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$85 billion cut from US budget

President Barack Obama signed an order authorising the US government to begin cutting $85 billion (£57bn) from federal accounts. By so doing he officially enacted across-the-board reductions that he was opposed but failed to avoid.

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Hagel: Budget cuts put US missions 'at risk'

New US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said the budget cuts due to go into effect later today will put the Pentagon's missions "at risk".

Speaking at his first Pentagon news conference, Hagel said, "This uncertainty puts at risk our ability to effectively fulfil all of our missions".

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel at a news conference today. Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

He also announced that the US Navy would gradually stand down four air wings and the Air Force would immediately cut flying hours.

However, Hagel said his department was determined to maintain the world's best fighting force.

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