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January 6, 2014

Headlines – January 6, 2014

News:

U.S. troops prevented from helping even as al Qaeda overruns Iraqi cities -

The U.S. has inserted 200 troops in Iraq since 2012, but they cannot directly help the Iraqi military repel a surge of al Qaeda fighters, even as the country succumbs to sectarian violence and insurgents claim control of two key cities. 

U.S. waived laws to keep F-35 on track with Chinese-made parts -

The Pentagon repeatedly waived laws banning Chinese-built components on U.S. weapons in order to keep the $392 billion Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter program on track in 2012 and 2013, even as U.S. officials were voicing concerns about China’s espionage and military buildup.

 

Business:

Boeing machinists agree to 777X contract on narrow vote -

Members of Boeing’s machinists union Jan. 3 voted by a slim margin to accept the company’s proposal of a long-term contract that will guarantee construction of a new long-range wide-body aircraft in the Puget Sound, Wash., region, in exchange for significant wage and retirement benefit concessions. 

Contractors should resolve to adapt in 2014 -

From shutdowns to changed buying methods, the federal contracting market is evolving. Smart contractors will not only face down these changes, but find the best ways to take advantage of them. 

Five provisions in the new defense policy legislation for contractors to watch -

With the military policy legislation known as the National Defense Authorization Act signed by the president over the holidays, contractors are looking for the changes that matter to them. We’ve singled out five measures that will be of interest to companies that work with the federal government.

 

Defense:

Pentagon looks for ways to weaponize 11,000 drones -

A recent report by the U.S. Defense Department highlights the Pentagon’s desire to adapt roughly 11,000 drones for “lightweight” precision guided weapons” for emerging threats in the Asia-Pacific region.

No more imminent danger pay for 20 areas -

The Defense Department has removed 20 areas from its list of locations that qualify for imminent danger pay, effective June 1, potentially affecting tens of thousands of troops.

 

Veterans:

VA hospital’s release of delirious veteran latest in string of failures -

Doctors at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Puerto Rico released a patient who was suffering from delirium and barely able to function, ignoring evaluations by staff nurses, an investigation found — the latest in a string of high-profile incidents at the department’s medical facilities. 

Christmas controversy at VA hospitals -

Several incidents at Veterans Affairs medical centers over the holidays have prompted the House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman to question whether VA has violated the civil rights of veterans in its care.

 

Space:

Moon dust mystery solved with help of Apollo mission data -

A revisited trove of data from NASA’s Apollo missions more than 40 years ago is helping scientists answer a lingering lunar question: How fast does moon dust build up? 

Triple star system ‘can reveal secrets of gravity’ -

Astronomers have discovered a unique triple star system which could reveal the true nature of gravity. They found a pulsar with two white dwarfs all packed in a space smaller than Earth’s orbit of the Sun.




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