U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 1,843
As of May 15, 2012, at least 1,843 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count.
The AP count is eight less than the Defense Department’s tally.
At least 1,534 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.
Outside of Afghanistan, the department reports at least 111 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 12 were the result of hostile action.
The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is two more than the department’s tally.
The Defense Department also counts three military civilian deaths.
Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 15,950 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP
$6.6 million will fund Southern California toxic cleanup
Eleven companies and landowners blamed for polluting Southern California water supplies will pay about $6.6 million to clean up the contamination.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Mayh 15 that it’s reached agreements to fund groundwater cleanup at a South El Monte Superfund site.
The agency claimed the current or former landowners and business operators polluted the groundwater with toxic industrial solvents.
The agreements cover only a portion of the eight-square-mile Superfund site in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles.
Last fall, Northrop Grumman Systems was ordered to clean up groundwater contamination at the Superfund site, at a cost of about $20 million.
The EPA says several tons of contaminants have been removed since groundwater cleanup began at the Superfund site in 2008. AP
NATO invites Pakistan to summit in Chicago
NATO says it will invite Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to the alliance’s summit in Chicago, after the country’s foreign minister proposed reopening its Afghan border to NATO military supplies.
Spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said May 15 the summit on May 20-21 will underline the international community’s commitment to the future of Afghanistan and that Pakistan has an important role to play in that future.
Supply routes through Pakistan have been closed for nearly six months in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani troops. This forced NATO to reorient its entire logistics chain through Russia and Central Asia.
The routes through Pakistan are seen as vital as NATO begins to pull out of Afghanistan. AP
Supporters, opponents crowd Vermont hearing on F-35s
Supporters of a proposal to bring military fighter jets to Vermont pointed out the economic benefits of having a strong National Guard in the area.
Kelly Devine, executive director of the Burlington Business Association, said at a hearing May 14 it’s important to retain more than 1,000 jobs represented from the air national guard program. Vermont Air National Guard members are concerned if the planes land elsewhere, the base may be uprooted.
At least 18 new F-35 jet fighters could be housed in South Burlington. Supporters and opponents crowded a hearing at the local high school.
Critics of the plan say increasing noise from the planes will lower property values in the Chittenden County area.
The Air Force is expected to make its decision by the end of the year. AP