AUBURN HILLS, Mich.

Chrysler to slash 13,000 jobs

For 13,000 Chrysler workers, Feb. 14 will now be known as the Valentine’s Day massacre.

Chrysler announced yesterday its long-awaited restructuring, which included a 16 percent reduction in its work force, shift reductions, a plant closing and a surprise hint that the plan could lead to a DaimlerChrysler divorce.

The Chrysler plan calls for closing the company’s Newark, Del., assembly plant, and reducing shifts at plants in Warren, Mich., and St. Louis. A parts distribution center near Cleveland also will be closed, and reductions could occur at other plants that make components for those facilities.

Chrysler blamed the wrenching restructuring on poor sales after a shift in consumer taste from SUVs and trucks to more fuel-efficient vehicles. Workers blamed management.

Aside from the job cuts, Chrysler’s German parent, DaimlerChrysler AG, said it is looking at all options to revive its fortunes, including partners for the troubled Chrysler. Its chairman wouldn’t rule out a possible sale of the U.S. operation.

WASHINGTON

Bush says Iran is supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgents

Challenged on the accuracy of U.S. intelligence, President Bush said yesterday there is no doubt the Iranian government is providing armor-piercing weapons to kill American soldiers in Iraq. But he backed away from claims the top echelon of Iran’s government was responsible.

Iran was a dominant theme of reporters’ questions because of conflicting statements about U.S. intelligence in Iran and recurring speculation that Bush is looking for an excuse to attack the Islamic republic, which is believed by Washington and its allies to be seeking nuclear weapons.

Defending U.S. intelligence that has pinpointed Iran as a hostile arms supplier in Iraq, Bush said, “Does this mean you’re trying to have a pretext for war? No. It means I’m trying to protect our troops.”

BAGHDAD

Iraqi government launches Baghdad security sweep

The Iraqi government formally launched a long-awaited security crackdown in Baghdad yesterday, with U.S. and Iraqi troops stepping up patrols, establishing new checkpoints and randomly searching cars to stop the violence in the capital.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the sweep, code-named Operation Imposing Law, would target those “who want to continue with rebellion.”

There were conflicting reports, meanwhile, about the whereabouts of Muqtada al-Sadr, whose militia have been blamed for some of the worst sectarian killings in the past year, after a U.S. official said the radical Shiite cleric had fled to Iran ahead of the security operation.

LONDON

Cleopatra’s beauty called into question

So maybe Mark Antony loved Cleopatra for her mind.

That is the conclusion being drawn by academics at Britain’s University of Newcastle from a Roman denarius coin which depicts the celebrated queen of Egypt as a sharp-nosed, thin-lipped woman with a protruding chin.

In short, a fair match for the hook-nosed, thick-necked Mark Antony on the other side of the coin, which went on public display yesterday at the university’s Shefton Museum.

Replicas of the denarius can be found on eBay, and images on other ancient coins are no more flattering.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

Washington

Iraq Study Group members say police training botched

Training the police is as important to stabilizing Iraq as building an effective army there, but the United States has botched the job by assigning the wrong agencies to the task, two members of the Iraq Study Group said yesterday.

“The police training system has not gone well,” said former Rep. Lee Hamilton, who co-chaired the bipartisan commission.

For a second day, a key Republican directly challenged President Bush to do more than pay “lip service” to this and other recommendations on how to resolve the troubled conflict in Iraq.

“I’d think the executive branch would be well advised to do more than have a meeting and a news conference to give in-depth consideration to what is being proposed here,” said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.).

– Compiled from

Daily wire reports

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