Updated 

In Brief | Nation & World | 2-5-14


Navy probing alleged cheating by sailors training on nuclear reactors that power subs

WASHINGTON — The Navy is investigating 30 or more senior sailors in connection with alleged cheating on written tests designed to qualify them as instructors at a school that trains younger sailors to operate naval nuclear power reactors, officials said Tuesday.

The reactors at Charleston, S.C., are of the kind used in propulsion systems for Navy submarines and aircraft carriers.

The alleged misbehavior is unrelated to Navy nuclear weapons carried aboard Trident submarines, according to Adm. John Richardson, the director of the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program. He said it came to light on Monday when a senior enlisted sailor at the Charleston training site reported the cheating to higher authorities. Richardson said the unidentified sailor “recognized that this was wrong” and chose to report it.

Pressed to say how many sailors were implicated in the investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Richardson said a “ballpark figure” was something in the neighborhood of 12 to 20. But a short time later another Navy official said the number was approximately 30 but could change as the investigation unfolds.

Syrian activist video shows aftermath of bombing at a mosque; at least 11 dead

BEIRUT — Men pull a girl from the rubble and haul her onto a dirty sheet of plastic, while another child, coated in white dust save for a red streak of blood from his nose, lies with his crushed leg dangling off a gurney — the grisly aftermath from the dropping of a crude “barrel bomb” by Syrian forces on the city of Aleppo.

The bombing — one of at least seven such attacks in Aleppo on Tuesday — struck a mosque that was being used as a school, killing at least 11 people, activists said. A video supplied by activists contained scenes of the carnage.

It was the latest example of the heightened use of barrel bombs, devices packed with fuel, explosives and scrap metal that are hurled from helicopters, often indiscriminately.

Since Thursday, around 80 people have been killed by barrel bombs used by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces to try to dislodge rebels from Aleppo, according to figures provided by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground.

Labor, business and veterans join Dems, GOP in pushing for Keystone XL oil pipeline

WASHINGTON — An unusual coalition of lawmakers from both parties, labor and business leaders, veterans groups and Canada’s ambassador to the United States joined forces Tuesday to push for quick approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Five Democrats joined Republicans at a Capitol news conference to urge President Barack Obama to approve the pipeline following a State Department report last week that raised no major environmental objections. The $7 billion pipeline would carry oil from tar sands in western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast. The project has lingered for more than five years and has become a symbol of the political debate over climate change.

Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer also spoke at the news conference, along with labor union officials and a retired Navy admiral. A top oil industry lobbyist attended the event but did not speak.

Environmental groups that oppose the pipeline have been making a lot of “noise,” Doer said, but polls show most Americans remain in favor of the project. Pipeline opponents, including many Democratic lawmakers, say the pipeline would carry heavy oil that contributes to global warming. They also worry about a spill.

Doer urged Obama to “choose blue-collar workers over Hollywood celebrities” and accept crude oil from Canada — the closest U.S. ally — over oil from Venezuela. Robert Redford and Daryl Hannah are among scores of celebrities that have spoken out against the pipeline.

By wire sources