Britain to axe up to 5,300 army jobs
London (AFP) Jan 22, 2013 – The British government said on Tuesday it was making up to 5,300 army personnel redundant as part of cuts that will see troop numbers reduced to the lowest since the early 19th century. The Ministry of Defence said soldiers returning from or heading to Afghanistan would be exempt from the cuts, the third such round under a programme that will see the army reduced from 102,000 regular troops … more

extra extra newspaperJapanese PM holds out olive branch to China
Beijing (AFP) Jan 22, 2013 – Hawkish Japanese premier Shinzo Abe held out an olive branch to China on Tuesday, sending a letter to Beijing’s leader-in-waiting to be hand-delivered by a coalition ally. The move comes after months of diplomatic tussles between China and Japan over the sovereignty of a disputed island chain in the East China Sea that have seen repeated maritime encounters. Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the … more

Obama issues inaugural call for unity, equality
Washington (AFP) Jan 22, 2013 – President Barack Obama has inaugurated his second term with an ardent call for unity, but warned his foes their “absolutism” must not thwart action on climate, immigration and gun control. Obama was publicly sworn in for another four White House years before a flag-waving crowd of an estimated one million, and then delivered an inaugural address in which poetic power veiled clear signs of a … more

US Navy fined for ‘illegal entry’ at Philippine reef
Manila (AFP) Jan 22, 2013 – Philippine authorities said Tuesday they have fined the US Navy for “unauthorised entry” after an American minesweeper went aground on a World Heritage-listed coral reef. Manila announced the initial penalty amid growing anger in the Philippines over the January 17 stranding of the USS Guardian on the Tubbataha Reef, for which the US Navy has apologised. A government-led board that manag … more