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January 10, 2014

News Briefs January 10, 2014

Bombing kills 21 at Iraq army recruiting center

Iraqi officials say the toll from a suicide bombing at a military recruiting center in Baghdad has risen to 21 killed and nearly three dozen wounded.

The strike the morning of Jan. 9 likely was meant to send a message to the government and would-be army volunteers over Iraqi troops’ ongoing push to retake two western cities overrun by al-Qaida militants.

A police official who provided the death toll says 35 people were wounded in the attack. He said the dead included four soldiers guarding the site.

A hospital official confirmed the casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists. AP

Navy: Drone testing on Kauai not a certainty

Drone testing at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai is not a certainty even though the base is exploring the possibility with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, U.S. Navy officials in Hawaii said.

The Garden Island reported Jan. 8 that base spokesman Stefan Alford says there’s no final commitment from the base.

There’s not an agreement in place, Alford said. They are exploring the possibility of (the facility) because of our existing infrastructure, lots of air space with established safeguards and no privacy concern impacts on the community.

The flights would be over water, Alford said.

The university was selected by the Federal Aviation Administration to manage one of six test site operations across the country. The operators will research the requirements necessary to safely integrate drones, or unmanned aircraft systems, into U.S. airspace.

The plan managed by the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration at the University of Alaska Fairbanks includes proposed test sites in Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon. Leaders in Alaska praise the testing as good for the university and good for economic activity in the state.

Ro Bailey, director of the Pan-Pacific Unmanned Aerial System Test Range Complex, said the Kauai base could be an ideal location to test drones because aircraft can enter controlled military airspace with little risk or disruption to civil aviation.

Bailey said possible testing is also being explored on the Hawaiian island of Niihau. Bailey said Niihau Ranch approached the complex about the possibility two years ago, Bailey said. AP

Army chief opposes sending U.S. troops back to Iraq

A U.S. Army general who led troops through some of the most deadly years of the Iraq war says he opposes sending U.S. combat troops in response to the recent gains in that country by Islamic militants.

Gen. Ray Odierno said Jan. 7 he is disappointed by the Iraqi government’s loss of control in key cities in the restive western province of Anbar.

He said the proper U.S. approach now is to remain engaged diplomatically to help Iraqi government leaders get their political system back on track.

Odierno said that despite Iraq’s recent setbacks, it still has the potential to become a strong U.S. partner. He added that hopeful prospect is now looking a bit shaky.

Odierno is the Army chief of staff. He spoke at the National Press Club. AP




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