News Briefs – February 10, 2017

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Pentagon looking to rent space at Trump Tower

The United States military is looking to rent space at Trump Tower for use when President Donald Trump returns to his longtime home in New York City.
A Pentagon spokesman said Feb. 8 that the Department of Defense was looking for the space “in order to meet official mission requirements.”
“The Department of Defense is working through appropriate channels and in accordance with all applicable legal requirements in order to acquire a limited amount of leased space in Trump Tower,” said Army Lt. Col. J.B. Brindle. “The space is necessary for the personnel and equipment who will support the POTUS at his residence in the building.”
It was not clear how much it would cost the Pentagon to rent space in the 58-story Midtown Manhattan tower, which is owned by the Trump Organization. Entire floors, which run between 13,000-15,000 square feet, cost about $1.5 million a year, according to the building’s website.
Trump has lived in the three-story penthouse for three decades. He has not yet returned to New York since taking office, though his wife Melania and their young son Barron have continued to reside there.
His business is also based in the skyscraper.
It is customary for the military to obtain space near a president’s residence.
Military officers, including those assigned to keep the “nuclear football,” must stay near the commander in chief. The military also rented space near former President Barack Obama’s home in Chicago.
The Secret Service also must have space nearby — and, when needed, have rented from the person they are assigned to protect. The agency rented space on former Vice President Joe Biden’s home in Delaware, though that cost far less than what would be expected for space in Trump Tower. The Secret Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment. AP
 

Russia deploys air defense missiles for massive drills

The Russian military has deployed its air defense missiles around Moscow as part of massive drills, to practice response to an air attack.
The Defense Ministry said S-300 and S-400 air defense missile systems were involved in the drills Feb. 8.
Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin told foreign military attaches that the maneuvers launched Tuesday involve 45,000 troops, about 150 aircraft and 200 air defense missile systems.
Fomin said that that air defense missiles were also airlifted to the southern shooting range of Ashuluk for target practice.
The maneuvers are the latest in a steady series of war games intended to strengthen the Russian military’s readiness. Despite the nation’s economic downturn, the Kremlin has continued to spend big on military training and weapons modernization amid tensions with the West over the Ukrainian crisis. AP
 

Turkey coordinating troop movements in Syria with Russia

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman says Turkey is in talks with Russia to coordinate troop movements around northern Syria to avoid any encounter with the Syrian military.
Syrian government forces and Turkish-backed opposition fighters are in a race to seize the town of al-Bab from the Islamic State group.
Turkish and Syrian forces have so far avoided direct conflict, despite hostile rhetoric between Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar Assad. The twin offensives put the two forces within 3 kilometers (2 miles) of one another, on opposite sides of al-Bab.
Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, spoke to Turkey’s private NTV television in an interview aired Feb. 8.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights meanwhile reported fighting between Turkish forces and IS militants on the outskirts of al-Bab. AP

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