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August 18, 2014

News Briefs August 18, 2014

New U.S. strikes in Iraq include land-based bombers

The latest round of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State extremist group includes the first reported use of land-based bombers in the military campaign.

U.S. Central Command says a combination of bombers, fighter jets, attack planes and unmanned drones hit targets near Iraq’s largest dam in Mosul. That’s a wider array than in previous rounds of airstrikes.

Kurdish security officials say Kurdish forcers have taken over parts of the dam – aided by U.S. and Iraqi airstrikes.

It was less than two weeks ago that militants had captured the dam.

The U.S. military says U.S. forces conducted 14 airstrikes Aug. 17 – after nine strikes Aug. 16.

The U.S. says the Aug .17 strikes damaged or destroyed 10 armed vehicles, seven Humvees, two armored personnel carriers and one checkpoint. AP

Ukraine says rebels shoot down fighter jet

Separatist rebels in the east have shot down a Ukrainian fighter plane, a Ukrainian military spokesman said Aug. 17.

Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky said that the plane was shot down over the Luhansk region after launching an attack on rebels. The pilot ejected and was taken to a secure place, he said.
Further details about the incident or the condition of the pilot were not immediately available.

Fighting in Ukraine has escalated since the insurgency arose in April, with government troops steadily taking back rebel-held territory in the east.

The city of Luhansk is encircled by Ukrainian forces and is reportedly suffering from severe electrical outages and shortages of food and medicine. Donetsk, the largest rebel-held city, is also suffering through fighting including frequent shelling.

The latest fighting comes as a Russian aid convoy is waiting on the Ukrainian border for clearance to bring supplies to suffering civilians in the region. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which would have responsibility for distributing the aid, on Saturday said the main holdup was a lack of security guarantees from all sides in the conflict. AP

Military jet, destroyer to be named after Inouye

A military cargo jet will be named after the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that a C-17 Globemaster III will be dedicated to Inouye in a ceremony this Aug. 20.

The Navy also plans to name one of its new destroyers after Inouye, a World War II veteran and staunch supporter of the military during his 50-year tenure in the Senate.

He died nearly two years ago of a respiratory ailment. He was 88. AP

Chinese man accused of hacking for U.S. defense data

A federal grand jury has charged a Chinese businessman with a computer hacking scheme to steal information on military projects, including fighter jets, to sell to Chinese companies.
City News Service says Su Bin was indicted Aug. 14 on charges of conspiracy and unauthorized computer access. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say Su, working with two other Chinese, hacked the computers of defense contractors, including Boeing, and stole trade secrets on projects including the C-17 military transport and the F-22 and F-35 fighter jets. They’re accused of trying to sell the information to state-owned Chinese companies.

Su is held in Canada, where he was arrested in June. It’s not clear whether he has an attorney.

The indictment replaces earlier federal charges against him. AP




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