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October 25, 2013

News Briefs October 25, 2013

Military supplier blames closure on U.S. shutdown, sequester

PORT HURON, MICH. ó A Michigan company that makes camouflage items for the military says the partial government shutdown is one reason itís going out of business.

The Detroit News says that Port Huron-based GMA Cover Corp. announced the closing in a letter to its employees Oct. 22. The company says itís laying off all its workers.

The Associated Press left phone and email messages seeking company comment.

GMA Cover employed 150 to 175 people as of last year.

The letter says the company is ìno longer a viable entityî because of ìpoor market conditions and the recent government actions, including the extended government shutdown and the sequester.

The company started in 1974. It laid off about 155 workers and closed one plant in June 2012, citing a lack of federal contracts. AP

Afghan army gets new academy

The Afghan army will from now on train at a brand new academy modeled after a famous one in Britain and popularly dubbed ìSandhurst on the Sandî by British troops in Afghanistan.

The facility in Kabul was unveiled Oct. 23 and will be inaugurated on Oct. 28.

Britain has been leading the effort to open the academy for aspiring Afghan officers.

Cadets will study for 42 weeks and the academy will train up to 1,350 male and 150 female students every year. The British military, which will be helping train the Afghans, says there were over 10,000 applicants for a slot of 270 students.

The academy will train Afghan military officers who will be part of the country’s fledgling 350,000-strong security forces. AP

Military exercise sparked big Australian wildfire

A military training exercise ignited the largest of the wildfires that have ravaged Australia’s most populous state in the past week, investigators said Wednesday.

More than 100 fires have killed one man and destroyed more than 200 homes in New South Wales state since Oct. 23.

Fire investigators found that a massive fire near the city of Lithgow, west of Sydney, began Oct. 16 at a nearby Defense Department training area, and that the blaze ìwas started as a result of live ordnance exercisesî at the army range, the Rural Fire Service said in a statement.

The fire has burned 180 square miles and destroyed several houses, but no injuries or deaths have been reported in the blaze. It was downgraded from the highest emergency category on Wednesday.

The Defense Department declined to comment on the investigators’ findings, but had earlier confirmed that an explosive ordnance training exercise was conducted Oct. 16. The Defense Department was also investigating any link between the exercise and the fire. AP

Air Force museum in Ohio will reopen two galleries

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in southwest Ohio is reopening two galleries on a limited basis due to popular demand.

The Dayton-area museum says the Presidential Gallery and the Research and Development Gallery will be open Thursday through Sunday beginning this Thursday. They closed May 1 because of federal budget reductions.

Visitors must take shuttle buses from the main museum to a restricted area of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The museum says it decided it could use existing resources to partially resume but hopes to eventually display key aircraft from the galleries at the main complex.

A highlight of the Presidential Gallery is the plane used as President John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One. The R&D Gallery includes the XB-70 Valkyrie, a high-speed, high-altitude prototype strategic bomber. AP




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