News Briefs – May 15, 2019


Spain says frigate peeling off from U.S. fleet is not a rebuke

Spain’s decision to remove a frigate on training exercises from a U.S. combat fleet that is approaching the Persian Gulf was taken purely for “technical reasons,” the country’s defense minister said May 14.
Margarita Robles insisted the decision was “not an expression of distaste” over the crossing into the Strait of Hormuz by the fleet headed by the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier.
The U.S. fleet is heading to the Persian Gulf at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.
Robles insisted Spain’s decision was “prudent” and “perfectly admissible” under the terms of a two-year cooperation agreement that placed the Mendez Nunez frigate with the U.S. fleet for advanced training. The ship and its 215 people on board have headed to Mumbai, India, she added.
“The United States government has embarked on a mission that wasn’t scheduled when the agreement was signed,” Robles told reporters during an official trip to Brussels.
She said Spain had never given its blessing for the frigate to go on a mission in the Persian Gulf and that it will return to the U.S. fleet once scheduled operations resume.
She declined to comment over the U.S.’s hard-line policy toward Iran but said Spain remains a reliable and committed member of NATO. AP

Trump says he’s adding $1.6 billion to NASA’s budget

President Donald Trump says he is adding $1.6 billion to NASA’s budget “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!”
Trump announced the decision in a series of tweets May 13 about the budget.
He says that under his administration, “we are going back to the Moon, then Mars.”
Trump also says he is making good on several promised budget reversals, including fighting for $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Trump’s initial budget proposal had sought to cut its federal financing by 90 percent.
Trump also says he has “officially updated” his budget to include $18 million for the Special Olympics after his administration tried to deny the games federal money.
It’s unclear where the money to pay for the new spending requests will come from. AP