News Briefs – January 29, 2020

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Official: Remains of two U.S. troops recovered from Afghan site

A U.S. defense official says the United States has recovered the remains of two American service members killed in the crash of an Air Force plane in Afghanistan.
They were the only two people aboard the Air Force E-11A electronic surveillance aircraft when it went down Jan. 27 in Ghazni province, the official said, speaking Jan. 28 on the condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement of the recovery. The identities of the two have not been publicly announced, pending notification of their relatives.
The official said the American recovery team met no Taliban resistance in reaching the crash site and said there is no indication that the plane was downed by hostile action.
A spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Col. Sonny Leggett, said an investigation into the cause of the crash was ongoing.
The Taliban hold much of Ghazni province. The plane crash there is not expected to derail U.S.-Taliban peace talks if the crash investigation determines, as expected, that it was not the result of hostile action.
The U.S. and the Taliban are negotiating a reduction in hostilities or a cease-fire to allow the signing of a peace agreement that could bring home an estimated 13,000 American troops and open the way to a broader post-war deal for Afghans.
A journalist in the area, Tariq Ghazniwal, said Jan. 27 that he saw the burning aircraft. He told The Associated Press that he saw two bodies and that the front of the aircraft was badly burned but its body and tail were hardly damaged.
The crash site is about 6.2 miles from a U.S. military base, Ghazniwal said. Local Taliban were deployed to protect the crash site, he said. AP
 

Lockheed reports fourth quarter earnings

Lockheed Martin reported fourth-quarter profit of $1.5 billion on Jan. 27.
The Bethesda, Md.-based company said it had profit of $5.29 per share.
The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $4.99 per share.
The aerospace and defense company posted revenue of $15.88 billion in the period, which also beat Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $15.28 billion.
For the year, the company reported profit of $6.23 billion, or $21.95 per share. Revenue was reported as $59.81 billion.
Lockheed expects full-year earnings to be $23.65 to $23.95 per share, with revenue in the range of $62.75 billion to $64.25 billion.
Lockheed shares have risen 11 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has stayed nearly flat. The stock has increased 51 percent in the last 12 months. AP
 

Airbus nears settlements with U.S., UK, French investigators

Airbus said Jan. 28 it has reached potential settlement deals with authorities in the U.S., Britain and France investigating alleged fraud and bribery.
If the plea deals are approved by courts in all three countries, that would end four years of investigations that have damaged the European plane maker’s reputation and bottom line.
The settlements would also mean executives wouldn’t have to face trial.
Airbus did not disclose details of how much it could pay to settle the cases, but it could reach billions of euros.
British and French authorities are investigating alleged fraud and bribery related to Airbus’ use of outside consultants to sell planes. U.S. authorities are also investigating Airbus’ compliance with American arms trafficking regulations.
Airbus said in a statement Tuesday it has “reached agreement in principle” with the investigating bodies, but released no details. It said the potential settlement agreements must be approved by courts in the three countries.
Airbus, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers, has suffered financially because of the investigations, and has promised to cut out middlemen from its business dealings.
The French financial prosecutor’s office and British Serious Fraud Office started investigating in 2016, and the U.S. Department of Justice joined in 2018.
The Airbus investigation was one of the first and biggest cases led by the French financial prosecutor’s office, which has only reached five settlements since it was created in 2014. The largest plea deal was with Google, which agreed to pay 500 million euros to settle a tax fraud claim.
If the French plea deal is confirmed, Airbus must pay out the settlement within eight days. AP
 
 
 

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