Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fw: TheList 4419

_______________________________________________
The List 4419


To All,
A bit of history and some tidbits.
Regards,
skip
 
This Day In Naval History - March 29
1844: Uriah P. Levy, the Navy's first Jewish flag officer, is promoted to the rank of captain. He also becomes the first of the Jewish faith promoted to commodore and is instrumental in persuading Congress to abolish flogging in the Navy.
1944: USS Haddo (SS 255) torpedoes and sinks Japanese army cargo ship Nichian Maru in South China Sea. Also on this date, USS Tunny (SS 282) torpedoes the Japanese battleship Musashi off Palau, necessitating for her to be repaired in Japan.
 
1954 - Carrier aircraft began reconnaissance near Dien Bien Phu, Indochina
1960 - Launch of first fully integrated Fleet Ballistic Missile from USS
Observation Island
1973 - Naval Advisory Group and Naval forces, Vietnam disestablished and
last U.S. prisoners of war left Vietnam.
1975 - Evacuation of Danang by sea began
 
Today in History
1886: The first batch of Coca Cola was brewed over a fire in a backyard in
Atlanta, GA. Dr. John Pemberton created the concoction as a "hangover" cure
and a stomach ache/headache remedy. He advertised it as a "brain tonic and
intellectual beverage". Cocaine was an ingredient of Coke until 1904 when
Congress banned it. It went on sale to the public on May eighth that year.
1973: After their single "The Cover Of Rolling Stone" was first played, Dr.
Hook and the Medicine Show were actually pictured on the front of that
particular magazine. The next week, their single went gold. Inside, a
"Rolling Stone" writer confirmed that members of the group (Dr. Hook and
the Medicine Show) bought five copies of the mag for their moms, just like
in the song's lyrics!
1992: Democratic presidential front-runner Bill Clinton acknowledged
experimenting with marijuana "a time or two" while attending Oxford
University, adding, "I didn't inhale and I didn't try it again."
 
And today is:
 
National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day
Thanks to Laurel.  A great bit of history. There was a very interesting TV documentary on the finding and identifying of King Richard the III remains.
 
Don't know if you have heard anything about King Richard III being reburied in England.  This is a well written article on his reign and things even we Americans have to thank him for, given that our system of laws comes from the English. 
 
 
laurel
 
 
Today in History
March 29
845
http://263i3m2dw9nnf6zqv39ktpr1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/06/March-29-Viking_Siege_of_Paris-300x158.jpgLed by Ragnar Lodbrok, Viking raiders sack Paris. In exchange for leaving, the Vikings collect a large ransom from the Frankish defenders. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1461
The armies of two kings, Henry VI and Edward IV, collide at Towton.
1638
A permanent European colony is established in present-day Delaware.
1827
Composer Ludwig van Beethoven is buried in Vienna amidst a crowd of over 10,000 mourners.
1847
U.S. troops under General Winfield Scott take possession of the Mexican stronghold at Vera Cruz.
1867
The United States purchases Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million dollars.
1879
British troops of the 90th Light Infantry Regiment repulse a major attack by Zulu tribesmen in northwest Zululand.
1886
Coca-Cola goes on sale for the first time at a drugstore in Atlanta. Its inventor, Dr. John Pemberton, claims it can cure anything from hysteria to the common cold.
1903
A regular news service begins between New York and London on Marconi's wireless.
1913
The German government announces a raise in taxes in order to finance the new military budget.
1916
The Italians call off the fifth attack on Isonzo.
1936
Italy firebombs the Ethiopian city of Harar.
1941
The British sink five Italian warships off the Peloponnesus coast in the Mediterranean.
1951
The Chinese reject Gen. Douglas MacArthur's offer for a truce in Korea.
1951
Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical The King and I opens on Broadway starring Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner.
1952
President Harry Truman removes himself from the presidential race.
1961
The 23rd amendment, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote for president, is ratified.
1962
Cuba opens the trial of the Bay of Pigs invaders.
1966
Leonid Brezhenev becomes First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. He denounces the American policy in Vietnam and calls it one of aggression.
1967
France launches its first nuclear submarine.
1971
Lt. William L. Calley Jr. is found guilty for his actions in the My Lai massacre.
1973
The last U.S. troops withdraw from South Vietnam.
1975
Egyptian president Anwar Sadat declares that he will reopen the Suez Canal on June 5, 1975.
1976
Eight Ohio National Guardsmen are indicted for shooting four Kent State students during an anti-war protest on May 4, 1970.
1986
A court in Rome acquits six men in a plot to kill the Pope.
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Thanks to Clyde….I have seen some pretty seasoned cups over the years.
 
Posted on November 25, 2013 by Admin
The obsession began over seven years ago.  In 2006, I began at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum as a wide-eyed intern, ready to take on the new and fascinating world of naval history.  I thought the coffee mess at work was reserved for staff and volunteers only.  I did not feel comfortable partaking in the delicious brew until somebody told me I could.  When I finally got the green light, I happily brought my coffee mug in the next day, eager to drink from the well all working class souls go to each morning.
This was my first experience with "Navy coffee."  It was hot and strong.  Very strong.  The thickness of it closely resembled crude oil.  It tasted both wonderful and terrible at the same time.  Your mind can trick you into believing anything.  When a supreme pot of joe is brewed, many of the volunteers would call it "Signal Bridge Coffee," recalling the nostalgia of long nights and many cups consumed.
After that first morning of coffee, I went to the break room to wash my cup and let it dry for the next day's angry fix.  As I washed out my cup, I felt the sting of glaring eyes from behind my back.  I'm sure whoever it was, they could sense my hesitation.  I turned around to see GMC Dana Martin, the museum's active duty OIC.  He had a puzzled, concerned look on his face.  Chief Martin was grizzled and salty.  He was by far one of the saltiest sailors I have ever met.  He grabbed my arm washing the cup.  My hesitation grew to fear.  He leaned in close and told me to "never wash it again," staring back down at my cup and back to me.  I looked at him, puzzled with fascination and disbelief.  Although I drink my coffee black, my mind struggled to find reason in the practice.
"I don't understand," I told him.  "I need to clean my cup."  I was merely doing what I was taught.  Bills should be paid on time.  Five minutes early is five minutes late.  Coffee mugs should be washed out after use.  Simple, right? Wrong.  I held my  breath and found out just how wrong I really was.
He leaned in again, this time more relaxed (and less confrontational).  "I know you are just starting out here, but I want to let you in on a little secret."  He was almost whispering.  "If you intend to stay here at the museum, you can impress the Navy guys with your mug."  He went on to explain to me the significance of an unwashed or "seasoned" coffee mug, particularly in the Navy Chief community.  "And keep it as tarry black as possible," he added.  "Sometimes it's the only way you can drink this swill.  But you will grow to love it and depend on the taste."  I would never think I would believe him.  Boy, was I wrong.
Old coffee in a cup signifies seniority and stature in the military, particularly on deployment.  As one blogger noted, "You may not be able to embrace your loved ones while you are gone, but at least you can still taste the same coffee you drank the day you left."
To many in the military, this is nothing new.  Ask anybody who served or is currently serving in the military, and they will likely give you a story about an experience involving the practice of "seasoning" their cup.  Navy Chiefs, however, are considered by many to be the most Spartan of stalwarts to the unwashed coffee mug.  I spoke to some retired CPOs who counted four or five deployments on a single unwashed cup. The August 1949 edition of All Hands Magazine declared that coffee was the "Lifeblood of the U.S. Navy."  The article goes on to discuss why many sailors take their coffee so seriously.  The article opens with this paragraph:
The 1945 Cookbook of the United States Navy lists several reasons why a clean mug and pot of coffee is essential to a flavorful experience.  All parts of the coffee mess had to be "scrupulously clean," according to the cook book.  Sailors today might read those guidelines and laugh at the rules and regulations.
130715-28coffeemovingcolor397Several recent articles about the practice surfaced on the internet on message boards and military news blogs.  One blogger from the Military Times (Broadside Blog) wrote about it this past August.  "There are only a few things you need to know about Navy coffee, and most of it involves the cup,"  the blogger writes.  "You do not wash a Navy coffee cup. Ever."
I took Chief Martin's advice, but not at first.  For the first few weeks following our confrontation, I washed my cup out after he left for the day.  But I got lazy after a while.  I starting noticing dark brown rings inside my cup.  My mug started to look like the inside of a tree, and I started to like it.  The mug was white, so it was easy to measure my progress.
The rings grew larger and darker until the entire inside was jet back.  Although I was never in the military, I felt a swelling of pride at my Frankenstein creation.  Unfortunately, that mug did not survive.  My latest and greatest creation came about in 2009.  It has not been washed or cleaned since its purchase.  I don't know if my peers understand it.  My wife surely doesn't.  I have a similar mug at home that she avoids looking at, and, on rare occasions, will clean when I am not looking.
Here is my (meager) contribution to this fine naval tradition.  I warn you, if you are unfamiliar with the practice, you might be shocked.  Behold: My four year "seasoned" mug:
IMAG0594
 
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Best Magic Trick Ever
Thanks to Donna and Dutch
This clip is from a friend of mine.  The trick performed is truly amazing.

Be prepared to be amazed
😃

This Magic Trick Will Leave You Stunned!
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Navy, Marines fighter jet shortfall may top 100 aircraft
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/joe-scarborough-trump-once-screamed-at-spicer-for-being-too-weak/article/2618729
By Travis Tritten 3/28/17 5:59 PM
The Washington Examiner
Trump's Defense Budget Misses The Point
According to President Donald Trump, his administration is set to allot $54 billion towards the defense budget in 2018. The president boasted this to be, "one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history." But some experts believe that the numbers don't quite add up. Iraq War veteran and Director of the Future of Warfare Initiative at the Center for a New American Security, Paul Scharre says of the plan, "It's an Obama-esque budget with a Trump-sized sales pitch."
Navy and Marine Corps leaders told the House Tuesday they badly need more "metal on the flight lines" — not disputing an estimate by one lawmaker the services have a shortfall of about 100 strike fighter aircraft.
Top brass representing the service's aviation programs asked the House Armed Services Committee to support more purchases of Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets and Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets after recent revelations that about half of Navy and Marine Corps aircraft are not ready to fly.
"As far as our budget, and what we ask for, we asked for some additional F-35s out there in the budget, that's what I need to get. I need more metal on the flight lines," said Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, the Marine Corps' deputy commandant for aviation.0:55 :13
The testimony comes as Congress works on a delayed 2017 defense appropriations bill and a $30-billion Pentagon supplemental funding request — a potential increase of 36 F/A-18 Super Hornets, and six F-35 joint strike fighters.
Since 2013, the services have been hit by caps on defense spending, high operations and delays in the delivery of the F-35 that have left much of the fleet aging and unreliable.
The exact number of new aircraft needed to turn around might be difficult to pinpoint, according to the testimony.
"To start with, is it over 100?" said Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Armed Service's tactical air and land forces subcommittee.
The Navy and Marine Corps are using up aircraft faster than new ones can be purchased or older aircraft can be upgraded, said Rear Adm. Chip Miller, director of the Navy Air Warfare Division.
"So about 35-39 aircraft at the current rate we are flying our strike fighters is what we are consuming per year," Miller said. "We are not replacing them at that rate."
That rate has been continuing for several years, Miller said.
"Do you have to buy new airplanes to replace and get in front of that? If that is a solution set, then, yes, you could argue that 100 is the number" of the services' strike fighter shortfall, he said.
 
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Thanks to Fred
 
 
This is something that all drivers and passengers should know!
I hope no one ever needs to do this. I always wondered why the 2 posts on the bottom of the headrest were pointed, now I know, and so do you! 
 
 
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Item Number:1 Date: 03/29/2017 AFGHANISTAN - DEFENSE MINISTRY SACKS ALMOST 1,400 OVER CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS (MAR 29/RFE/RL)  RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY -- The Afghan Defense Ministry has dismissed nearly 1,400 employees for corruption over the past year, says a senior official cited by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.   More than 300 of those accused of corruption have been brought to justice, Deputy Defense Minister Hilaluddin Hilal told reporters on Tuesday.   Hilal said the ministry is probing 1,800 allegations of corruption, including cases of suspected abuse of office and illegal weapons sales. About 170 have been referred to law enforcement agencies, he said.   A senior Afghan general was arrested Monday on charges of misuse of power and corruption. Gen. Mohammad Moeen Faqir had been appointed by the president to crack down on fraud in Helmand, noted the New York Times.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 03/29/2017 ARGENTINA - DEFENSE MINISTRY WILL BUY TRAINER AIRCRAFT; MARTINEZ REFUTES REPORTS OF LARGER PLANS (MAR 29/REU)  REUTERS -- Argentina's defense minister says his government has limited funding to replace its outdated military fleet, reports Reuters.   Recent media accounts have suggested that Argentina was considering buying foreign warplanes, possibly from aircraft Brazil's Embraer or MiG fighters from Russia.   Our actual plans are more modest, Defense Minister Julio Martinez said on Tuesday.   The air force will just purchase 12 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II aircraft to train pilots, he said. The budget for new aircraft is "very small," said Martinez.   The purchase of the trainers will help replace 24 Embraer EMB-312 Tucanos that have been used for decades. "We will need 12 more, and then we need a lot of other aircraft, medium-sized transport and other kinds of planes," said Martinez.   The minister also said there were no plans to purchase arms from abroad, denying statements from former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner that Argentina wanted US$2 billion worth of "sophisticated" weapons from the U.S
Item Number:3 Date: 03/29/2017 AUSTRALIA - ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE PERSONNEL SENT TO CYCLONE-RAVAGED AREA (MAR 29/MYGC)  MYGC -- The Australian military has deployed about 1,200 troops to help disaster-affected areas hit by a cyclone in north Queensland, reports myGC (Australia).   Cyclone Debbie, a Category 4 storm, hit the region on Tuesday, causing moderate damage, said authorities cited by Reuters.   An 800-mile stretch of the coast was said to be at risk of flooding, reported the BBC.   By Wednesday, 1,200 troops under Joint Task Force 661 had been committed to help with the recovery effort, said a military official.   Air force aircraft and HMAS Choules, a navy landing ship, were also deployed, he said.   The military personnel will help with evacuations, medical transport, search-and-rescue, restoring critical infrastructure, clearing roads, distributing emergency shelter and food and damage assessment, the official said
Item Number:4 Date: 03/29/2017 CHINA - BEIJING TO CONTINUE DEVELOPING CUBA'S ARMY, SAY TOP OFFICIALS (MAR 29/XIN)  XINHUA -- Senior Chinese and Cuban defense officials have been discussing the deepening of mutual cooperation, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency.   On Tuesday, Fan Changlong, the vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, on Tuesday hosted Leopoldo Cintra Frias, the Cuban defense minister, in Beijing.   Beijing is ready to develop friendly and cooperative relations with the Cuban military and will continue to support the development of Cuba's army, said the Chinese official.   China will also increase military exchanges and cooperation with Cuba to a new level, he said.   Cuba hopes for deeper pragmatic cooperation with China in a number of areas, said Cintra
Item Number:5 Date: 03/29/2017 CHINA - MULTIPLE MILITARY BASES IN S. CHINA SEA ALMOST OPERATIONAL, SAYS U.S. THINK TANK (MAR 29/GUARDIAN)  GUARDIAN -- A think tank in Washington, D.C., says that China has largely completed construction at three major military bases in the South China Sea, reports the Guardian (U.K.).   "Beijing can now deploy military assets, including combat aircraft and mobile missile launchers, to the Spratly Islands at any time," said the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), part of Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.   The AMTI published commercial satellite images taken early this month of the island air bases on the Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross reefs.   Each island has new aircraft hangers, capable of holding 24 military aircraft, as well as several larger hangars that can hold bombers or surveillance planes, reported CNN. No aircraft have yet been deployed, according to analysts.   Those bases, plus another on Woody Island in the Paracels, make it possible for Chinese aircraft to operate over almost the entire South China Sea, said AMTI. The construction will also provide extended radar coverage there.   Beijing has denied militarizing the South China Sea.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 03/29/2017 DEM REP OF CONGO - PEACEKEEPERS FIND BODIES OF 2 EXPERTS INVESTIGATING HUMAN-RIGHTS VIOLATIONS (MAR 29/F24)  FRANCE 24 -- The bodies of two United Nations experts and an interpreter who went missing earlier this month in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been found, says a government spokesman, as cited by France24.   The U.N. investigators were looking at large-scale human-rights violations in the region when they went missing on March 13.   On Monday, U.N. peacekeepers found the bodies of American Michael Sharp and Swedish national Zaida Catalan outside the city of Kananga, said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as reported by CNN.   The body of a Congolese interpreter was also found, said Guterres on Tuesday. Catalan's body was beheaded.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 03/29/2017 GERMANY - ONETIME TALIBAN COMMANDER PICKED UP IN BAVARIA; SUSPECT ACCUSED OF KILLING U.S. SOLDIERS (MAR 29/RFE/RL)  RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY -- German police have arrested an Afghan man suspected of being a former Taliban commander involved in attacks against U.S. and Afghan troops, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.   The 30-year-old Afghan citizen, identified only as Abdullah P., was arrested on March 23 in Bavaria for attempted murder and being a member of a terrorist group, said the federal prosecutor's office on Tuesday.   The suspect joined the Taliban in 2002 and commanded a combat unit after taking over from his father, said prosecutors.   He participated in "countless" missions against foreign and Afghan soldiers, including an attack on a military convoy that killed 16 U.S. and Afghan soldiers, said the office.   The accused left his unit when he was threatened with death and fled to Pakistan in 2009. He arrived in Germany as a migrant in 2011, said authorities
Item Number:8 Date: 03/29/2017 GREECE - EMIRATI, ISRAELI AIR FORCES AMONG THOSE TRAINING IN INIOHOS DRILLS (MAR 29/HA)  HAARETZ -- Greece is currently hosting a multinational air exercise that includes Israeli and Emirati aircraft, among others, reports Haaretz (Israel).   The Iniohos drills, which started on Monday, include the Greek, Israeli, Italian, U.A.E. and U.S. air forces. The exercise is scheduled to conclude on April 6.   The U.S. dispatched 12 F-16C fighters and 220 personnel for the exercise.   The training is focused on strengthening ties among the participants, maintaining readiness and improving interoperability, according to the U.S. Air Force.   The governments of Israel and the U.A.E. do not have official diplomatic relations, though their air forces have flown together before. Last year, Israel participated in a Red Flag drill in the U.S. along with pilots from Pakistan, Spain and the U.A.E.   Israel has been expanding its joint training with other countries. It is also preparing to host a large-scale exercise in November with units from India, Italy, Poland and the U.S., among others
Item Number:9 Date: 03/29/2017 IRAQ - SECURITY FORCES CLOSE IN ON MOSQUE WHERE ISIS LEADER DECLARED HIS CALIPHATE (MAR 29/REU)  REUTERS -- Iraqi forces continue to push the Islamic State in western Mosul's Old City, say military officials, as reported by Reuters.   On Wednesday, there were clashes near the al-Nuri mosque where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in 2014.   "Federal police forces have imposed full control over the Qadheeb al-Ban area and the al-Malab sports stadium in the western wing of Old Mosul and are besieging militants around the al-Nuri mosque," said the chief of the federal police.   The Interior Ministry's rapid-response forces have reached the edge of the Old City. Teams have been entering since Tuesday, said one official.   Many recent reports have focused on a U.S.-led coalition airstrike that allegedly killed large numbers of civilians in Mosul earlier this month.   On Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the senior coalition commander in Iraq, acknowledged a likely role. "My initial assessment is that we probably had a role in these casualties. What I don't know is were [the civilians] gathered there by the enemy? We still have some assessments to do.... I would say this, that it sure looks like they were," he said
Item Number:10 Date: 03/29/2017 NORWAY - ARMED FORCES PROCURES 4 MORE HUGIN AUVS FOR MINEHUNTING MISSIONS (MAR 29/KONGMARINE)  KONGSBERG MARINE -- The Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency (NDMA) has awarded Kongsberg Maritime a contract to deliver autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for minehunting missions, reports the Norwegian defense firm.   The deal covers four complete Hugin AUV systems with a depth rating of 9,840 feet (3,000 meters) and advanced minehunting sensors, said a Kongsberg release on Monday.   Also being supplied are systems for planning, executing and analyzing missions; launch and recovery systems for the Norwegian navy's minehunting vessels; and mobile containers.   The value of the contract was not disclosed
Item Number:11 Date: 03/29/2017 PHILIPPINES - TC-90 AIRCRAFT FROM JAPAN SEEN IMPROVING NAVY'S CAPABILITIES (MAR 29/SUNS)  SUN STAR -- Japan has delivered two TC-90 surveillance aircraft to the Philippines, reports the SunStar (Manila).   The aircraft were handed over on Monday at the naval base in Sangley Point in Cavite province, near Manila, reported Agence France-Presse.   The two aircraft are among five from a deal made during the Aquino administration for the leasing of the Beechcraft planes, noted the Diplomat (Tokyo).   The TC-90s will be used to patrol the disputed South China Sea and Benham Rise, off the northeastern coast of the Philippines, where Chinese survey ships have been observed, said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.   That region is likely rich in minerals and natural gas.   The navy has been using Islander aircraft to patrol and deliver supplies to outposts in the area; the TC-90 are faster and have longer range, noted the Rappler (Philippines
Item Number:12 Date: 03/29/2017 RUSSIA - BOOST ORDERED TO SIZE OF ARMED FORCES (MAR 29/SPUTNIK)  SPUTNIK -- President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian armed forces to increase its manpower to about 1.9 million, reports Russia's Sputnik news agency.   The organic strength of the armed forces was set at 1.897 million in January 2017, according to a presidential decree posted on the government's legal information web portal on Wednesday.   By July 2017, the size of the armed forces will then increase to 1.903 million personnel, said the decree.   The number of service members will remain the same at 1,013,628, said the decree.  
  Item Number:13 Date: 03/29/2017 SYRIA - KURDISH-LED FIGHTERS RESUME FIGHT OVER ISIS-HELD TABQA DAM (MAR 29/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- Following a pause earlier this week, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces alliance fighting the Islamic State are ready to resume operations to seize a key dam in northern Syria, reports the Voice of America News.   Taking the Tabqa dam is part of the SDF's operation to encircle Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS about 40 km (25 miles) away.   Fighting was halted Monday after ISIS claimed that the dam was at risk of collapse due to rising waters and U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.   Kurdish engineers found no evidence of structural damage to the dam, said a SDF spokesman on Tuesday. "These claims are used by [ISIS] to stop our advancement in the area. We are now controlling two kilometers (1.2 mi) of the dam and will continue with a new strategy starting from tomorrow," the spokesman said.   A technician inside the dam told AFP that rising water levels had submerged some equipment in the lower levels. The main control room had been knocked out, he said.   A Syrian government official told VOA that it would be difficult to destroy the dam. "I talked to a team of engineers who used to manage the dam before [Islamic State's] takeover, and all have agreed that the largest dam in the country is very fortified. The only way for the dam to collapse is if [ISIS] planted explosive materials in its body," he said
Item Number:14 Date: 03/29/2017 SYRIA - REBELS, GOVERNMENT AGREE TO EVACUATIONS OF 4 TOWNS; DEAL BROKERED BY IRAN, QATAR (MAR 29/TRTW)  TRT WORLD -- An agreement has been reached to evacuate four towns in Syria that have been under a siege for more than two years, says a monitoring group cited by TRT World (Turkey).   Under the deal made late Tuesday, residents of the rebel-held town of Zabadani and Madaya, near the capital Damascus, will be allowed to leave their homes, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, as reported by AFP.   Meanwhile, the rebels will allow the evacuation of Fuaa and Kafraya, two predominately Shi'ite towns in the northwest, said the observatory.   The deal was brokered by Qatar and Iran.   As part of the agreement, the cease-fires went into effect overnight. Evacuations are expected to begin on April 4.  
 Item Number:15 Date: 03/29/2017 UNITED KINGDOM - AMERICAN, BRITISH, FRENCH NAVIES TO COORDINATE ASW, AIRCRAFT CARRIER OPS (MAR 29/USNIN)  USNI NEWS -- The navies of France, the U.K. and U.S. have agreed to work together more closely in a number of areas, including anti-submarine warfare and aircraft carrier operations, a U.S. Navy official told USNI News.   The one-page trilateral accord was signed on Monday in London.   The effort is expected to focus on developing a coordinated strategic picture; aircraft carrier cooperation; and anti-submarine warfare operations, said the official.   The official said this was the first time representatives of the three navies met in a trilateral setting to discuss maritime instability, regional and international cooperation on anti-submarine warfare and opportunities to cooperate more on future aircraft operations.   All three navies have concerns about increased Russian submarine activity, especially in the North Atlantic, the official said.  
  Item Number:16 Date: 03/29/2017 UNITED KINGDOM - FRENCH, BRITISH DEFENSE MINISTERS TAKE STEP TOWARD CRUISE MISSILE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (MAR 29/UKMOD)  U.K. MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- The defense ministers of France and the U.K. have agreed to jointly develop future missile technologies with defense firm MBDA Systems, reports the U.K. Ministry of Defense.   The accord was inked on Tuesday during a meeting in London between British Defense Minister Harriett Baldwin and her French counterpart Laurent Collet-Billon.   The pact launches a three-year concept phase to develop future long-range weapons for the air forces and navies of the partners. Each country is contributing 50 million euros (US$53.7 million) for the first phase, said the ministry.   The Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon program will evaluate options to replace and improve existing navy and air force equipment over the next decade.  
  Item Number:17 Date: 03/29/2017 USA - DOD LIKELY TO APPROVE $29 BILLION KING STALLION HELICOPTER PROGRAM (MAR 29/BLOOMBERG)  BLOOMBERG NEWS -- The Defense Dept. is expected to approve low-rate production for the Marine Corps' CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter program, reports Bloomberg News.   The Defense Acquisition Board has scheduled a meeting on March 30 to review the low-rate production decision. If production is approved, Sikorsky could begin work on a batch of 24 of a planned 200 King Stallion helicopters.   The overall program has been valued at up to $29 billion.   Two helicopters would be ordered at first, according to Defense Dept. documents. Production would increase to four in 2018 and 14 in fiscal 2021.   The CH-53K currently carries a unit cost of $122 million, although this figure is expected to fall to $89 million once full-rate production begins, according to Lt. Gen. Gary Thomas, Marine deputy commandant for programs.   The King Stallion is on track to meet key performance parameters for range, payload and reliability, said a spokesman for the Pentagon's testing office, citing a Feb. 24 assessment
Item Number:18 Date: 03/29/2017 USA - MATTIS, CENTCOM CONSIDERING STRONGER ROLE IN YEMEN'S WAR (MAR 29/AL ARABIYA)  AL ARABIYA -- The U.S. government is reviewing the possibility of increasing its role in Yemen's civil war, reports Al Arabiya (Dubai).   Last year, the United Arab Emirates tried to get the Obama administration involved in an operation to attack the port of Al Hudaydah and a nearby city to push Houthi rebels and their allies from the region.   The object was to prevent the rebels from threatening naval and commercial vessels in international waters in the Red Sea and cut off equipment supply routes from Iran or the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.   The Obama administration rejected the plan, because it was seen as unlikely to dislodge the rebels, while directly involving U.S. troops in the war and worsening the humanitarian situation, noted the Washington Post.   There are now two potential plans that would increase U.S. engagement in the conflict, one from Gen. Joseph Votel, the Central Command chief, and the other from Defense Secretary James Mattis.   Some details of the Emirati plan have been made public. These include an Emirati landing at the port, with U.S. special operations. Air and naval support and surveillance are also said to be under consideration.   The Mattis plan reportedly calls for additional U.S. support for a regional force, said an American official. It does not include U.S. ground troops or special operations personnel.   The Trump administration's study is due to be completed in April, said the Washington Post.  
  Item Number:19 Date: 03/29/2017 USA - STOP-GAP FUNDING MEASURE SEEN AS THREATENING AIR FORCE FLYING HOURS (MAR 29/MIL)  MILITARY.COM -- Senior U.S. Air Force officials are worried that an extended continuing resolution in Congress may force the service to reduce flying hours, reports Military.com.   A continuing resolution caps the military services' spending at last year's budget levels until a new budget can be approved.   The Air Force is trying to "solve a $1.3 billion math problem by late April," said Gen. Stephen Wilson, the vice chief of staff.   "I'd have to stop flying sometime this summer," Wilson said in Washington, D.C., last week. "I would have to shut down some hiring at our depots, and only fix things at our installations if they broke. That's what a one-year-long CR does to us."   The stop-gap funding measure also prevents the start of 60 new programs.   Congressional leaders have until April 28 to extend the continuing resolution or pass a full-year appropriations bill.  
  Item Number:20 Date: 03/29/2017 YEMEN - DRONE TAKES OUT 4 SUSPECTS IN ABYAN PROVINCE (MAR 29/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- An apparent U.S. drone strike in Yemen has killed four suspected members of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, says a security official, as reported by Agence France-Presse.   Two missiles hit a vehicle carrying the suspect near the town of Mudiyah in Abyan province, killing four people, said the unidentified official.   The attack took place about midnight on Tuesday, reported Reuters. The wire service reported that the vehicle was destroyed and the bodies badly charred, citing local residents.   Airstrikes also hit a suspected AQAP outpost in the Wadi al-Naseel area in Abyan, according to residents. The number of casualties there was unknown.   The U.S. stepped up its air campaign against AQAP earlier this month, trying to degrade its ability to coordinate attacks abroad.
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