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August 9, 2013

News Briefs August 9, 2013

Suspected U.S. drone kills three militants in Yemen

A military official says a suspected U.S. drone strike has killed three alleged al Qaeda militants in a southern Yemeni province, the second strike in a day.

The official says the Aug. 8 attack in the al-Ayoon area of Hadramawt province targeted a car carrying the suspected militants. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Earlier in the day, another suspected U.S. drone killed six alleged militants in central Marib province.

Yemen is on high alert after authorities revealed an al Qaeda plot to target foreign embassies and international shipping lanes in the Red Sea.

The U.S. and Britain have evacuated embassy staff over a threatened attack.

Seven suspected U.S. drone strikes in the past 10 days have killed 31 alleged militants. AP

 

U.S., Philippines to open troops talks

Philippine officials say they will soon begin negotiations with the United States on a larger American military presence to help deter what they say is increasing Chinese aggression in Philippine-claimed waters in the South China Sea.

In a letter to Philippine congressional leaders, the secretaries of national defense and foreign affairs said that allowing American troops to have an “increased rotational presence” will help the country attain a “minimum credible defense” to guard its territory while it struggles to modernize its own military, one of Asia’s weakest.

A larger American presence would also mean more resources and training for responding to disasters in a nation often battered by typhoons and earthquakes, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said in their letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press Aug. 8.

The presence of foreign troops is a sensitive issue in the Philippines, a former American colony. The Philippine Senate voted in 1991 to close down major American bases at Subic and Clark, near Manila. AP

 

USS Miami inactivation won’t hurt shipyards

The arson-damaged USS Miami will be deactivated at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and extra repair work will be steered to Connecticut-based Electric Boat, minimizing the effect on workers at both shipyards, the Navy’s director of undersea warfare said Aug. 7.

Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge laid out details of the submarine’s deactivation in a conference call with reporters a day after the Navy announced plans to scrap instead of repair the Los Angeles-class attack submarine.

The Navy abandoned the repair because the estimated cost jumped from $450 million to $700 million during a time of budget cuts.

The nuclear-powered submarine based in Groton, Conn., was severely damaged by a fire that was set by a shipyard worker in May 2012 while the sub was in dry dock during a 20-month overhaul in Kittery. AP

 

Congressman wants VA to rescind bonuses after Legionnaire’s outbreak

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Penn., wants Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shineski to rescind more than $100,000 in bonuses given to VA leaders in the wake of a Legionnaire’s disease outbreak at Pittsburgh’s Veterans Affairs hospitals.

At least five patients died and 21 were sickened from water that wasn’t properly treated between February 2011 and November. The family of a sixth veteran who died last year claims in a lawsuit that he was a victim, too, and Murphy included his name among the victims in the Aug. 8 letter to Shineski, asking that the bonuses be rescinded.

VA officials have not responded to Murphy’s letter.

Congress plans to hold a hearing on the outbreak Sept. 9 at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh. Congress held its first hearing on the matter in Washington in February. AP




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Coast Guard photograph

Navy demonstrates unmanned helicopter operations aboard Coast Guard cutter

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