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October 14, 2013

News Briefs October 14, 2013

Egyptian military plane crashes; pilot safe

Security officials say a Soviet-made MiG-21 fighter jet belonging to the Egyptian air force has crashed while on a training mission near the ancient city of Luxor in the south.

The officials say the pilot bailed out and parachuted safely to the ground before the plane crashed in a rural area outside of Luxor, setting several houses on fire. There were no injuries among the villagers.

Military spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali says on his official Facebook page that the plane crashed as a result of a mechanical failure. He gave no details.

The security officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. AP

Eielson among nine finalists for new fighter jets

An Alaska Air Force base is among nine finalists for the service’s new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter squadron.

Pacific Air Forces commander Maj. Gen. Hawk Carlisle commended Eielson Air Force Base’s abundant training space but said the base’s winters and its remoteness presented challenges.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Air Force plans to identify a list of candidate bases among nine Pacific Rim installations.

Criteria include capacity, environmental considerations and cost.

The three members of Alaska’s congressional delegation plan to draft a joint letter about the F-35 basing criteria next week.

Eielson was the target of a Defense Department reduction effort in 2005. Defense officials proposed removing the base’s F-16 and A-10 squadrons, but a congressional authorized independent panel ultimately recommended that only the A-10s be transferred out. AP

Senate OKs bill for military chaplains

Military chaplains will be able to offer worship services to members of the armed forces and their families despite the partial government shutdown under a bill moving through Congress.

The Senate backed a version of the measure late Oct. 10, expressing the sense of Congress that chaplains shouldn’t be blocked from ministering to members of the military as the shutdown entered its 11th day on Oct. 11.

Lawmakers were concerned that the shutdown could disrupt religious services.

The Senate measure, approved by voice vote, includes minor changes by Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., who sought to clarify the House-passed bill. Levin added provisions stating that the availability of religious services and clergy were ìimportant to the morale and well-being of many members of the armed forces and their families.’î

He also included a provision that said it was Congress’ hope that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel determines ìthat contractor clergy provide necessary support to military personnel and would therefore be covered under the appropriations made availableî under a law that pays the troops despite the shutdown. AP

Vermont city buys insurance amid F-35 debate

Vermontís largest city has purchased an insurance policy for protection against potential lawsuits in connection with its airport.

While exploring the legal possibility of banning F-35 fighter jets from the Burlington International
Airport, city attorney Eileen Blackwood discovered Burlington wasnít insured against lawsuits stemming from airport-related issues.

That city changed that Oct. 11 when it purchased a policy that insures the city for up to $5 million in the event of a lawsuit.

The Air Force says Burlington is its preferred location to base up to 24 of the F-35s to replace aging F-16s. Opponents claim the planes would be too noisy and cause other problems.

Vermont Public Radio says with the insurance policy in place, Burlingtonís city council can now discuss and vote on resolutions related to the F-35. AP




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