President Barack Obama on Friday nominated former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to the Pentagon’s top post, replacing Chuck Hagel, who stepped down from the position last month.
Carter, who served as assistant secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton, is perceived to be particularly strong on nuclear non-proliferation issues – Politico on Tuesday described him
as a “leading member of a clique of defense intellectuals long concerned with the possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack” and suggested he “could be more consequential when it comes to Obama’s plans for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.” Two months before President Obama’s 2008 election, Carter argued
, in a paper coauthored with diplomatic heavyweights including former Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross and Nonproliferation Policy Education Center Executive Director Henry Sokolski, that “Iran’s nuclear development may pose the most significant strategic threat to the United States during the next Administration.” The Times of Israel covered Carter’s nomination, noting
that he was a “vocal proponent of stronger action to stymie nuclear proliferation.” Carter had visited the Jewish state in 2013, and was quoted
as telling a group of Israeli soldiers that “protecting America means protecting Israel, and that’s why we’re here in the first place.” The Jerusalem Post reported
on Friday that as part of the Pentagon's Defense Advisory Acquisition Group, Carter played an “instrumental” role in the transfer of F-35 fighter jets from the U.S. to Israel. Speaking Friday to reporters at the State Department press briefing about U.S.-Israel ties, Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf reaffirmed the closeness of the relationship
, calling ties between the countries “incredibly close, essential” and “unshakable” and noting that it is “arguably the closest military-to-military relationship” the countries have ever had.
The mass exodus of 380 million sterile flies from Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu to Split, Croatia is meant to help reduce the population of fruit flies in that country’s citrus fruit orchards. The flies underwent a sterilization process at the Bio-Bee lab’s radioactive facilities, located on the kibbutz. The company’s environmentally friendly, non-chemical pest control method is unique in keeping key pests at bay and cutting back on the use of pesticides in fruit fly eradication areas. Bio-Fly, a subsidiary of Bio-Bee, was founded “for the purpose of developing and supplying biological control solutions for the Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) and other pests, using the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT),” according to the website. The company has a mass rearing facility for the Mediterranean fruit fly. It supplies sterilized male pupae, as well as sterile male flies for dispersal in agricultural fields. The latest swarm of flies were scattered along the border areas of Croatia and Bosnia. (via Israel21c)