wing of London's Wandsworth Prison housing "people who have been convicted of sexual offenses, child killers. … "There were crazy pedophiles who shouted all night about their crimes".
But said he the guards supported him. One gave him a card reading, "I only have two heroes in this world: Martin Luther King and you," he said. UPI