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August 31, 2012

News Briefs – August 29th, 2012

Iran could open military site to visits

Iran could allow representatives from non-aligned nations to visit a military site that the U.N. nuclear watchdog suspects has housed nuclear ex-periments. Access for diplomats and others to the Parchin base would be an attempt by Iran to show openness during this week’s Non-Aligned Movement gathering, but it would certainly not satisfy U.N. demands. U.N. nuclear inspectors have been pressing for wider access to Parchin, southeast of Tehran, to probe suspicions that Iran carried out explosive tests with possible nuclear trigger applications. The Aug. 27 report by the state-owned yjc.ir news website quotes Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mahdi Akhounzadeh as saying Iran may consider opening to the site to delegates from the 120-nation group. The gathering ends Friday. The West suspects Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Tehran denies the charge. AP

 

Pentagon checking SEAL raid book for secrets

The Pentagon is reviewing a copy of a soon-to-be-published account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, checking for leaks of classified information. Pentagon spokesman George Little said Aug. 27 the Pentagon “received the manuscript and we are looking at it.” The book, “No Easy Day,” is scheduled for publication on Sept. 11.The author, a former Navy SEAL who participated in the raid, did not submit the book until now for pre-publication review that is required by the military secrecy agreements officials say he signed. A special operations advocacy group, Special Operations-OPSEC, that is criticizing President Barack Obama over alleged leaks and other matters, asked the attorney general to block the book’s release until the government can make sure it reveals no classified information. AP

 

 

Soldiers, Marines punished for misconduct

The Defense Department has given administrative punishments to six Army soldiers for burning Qurans at a U.S. base in Afghanistan, and to three Marines for urinating on the corpses of Taliban insurgents. There were no criminal charges. Discipline against a Navy sailor in the Quran burnings was dismissed. The Marine Corps says it will announce discipline against other Marines in the urination case later. The two incidents of misconduct, both revealed earlier this year, enraged Afghans, and the Quran burning triggered riots in the street. The exact punishments were not disclosed. Administrative punishments could include demotions, extra duty, forfeiture of pay, or a letter in their file. They could also stall any future advancement and end their military careers. AP

 

Age discrimination unproven in Boeing 

A federal appeals court has ruled that former employees failed to demonstrate a pattern of age discrimination by Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems. Ninety former Boeing workers claimed they lost their jobs because of their age when the Chicago-based aerospace manufacturer sold its commercial aircraft operations in Kansas and Oklahoma to Onex Corp. in 2005. Onex formed Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems to handle those former Boeing operations. In its Aug.27 ruling, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge’s 2010 ruling that there is too little evidence to put the case be-fore a jury. The appeals court found that the hiring practices did not unfairly hurt older workers and that they failed to show the companies intended to interfere with their pension benefits. AP

 

Virginia shipbuilder opening new submarine facility

Newport News Shipbuilding is opening a new facility to accommodate the building of Virginia-class submarines. Officials Aug. 27 held the grand opening of the Supplemental Module Outfitting Facility. The shipbuilder says it made a $100 million investment to help meet the submarine program’s two-submarines-per-year build plan. Newport News Shipbuilding is producing the submarines as part of a team with General Dynamics Electric Boat as part of the Navy’s plans to add to its nuclear-powered submarine fleet. The team has delivered the first nine boats of the class. The attack submarines use advanced technologies to increase firepower, maneuverability and stealth. The 377-feet long submarines are capable of submerged speeds of more than 25 knots and can stay submerged for up to three months at a time. AP

 

Two contractors plead not guilty to Navy bribery

Two defense contractors have pleaded not guilty to bribing officials at a San Diego Navy base in exchange for millions of dollars in business. U-T San Diego says Robert Ehnow of Coronado and Joanne Loehr of La Jolla entered the pleas Thursday in federal court to conspiracy, money laundering, bribery and wire fraud. Prosecutors claim they gave officials at Naval Air Station North Island more than $1 million in cash and gifts, including flat screen TVs. Authorities say in return, their Poway companies received $4 million in defense business. Authorities claim the contractors also submitted phony bills to the Defense Department that covered the cost of the bribes. Seven other people, including four Navy officials from North Island, pleaded guilty to bribery charges in March. They await sentencing. AP

 

Navy, U.S. nuclear companies sign work-force deal

The U.S. Navy and members of the nuclear power industry have signed a deal meant to help Navy veterans with specialized training find civilian jobs. A trade group says the civilian power industry needs to fill 25,000 positions over the next four years. Utility companies need to replace those retiring from an aging workforce and find new workers to staff plants now under construction in the southeast. The industry has long recruited engineers and other skilled workers from the Navy, which operates a large fleet of nuclear-powered submarines and surface ships. Navy veterans can now have their contact information given to industry recruiters at 30 companies that signed the agreement of understanding. Navy recruiters will have access to those in an industry training program. AP




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Air Force launches hush-hush mini-shuttle into space

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