Q: We see a lot of hoopla over Iran’s nuclear program. But when did Israel get approval for their nuclear weapons, and by whom?
—Donald Varn, Conyers
A: Israel has never confirmed that it has a nuclear arsenal, but the International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates that Israel has at least 200 nuclear warheads, according to Bloomberg. It’s believed Israel has had nuclear weapons since the 1960s, but an Israeli Embassy spokesman told The Washington Post last year that “Israel will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.” Since it hasn’t signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Israel “is under no legal obligation to submit its major nuclear facility at Dimona to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections. Iran, in contrast, did sign the treaty and thus agrees to periodic inspections,” the Post wrote.
Q: When the cruise ship became disabled in the Gulf of Mexico, it was much closer to Mexico. Why wasn’t it towed to the nearest port?
—Mike Mullis, Sandy Springs
A: The original plan was to tow the Carnival Triumph to the closest port, which was Progreso, Mexico, but that changed when currents pushed the ship 90 miles north. The ship’s new location was as close to Mobile, Ala., as Progreso. And, using the currents, it was easier to tow the ship to Mobile than Mexico. Also, docking at a U.S. port allowed for easier re-entry, especially for 900 of the 3,143 passengers who were traveling without passports, Carnival Cruise Lines posted on its Facebook page.
Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (include name, phone and city).