SINGAPORE

Navy will increase presence in Asia-Pacific, Panetta says

The Pentagon will shift more Navy warships to the Asia-Pacific region over the next several years and by 2020, about 60 percent of the fleet will be assigned there as part of a new strategy to increase U.S. presence in Asia, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Saturday.

While noting it may take years to complete the transition, Panetta assured his audience at a security conference in Singapore that U.S. budget problems and cutbacks would not get in the way of changes. He said the Defense Department has money in the five-year budget plan to meet those goals.

LONDON

Britain marks queen’s rule with 4-day holiday weekend

The patriotic bunting is ready, the golden carriage on standby, the boats freshly painted, the shops filled with royal souvenirs.

The normal ebb and flow of British life gives way in the next four days to a series of street parties, flotillas, outdoor concerts and finally the appearance of an elderly great-grandmother on her balcony.

Britain is marking Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne with a four-day holiday weekend of ceremony, symbolism and street parties.

The queen will celebrate today at the Epsom Derby, a highlight of the horseracing calendar, and on Sunday she will lead a 1,000-boat flotilla on the River Thames. Monday’s festivities include a pop concert in front of Buckingham Palace with Paul McCartney and Elton John, and festivities climax Tuesday with a religious service, a procession through the streets and the royal family’s appearance on the palace balcony.

At the heart of the Diamond Jubilee celebration is a nearly universal sense of appreciation for the queen, who acceded to the throne in 1952 on the death of her father, King George VI.

— From news service reports