News Briefs – October 7, 2015

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Belarus’ president says he doesn’t want Russian air base

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says his nation doesn’t want to host a Russian military air base, a statement highlighting a strain between the two neighbors and allies.
Lukashenko said Oct. 6 that he knows nothing about plans to set up a Russian air base in Belarus and added that his nation doesn’t need it, according to state news agency Belta.
Lukashenko’s statement follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to his government last month to sign an agreement on Russian military base in Belarus. The two countries have close political, economic and military ties and Belarus depends on Russian energy and other subsidies.
At the same time, Lukashenko has moved recently to improve Belarus ties with the West, which were strained over his crackdown on dissent and free media. AP

Carter: Russia must meet with U.S. on Syria flight conflicts

The U.S. defense secretary says Russian leaders need to contact the Pentagon right away to talk about Moscow’s military activities in Syria.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the U.S. is waiting for a second meeting with Russia on how to avoid any accidents or miscalculations in the increasingly crowded skies over Syria.
U.S. and Russian officials talked by video conference last week. Then at least one Russian warplane violated Turkey’s airspace over the weekend. NATO has denounced Russia for “irresponsible behavior.”
Speaking at an air base in Spain, Carter said Oct. 6 that Russia’s failure to respond to the U.S. meeting request may be “a further sign of their strategic confusion.”
A U.S.-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes on Islamic State militants in Syria. Russia began airstrikes there last week. AP

Marine found dead with gunshot wound at Camp Pendleton

A Marine has been found dead with a gunshot wound to the head at a shooting range at Camp Pendleton Marine Base in California.
Officials at the military base say the Marine was taking part in a training exercise in which live ammunition was used Oct. 5.
The circumstances of the fatal gunshot are under investigation.
The name of the Marine, from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, has not been released.
Camp Pendleton, a vast seaside base north of San Diego, is the major West Coast outpost for the U.S. Marine Corps. AP