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President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday imposing new, harsher sanctions on Iran and its central bank, because of concerns over Iran's nuclear program. Also at issue is whether or not there will be a military attack on Iran this spring. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, in his own words, he believed Israel would launch and attack sooner than later, but President Barack Obama said, Israel hasn't made up it's mind if or when it will attack.
The stakes are growing as the war of words grows. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday Iran would retaliate over Western-backed oil sanctions and any threat of attack, after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was cited as saying he feared a possible Israeli strike as early as April. Khamenei's speech marked the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on Friday.
The Philippine military said it killed three of Southeast Asia's most-wanted terrorist leaders in a U.S.-backed airstrike that significantly weakens an al-Qaida-linked network that had used islands in the southern Philippines as a hideout and training base. The dawn strike targeting a militant camp on a remote island killed at least 15 people, including Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, a top leader of the regional Jemaah Islamiyah terror network.
The lawyer for a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay charged in the attack on the U.S.S. Cole has asked a judge to allow him to question the president of Yemen while he is in the U.S. for treatment. Navy Lt Cmdr. Steven Reyes, represents Abd al-Nashiri said he think President Ali Abdullah Saleh has information he can use in his clients trial.
The Pentagon grounded six Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California, due to a problem with the parachutes packed under the pilot's ejection seat -- Reuters reports the affected parachutes, manufactured by a privately owned British company, for Lockheed Martin were improperly folded and must be adjusted before the aircraft can resume test flights.
The Pentagon says the Obama administration will propose to Congress that U.S. ground forces be reduced by 100,000 as part of budget cuts. Those cuts would also eliminate older aircraft, limit military pay raises and slow the buying of a next-generation fighter plane. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tells a Pentagon news conference the administration will request a 2013 budget of $525 billion, plus another $88 billion for operations in Afghanistan. Combined, those totals are about $33 billion less than the Pentagon is spending this year.
Prosecutors called it one of the biggest government contracting fraud cases ever. Court papers show Michael A. Alexander plans to plead guilty to bribery and conspiracy to launder money. Alexander and three other men, including another Army Corps of Engineers employee, were indicted in October on charges of participating in a bribery and kickback scheme in the awarding of $20 million in government contracts. The other men have pleaded not guilty.
Muamar Ghadafi has been dead for more than 3 months, but forces loyal to him continue to fight and they've taken control, of Bani Walid, a town south-east of the capital. They've been flying their green flags in defiance of the country's new, weak government. This is just the latest problem facing the government which has yet to rise to its feet since the NATO led operation ousted Gadhafi and his government. There are also concerns that terrorist factions are spiriting weapons out of the country
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the U.S. military is moving ahead with developing the Marine Corps version of the next-generation strike fighter jet, but warns the program is "not out of the woods yet." Those remarks came as the F-35B Lightning II was removed from "probation" and granted full status along the other two variants of the Joint Strike Fighter. He said the F-35, the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program, is "absolutely vital to maintaining America's air superiority".
Since Pakistan shut down U.S. supply lines in late 2011, the Pentagon has been spending more than six times what it normally does to get supplies to troops in Afghanistan. According to information obtained by the Associated Press, it now costs about $104 million per month to move the supplies through a longer northern route, $87 million more a month than when the cargo moved through Pakistan.