News in Brief: US Reveals Size of Nuclear Arsenal and More …

Reuters reported on the United States disclosure of the current size of its nuclear arsenal, numbers which used to be secret to bolster nonproliferation efforts. According to the Pentagon, the US has a total of 5,113 warheads and “several thousand” more retired nukes waiting to be dismantled.

This is down from the peak of 31,225 in 1967. This is part of a larger push by the Obama administration to push for nonproliferation after the signing of the new START treaty with Russia for each nation to reduce its stockpiles.


Reuters reported the beginning of voting on the Senate’s sweeping Wall Street reform bill Tuesday, with Democrats still wondering whether a handful of uncontroversial amendments will need 50 or 60 votes to pass. A 60-vote rule in the chamber, where Democrats control 59 votes and Republicans have 41, would make winning passage for any amendment more difficult.


The Los Angeles Times reported a plunge in state revenues in California with an expectation of deeper cuts and more tax hikes to close the gap. The unexpected plummeting of state tax collections in April has left the Golden State with 30 percent below the expected revenues, enough to erase improvements in each of the four previous months.

California has the worst budget deficit crisis in the nation, and earlier this year saw large-scale protests at its University of California campuses decrying tuition hikes brought on by the deficit.


The New York Times reported two rulings by New York State’s highest court that will expand the rights of gay parents, recognizing that nonbiological parents involved in same-sex relationships have rights similar to those of biological parents.

In one of the cases, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a woman who hoped to seek child support from her former partner, who is not the biological mother of a child the couple raised together before they separated. The ruling in this case was four to three.

In the other case, the court ruled seven to zero for the nonbiological parent to seek visitation rights from her former partner because she is a legal parent, even though she is not the child’s biological mother. The two women were in a civil union.


The New York Times reported a decision by Gov. David A. Paterson, the governor of New York State, to grant pardons to stop the deportation of legal immigrants for old or minor criminal convictions. This may cause a possible confrontation with federal immigration officials, who, in recent years, have taken more aggressive action to increase deportations.

“Some of our immigration laws, particularly with respect to deportation, are embarrassingly and wrongly inflexible,” Paterson said in a speech Monday. “In New York we believe in renewal,” he added. “In New York, we believe in rehabilitation.”


Democracy Now! reported a ruling by the Supreme Court that federal officials cannot be sued over the death of immigrants who die after being denied medical care while in immigration detention. The ruling centered on the case of Francisco Castaneda, an immigrant from El Salvador who was held in detention for 11 months and repeatedly requested a biopsy of his groin, but was refused the procedure by US Public Health Service officials. He later died at the age of 36.

According to Gabriel Eber of the American Civil Liberties Union, “With today’s decision, the Supreme Court has unfortunately closed the door on an important avenue of accountability for the gross mistreatment that immigration detainees across the country have suffered.”


Reuters reported the fining of a 26-year-old Tunisian woman in northern Italy for wearing a face veil while on her way to a mosque, following in the footsteps of Belgium and France to pass legislation outlawing Islamic face-covering garments in public.

Police in the city of Novara, a center of the anti-immigration Northern League, stopped the woman Friday and fined her 500-euros.

Promoters of the ban say the veil goes against public security and the dignity of women, while woman’s groups worry that this is another example of control over woman’s actions by the state.