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August 5, 2013

News Briefs August 5, 2013

Army Fleet Support to lay off 70 in August

An Alabama company that supplies aviation support to the U.S. Air Force at Fort Rucker is planning to lay off 70 employees this month.

The Dothan Eagle reported Saturday that Army Fleet Support is laying off employees to align its staffing with flying hours. Spokeswoman Lisa Gee says the company is doing all that it can to minimize the impact of its workforce. It’s unclear which positions are being targeted for cuts.

The newspaper reported that the company now employs between 3,000 and 3,500 people, which is down from more than 4,100 that worked there in 2010.

Army Fleet Support also serves the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker. AP

Russian Navy ships visit Havana harbor

A Russian Navy flotilla headed by the guided missile cruiser Moskva has arrived in Havana, exchanging a salute of artillery with a Cuban shore battery.

The Communist Party daily Granma reports that the Moskva will be open to the public on Aug. 5 and says the three ships that arrived Aug. 3 will stay for several days on a friendly visit.

Russian military forces were a common sight in Cuba during the days of the Soviet Union, which was a close ally of the country in its political confrontation with the United States. And Russian vessels have visited several times since. Most of Cuba’s weaponry was produced in the Soviet Union or Russia, though trade relations between the two nations have slumped in recent years. AP

Congress clears bill to ease military screening

Congress is sending President Barack Obama a bill that would make it easier for wounded or disabled members of the military and veterans to get through airport security screening.

The House approved the measure by voice vote Aug. 2, a day after the Senate. It would require the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs to work with the Transportation Security Administration on a new protocol.

Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a veteran of the Iraq war, sponsored the bill.

Proponents in the Senate were Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

Gabbard says that she pushed for the bill after hearing stories from service members who had to remove clothes or prosthetics in front of other passengers, and then struggled through screening machines. AP

Senators call for end to Afghan helicopter deal

Twelve Republican and Democratic senators are calling on the Pentagon to cancel all contracts to buy helicopters for Afghan security forces from a state-run Russian arms exporter that is a top weapons supplier to the Syrian government.

The lawmakers led by Republican Sen. John Cornyn sent a letter Aug. 5 to Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The senators joined more than 80 House members who oppose the $572 million deal for 30 Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters from the company Rosoboronexport.

The lawmakers said the arms exporter has transferred weapons and ammunition to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The senators said the helicopter deal puts U.S. taxpayers in the ìrepugnant positionî of subsidizing the murder of Syrian civilians. AP




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