The most expensive version of the Joint Strike Fighter, the one designed for the US Marine Corps' special needs, has been on "probation" since former Defense Secretary Robert Gates decided last fall that there were too many problems with the plane to justify sticking with it. Friday, the top Marine, Commandant James Amos, said the effort to correct the problems is farther along then expected.
"The metrics for determining how the airplane is flying and testing have improved dramatically, not in every area, but in most areas the airplane is ahead of schedule on tests," Gen. Amos said Friday during a demonstration of the F-35B at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.
As diplomats like to say, the U.S. was managing expectations even before the talks with North Korea began on Thursday at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. And after two days of discussions between teams in New York led by U.S. Special Representative Stephen Bosworth and North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kae-Gwan, the State Department was tight lipped, calling the talks "constructive and business like."
In a written statement on Friday, the State Department said, "the path is open to North Korea towards the resumption of talks, improved relations with the United States and greater regional stability if North Korea demonstrates through actions that it supports the resumption of the Six-Party process as a committed and constructive partner."
The U.S. Army private who admitted he was planning to bomb a restaurant popular with soldiers from Fort Hood should be held without bond, a federal magistrate ordered Friday.
Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo was ordered held on one federal count of possession of a destructive device. It was unclear whether additional charges were pending against him.
Abdo, who refused to stand when Judge Jeffrey C. Manske entered the courtroom, shouted an apparent reference to the 2006 rape of an Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers and the 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood by Army Maj. Nidal Hasan before being hustled out of the courtroom by U.S. marshals.
He was being held Friday in federal custody at an undisclosed location.
compiled by Tim Lister
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