News Briefs – November 6, 2015

B-52 bomber makes safe emergency landing in Amarillo

A B-52 bomber from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., has made a safe emergency landing at a Texas airport after having mechanical trouble.
An official with Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport says the plane remained on the ground Nov. 5 pending repairs.
Airport director Sara Freese says the crew declared an emergency and landed around 3 p.m., CST, Nov. 4. Freese says the three-person crew was not hurt and the B-52’s landing did not impact operations at the Amarillo airport.
Freese says the Air Force was sending a crew to repair the plane. She had no details on the mechanical issue.
Tinker Air Force Base officials Nov. 5 had no immediate information on the flight. AP

NATO chief sounds alarm over Russian buildup

NATO’s secretary-general sounded the alarm Nov. 5 over the build-up of Russian military forces from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean and called on the U.S.-led alliance to come up with a response.
Jens Stoltenberg said the Russians have concentrated military forces in Kaliningrad, the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean, where they are assisting beleaguered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Speaking at a news conference during NATO war games in Portugal, Stoltenberg said experts believe the Russian build-ups could lead to Moscow’s ability to limit the access of the United States and its allies to certain regions.
“We have to be sure that we are able to overcome these capabilities, so we can reinforce, so we can move and we can deploy forces if needed,” Stoltenberg said. The NATO chief said this challenge was now “the question on our agenda.”
Earlier in the day, NATO put some of its naval and special forces capabilities on display at this naval base south of Lisbon, and also showcased the ability of armed forces from its 28 member nations to work together.
As Stoltenberg and other VIP guests looked on, British and Spanish marines riding landing craft stormed a beach. Portuguese marines fast-roped from a helicopter onto the bow of a ship, simulating the retaking of a vessel seized by terrorists or pirates. The Portuguese were reinforced by units from Polish special forces, who also checked for the presence of chemical, biological or nuclear hazards.
For the past three weeks, more than 36,000 personnel from NATO allies and partner nations have been taking part in exercises across a swath of southern Europe stretching from Portugal to Italy. The maneuvers, code-named Trident Juncture, are being held to hone NATO’s ability to respond to a range of new security threats, including a more assertive Russia and Muslim terrorist groups like the Islamic State group. AP

Russia suspends Boeing 737 certification

An agency that oversees civil aviation in Russia said Nov. 5 it is suspending the certification of Boeing 737 planes used by Russian airlines pending resolution of safety concerns.
The Boeing 737 is flown by most major Russian airlines, but there were no immediate signs the Interstate Aviation Commission’s surprise announcement would disrupt air travel. The S7 airline, one of Russia’s largest, said it would continue to fly the plane, according to the news agency Interfax.
In a statement reported by Russian news agencies, the committee said the certifications are suspended until the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency and its Russian counterpart, Rosaviatsiya, give joint notice “supporting the safe operation” of 737s.
Rosaviatsiya said it aimed to have a meeting with the commission Nov. 6, but added that the commission did not have the power to halt the use of planes.
The Moscow-based commission oversees civil aviation’s certification and use of airspace in most countries of the former Soviet Union, and is involved in investigating accidents.
Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the Kremlin was following the situation, but sidestepped direct comment.
The move comes amid speculation about the cause of the Oct. 31 fatal Russian airliner crash in Egypt, but there was no indication the action was connected to the disaster. That crash was of an Airbus 321, a plane similar to the 737 in range and passenger capacity. AP

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