News Briefs – August 19, 2016

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Body found at Nellis Air Force Base

Authorities are investigating the body of a man who was found dead on site at the Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz said Aug. 17 that the body was found about 6:40 a.m., Aug. 16, in a dirt lot near the golf course on the southern end of the base.
The Clark County coroner’s office said the man hasn’t been identified yet and the cause of death hasn’t been determined.
Kleinholz said it’s unclear if the man had any connection to the base.
Las Vegas police were called to help investigate, though the department said they’re waiting for a cause of death to determine if foul play may be suspected. AP
 

Electric Boat furloughs workers, says subs won’t be delayed

Employees at U.S. Navy contractor Electric Boat in Providence, R.I., are taking voluntary furloughs, but the company said Wednesday that won’t delay the delivery of submarines.
The Groton, Conn.,-based manufacturer says 138 employees at its Rhode Island facility volunteered for a 45-business day furlough.
Spokesman Timothy Boulay said the furloughs are needed because of late deliveries of major components, general materials and specialized raw materials — not because of a lack of work. He emphasized that Electric Boat has “plenty of work.”
The deliveries are late because of a multitude of issues involving several suppliers occurring simultaneously, Boulay said.
The company still is on track to meet contracted delivery dates, Boulay said. About 3,500 people work at the Quonset Point facility in North Kingstown, R.I.
“We’re working aggressively with our vendors and suppliers to bring the material to Quonset Point,” he said.
Electric Boat has 11 submarines in various phases of construction in Rhode Island, Connecticut and at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. The shipyards build Virginia-class attack submarines under a teaming agreement.
The furloughed employees are mostly welders, pipefitters and shipfitters, both hourly and salaried workers. They fabricate parts and assemble submarine modules. AP
 

Iran official: No permanent Russia base for Syria strikes

The speaker of Iran’s parliament is stressing that Russia does not have a permanent military base within the Islamic Republic, a day after Moscow announced launching airstrikes on Syria from Iran.
The comments by Ali Larijani, reported Aug. 17 by the state-run IRNA news agency, seem geared at easing domestic concerns over the strikes. Iran’s constitution, ratified after its 1979 Islamic Revolution, bars foreign militaries from having bases within the country.
Larijani did not directly discuss the strikes in his comments.
Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Aug. 16 that it launched the strikes from near the Iranian city of Hamedan and struck targets in three provinces in northern and eastern Syria.
The announcement from Russia marks the first significant stationing of its troops there since World War II. AP
 

Residents, advocacy group to appeal F-35 lawsuit decision

Six Chittenden County, Vt., residents and the Stop the F-35 Coalition say they will appeal a recent federal court ruling that clears the way for the Air Force to base fighter jets in Burlington.
Roseanne Greco, a retired Air Force colonel and leader of the coalition, tells The Burlington Free Press that the groups met with an attorney over the weekend and plan to bring the case to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.
Federal judge Geoffrey Crawford ruled last week that the Air Force’s environmental impact statement regarding the F-35 fighter jets in Vermont complies with the National Environmental Policy Act.
The groups had sued Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, claiming the environmental impact statement conducted by the Air Force didn’t meet legal standards. AP
 

U.S. Navy names ship after gay rights advocate Harvey Milk

The Navy is naming a ship in honor of the late gay rights leader Harvey Milk, who served in the Navy for four years before he began a career in San Francisco city government.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Aug. 16 that Milk displayed tremendous courage fighting for the rights of the LGBT community. The ship is one of a new fleet of replenishment oilers that will be built in San Diego.
Milk’s career as a Navy officer, however, ended with an “other than honorable” discharge, due to allegations of fraternization with enlisted personnel.
Some argue that Milk was forced out of the military because he was gay. A defense official said Aug. 16 that Milk accepted the other than honorable discharge to avoid possible disciplinary action.
Fraternization with enlisted personnel by an officer is against military regulations — whether they are the same or different genders. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military was formally ended in September 2011.
Milk became one of the first openly gay candidates elected to public office. He was serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978 when a former political colleague, Dan White, assassinated him and Mayor George Moscone at City Hall.
Mabus said Milk “offered hope for millions of Americans who were being ostracized and prosecuted just for who they loved.”
Speaking in San Francisco during the announcement, Mabus said it was important to honor those like Milk who have fought in a different way, battling — and sometimes dying — for freedom and equality.
Chad Griffin, the president of the advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign, lauded the Navy honor for Milk, calling it “further evidence of the profound progress on LGBTQ equality we continue to make as a nation.”
“In his bold and unabashed advocacy, Milk inspired LGBTQ people for generations,” Griffin said in a statement.
Five other replenishment oilers will bear the names of civil and human rights leaders: Sojourner Truth, Chief Justice Earl Warren, Robert F. Kennedy, suffragist Lucy Stone and Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. AP

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