Iran’s Currency Falls to Record Low Against Dollar
Associated Press – August 6, 2012
Traders say Iran’s currency has hit a record low against the U.S. dollar in street trading. The rial dropped 5 percent in a single day, to 21,500 rials to the dollar. The collapse of the Iranian currency is a sign of the effect Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program.
Strait of Hormuz Attack Iran ‘Last Resort,’ Author Says
Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg – August 6, 2012
Iran probably would attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf only as a “last resort,” according to a Pentagon historian who’s written a new history of America’s 33-year shadow war with the Islamic Republic. Iran has greatly improved its ability to disrupt shipping through the strategic waterway, the route for a fifth of the world’s traded oil, said historian David Crist. Still, the Islamic Republic’s economy also relies on shipping through the Strait, he said.
N. Korea slams US, S. Korea military drill
Agence France-Presse – August 6, 2012
North Korea Monday hit out at the United States and South Korea over their planned joint military drill this month which it said was “an all-out war rehearsal” that could ignite conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The allies will hold Ulchi Freedom Guardian, which is largely a computer-simulated exercise, on August 20-31 to improve their combat-readiness amid high cross-border tensions. The US and South Korea “are going to stage again Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises for invading the DPRK from August 20 to 31 at a time when they are becoming evermore undisguised in their hostile policy and confrontation racket against it,” the North’s Korean Central News Agency said.
US Nuclear Security
Guards replaced after Tennessee nuclear security breach
Mark Hosenball, Reuters – August 6, 2012
The Energy Department said on Monday it was replacing guards and supervisors on duty 10 days ago when three peace activists, including an 82 year-old nun, breached perimeter fences at the principal U.S. facility for storing weapons-grade enriched uranium. The U.S. government both processes and stores enriched uranium at the Y-12 complex, which a senior official had previously touted as “the Fort Knox of uranium.”
Panetta: More Rounds Of Base Closures Are Inevitable
Sandra Erwin, National Defense magazine Blog – August 6, 2012
Congress has forthrightly rejected the Pentagon’s suggestion that it is time to begin planning another round of base closures. But Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is not about to give up trying. He is convinced that shutting down excess facilities is going to be an important piece of the Pentagon’s cost-cutting plan. “Now may not be the time for BRAC as our economy recovers, but sooner or later, one way or another, the department is going to need to take a hard look at its basing infrastructure as we seek to reduce our overhead costs,” Panetta said Aug. 6 in a speech at the annual meeting of the Association of Defense Communities in his hometown of Monterey, Calif.
Editorial: Cost Overruns Bedevil U.S. Nuclear Security
Albuquerque Journal – August 5, 2012
[T]he ineptitude and incompetence of the National Nuclear Security Administration is becoming a real threat to our nuclear deterrence and our national security. The price tag to refurbish the B61, a nuclear bomb designed by Sandia and Los Alamos national labs in the 1960s, has doubled from about $4 billion two years ago to $8 billion, according to the National Nuclear Security Administration. And it might get worse. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, says an independent review being done by the Defense Department puts the cost even higher, at $10 billion. This budget buster is hardly an anomaly. How about the $382 million spent for 13 years’ worth of planning for a new plant in South Carolina to dismantle plutonium parts from old nuclear warheads. It likely will never be built there, if anywhere. It was canceled last year. Dismantling of the weapons may be done in a 1970s-era building at Los Alamos National Laboratory, or at another old building at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site.
Poland wants own segment in US missile defense
Associated Press – August 6, 2012
Poland’s president says his nation should build its own protective segment within the missile defense system the U.S. is planning to develop in Europe. In an interview with Monday’s issue of Wprost magazine, confirmed by his office, President Bronislaw Komorowski says he will propose a plan for Poland’s own land and air defense system.