Will all defense programs be scaled back under the automatic budget cuts kicking in next week?
Perhaps not. Lockheed Martin on Friday was awarded contracts worth up to $5.6 billion for 31 additional F-35 jets and the last two of six advanced military communications satellites, the Pentagon said. According to a Bloomberg report, the contracts will be immune from the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Pentagon officials have said most contracts awarded before the start of 2013 would not be reduced.
n Did researchers find life under the Antarctic ice?
British scientists had to call off their plan to look for life in Lake Ellsworth, a lake under 2 miles of Antarctic ice, when drilling delays led to a fuel shortage. Ellsworth is one of at least 387 known sub-glacial Antarctic lakes, which were formed deep below the surface as the pressure exerted by thousands of meters of ice drove down the freezing point of water. The scientists will have to wait at least a year to try again, Bloomberg reported.
n What happened to the proposal for a 75 percent tax on French millionaires?
President Francois Hollande's idea for a hefty tax on France's wealthiest citizens was overturned Saturday by the country's top court as unconstitutional because it failed to guarantee taxpayer equality. The proposal, Bloomberg reported, had become a focal point of discontent among entrepreneurs and other wealth creators, some of whom left the country as a result.