News

May 23, 2016
 

News Briefs – May 23, 2016

Israeli defense minister steps down

Israel’s defense minister officially stepped down May 22, capping a tumultuous week of politics that is expected to replace the former military chief with an inexperienced hard-liner in the sensitive post.
Moshe Yaalon’s departure cleared the way for Avigdor Lieberman, one of Israel’s most polarizing politicians, to take over as defense chief.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week invited Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party into the government in a move meant to shore up his narrow governing majority. But Lieberman reportedly demanded the Defense Ministry as a condition, forcing Netanyahu to ask Yaalon to step aside. Yaalon angrily announced his resignation May 20, saying the government has been taken over by “extremist and dangerous elements.”
Netanyahu and Lieberman were still negotiating their coalition agreement on Sunday, and it was unclear when he would formally join the government.
Yaalon was one of the last moderate voices in Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
His departure leaves the Cabinet dominated by religious and ultranationalist ministers who oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state and have close ties to the West Bank settler movement. Lieberman himself is a West Bank settler. AP
 

Biden: Diverse military of women, gays strengthens US forces

Vice President Joe Biden told the U.S. Military Academy’s class of 2016 May 21 that greater diversity, including more women and openly gay soldiers, will strengthen the country’s armed forces.
“Having men and women together in the battlefield is an incredible asset, particularly when they’re asked to lead teams in parts of the world with fundamentally different expectations and norms,” Biden said in his speech at a graduation ceremony at Michie Stadium on the West Point grounds along the Hudson River.
More than 950 cadets received their degrees and commissions as second lieutenants. Among them were the first seven women to be commissioned into combat divisions since combat restrictions for them were lifted.
The vice president saluted class president Eugene “E.J.” Coleman for publicly coming out as gay.
Before the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2010, “E.J. would have been discharged from the Army, and we would have lost an incredible talent,” he said. “Thanks for your courage, E.J., and I expect we’re going to hear big things from you, pal.”
Biden also warned the graduating class that it’s facing a vast range of complex challenges, including battling Islamic State extremists, containing outbreaks of contagious diseases and defending against cyberattacks.
“Whenever the stakes are highest, we turn to the United States Army,” he said. “Whether it’s fighting terrorism, training our partners, reassuring our allies or providing humanitarian relief, we call on you,” he said. “And right now, the stakes could not be higher.”
Biden singled out cyberattacks as a growing threat that could allow American enemies to knock out the nation’s power grid or disable satellite systems.
“The bad thing about advanced technology is that it gives immense powers to stateless actors,” Biden said.
He added: “You’ll need to dominate the cyber realm as you do the physical one.” AP
 

Biden: Diverse military of women, gays strengthens US forces

Vice President Joe Biden told the U.S. Military Academy’s class of 2016 May 21 that greater diversity, including more women and openly gay soldiers, will strengthen the country’s armed forces.
“Having men and women together in the battlefield is an incredible asset, particularly when they’re asked to lead teams in parts of the world with fundamentally different expectations and norms,” Biden said in his speech at a graduation ceremony at Michie Stadium on the West Point grounds along the Hudson River.
More than 950 cadets received their degrees and commissions as second lieutenants. Among them were the first seven women to be commissioned into combat divisions since combat restrictions for them were lifted.
The vice president saluted class president Eugene “E.J.” Coleman for publicly coming out as gay.
Before the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2010, “E.J. would have been discharged from the Army, and we would have lost an incredible talent,” he said. “Thanks for your courage, E.J., and I expect we’re going to hear big things from you, pal.”
Biden also warned the graduating class that it’s facing a vast range of complex challenges, including battling Islamic State extremists, containing outbreaks of contagious diseases and defending against cyberattacks.
“Whenever the stakes are highest, we turn to the United States Army,” he said. “Whether it’s fighting terrorism, training our partners, reassuring our allies or providing humanitarian relief, we call on you,” he said. “And right now, the stakes could not be higher.”
Biden singled out cyberattacks as a growing threat that could allow American enemies to knock out the nation’s power grid or disable satellite systems.
“The bad thing about advanced technology is that it gives immense powers to stateless actors,” Biden said.
He added: “You’ll need to dominate the cyber realm as you do the physical one.” AP
 

Assembly of Bell Helicopter Jet Ranger X leaving Louisiana

Bell Helicopter says it will assemble its 505 Jet Ranger X in Canada, and abandon plans to build the new-model aircraft at a $26.3 million Lafayette facility.
Louisiana financed the facility and was promised 115 jobs.
The Advocate reports Bell CEO and President Mitch Snyder said in a conference call Thursday an undetermined number of employees at the Lafayette plant will handle some of the cabin assembly for Bell’s 505 Relentless helicopter, work that is being transferred from a plant in Amarillo, Texas.
Snyder said the Lafayette plant also will handle modifications to the Northrop Gruman MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle, a Bell project that is being moved from the company’s facility in Ozark, Ala.
Snyder said the company’s decision to change directions was driven by a severe downturn worldwide in the demand for commercial aircraft. AP




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