News Briefs – August 8, 2016

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Pilot’s remains to return to Indiana 72 years after crash

The remains of a fighter pilot from central Indiana whose aircraft disappeared more than 72 years ago have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said Aug. 5 that remains of Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Robert McIntosh of Elwood, Ind., have been identified after the wreckage of his fighter plane was discovered in Santa Cristina, Italy, in 2013.
The 21-year-old McIntosh was returning with his squadron from a strafing mission against an enemy airfield in Piacenza, Italy, on May 12, 1944, when his single-seat P-38 Lightning aircraft went missing.
Young-Nichols Funeral Home said his remains are expected to return to Tipton Aug. 9. A public funeral will be held Aug. 13, in the Tipton [Indiana] High School auditorium. AP
 

China’s air force flies combat patrol over disputed islands

China’s air force says it has conducted a combat air patrol over disputed areas of the South China Sea to improve its fighting ability.
The announcement comes after Beijing said it wanted to tamp down tensions following its strong rejection of an international tribunal that ruled that its claim to virtually all of the South China Sea has no legal basis.
The announcement Aug. 6 didn’t mention when the exercises took place. Last month, after the July 12 ruling, the air force said that it had conducted patrols over the South China Sea and would make it “a regular practice.”
In a statement, air force spokesman Senior Col. Shen Jinke said the patrol was “to enhance combat capabilities to deal with various security threats” and to safeguard the country’s sovereignty. AP
 

Japan protests China’s vessels around disputed islands

Japan summoned Chinese diplomats Aug. 6 to protest after six Chinese coast guard vessels approached disputed East China Sea islands accompanying a fleet of hundreds of Chinese fishing boats.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it filed the protest after Japan’s coast guard spotted the vessels Aug. 6 along with a fleet of 230 Chinese fishing boats swarming around the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands. China also claims the islands, calling them the Diaoyu.
Japan is demanding the ships leave the area. Three of the Chinese coast guard vessels were armed with what appeared to be gun batteries, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said.
The Chinese fleet has not intruded in Japanese territorial waters so far, it said. AP