World

August 8, 2012

News Briefs – August 8, 2012

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 1,941

As of Aug. 7, at least 1,941 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.

At least 1,620 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 116 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 the same as the department’s tally.

The Defense Department also counts three military civilian deaths.

Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 17,095 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP

 

Judge allows military groups to join Ohio lawsuit

A federal judge is allowing 15 military groups to intervene in a lawsuit against Ohio’s top elections official filed by President Barack Obama’s campaign.

The campaign is arguing the battleground state’s law unfairly ends in-person voting for most Ohioans three days earlier than it does for military and overseas voters.

They say such disparate treatment is unconstitutional, and all voters should be able to vote on those final three days before Election Day.

The military groups, including AMVETS and associations representing the Army, Navy and Marines, are concerned the lawsuit could threaten voter protections afforded to service members, such as an extended voting period.

All sides supported the military groups joining the lawsuit. Federal Judge Peter Economus granted the request Aug. 6. AP

 

Navy tests ocean drones in Rhode Island

Inspired by the success of the military’s aircraft drones, the U.S. Navy is aggressively pursuing its own squadron of self-driven, undersea vehicles.

At the primary testing ground, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I., engineers experiment with the gadgets in the sailboat-dotted waters of Narragansett Bay. One of them recently navigated its own way from Woods Hole, Mass., to Newport, completing several pre-programmed tasks in what the military calls an unprecedented feat.

The Navy hopes its drones will eventually pilot themselves across oceans. The vehicles are already used to detect mines and map the ocean floor. With tweaks over the next several years, the military says they will be applied more to intelligence gathering and, in the more distant future, anti-submarine warfare. AP

 

NATO names new top civilian official in Kabul

NATO says it has appointed a Dutch diplomat as its new chief civilian representative in Afghanistan.

The military alliance said Aug. 7 that Ambassador Maurits R. Jochems will replace British diplomat Simon Gass.

The alliance’s senior civilian representative is accredited to the Afghan government and represents NATO’s political leadership in Kabul.

Jochems, currently serving as his country’s envoy to Estonia, will take up his new post in October. He previously served as NATO’s interim senior civilian representative in Afghanistan in 2008.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the appointment comes at a crucial time for NATO “as we continue to hand over more areas of security control to the Afghan national security forces.” AP

 

Gunmen in Afghan uniforms kill NATO troop

NATO says two gunmen wearing Afghan National Army uniforms turned their weapons on NATO troops, killing one member of the U.S.-led coalition.

A coalition statement said the Aug. 7 shooting is under investigation.

NATO did not release the nationality of the service member shot, or say whether others were wounded.

The shooting was the latest case of so-called “green-on-blue” attacks in which Afghan soldiers or insurgents disguised in their uniforms shoot at U.S. or NATO troops.

So far this year more than 25 coalition troops have been killed in such attacks. That compares with 11 fatal attacks and 20 deaths the previous year. In 2007 and 2008 there were a combined total of four attacks and four deaths. AP

 

$600 million VA hospital dedicated in North Las Vegas

Officials say opening a $600 million Veterans Affairs medical center in North Las Vegas, Nev., keeps a promise with almost 165,000 veterans in and around Las Vegas and another 70,000 veterans in other parts of the state.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and other dignitaries christened the building Monday to serve the 46,000 people currently enrolled in the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System.

The facility on North Pecos Road includes 90 inpatient beds, a 120-bed nursing home and an outpatient care center.

It also includes units for specialty care, dental, surgery, mental health, rehabilitation, and geriatrics.

It’s the first VA hospital in southern Nevada and the first VA hospital to open in the country since 1995.

Officials say it’ll start treating patients next week. AP




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