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BREAKING: (VIDEO) Stop Killing of Christians In Nigeria, Trump Tells Buhari |RN

Donald Trump, President of the United States has told President Muhammadu Buhari that his country will not accept the killing of Christians.

Trump said this while meeting with President Buhari.

“We have had very serious problems with Christians who are being murdered in Nigeria, we are going to be working on that problem very, very hard because we cannot allow that to happen,” Trump said.

Watch the video below:

 

Meanwhile, the joint press conference is ongoing.

(New Telegraph)

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Russia Told U.S. Where In Syria They Must Not Bomb, That Line Was Not Crossed |RN

The Barzah Research and Development Centre, near Damascus, pictured before and after the coalition missile attack © PA The Barzah Research and Development Centre, near Damascus, pictured before and after the coalition missile attack  

Russia has revealed it warned the US about “red lines” it should not cross before it launched airstrikes on Syria.

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is reported to have said that officials in Washington were contacted before last weekend’s strikes by the US, UK and France.

Mr Lavrov said: “There were military leadership contacts, between generals, between our representatives and the coalition leadership.

“They were informed about where our red lines are, including red lines on the ground, geographically. And the results show that they did not cross these red lines.”

Some 105 missiles were launched in response to a suspected chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma on 7 April that killed more than 40 people.

The Kremlin had threatened retaliatory action if strikes were launched – but it now appears there was at least some level of cooperation.

Russia, a key ally of Syria, has denied that any chemical attack took place.

International inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Damascus almost a week ago but are still waiting to visit the site of the suspected attack.

Mr Lavrov says that, following the airstrikes, it is morally free to deliver S-300 missiles to the Syrian regime.

He said: “Now, we have no moral obligations. We had the moral obligations, we had promised not to do it some 10 years ago, I think, upon the request of our known partners.

“We took into consideration their claim that this could destabilise the situation. Even though it’s purely defensive. Now we don’t have this moral obligation any longer.”

Military analysts say the S-300 surface-to-air missile system would boost Russia’s ability to control airspace in Syria, where Moscow’s forces support the government of President Bashar al Assad and could be aimed at deterring tougher US action.   (Sky News)

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Russia Tests Its ‘Satan 2’ Nuclear Missile As Putin Taunts Trump In Arms Race |RN

Putin Missile Russian President Putin watching the launch of a missile during naval exercises in Russia’s Arctic North aboard the nuclear missile cruiser Peter the Great in 2005. REUTERS/ITAR-TASS/PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

  • Russia says it has tested a new nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile; Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the missile can defeat any US missile defences.
  • Putin and President Donald Trump have been squaring off over who has the better nuclear arsenal, with Trump reportedly telling Putin he would beat him in an arms race.
  • Putin and Trump seem on the path toward escalating an arms race that has already produced horrific nuclear devices.

Russia on Friday said it had tested a new type of nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile known by NATO as the “Satan 2.”

The country’s president, Vladimir Putin, has said the missile can defeat any US missile defences amid growing talk of an arms race with the US and President Donald Trump.

Putin spent much of his State of the Nation address on March 1 hyping up and showing animations of new nuclear weapons systems Russia was developing. He claimed they could all defeat US missile defences.

But an arms race requires two to tango, and Trump has also been vocal about establishing US nuclear supremacy. The US also recently conducted a routine test of its Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile, which is so accurate that experts fear it may put Russia on edge and actually make it more likely to strike first.

And the feeling of nuclear inadequacy may be mutual.

This is how you get an arms race

Putin’s nuclear chest-thumping “really got under the president’s skin,” according to a White House official cited by NBC News on Thursday.

On a recent phone call between the two leaders, which made headlines for Trump’s decision to congratulate Putin on his less-than-democratic reelection, Trump and Putin reportedly butted heads.

“If you want to have an arms race, we can do that, but I’ll win,” Trump told him, according to NBC.

Putin said in his address that Russia was working on more and more-varied nuclear weapon delivery systems than the US. Trump has also planned a few new nuclear weapons for the US, but they show a very different philosophy.

While Putin described working on a weapon experts have called a “doomsday device” that would render large swaths of the world uninhabitable for decades, Trump’s nuclear posture review put forth the idea of building smaller nuclear warheads — with the idea that smaller nukes would be easier to use and less likely to start a massive escalation.

“We had a very good call,” Trump said last week of his chat with Putin. “I suspect that we’ll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control, but we will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have.“

The US and Russia once endangered the world with almost 70,000 nukes

US USSR nuclear_stockpiles.svg Nuclear weapons stockpiles and inventories of the US and the Soviet Union/Russia from 1945 to 2006. Wikimedia Commons User: Fastfission

In saying he would not allow anyone to match the US’s nuclear might, Trump may have unknowingly articulated just how arms races spiral out of control. Because Trump won’t allow Russia to catch up with the US’s nuclear might, and Russia feels the same way, the two sides seem destined to continue building up arms.

putin trump g20 hamburg

But arms races have come and gone before. At the height of the Cold War, for instance, the US alone had 30,000 nuclear weapons, with Russia holding a similar number.

As the Soviet Union collapsed and a climate of reconciliation allowed for arms control, that number dropped down to today’s total of approximately 6,800 nuclear weapons in the US and 7,000 in Russia.

But even with today’s limited stockpiles, the US or Russia could single-handedly destroy almost all life on earth. The risk of miscalculation runs high, and even the best-maintained nuclear-arsenal is prone to accidents.   (Business Insider, UK)

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Trump, North Korea’s Kim To Hold Historic Meeting |The Republican News

Donald-Trump-and-Kim-Jong-Un
         US President Donald Trump; North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un

President Donald Trump has agreed to a historic first meeting with Kim Jong Un in a stunning development in America’s high-stakes nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Standing in front of the White House, South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong announced the first-ever meeting between a US president and North Korean leader, which he said would take place by the end of May.

Chung had recently returned from Pyongyang, where he met Kim, who, he said: “expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”

Trump hailed “great progress” in the push to persuade Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program.

“Meeting being planned!” he tweeted. “Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time.”

“Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached.”

News of the summit is the latest step in a quickening diplomatic detente that has seen North and South Korea exchange envoys.

Pyongyang also sent a delegation to the Winter Olympics in the South, which Seoul had dubbed the “Peace Games” and which saw the two countries marching under a unified flag.

The thaw came after a period of extreme tension between Washington and Pyongyang that sounded like the growing drumbeat of war.

Just months ago, Trump mocked Kim by calling him “little rocket man” and Kim returned the favour by describing Trump as “mentally deranged” and a “dotard.”

The United States and North Korea were foes throughout the Cold War and fought on opposite sides of a bloody war in the 1950s.

In the last two decades, they have been engaged in what is perhaps the world’s most dangerous nuclear standoff, with 30,000 US military personnel stationed just over the border in the South.

– Paradigm shift –

Pyongyang’s decades-long race to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the continental United States has proved a problem for successive administrations.

Trump’s strategy has been to ramp up sanctions, tighten the diplomatic screws and regularly threaten military force.

The White House said in a statement that strategy of “maximum pressure” would stay in place, for now.

“We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.”

But the prospect of a top-level meeting is a paradigm shift.

North Korean leaders have sought face-to-face talks with consecutive US presidents, who have rebuffed the idea as an effort to achieve strategic parity that does not exist.

Pyongyang now seems to have achieved its goal, while only agreeing to a temporary suspension of nuclear tests.

It is a gambit fraught with risk for Trump. On multiple occasions, Kim’s father Kim Jong Il dangled the prospect of talks and denuclearization as a means of buying time, easing sanctions and dividing South Korea from its allies.

However, his decision also carries historic echoes of Richard Nixon’s visit to communist China or Barack Obama’s overture to Cuba, both of which offered the hope of better ties.

AFP

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U.S Aircraft Carrier Heads To Vietnam, With Message For China |The Republican News

By HANNAH BEECH
a large ship in a body of water: The United States aircraft carrier Carl Vinson is scheduled to make a port call on Monday in Danang, Vietnam, which served as a major staging post for the American war effort four decades ago.© United States Navy, via Getty Images The United States aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, is scheduled to make a port call on Monday in Danang, Vietnam, which served as a major staging post for the American war…

 

BANGKOK — For the first time since the end of the Vietnam War, a United States aircraft carrier is scheduled to make a port call in Vietnam on Monday, signalling how China’s rise is bringing together former foes in a significant shift in the region’s geopolitical landscape.

The vessel, the Carl Vinson, will anchor off Danang, the central Vietnam port city that served as a major staging post for the American war effort in the country.

“It’s a pretty big and historic step since a carrier has not been here for 40 years,” said Rear Adm. John V. Fuller, the commander of the Carl Vinson strike group, whose father served in Vietnam.

“We hope to continue the same issue that we’ve always had,” he said, “and that’s to promote security, stability and prosperity in the region.”

The arrival of the Carl Vinson strike group’s 5,500 sailors will mark the first time such a large contingent of American soldiers has landed on Vietnamese soil since the last of the United States troops withdrew in 1975.

During the four-day port call, the aircraft carrier’s personnel will visit an orphanage and a centre for victims of Agent Orange, the defoliant used by the United States military that is blamed, through a toxic contaminant, for poisoning generations of Vietnamese.

Carrier sailors will also play basketball and soccer with Vietnamese counterparts.

For the last month, the Carl Vinson has been deployed in the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Six governments have competing claims over various features in the South China Sea. In recent years, Vietnam, in particular, has watched warily as China, through extensive reclamation, has transformed bits of rock and reef it controls into sprawling artificial islands that now double as military bases.

In 2017 alone, China built permanent facilities on reclaimed land that “account for about 72 acres, or 290,000 square meters, of new real estate,” according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative run by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

“Hanoi’s agreement to the aircraft carrier visit demonstrates Vietnam’s anxiety about what China will do next in the South China Sea,” said Murray Hiebert, senior associate of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The U.S. is virtually the last man standing to which Hanoi can look for support in the South China Sea dispute.”

Although the United States is not a claimant in the maritime dispute, the Navy portrays its deployments in the South China Sea as important to ensuring maritime security and nurturing the conditions that have led to Asia’s post-World War II economic expansion.

“It’s a stable environment where you have the ability to actually foment economic growth,” Admiral Fuller said. “I think we’ve helped create the environment that has allowed for the 70 years of growth.”

The admiral F declined to comment, however, on how China’s island-building is changing regional dynamics. Beijing protests whenever the United States conducts freedom of navigation operations in which Navy ships sail close to disputed maritime features controlled by China.

While the American War, as the Vietnamese call the conflict, lingers in American memories as a bloody and ideologically charged confrontation, Vietnamese animosity toward China runs much deeper.

Communist fraternity between Beijing and Hanoi has not erased the fact that the Chinese Empire ruled Vietnam for a millennium. Four years after the last Americans withdrew from Saigon, Vietnam fought a border war with China. Since then, Chinese and Vietnamese troops have skirmished over ownership of islets in the South China Sea.

“No one trusts the Chinese,” said Maj. Gen. Le Van Cuong, the former director of the Institute of Strategic Studies at Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security. “But everyone needs their money.”

In 2016, an international tribunal ruled overwhelmingly in favour of the Philippines in a case that questioned China’s vast claims in the South China Sea.

But that legal victory has proved largely irrelevant to regional geopolitics. President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who took power days before the tribunal ruling, has declined to push Beijing to honour it.

Instead, he has cosied up to China and criticized the United States, a longtime ally. Beijing followed up with vows to invest billions of dollars in the Philippines.

Mr Duterte’s departure from previous Philippine policy leaves Hanoi as the only country with major claims on the South China Sea that continues to denounce Beijing’s muscular actions.

In 2014, Beijing moved an oil-drilling rig into disputed waters not far from Danang. The Vietnamese responded with anti-Chinese protests that culminated in the deaths of two Chinese workers in southern Vietnam.

Yet geopolitics dictates that Vietnam cannot alienate China entirely.

“Vietnam works overtime trying to balance its ties between China and the U.S.,” Mr Hiebert of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said.

When Beijing again moved the oil rig into contested waters in 2016, Hanoi ensured that there was no repeat of anti-Chinese rioting.

Although Washington has tried to coax Hanoi to expand naval exchanges with the United States, Vietnam has declined in order “to avoid irritating China,” Mr Hiebert said.

Hanoi, which relies on Russia for most of its military equipment, has also refused to increase purchases of American weaponry, even though the United States lifted its embargo on lethal arms sales to Vietnam in 2016.

President Trump’s decision last year to scupper the Trans-Pacific Partnership irked Hanoi, which hoped the American-led trade pact would provide a counterweight to China’s growing economic influence in the region.

And even as the United States and Vietnam have hailed warming relations, a mounting crackdown on dissent by the Vietnamese authorities has curtailed hopes of political change. The tightened grip mirrors a similar clampdown by the Communist Party in China.

There are around 130 political prisoners in Vietnam, including environmental activists, religious advocates and the nation’s most famous female blogger, according to Human Rights Watch.

The State Department issued a statement last month calling on “Vietnam to release all prisoners of conscience immediately and to allow all individuals in Vietnam to express their views freely and assemble peacefully without fear of retribution.”                             (The New York Times)

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Palestine Ready To Seek Full UN Membership Inspite Of U.S. Veto Threat |RN

Sputnik/NAN

Palestine will continue to seek a full membership in the UN in spite of the U.S. veto which seems even more inevitable under the current administration, Nabil Shaath, the foreign affairs adviser of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said.

He told Sputnik: “I have just arrived from Japan. The Japanese membership was vetoed five times at the Security Council, mostly by the Soviet Union at the time.

“Today the only user of the veto is the U. S. And they have no right to veto our full membership.

“Now that the General Assembly has accepted with a major majority that we are a state and we have the right to membership.

“The General Assembly cannot award us full membership … We will keep trying and let the U.S. veto it two-three more times.

“Maybe the world will get tired of Americans vetoing our membership,” Shaath said.

In 2012, the UN granted Palestine a non-member observer state status within the UN General Assembly.

Over the decades, Palestinians have been seeking diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity and continues to build settlements in occupied areas, in spite of objections from the UN.

The State of Palestine is recognided by most states outside of Europe and North America, totaling over 190 countries.

He said Palestine will continue its contacts with the U. S., but rules out a political dialogue after Washington recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Shaath said: “so far there is really very little contact. After all we have a mission in Washington which the Americans threatened to close but did not close.

“So it is still operative. The Consul of America in Jerusalem has really one duty – to represent America with the Palestinians because the relationship between the America and Israel is conducted by the Embassy in Tel Aviv.”

Shaath said that the Palestinian side ruled out any political dialogue with the U.S.

“There is no political dialogue. There are matters that continue to work – visas, and trade, and many aspects did not stop.

“We did not cut our relationship with the U.S. But there is no political dialogue.

“We reject completely and totally the Trump’s statements about Jerusalem and the Trump’s attempt to eliminate Jerusalem and the refugees from the negotiation table, and the Trump’s attempts to cut down the aid to the UN organisation that deals with the Palestinian refugees.

“We are against all of that,” Shaath explained.

On December 6, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and instructed the U.S. State Department to launch the process of moving the U.S. Embassy, currently located in Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem.

The step has prompted criticism from a number of states, first and foremost those in the Middle East and Palestine, and triggered a wave of protests in the region. (The Sun)

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US Signals Nuclear Arms Are Back In A Big Way To Counter Russia |RN

By DAVID E. SANGER and WILLIAM J. BROAD
Mike Pence, Donald J. Trump are posing for a picture: When President Trump called on Congress to “modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal,” he did not mention his administration’s rationale: that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has accelerated a dangerous game that the United States must match.© Al Drago for The New York Times When President Trump called on Congress to “modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal,” he did not mention his administration’s rationale: that President Vladimir V. Putin of…  

 

WASHINGTON — A treaty committing the United States and Russia to keep their long-range nuclear arsenals at the lowest levels since early in the Cold War goes into full effect on Monday. When it was signed eight years ago, President Barack Obama expressed hope that it would be a small first step toward deeper reductions, and ultimately a world without nuclear weapons.

Now, that optimism has been reversed. A new nuclear policy issued by the Trump administration on Friday, which vows to counter a rush by the Russians to modernize their forces even while staying within the treaty limits, is touching off a new kind of nuclear arms race. This one is based less on numbers of weapons and more on novel tactics and technologies, meant to outwit and outmaneuver the other side.

The Pentagon envisions a new age in which nuclear weapons are back in a big way — its strategy bristles with plans for new low-yield nuclear weapons that advocates say are needed to match Russian advances and critics warn will be too tempting for a president to use. The result is that the nuclear-arms limits that go into effect on Monday now look more like the final stop after three decades of reductions than a way station to further cuts.

Yet when President Trump called on Congress to “modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal” in his State of the Union address last week, he did not mention his administration’s rationale: that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has accelerated a dangerous game that the United States must match, even if the price tag soars above $1.2 trillion. That is the latest estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, one that many experts think is low by a half-trillion dollars.

Mr. Trump barely mentioned Mr. Putin in the speech and said nothing about Russia’s nuclear buildup. His reluctance to talk about Russia and its leader during his campaign and first year in office — and his refusal to impose sanctions on Russia mandated by Congress — has fueled suspicions about what lies behind his persistently friendly stance toward Mr. Putin.

In the State of the Union speech, the president focused far more on North Korea and on battling terrorism, even though his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, had announced just days ago that “great power competition — not terrorism — is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.”

Vladimir Putin                                                    Vladimir Putin

In contrast to the president’s address, the report issued on Friday, known as the Nuclear Posture Review, focuses intensely on Russia. It describes Mr. Putin as forcing America’s hand to rebuild the nuclear force, as has a series of other documents produced by Mr. Trump’s National Security Council and his Pentagon.

The report contains a sharp warning about a new Russian-made autonomous nuclear torpedo that — while not in violation of the terms of the treaty, known as New Start — appears designed to cross the Pacific undetected and release a deadly cloud of radioactivity that would leave large parts of the West Coast uninhabitable.

It also explicitly rejects Mr. Obama’s commitment to make nuclear weapons a diminishing part of American defenses. The limit on warheads — 1,500 deployable weapons — that goes into effect on Monday expires in 2021, and the nuclear review shows no enthusiasm about its chances for renewal.

The report describes future arms control agreements as “difficult to envision” in a world “that is characterized by nuclear-armed states seeking to change borders and overturn existing norms,” and in particular by Russian violations of a series of other arms-limitation treaties.

“Past assumptions that our capability to produce nuclear weapons would not be necessary and that we could permit the required infrastructure to age into obsolescence have proven to be mistaken,” it argues. “It is now clear that the United States must have sufficient research, design, development and production capacity to support the sustainment and replacement of its nuclear forces.”

The new policy was applauded by establishment Republican defense experts, including some who have shuddered at Mr. Trump’s threats to use nuclear weapons against North Korea, but have worried that he was insufficiently focused on Russia’s nuclear modernization.

“Obama’s theory was that we will lead the way in reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons and everyone else will do the same,” said Franklin C. Miller, a nuclear expert who served in the George W. Bush administration and was an informal consultant to Pentagon officials who drafted the new policy. “It didn’t work out that way. The Russians have been fielding systems while we haven’t, and our first new system won’t be ready until 2026 or 2027.”

“This is a very mainstream nuclear policy,” Mr. Miller said of the document, arguing that new low-yield atomic weapons would deter Mr. Putin and make nuclear war less likely, rather than offer new temptations to Mr. Trump. “Nothing in it deserves the criticism it has received.”
A senior administration official, who would discuss the policy only on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Trump had been briefed on the new nuclear approach, but was leaving the details to Mr. Mattis and to his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster. The president, the official said, was primarily concerned about staying ahead in any nuclear race with Russia, and to a lesser degree with China.

Even Mr. Trump’s harshest critics concede that the United States must take steps as Russia and China have invested heavily in modernizing their forces, making them more lethal. The administration’s new strategy describes the Russian buildup in detail, documenting how Moscow is making “multiple upgrades” to its force of strategic bombers, as well as long-range missiles based at sea and on land. Russia is also developing, it adds, “at least two new intercontinental-range systems,” as well as the autonomous torpedo.

Russia has violated another treaty, the United States argues, that covers intermediate-range missiles, and is “building a large, diverse and modern” set of shorter-range weapons with less powerful warheads that “are not accountable under the New Start treaty.” Yet Mr. Trump has not publicly complained about the alleged treaty violation or the new weapons.

Though members of the Obama administration were highly critical of the Trump administration document, there is little question that Mr. Obama paved the way for the modernization policy. He agreed to a $70 billion makeover of American nuclear laboratories as the price for Senate approval of the 2010 New Start.

Donald Trump                                                         Donald Trump

The new document calls for far more spending — a program that at a minimum will cost $1.2 trillion over 30 years, without inflation taken into account. Most of that money would go to new generations of bombers and new submarines, and a rebuilding of the land-based nuclear missile force that still dots giant fields across the West.

While those systems are the most vulnerable to attack, and the most decrepit part of the force, they are also among the most politically popular in Congress, because they provide jobs in rural areas.

In some cases, Mr. Trump’s plan speeds ahead with nuclear arms that Mr. Obama had endorsed, such as a new generation of nuclear cruise missiles. The low-flying weapons, when dropped from a bomber, hug the ground to avoid enemy radars and air defenses.

Other weapons, though, are completely new. For example, the policy calls for “the rapid development” of a cruise missile that would be fired from submarines, then become airborne before reaching its target. Mr. Obama had eliminated an older version.

It also calls for the development of a low-yield warhead for some of the nation’s submarine ballistic missiles — part of a broader effort to expand the credible options “for responding to nuclear or non-nuclear strategic attack.” But critics of the low-yield weapons say they blur the line between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons, making their use more likely.

Andrew C. Weber, an assistant defense secretary during the Obama administration who directed oversight of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, called the new plan a dangerous folly that would make nuclear war more likely.

“We’re simply mirroring the reckless Russian doctrine,” he said. “We can already deter any strike. We have plenty of low-yield weapons. The new plan is a fiction created to justify the making of new nuclear arms. They’ll just increase the potential for their use and for miscalculation. The administration’s logic is Kafkaesque.”

One of the most controversial elements of the new strategy is a section that declares that the United States might use nuclear weapons to respond to a devastating, but non-nuclear, attack on critical infrastructure — the power grid or cellphone networks, for example.

All of the new or repurposed warheads would come from the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the Energy Department that officials say is already stretched thin.

“We’re pretty much at capacity in terms of people,” Frank G. Klotz was quoted as saying after retiring last month as the agency’s head. “We’re pretty much at capacity in terms of the materials that we need to do this work. And pretty much at capacity in terms of hours in the day at our facilities.”  (The New York Times)

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