Daily Dispatches
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
Associated Press/Photo by Susan Walsh
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

Midday Roundup: Will a leaner Army leave America vulnerable?

Newsworthy

Shrinking soldiers. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel wants to cut the U.S. Army down to pre-World War II levels to help control costs. In a press release scheduled for later today, Hagel is expected to announce he will reduce Army personnel from 528,000 to no more than 450,000 in 2019. Critics of troop reductions warn such a small force is insufficient to protect the country and fight abroad. The cost-cutting measures also will include grounding the Air Force’s fleet of A-10 attack aircraft, limiting pay raises and housing benefits, and charging service members more for healthcare benefits.

Captured. Mexican officials are celebrating the capture of notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman over the weekend. Police apprehended Guzman in the coastal town of Mazatlan after a weeks-long chase that ended the fugitive’s 13 years on the lam. Tips from informants and intelligence gained through wiretaps eventually brought down the Sinaloa cartel leader, who holds a monopoly over the drug trade in the American Midwest. U.S. officials already are pressing for his extradition. Guzman is named in federal indictments in at least eight U.S. cities. His cartel network is said to spread across four continents with annual profits of more than $3 billion a year. And experts say it’s not likely to collapse without its leader. Guzman’s second in command is expected to take over operations without much of a challenge. But other cartels could seize the opportunity to gain a foothold in Guzman’s market, bringing the threat of more violence to Mexico’s murder-saturated border towns.

Too long? The longest serving U.S. lawmaker will retire this year. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., will not seek re-election this year. “I’m not going to be carried out feet first,” Dingell, 87, told The Detroit News. “I don’t want people to say I stayed too long.” Dingell serves a solidly Democratic district, and Republicans don’t expect to take over his seat any time soon. Dingell’s wife, Debbie, a Democratic Party activist, might try to follow in her husband’s footsteps in November. If so, she will continue an unbroken line of Dingells who have served in Congress for eight decades. John Dingell took over from his father, also named John, who was first elected in 1933.

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Stream on. Cable company and internet provider Comcast Communications and Netflix reached a deal this weekend for faster streaming speeds for movies and TV shows. Under the deal, Netflix will pay Comcast for more direct delivery of its data into homes. The new arrangement should help slow customer complaints about buffering problems and jittery viewing experiences. But not everyone will see an improvement. Critics say the arrangement could eventually lead to Netflix raising the price of its popular streaming service, which now accounts for about 30 percent of internet traffic. The companies declined to comment on how much the improved streaming speeds are costing Netflix.

Leigh Jones
Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Atlanta and is the managing editor of WORLD's website.

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