Manhattan Project scientist who helped design the atomic bomb dies, aged 96
Kerry McQueeny, Daily Mail – October 5, 2012
A scientist who helped design the trigger mechanism for the atomic bombs used in the Second World War has died, at the age of 96. Robert F Christy, a former California Institute of Technology (Caltech) professor, was one of the early recruits to the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos Laboratory, a U.S. government research project to develop atomic weapons during the war.
Late fees for military shipping containers soar
Tom Vanden Brook – USA Today – October 4, 2012
Late fees for unreturned shipping containers have soared to record levels over the past 13 months despite the military’s plans to cut their costs, in part because the military recently discovered invoices dating back six years, according to the Pentagon.
Deadline Looms: Congress Needs to Get Serious, Cut the Pentagon Budget
Robert Greenwald, Huffington Post – October 4, 2012
As the New York Times reported earlier this week, leading members of the U.S. Senate are scrambling to devise a plan that averts automatic sequestration budget cuts scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 2, 2013. What remains to be seen is how any kind of deal will address a massive, wasteful $700 billion-a-year Pentagon budget and not place the bulk of deficit-reduction solutions on slashing vital programs like Social Security and Medicare.
Romney national security transition team takes shape
Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy – October 4, 2012
The top echelon of Mitt Romney‘s national security transition team is largely in place and it includes both hawkish and centrist GOP foreign-policy professionals, The Cable has learned. The news comes as debate continues inside the Romney campaign over how much to focus on foreign vs. domestic policy in the home stretch. Politico reported last week that chief strategist Stuart Stevens was leading the camp pushing for a more singular focus on the economy.
Iran Offers Plan, Dismissed by U.S., on Nuclear Crisis
David Sanger, New York Times – October 4, 2012
With harsh economic sanctions contributing to the first major protests in Iran in three years, Iranian officials have begun to describe what they call a “nine-step plan” to defuse the nuclear crisis with the West by gradually suspending the production of the uranium that would be easiest for them to convert into a nuclear weapon.
As Iran’s Currency Keeps Tumbling, Anxiety Is Rising
Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times – October 4, 2012
For months, since the imposition of harsh, American-led sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, the country’s leaders have sworn they would never succumb to Western pressures, and they scoffed at the idea that the measures were having any serious impact. But after a week in which the Iranian currency, the rial, fell by a shocking 40 percent and protests began to rumble through the capital, no one is making light of the mounting costs of confrontation.
The Iranian Currency Crisis: Three Possible Scenarios
Jay Newton-Small, Time – October 4, 2012
During my trip to Iran last month, the owner of a chicken shop in Shohada Square, a lower middle class neighborhood in southern Tehran not far from the bazaar, complained to me about the fluctuating price of chicken. “Yesterday, I had some orders from some regular customers. So I sold them chickens for 50,000 rials each,” he said. “But when I went to buy the chickens today, the price had spiked 5,000 rial overnight. I had to pay 55,000 rials for each chicken, so I lost some money. It would be fine if this was a one-time thing, but it keeps happening. The prices, they’ve fluctuated so much the last couple of months.”
‘National Security’ Movie: South Korean Torture Film Stuns Audiences
Sam Kim, Huffington Post – October 5, 2012
film based on the memoir of a democracy activist who was tortured in the 1980s by South Korea’s military rulers is provoking discussion about the country’s not-so-distant authoritarian past and the influence it will have on this year’s presidential election.
“National Security,” which premieres Saturday at the Busan International Film Festival, tells the story of Kim Geun-tae, who endured 22 days of torture in a notorious Seoul interrogation room because of alleged links to North Korea and a plot to overthrow South Korea’s military regime.
Syrian rebels say capture air defense base near Damascus
Reuters – October 5, 2012
Syrian rebels say they captured an air defense base with a cache of missiles outside Damascus, a rare advance in a city where President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have them on the back foot.