By David Alexander and Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. Army officer told lawmakers on Tuesday that a return to deep budget cuts as required by law beginning in 2016 would make it difficult for the military to carry out even one extended ground war. General Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told a panel in the House of Representatives that severe, across-the-board budget cuts would force the Army to shrink to 420,000 active-duty soldiers, a level at which it could no longer execute the president's national defense strategy. President Barack Obama's strategy issued in 2012 calls for a U.S. military strong enough to prevail in one major war while having the ability to deter an aggressor in a second conflict. That was a shift from the earlier longtime goal of being able to win two separate wars simultaneously. "I'm very concerned that at 420,000 we cannot meet the ... defense strategic guidance," Odierno told the Armed Services Committee. "I doubt that we could even execute one prolonged, multi-phase operation that is extended over a period of time." The Army chief told lawmakers the proposed $496 billion defense budget for 2015, which calls for an Army of 440,000 to 450,000 troops, would be able to meet the president's defense strategy, but with "significant risks." The original 2012 strategy called for an Army of 490,000 troops. Odierno's budget concerns were echoed in other hearings across Capitol Hill on Tuesday as lawmakers quizzed senior defense officials about the president's proposal for Pentagon spending in 2015 and the department's five-year defense plan. Many lawmakers lamented declining U.S. military readiness following cuts to training and maintenance. Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, the head of U.S. forces in South Korea, said 28,500 U.S. troops currently in the peninsula could handle the threat from the North, but he said he was worried about the preparedness of reinforcements in a crisis. "I am concerned about the readiness of the follow-on forces," Scaparrotti told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "In our theater ... I rely on rapid and ready forces to flow into the peninsula in a crisis." And in a House appropriations panel, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said budget uncertainty had prompted a year's delay in a Navy decision on whether to refuel or decommission the aircraft carrier USS George Washington halfway through its expected life. "We want to keep that carrier, and her associated air wing," Mabus said, but noted that the cost of refueling and operating it would be $7 billion over five years. "That's why we did it, to give us a little more decision space, to give Congress a little more decision space," he said. The budget concerns come as the Pentagon is struggling to implement nearly $1 trillion in cuts to projected spending over a decade as required by the 2011 Budget Control Act passed by Congress and signed by Obama. The law required $487 billion in direct cuts to defense spread over a decade, plus another $500 billion in automatic, across-the-board reductions that would not take place if Congress negotiated an alternative way to curb spending. Congress failed to reach a deal, and after several legislative delays the across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, went into effect for the first time last year nearly halfway through the fiscal year. The move forced the Pentagon to put civilian defense workers on temporary leave and prompted the military services to idle some warships, cancel Army training, reduce flying hours and take other steps to save money. Concerned about the impact, Congress reached a two-year budget deal late last year that eased some defense cuts. But Pentagon planners have already begun worrying about what will happen when the deeper spending cuts return in 2016. Odierno told lawmakers the $496 billion defense budget for 2015, which met the caps set by Congress but also included a plan for $26 billion in additional spending, was the "floor of what we need" to carry out the U.S. defense strategy. "Once we go below that, we can no longer execute the strategy," he said. "We're going to have to ... amend the current strategy or develop a new strategy." (Additional reporting by Missy Ryan; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
- Business Insider
Matt Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg has been accused of everything from acting as a vigilante police officer to trying to hack rival politicians
Greenberg, who faces 33 federal charges, is an associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz and a key player in the federal investigation into the congressman.
- The Telegraph
The Duke of Edinburgh's funeral will be the first occasion that marks Prince Harry's change of status within the Royal family. The Queen stripped the Duke and Duchess of Sussex of all official royal titles earlier this year after they confirmed that they would not return to their roles as working royals. As a ceremonial event, it is believed that the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Earl of Wessex will attend the funeral in military uniform. But as the Duke was stripped of his honorary military titles, including his prized role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, it is thought he will have to wear a suit despite having served as an Army officer. Protocol dictates that retired service personnel can wear their medals – but not their uniform – at official engagements once they have left the military.
Top CEOs plan to get dramatically tougher on state legislators over proposed new restrictions on voting.Driving the news: After a weekend Zoom summit, the CEOs are threatening to withhold campaign contributions — and to punish states by yanking investments in factories, stadiums and other lucrative projects.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeThe call included a long list of business luminaries, including James Murdoch, Ken Chenault, Ken Frazier, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, and executives of Delta, United and American Airlines.Why it matters: After a slow response to Georgia's new limits, corporate America is suddenly makes voting access a foremost issue — and is going beyond words with sweeping economic threats. Saturday's historic Zoom summit was organized by Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of Yale School of Management, who told me the execs "fortified each other": "There was no sense of fear."The call included 90 business leaders, plus 30 other experts and aides.A post-summit statement said: "CEOs who participated in a live poll indicated they will re-evaluate donations to candidates supporting bills that restrict voting rights and many would reconsider investments in states which act upon such proposals."Go deeper: CEOs are the new lawmakersLike this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
- Business Insider
"Have you ever seen anybody that is so full of crap?" Trump asked the audience of GOP donors about Anthony Fauci
Prince Harry praised his grandfather Prince Philip for providing unparalleled devotion and dedication to Queen Elizabeth, his "Granny", and said he would be sorely missed by the nation and the world. Releasing a statement on his return to Britain from his home in the United States ahead of Philip's funeral on Saturday, Harry said the Duke of Edinburgh had been a man of "service, honour and great humour". "So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself."
- USA TODAY Opinion
I endured Larry Nassar, John Geddert and the terrifying culture of youth gymnastics. Some days I am strong. But every day I am surviving.
SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australia has abandoned a goal to vaccinate nearly all of its 26 million population by the end of 2021 following advice that people under the age of 50 take Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine rather than AstraZeneca's shot. Australia, which had banked on the AstraZeneca vaccine for the majority of its shots, had no plans to set any new targets for completing its vaccination programme, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a Facebook post on Sunday afternoon. "While we would like to see these doses completed before the end of the year, it is not possible to set such targets given the many uncertainties involved," Morrison said.
The Virginia police officer who was filmed pepper-spraying a uniformed Black Army officer after holding him at gunpoint has been fired
Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia has also ordered an independent investigation into the traffic stop involving 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario.
- Business Insider
For Boehner, a jovial, backslapping politician who is known to publicly cry, McConnell's steely and to-the-point demeanor is quite a contrast.
A former Minneapolis police officer said he quit days before the Derek Chauvin trial because he thinks protesters will 'burn the city down' no matter the case's outcome
The former sergeant told Insider that he believed there would be rioting at the close of Chauvin's murder trial and that he feared getting killed.
- Business Insider
Boehner slams Trump's conduct during the 2020 election, says the former president 'abused' his loyalists
"He stepped all over their loyalty to him by continuing to say things that just weren't true," Boehner told USA Today about Trump and his followers.
As Britain grieves his death, so do some Pacific tribespeople who revere him as a spiritual figure.
- The Telegraph
Game of Thrones stars Kit Harington and Rose Leslie have won a battle to build a new moat wall at their home, despite Historic England saying it could lead to the loss of ancient remains and artefacts. The celebrity couple feared a garden would slide into the moat at their farmhouse in Suffolk after part of the existing 6ft wall collapsed. They said the collapse was putting structural pressure on a small footbridge across the moat and other parts of the wall were suffering “significant lean”. The actors, both 34, asked for permission to carry out urgent repairs, including building a new wall with a concrete core “to ensure the long-term stability and safeguard against future problems”. However, conservation body Historic England raised concerns that the work could lead to the loss of ancient remains and artefacts. The heritage organisation cited a 2019 study that said the 15th-century house and its grounds had “a high potential for medieval and post-medieval archaeology”.
Jeff Jansen said modern pastors were "neutered" and "effeminate," boasting that his church's ushers all toted guns and were instructed to "kill."
WINDSOR, England (Reuters) -Prince William, second in line to the British throne, hailed his "grandpa" Prince Philip for his dutiful service to the crown, but said that the late duke would have wanted members of the royal family to get on with their jobs. Philip, husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth who had been at her side throughout her 69-year reign, died at Windsor Castle on Friday, aged 99. William, known as the Duke of Cambridge, said Philip was an extraordinary man whose life had been defined by service to his country, the queen and the Commonwealth.
Staff at the Russian prison holding hunger-striking Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny are threatening to force feed him, his allies said on Monday, warning he had lost 15 kg since he arrived at the facility last month. Navalny, 44, a prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, announced a hunger strike at the end of March in protest at what he said was the refusal of prison authorities to treat him properly for acute back and leg pain. Navalny, whom the West says has been wrongly jailed and should be freed, was moved to a prison clinic earlier this month after complaining of a high temperature and a bad cough.
- Associated Press
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday declared an “enduring and ironclad” American commitment to Israel, reinforcing support at a tense time in Israeli politics and amid questions about the Biden administration's efforts to revive nuclear negotiations with Israel's archenemy, Iran. Austin's first talks in Israel since he became Pentagon chief in January come as the United States seeks to leverage Middle East diplomatic progress made by the Trump administration, which brokered a deal normalizing relations between Israel and several Arab states.
- Business Insider
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are now worth more than $100 billion, making them 2 of only 8 centibillionaires in the world
Larry Page and Sergey Brin are two of eight centibillionaires in the world thanks to surging tech stocks. They join Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and others.
- The Telegraph
Duchess of Cornwall's relative accuses wife of lying about her age when they married - denying him the chance of more children
An aristocrat and relative of the Duchess of Cornwall has accused his wife of lying about her age in an ongoing divorce battle, which he claims denied him more children. Charles Villiers, 58, has been embroiled in a six-year divorce case that has so far played out in five different courts and before twelve judges. The couple, who share 25-year-old daughter Clarissa, married in 1994 and Charles has said he believed his wife to be 35 at the time. He has made various claims of dishonesty from his ex wife in court, the most serious of which was when he accused her of bigamy, which she vehemently denied. As part of the ongoing legal battle, he now claims to have unearthed new evidence on one of his wife's previous marriage certificates which would mean she was in fact 40 when they tied the knot, according to the Sunday Times. Mr Villiers told the newspaper: "Most of my friends were in their thirties at the time, with wives of similar age and additional children kept appearing for them. "I couldn't understand what the problem conceiving additional children was. Now I know. "I'm left in the situation that my wife might still try to claim millions of pounds off me, soley owing to the fact that we were married when, arguably, she married me under false pretences as I believed she was in her thirties, not in her forties in 1994, almost past child-bearing.” Mr Villiers went on to state that his wife did not wish to celebrate milestone birthdays, which he found "bizarre", before adding: "If it was a genuine error made in the creation of a marriage certificate document, not one word of explanation has ever been offered to me by Emma in 27 years." An electoral role registers Mrs Villiers as being born in 1958, which would make her current age 62, and 35 when they married.
- The Daily Beast
Sari Goodfriend/Cardozo LawA Florida woman who police say was so high on mind-bending drugs that she was screaming she was Harry Potter has been charged with the hit-and-run accident that killed a federal judge.U.S.District Judge Sandra Feuerstein, 75, was mowed down as she strolled down a Boca Raton sidewalk on Friday morning and was pronounced dead at the hospital. A 6-year-old boy, Anthony Ovchinnikov, was injured in the crash, but survived.Feuerstein was appointed to the federal bench in 2003 by former President George W. Bush, and worked out of the Eastern District of New York, which covers Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Long Island. She previously served as a New York State judge and worked as a school teacher.According to an arrest report filed by Boca Raton Police, a red two-door sedan was seen driving erratically down North Ocean Boulevard in Boca Raton shortly after 10 a.m. Friday. It veered around stopped traffic and jumped the sidewalk, then hit Feuerstein but kept going, the report states. As the driver steered back onto the roadway, she struck and injured Ovchinnikov.A bystander provided the car’s full license plate number to responding officers, and said she saw a sticker of a bumblebee on the trunk. “Let it be noted that none of the witnesses reported that the driver attempted to stop or render aid to the victims,” the police report continues.Less than a half-hour later, the vehicle was found crashed in Delray Beach. Cops say the driver, identified as Nastasia Andranie Snape, 23, of North Lauderdale, Florida, appeared to have been knocked unconscious. But when officers approached her, she “began to convulse or have seizure-like movements,” the report says. She wouldn’t make eye contact with officers on the scene, and “stared into space.” Nastasia Snape Palm Beach County Jail Snape, who insisted she was OK, was then loaded into an ambulance, where she “began to scream and fight with medics, stating that she was ‘Harry Potter,’” according to the police. One of the characters in the fictional Harry Potter series of books is an adult wizard named Severus Snape.The ambulance crew administered 400 milligrams of ketamine to calm her down, according to the police report.At the hospital, another officer attempted to interview Snape, who said at first that she remembered being in a car crash, then suddenly changed her mind and said, “I wasn’t in a crash.” Her behavior toggled wildly between being calm one moment and screaming the next, the report continues.Officers say they searched Snape’s bag to find her ID, and discovered a “common synthetic drug called ‘T’ salts,” which the report explains are “commonly known to cause erratic, excited, delirium-like behavior.” Investigators swabbed the car, including the front bumper and undercarriage, for DNA evidence.Snape was charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident, and ordered to surrender her passport. On Sunday, she was still being held at the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $60,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court on June 3, via Zoom.At the time of her death, Feuerstein was presiding over a murder-for-hire case involving NYPD Police Officer Valerie Cincinelli, who is accused of trying to hire a hitman to assassinate her estranged husband and her new boyfriend’s teenage daughter. Feuerstein was the former president of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association as well as vice president of the New York State Women’s Bar Association. Her mother was also a judge.“As we mourn her tragic death, we also remember Judge Feuerstein's unwavering commitment to justice and service to the people of our district and our nation,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Mark Lesko tweeted.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.