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May 9, 2014

News Briefs May 9, 2014

U.K. looks to allow women in frontline combat roles

Britain’s defense minister says women should be allowed to serve in front-line army combat units.

Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said May 8 the army should be open “to all who can meet the standards required.”

He said tough fitness rules meant “some roles will have limited numbers of women who can meet those criteria.”

Hammond announced an immediate review of the policy barring female troops from the infantry and armored corps, to be led by the head of the army.

He said since countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia and Israel allowed women in combat roles “this is something we have to look at again.”

In Britain women can serve in most military posts, from fighter pilots to submariners, but not in units whose primary role is close-quarters combat. AP

U.K. Royal Navy escorts Russian ships in Channel

A Royal Navy warship has met and tracked a group of Russian military ships entering the English Channel in an operation that the Ministry of Defense repeatedly stressed was a routine matter.

Britain’s HMS Dragon, a Type 45 destroyer, monitored the movement of the seven-strong Russian group May 8 led by the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. The navy says that once the ships spotted each other they “sailed close by as a standard ‘meet and greet.’”

Defense Secretary Philip Hammond says the deployment was a pre-planned operation and organized after British authorities learned of the Kuznetzov’s route.

The same Russian group, which also includes the nuclear-powered battle cruiser Pyotr Velikiy, went in the opposite direction through the Channel last year. AP

Embattled VA Secretary Shinseki refusing to resign

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is brushing aside calls for his resignation in the wake of reports of 40 deaths because of delayed treatment at a Phoenix VA hospital.

But in an interview with CBS News, Shinseki acknowledges that the controversy, says it “makes me angry” and vows to get to the bottom of it.

The American Legion and some in Congress have called for Shinseki’s ouster because of the uproar over the agency’s performance. Shinseki, a retired Army general, told CBS that he sent inspectors to Phoenix immediately when he learned of reports about the deaths.

The secretary said, quote, “I take every one of these incidents and allegations seriously, and we’re going to go and investigate”

The White House has voiced support amid the calls for his ouster. AP




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Navy photograph by PO1 William Larned

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Army photograph

Army proves new watercraft capabilities

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