March 6, 2014 |
KIEV, Ukraine - Rebellious ethnic Russians in Ukraine's Crimea region raised the stakes Thursday in the so-far bloodless battle for control of the strategic peninsula when regional lawmakers voted unanimously in favor of secession and moved to put the issue before voters in 10 days. Officials in Washington, Kiev and other European cities, where a flurry of diplomacy was underway, denounced the secession bid as unconstitutional and thus meaningless. But with thousands of Kremlin troops in control of Crimea's military, government and commercial operations, the legalistic protests appeared unlikely to persuade the peninsula's Moscow-backed Russian-speaking majority to back down from its refusal to be ruled by the government in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital.
March 4, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration called for a halt in reducing military spending, arguing that further cuts would result in a significantly smaller Army and Marine Corps, the mothballing of airplanes and an aircraft carrier, and the purchase of fewer ships and advanced fighter jets in coming years. Without Pentagon budget hikes averaging about 3% annually, it might be unable to carry out President Obama's military strategy, which calls for shifting forces to the Pacific, increasing cyber-operations and deterring terror attacks from Africa and the Middle East, senior Pentagon officials said Tuesday.
March 4, 2014 |
LUBIMOVKA, Ukraine - They were unarmed, bored and dispirited. Heavily armed Russian-speaking soldiers in distinctly Russian-looking uniforms had taken over a Ukrainian air base and captured three dozen MIG fighter jets. Now the Ukrainian army soldiers were sitting around grumbling outside the airstrip, until one of their mates appeared with a soccer ball. "Let's play with the Russians!" one soldier shouted. The others cheered. The young soldier approached one of the gunmen guarding the airport.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 3, 2014 |
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court upheld a death sentence Monday for a man who was forced to wear a stun belt during his trial, rejecting arguments that the prospect of being electrically shocked adversely affected his demeanor before jurors. In a 6-1 decision, the majority noted that the prosecution had conceded the court erred in requiring the stun belt, but the justices concluded that it did not affect the outcome of the trial. The ruling came in an appeal by Jonathan Keith Jackson, who was convicted of murdering Monique Cleveland during an attempted drug-related robbery in Riverside County in 1996 and attempting to murder her husband, Robert.
March 2, 2014 |
Hundreds of airline pilots are set to retire soon and new federal rules require existing pilots to get more rest between flights. Does that signal a pilot shortage for the airline industry? It depends on who you talk to. The impact of a pilot shortage would hit travelers hard, as airlines would have to cancel flights and raise fares for those remaining flights that are fully staffed. Airline executives have recently blamed a pilot shortage for cuts to air service. Bryan Bedford, chief executive of Republic Airways Holdings Inc., said last month that the regional carrier would be removing 27 of its 243 aircraft from service because of a lack of qualified pilots.
March 2, 2014 |
Now we have an idea why the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service was keeping secret an independent report of its encounters at the Mexican border. Because it has something to hide. As The Times' Brian Bennett reported last week, an independent report by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum sharply criticized the agency for a "lack of diligence" in investigating fatal encounters involving its agents. The report, based on internal case files of 67 shooting incidents leading to 19 deaths between January 2010 and October 2012, also faulted some of the agents' practices, including positioning themselves in the "exit path" of fleeing vehicles apparently as a pretext for opening fire in self-defense.