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July 23, 2012

News Briefs – July 23, 2012

Two dead from Oman helicopter crash

The U.S. Navy says the death toll from a helicopter crash last week in the Arabian peninsula nation of Oman is two.

It says three other crewmembers aboard the downed MH-53E Sea Dragon survived Thursday’s crash.

The Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet identified the deceased sailors late Julyi 21 as Senior Chief Aviation Warfare Systems Operator Sean P. Sullivan, 40, of St. Louis, Mo., and Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Joseph P. Fitzmorris, 31, of West Monroe, La.

The helicopter was assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron 15, based in Norfolk, Va. It crashed 58 miles southwest of the Omani capital Muscat. No hostile activity was suspected.

The Navy says it is investigating. AP

 

Virginia grand jury indicts military contractor

A federal grand jury in Virginia has indicted a military contractor on charges of misrepresenting the level of protection provided by armored vehicles used by VIP convoys in Iraq.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphey in Roanoke announced the 13-count indictment July 19. Armet Armored Vehicles and its president, 67-year-old William R. Whyte of Ontario, Canada, are charged with three counts of major fraud against the United States, seven counts of wire fraud and three counts of false claims.

The company, which has offices in Ontario and Danville, Va., did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages. Court documents did not list an attorney for the defendants.

According to the indictment, Armet sold the U.S. military seven armored gun trucks that failed to meet required ballistic and blast protection standards. AP

 

U.S. cuts military aid to Rwanda over Congo concerns

The U.S. government says it has cut this year’s planned military assistance to Rwanda amid concerns that the government in Kigali is supporting rebel movements in neighboring Congo.

The State Department said in a statement July 21 that “the United States has been actively engaged at the highest levels to urge Rwanda to halt and prevent the provision of such support, which threatens to undermine stability in the region.”

The U.S. – usually a staunch Rwandan ally – therefore said it won’t pay $200,000 of initially pledged military aid.

Rwanda has denied reports by the United Nations and rights groups that it is supporting the so-called M23 rebel movement in eastern Congo, which has sparked new fighting in recent months that has forced more than 200,000 civilians from their homes. AP




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NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

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NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

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Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

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