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May 10, 2013

News Briefs May 10, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,083

As of May 7, 2013, at least 2,083 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 1,725 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 119 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 11 were the result of hostile action.

The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is nine 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, 18,462 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP

Reid presses for bill on military sexual assault

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he wants legislation that would strip military officers of the ability to overturn convictions for sexual assault.

In a letter to the leaders of the Armed Services Committee, the Nevada Democrat said he wants the measure in the sweeping defense policy bill that Congress has passed every year for decades. He said it would ensure justice for victims of assault and prevent attacks in the future.

The Pentagon estimated in a report released Tuesday that up to 26,000 military members may were sexually assaulted last year but fewer than 3,400 reported the incident.

Lawmakers have been outraged after an Air Force officer overturned the conviction in a sexual assault case. AP

NATO probes charges of misconduct in Afghanistan

The U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan says it has launched an investigation into allegations of misconduct by NATO troops in the country’s south.

The coalition, known as the International Security Assistance Force, said May 8 that the probe pertains to an incident on April 28 during an encounter with insurgents in southern Afghanistan.

A statement from ISAF says four insurgents were killed in the incident. The NATO-led force did not disclose further details or elaborate on the allegations against coalition troops.

Afghan officials were not immediately available for comment.

The statement quoted American Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, as saying the alliance takes ìall allegations of misconduct by our personnel very seriouslyî and would ìfully investigate the incident and keep the Afghan government informed.î AP

New sub’s First sea trials completed

The newest Virginia-class submarine built at Newport News Shipbuilding is undergoing a series of sea trials before being delivered to the Navy later this month.

Huntington Ingalls Industries says the fast-attack submarine Minnesota successfully completed its first of three rounds of sea trials and evaluations this week.

The submarine submerged for the first time and operated at high speeds on the surface and under water.

Officials say all systems, components and compartments are being tested during the trials.

Construction of the Minnesota began in February 2008. It’s expected to be delivered to the Navy about 11 months ahead of its contracted delivery date. AP

Air China approves plan to buy 100 Airbus jets

Air China is planning to buy 100 Airbus jets to expand its fleet as it seeks to keep up with growing demand from Chinese travelers.

The state-owned airline said late May 7 that its board approved the plan to buy the plans as well as dispose of six Airbus A340 jets. It did not give any further details such as type of aircraft, cost or timeframe.

The announcement follows French President Francois Hollande’s visit to China last month, when officials inked a deal for China to buy 60 planes from France-based Airbus.

That deal covered the purchase of 42 A320s and 18 A330s.

In March, Air China placed an order for 31 Boeing aircraft worth $4.8 billion at list prices, though airlines typically get a discount. AP




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