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August 1, 2014

News Briefs August 1, 2014

China allows foreign reporters at news conference

Foreign reporters are being allowed to attend China’s Defense Ministry briefings for the first time, marking a small milestone in the increasingly confident Chinese military’s efforts to project a more transparent image.

Restrictions still apply and there is no sign of an improvement in the generally paltry amount and poor quality of information released by the People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest standing military with 2.3 million members.

The foreign journalists were invited to the monthly briefing July 31 for the first time.

Officers charged with overseeing the briefings say it reflects a desire by the top brass to allay foreigners’ concerns over fast-expanding budgets, vast hardware improvements, and an increasingly clear determination to use the military to assert China’s interests and territorial claims. AP

Japanese search U.S. archives for WWII MIA info

A Japanese group is combing a New York military museum’s World War II records for information it hopes will lead to the graves of Americans still listed as missing in action on the Pacific island of Saipan.

Kuentai – which normally searches for the remains of Japan’s war dead – says it’s racing the clock: A developer plans to begin construction in the fall on a condominium near the beach where scores of American soldiers died in Japan’s largest mass suicide attack during the war.

The group has found the remains of at least two American fighting men near the construction site and believes as many as 16 others are buried nearby.

The Pentagon says developers on Saipan are subject to stringent historic preservation laws, and if a suspected burial site is found to be in imminent danger, it will send in a recovery team. AP

Boeing wrapping up work in Wichita

Boeing recently auctioned off items from its Wichita, Kansas, hangars as the airplane manufacturer prepares to leave Kansas.

At one time Boeing employed as many as 40,000 people in Wichita and for decades was the state’s largest private employer. But Boeing Wichita’s work has been moved elsewhere and most of its 2,100 Wichita employees have moved with Boeing, have been laid off or have retired.

The Wichita Eagle reports that Boeing Wichita crews built parts for Boeing commercial jets and maintained and modified military aircraft. The company announced in 2012 it was closing its Wichita facilities and held a large auction last week.

A small crew has been tying up loose ends in Wichita, but Boeing says much of that work will be finished by the end of this week. AP




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