London – Britain will lose thousands of troops, reduce its ability to fight complex missions like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and delay a program to upgrade its nuclear defenses, Prime Minister David Cameron announced Tuesday.
Outlining the first defense review since 1998 – intended both to sweep away strategies crafted before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. and to help clear the country’s crippling national debt – Cameron said 17,000 troops, a fleet of jets and an aging aircraft carrier would all be sacrificed.
Cameron’s government has hinted for months that the cuts would be severe – and sweeping.
The numbers were stark. Naval warships, 25,000 civilian staff and a host of bases will also be lost, while the country’s stockpile of nuclear warheads will be trimmed from 160 to 120.
Detained hikers may stand trial
Minneapolis – The mother of one of two American hikers still jailed in Iran said Tuesday that she’s been told they will stand trial in November and that she’s relieved they will get to formally deny the espionage charges against them.
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal remain in Tehran’s Evin Prison more than a month after the release of Bauer’s fiancee, Sarah Shourd, who was freed after complaining of health problems.
Bauer’s mother, Cindy Hickey of Pine City, Minn., said a Tehran-based lawyer representing the hikers’ families told them recently that her son and Fattal would stand trial Nov. 6.
Peru, Bolivia deal opens up Pacific
Lima, Peru – Land-locked Bolivia is getting a tiny sliver of the Pacific – a dock, a free-trade zone and the right to run some naval vessels, although the agreement signed Tuesday with Peru falls far short of what Bolivians have dreamed of for 126 years – a coastline of their own.
President Alan Garcia announced the pact during a ceremony at the southern Peruvian port of Ilo. It is part of a longstanding crusade by both Peru and Bolivia to prod neighboring Chile into giving back some of the territory it seized in the 19th century War of the Pacific.
Under the new 99-year deal, Peru is granting Bolivia dock facilities, a free-trade zone and space for economic activities.