Saturday, December 24, 2016

TheList 4344

The List 4344
To All,
I hope your week has been going well. Christmas eve in two days.
1775: Congress commissions the first naval officers: Esek Hopkins, commander-in- chief of the Fleet; captains Dudley Saltonstall, Abraham Whipple, Nicolas Biddle, and John Hopkins; and 13 lieutenants including John Paul Jones.
1841 - Commissioning of USS Mississippi, first U.S. ocean-going side-wheel steam warship, at Philadelphia.
1942 - Pharmacist's Mate First Class Thomas A. Moore performs appendectomy on Fireman Second Class George M. Platter on board USS Silversides (SS-236).
1942 - Sue Dauser takes oath of office as Superintendant of Navy Nurse Corps, becoming first woman with the relative rank of captain in U.S. Navy.
She was promoted to the rank of captain on 26 February 1944.
1944 - Commissioning of first 2 African-American WAVES officers, Harriet Ida Pickens and Frances F. Wills.
1960 - HS-3 and HU-2 (USS Valley Forge) helicopters rescue 27 men from oiler SS Pine Ridge breaking up in heavy seas off Cape Hatteras.
December 22
Stephen of Blois is crowned the king of England.
Esek Hopkins takes command of the Continental Navy -- a total of seven ships.
Congress passes the Embargo Act, which halts all trading completely. It is hoped that the act will keep the United States out of the European Wars.
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad opens the first passenger railway line.
The last of the food restrictions, enforced because of the shortages during World War I, are lifted.
Soviet troops leave Manchuria after a truce is reached with the Chinese over the Eastern Railway dispute.
Japanese troops make an amphibious landing on the coast of Lingayen Gulf on Luzon, the Philippines.
The Soviets drive German troops back 15 miles at the Don River.
During the Battle of the Bulge, General Anthony McAuliffe responds to a German surrender request with a one word answer: "Nuts!"
The United States recognizes Tito's government in Yugoslavia.
The EF-105F Wild Weasel makes its first kill over Vietnam.
The United States announces the allocation of 900,000 tons of grain to fight the famine in India.
The Romanian government of Nicolae Ceausescu is overthrown, ending 42 years of communist rule.
The division of East and West Germany effectively ends when the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin reopens for the first time in nearly 30 years.
What became known as the Archives of Terror are discovered in a police station near the capital of Paraguay. The records detail tens of thousands of Latin Americans who had been secretly imprisoned, tortured and / or killed by the security services of several South American governments.
Hussein Farrah Aidid relinquishes his disputed title of President of Somalia, an important step toward reconciliation in the country.
President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, takes over an interim government.
A passenger on American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris, Richard Reid, unsuccessfully attempts to destroy the plane in flight by igniting explosives he'd hidden in his shoes.
Some 1.1 billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry flood part of Tennessee after an ash dike breaks at a solid waste containment area in Roane County, in the eastern part of the state.
US President Barack Obama signs a law officially repealing the 17-year-old policy known as "Don't ask, don't tell"; the new law permits homosexuals to serve openly in the US military.
Thanks to Carl…The big fighter was fun to fly
Today in Aviation History: 1970 - First Flight Grumman F-14 Tomcat | Fighter Sweep
Today in Aviation History: 1970 – First Flight Grumman F-14 Tomcat
DECEMBER 21, 2016
Who has not seen the hit Tom Cruise movie Top Gun? The movie captivated a generation and was all about the glory of being a Navy fighter pilot featuring the F-14 Tomcat. The Tomcat is a two seat twin engine, variable-sweep wing, carrier based aircraft capable of speeds in excess of Mach 2. The F-14 replaced the F-4 Phantom during the Vietnam war era.
The F-14 Tomcat first flew on December 21, 1970 and entered service in September 1974.
Watch an F-14 Break the Sound Barrier  (11 seconds)
The Tomcat was a multi-role aircraft designed to be an air superiority fighter as well as a high speed interceptor to defend the carrier battle group from potential threats. In addition to carrying a wide variety of missiles the F-14 was also equipped with an internal 20 mm M61 Vulcan Gatling cannon to make it a more capable air combat fighter than the F-4 which did not have an internal gun.
The F-14 was a large aircraft having a wingspan of 64 feet with the wings unswept and a maximum weight in excess of 74.000 pounds. Powered by two GE F-110-GE-400 engines that created 56,000 pounds of thrust it had a ceiling of over 50,000 feet and a range of around 2000 miles.
One of the more interesting aspects of the Tomcat was its ability to carry the radar-guided AIM-54 Phoenix long-range air-to-air missile. The AIM-54 Phoenix missile system allowed the F-14 pilot to engage multiple targets at the same time.  Carrying up to six AIM-54 missiles the Tomcats radar system could track 24 simultaneous targets up to 100 nautical miles. The F-14 was the first fighter aircraft to have this type of capability and the Tomcat was the only operation platform for the Phoenix.
Photo of AIM-54 Phoenix Six Pack By US Navy

Each Phoenix missile weighed 1000 pounds. 13 feet long and 15 inches wide the AIM-54 carried a 135 pound high explosive warhead. While the missile worked in testing the only reported combat events ended up in failure. In 1999 three Phoenix missiles were fired from F-14s at Iraqi Mig fighters with all three failing to hit the target.  (NOTE:  While true, this comment did not need to be included in this tribute—must have been written by an Air Force type.  See: )
Watch an F-14 Launch Multiple Phoenix Missiles  (1:51)
On a more positive note, on January 4, 1989 while operating about 100 miles off the shores of Libya in the Gulf of Sidra the F-14 scored two Mig kills. The US carrier battle group had launched a group of A-6 Intruders with two F-14s as escort. Libya launched four Mig 23 aircraft apparently to intercept the Tomcats.
The two F-14s initially turned towards the Migs but on several occasions turned away to indicate they were not threatening them. After it became clear the Migs were not going to turn away, at a range of between 7-15 miles one of the F-14s launched two AIM-7M Sparrow radar guided missiles. Both missiles missed the Migs.
The two Migs continued their high speed approach. With about six miles between the opposing aircraft the two F-14s split apart and proceeded to take separate missile shots downing both Mig aircraft. The F-14s then returned to their ship. Reports are the two Libyan pilots were seen ejecting from their damaged aircraft.
Watch and Listen as the F-14 Pilots Shoot Down the Migs (Graphic Language)  (2:59)
F-14 with MIG Kill Silhouette. Source of photo unknown

The only foreign country to purchase the Tomcat was surprisingly Iran during the Shah years. In 1974 Iran picked the F-14 over the F-15 and purchased 80 aircraft and over 400 Phoenix missiles. The Iranian F-14s have reportedly been seen flying combat escort missions on Russian bombersin Syria in 2015.  (See more below!)
The F-14 was retired from US Navy service in 2006. There were over 700 aircraft produced.
Persian Cats
How Iranian air crews, cut off from U.S. technical support, used the F-14 against Iraqi attackers.
By Tom Cooper
Air & Space Magazine - September 2006
Political Revolution Is Brewing in Europe
by Geert Wilders
December 21, 2016 at 5:00 pm
Thanks to Steve….I think that over the years I have used each of those tool as described and probably the last tool the most…
Man Tools!
It's important that wives, girlfriends, or whomever understand the original and main purpose of tools so that they can relate and understand why a man needs so many tools.  Christmas is coming so this list can help her choose which ones to purchase for her man..........

A portable cutting tool used to make boards too short.


An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.


Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench at the speed of light.  Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes one to say, 'Oh shit'Will easily wind a tee shirt off your back.


A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it. 

Channel Lock pliers

Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters. 


One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes


Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads.  If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand. 


Used almost entirely for igniting various flammable objects in your shop and creating a fire.  Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race. 


A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.  Very effective for digit removal!! 


Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed  new brake shoes etc, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper. 


A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut large pieces into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.  Also excels at amputations.



A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of all the accessories you forgot to disconnect. 


Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads. 



A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms. 


A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part. 


A tool used to make plastic pipe too short. 


Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent to the object you are trying to hit.  Also very effective at fingernail removal. 


Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door.  Works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts.  Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.  These can also be used to initiate a trip to the emergency room so a doctor can sew up the damage. 


Any handy tool that can be grabbed and throw across the garage while yelling 'Son of a bitch' at the top of your lungs.  It is also, most often, the next tool that is needed.......
Item Number:1 Date: 12/22/2016 AFGHANISTAN - TALIBAN MILITANTS STORM HOME OF HELMAND LAWMAKER, KILL 8 (DEC 22/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- Taliban gunmen have attacked the house of an Afghan member of Parliament and killed at least eight people, say officials, as reported by the BBC.   The attack took place on Wednesday night at the house of Mir Wali in the southern province of Helmand, reported Reuters.   Wali survived the attack, but was injured when he jumped from the roof of the property to escape, reported Deutsche Welle. Two of the lawmaker's grandsons were said to be among the dead. The chief of Kabul police's criminal investigation department confirmed that the attack victims included civilians and officials.   The three attackers were shot dead by Afghan forces after a 10-hour siege, according to the Voice of America News.   A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it hit "an important military meeting" of provincial officials.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 12/22/2016 CHILE - ARMY RECEIVES 10TH, FINAL H215M UTILITY HELICOPTER (DEC 22/AIRBUSHEL)  AIRBUS HELICOPTERS -- The Chilean army has accepted delivery of its 10th and last H215M multi-role helicopter, reports the manufacturer, Airbus Helicopters.   The aircraft was handed over earlier in the month at Airbus facilities in Santiago, the Chilean capital.   Chile ordered eight H215Ms in 2008, one in 2013 and another in 2014.   All are assigned to the Chilean army's Air Brigade. Their missions include medical evacuation, firefighting and disaster relief, noted IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.   The Chilean H215M fleet has already achieved more than 10,000 flight hours over a range of missions
Item Number:3 Date: 12/22/2016 CHINA - DEFENSE MINISTRY TO PROBE USE OF PUBLIC MONIES OVER NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS (DEC 22/REU)  REUTERS -- China's Defense Ministry has announced that it will make secret anti-graft inspections over the new year holidays, reports Reuters.   Inspections held during both the Western and lunar new year will focus on issues such as extravagance and waste, embezzlement and ignoring orders, said the ministry on Thursday.   The Defense Ministry announced that it would "put efforts into inspecting and correcting the use of public funds for banquets, eating and drinking to excess, tourism or entertainment, entertaining private guests on the public purse or drinking in contravention of rules."   The lunar new year, celebrated for a week beginning Jan. 27, 2017, is considered the most important festival of the year in China.   President Xi Jinping has been running and anti-corruption campaign for years.  
  Item Number:4 Date: 12/22/2016 GERMANY - SUSPECTED DRIVER OF TERROR TRUCK IN BERLIN REMAINS AT LARGE (DEC 22/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- Police in Germany are still searching for the prime suspect in Monday's truck attack in Berlin, reports Deutsche Welle.   The suspect is a rejected Tunisian asylum-seeker, who was known as a potentially dangerous jihadist, notes Agence France-Presse.   A Europe-wide wanted notice has been issued to for 24-year-old Anis Amri, offering a 100,000 euro (US$ 104,000) reward for information leading to his arrest and warning that he "could be violent and armed".   Amri is suspected of ramming a truck into a Christmas market, killing 12 people and injuring 48. The 12th victim, the hijacked truck's Polish driver, was found shot in the cab.   The attack, Germany's deadliest in recent years, was claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group.   On Thursday, security officers, including special operations units, raided a refugee shelter in Emmerich and apartments in Dortmund, said authorities.   A spokesman for the prosecutor's officer said no arrests took place, denying earlier reports that four people had been detained in connection to the case.   Officials revealed on Wednesday that Amri was known to Germany security agencies. They had kept tabs on him for six months before the surveillance operation ended, reported AFP.   
  Item Number:5 Date: 12/22/2016 INDIA - NUCLEAR-CAPABLE CRUISE MISSILE FAILS AGAIN DURING TEST (DEC 22/HINDU)  THE HINDU -- Yet another flight-test of an Indian indigenously built ground-attack cruise missile has failed, say military sources cited by the Hindu (India).   A nuclear-capable Nirbhay subsonic cruise missile was launched Wednesday from a firing range in Odisha. However, it veered off its planned flight path and was ordered to self-destruct, said sources from the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).   The failure was caused by the wing-deployment of the missile, said the sources.   The missile performance record has been poor. According to the Times of India, the missile's first test in March 2013 completely failed; the second one was called "a partial success" in October 2014; the third test in October 2015 and the one on Wednesday were both considered failures
Item Number:6 Date: 12/22/2016 IRAQ - ISIS LOOKS FOR ITS FINANCE MINISTER, WHO MAY HAVE DEFEATED (DEC 22/RUDAW)  RUDAW -- The Islamic State has ordered its fighters to arrest the group's finance minister, who has gone missing and is believed to have defected, says a Kurdish official cited by Rudaw (Iraqi Kurdistan).   Abu Tabarak has been missing for three days, said Saeed Mamuzini, the Kurdistan Democratic Party official for Mosul affairs.   Members broke into Tabarak's home in Mosul, but failed to find him, said Mamuzini.   The terrorist group is known to have executed members, including senior leaders, for espionage, attempts to escape or plotting coups
  Item Number:7 Date: 12/22/2016 IRAQ - OPERATION TO CAPTURE TAL AFAR HURT BY WEATHER, HOSTAGE-TAKING (DEC 22/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- Affected by the winter, Iraqi forces have slowed operations against the Islamic State in Tal Afar in northwestern Iraq, reports the Voice of America News.   The fact that ISIS is holding more civilians as human shields is also hindering government operations, according to members of the Shi'ite Popular Mobilization Forces militia.   Retaking Tal Afar, which is about 37 miles (60 km) west of Mosul, is likely to be a long and difficult struggle, the militiamen said.   PMF members say they have captured at least 80 villages from Islamic State fighters, but tougher battles remain.   ISIS fighters continue to launch attacks, said the militiamen
Item Number:8 Date: 12/22/2016 ISRAEL - MILITARY EASES UP ON TROOPS SMOKING MARIJUANA WHILE OFF DUTY (DEC 22/HA)  HAARETZ -- The Israeli army is about to loosen its rules concerning soldiers who are caught using marijuana off duty/.   The Israeli army plans to lighten the punishments in such circumstances, reports Haaretz (Israel).   Under current policies, soldiers discovered to possess narcotics, including marijuana, both while off duty and on duty, may face courts-martial.   A new policy is being instituted. Soldiers may smoke marijuana up to five times, as long as they are off duty at the time, said the newspaper.   Violators will have to undergo drug-testing once a month for a year to show they are abstaining, said a former general overseeing the reform, as cited by AFP.   "We are talking about light drug offenses and one-time or a handful of uses in civilian circumstances. But the investigation will be carried out and if we have all the material and evidence to file an indictment we will do it," he said.   Soldiers suspected of using other narcotics and selling drugs will still be prosecuted.   Officials said they hope the new policy will reduce the dropout rates among troops and allow the military to focus on enforcing more serious offenses
Item Number:9 Date: 12/22/2016 JAPAN - COAST GUARD EYES MORE RECRUITS; PERSONNEL NEEDED TO DEFEND DISPUTED ISLANDS (DEC 22/NHK)  NHK -- The Japan coast guard says it needs to recruit more than 100 additional personnel by the end of March 2017, reports Japan's NHK broadcaster.   The service finds itself short of the personnel it requires to secure the area around the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, say officials.   Beijing also claims the islands, called the Diaoyus by China. Chinese patrol boats have repeatedly entered what Japan considers its waters in that area.   There are currently 12 Japanese coast guard ships deployed around the Senkakus. The service has also been forced to send patrol boats from other parts of the country to match increased Chinese activities, say Japanese officials.   The coast guard is slated to receive a new US$1.8 billion budget starting in April 2017. It will include five new large patrol ships and a personnel increase of more than 200, reported Reuters.   The coast guard's budget for this fiscal year was US$1.6 billion
Item Number:10 Date: 12/22/2016 JAPAN - TROOPS BATTLE WIND-AIDED FIRE IN ITOIGAWA (DEC 22/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Japanese troops have been deployed to the country's north to help with a rapidly spreading fire, reports Agence France-Presse.   The fire began Thursday morning at a Chinese restaurant in the city of Itoigawa in Niigata prefecture, said a local official.   A total of 155 army personnel and 25 vehicles arrived during the afternoon after Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama requested aid.   By evening, the blaze had damaged about 140 houses and buildings and forced 65 residents to evacuate. Strong winds were helping to spread the fire, reported Japan's public broadcaster NHK.   The firefighting effort was ongoing on Thursday night.  
  Item Number:11 Date: 12/22/2016 KAZAKHSTAN - SU-27 FIGHTER GOES DOWN; PILOT EJECTS SAFELY AFTER AVOIDING POPULATED REGION (DEC 22/INT-AVN)  INTERFAX-MILITARY NEWS AGENCY -- A Kazakh air force fighter has crashed, reports Interfax-AVN (Russia).   The Su-27 went down during a night training mission on Wednesday. The pilot diverted the aircraft from a populated area before he ejected, said the Kazakh Defense Ministry.   The specific location was not reported.   The pilot was in satisfactory condition following the ejection, a ministry spokesman said, as reported by Kazinform.   An investigation has been launched
  Item Number:12 Date: 12/22/2016 LEBANON - WITH NEW GOVERNMENT IN BEIRUT, SUSPENDED SAUDI ARMS DEAL MAY MOVE FORWARD (DEC 22/REU)  REUTERS -- A top French official says a suspended Saudi-financed military aid program to the Lebanese army could be restarted, reports by Reuters.   Earlier this year, Riyadh suspended a US$3 billion program to provide the Lebanese army with French-made weapons, citing the influence of the Hezbollah militant group on the interim Lebanese government.   Conditions to implement the contract are "favorable" after the recent formation of a new Lebanese government, said French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Thursday. The minister made his comments in Beirut after a meeting with President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.   Aoun was elected in October after a more than two-year vacancy over political deadlock. A new Cabinet was announced earlier this week
Item Number:13 Date: 12/22/2016 SPAIN - ADVANCED TIGER HAD ATTACK HELICOPTER JOINS ARMY; 3 MORE ON THE WAY (DEC 22/OCCAR)  ORGANIZATION FOR JOINT ARMAMENT COOPERATION -- The Spanish army has taken delivery of its first Tiger HAD/E Block 2 attack helicopter, reports the European Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR).   The aircraft was produced at the Airbus Helicopters final assembly line in Albacete, Spain, and delivered on Dec. 13, said the OCCAR release on Tuesday.   Three more helicopters in the HAD/E Block 2 configuration are scheduled to be handed over before the end of the year.   The Block 2 features the latest software with man-machine interface improvements; improved firing capabilities; high-frequency data link; naval capabilities; an enlarged firing envelope for the Spike anti-tank missile; and a new engine control monitoring unit, said the organization.   The new helicopters will be assigned to the Batallon de Helicopteros de Ataque I in Almagro along with 10 previous Tiger variants already in service.   OCCAR member states are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K
Item Number:14 Date: 12/22/2016 SYRIA - EVACUATION FROM EASTERN ALEPPO SEEN AS NEARLY COMPLETE (DEC 22/USA)  USA TODAY -- State media in Syria said on Thursday that the remaining civilians and rebels in the besieged parts of eastern Aleppo were expected to be evacuated soon, according to USA Today.   Evacuations began last week after rebels agreed to surrender their remaining territory in eastern Aleppo. A recent government advance forced rebels into a small pocket of territory.   More than 30,000 rebels and civilians have left Aleppo since then, reported Reuters, citing United Nations statistics.   Thousands of people were still waiting to leave and evacuations were expected to continue until Thursday night, said the International Committee of the Red Cross. However, heavy snow and freezing wind were causing delays.   More than 4,000 fighters have been evacuated to rural areas outside of the city overnight, according to the Red Cross.   The remaining patients from hospitals in rebel-held areas were evacuated on Wednesday, said the aid group.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 12/22/2016 SYRIA - FIGHT FOR AL-BAB INTENSIFIES, WITH DEATH TOLL RISING AMONG TURKISH TROOPS (DEC 22/HUR)  HURRIYET -- The death toll among Turkish soldiers has been increasing amid heavy fighting near the northern Syrian town of al-Bab.   The number of troops killed in an Islamic State attack on Dec. 21 has risen to 16, according to Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık, as reported by the Hurriyet Daily News on Thursday.   Turkish government forces and Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels have been trying to gain control of the ISIS-held town for several weeks.   On Thursday, the Turkish army said that about a dozen soldiers had been killed in three suicide car bomb attacks. Four others were killed on Tuesday. More than 30 soldiers were wounded, including six seriously, the army said, as reported by AFP.   The military said that 138 ISIS fighters had been killed in the fighting. The defense minister said the 1,005 militants had been "neutralized."   Meanwhile, the Turkish air force hit struck 47 ISIS targets around al-Bab, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.  
  Item Number:16 Date: 12/22/2016 SYRIA - RUSSIANS, IRANIANS WORKING TOGETHER IN SYRIA AGAINST REBELS (DEC 22/TREND)  TREND NEWS AGENCY -- Iran and Russia have established a joint military base in Syria to support operations against rebels there, reports the Trend News Agency (Azerbaijan), citing a senior Iranian security official.   Iran and Russia provide the Syrian army and its supporters with advice and assistance at the base, said Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), according to the ISNA news agency.   Tehran has also permitted Russia to use its airspace as part of bilateral military cooperation, said Shamkhani.   On Tuesday, a top Russian official said that Iran, Turkey and Russia were prepared to be "guarantors for settlement of the Syrian crisis," as reported by Turkey's Anadolu Agency
Item Number:17 Date: 12/22/2016 UNITED NATIONS - GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO ESTABLISH TEAM TO LOOK AT SYRIA WAR-CRIME CASES (DEC 22/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- The U.N. General Assembly wants to set up a panel to gather evidence of war crimes in Syria, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar).   On Wednesday, the General Assembly voted (105-15, with 52 abstentions) to adopt a resolution to set up a special team to "collect, consolidate, preserve and analyze evidence" and to prepare cases on war crimes and human-rights abuses committed during the conflict in Syria, reported the Daily Telegraph (U.K.).   The special team "prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings in accordance with international law standards, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes," said Lichtenstein's U.N. Ambassador Christian Wenaweser.   The team will work with the U.N. Syria Commission of Inquiry, which was established by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council in 2011 to investigate possible war crimes.   The commission has called for the U.N. Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. An attempt to do that was vetoed by Russia and China in 2014
Item Number:18 Date: 12/22/2016 USA - BOEING-SAAB TRAINER, CONTENDING FOR AIR FORCE PROGRAM, MAKES 1ST FLIGHT (DEC 22/BOEING)  BOEING -- The T-X trainer developed by Boeing and Saab for a U.S. Air Force requirement has flown for the first time, reports Boeing.   The 55-minute flight on Tuesday from St. Louis validated key aspects of the single-engine jet and demonstrated its performance, said the company.   The aircraft features a twin-tail, stadium seating and an advanced cockpit with embedded training, making it more affordable and flexible than previous trainers, Boeing said in a release.   A second T-X prototype is scheduled to fly in early 2017.   Boeing and Saab began developing their T-X jet three years ago, noted Defense News. The maiden flight took place 12 months after the critical design review, company officials said.   The collaborative Boeing-Saab effort is the last of four major prime contractors to fly offerings.   The Air Force's T-X program aims to replace its aging T-38 trainers. Initial operational capability for the new design is slated for 2024
Item Number:20 Date: 12/22/2016 USA - NAVY MAKES ABOUT-FACE, RESTORES RATINGS FOR ENLISTED SAILORS (DEC 22/NTIMES)  NAVY TIMES -- Navy leaders have reversed a controversial decision to eliminate job-based ratings for enlisted sailors, reports the Navy Times.   Effective immediately, the service restored the traditional job titles for sailors, Navy officials said.   In September, the Navy eliminated ratings titles, such as boatswain's mate. The rating title tradition dates more than 200 years and its change engendered massive criticism.   The leaders back-tracked after the fierce backlash from naval personnel that became a distraction from the service's broader efforts to update its personnel system, said officials.   The restoration was a "course correction," said Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, who acknowledged that the overwhelmingly negative reaction from the fleet was a key factor in the decision.   The Navy has indicated it will continue to reform the rigid personnel system and make career paths more flexible in the future.   Such changes could require new titles in the future, said Richardson. Should that happen, he will solicit feedback from sailors, said the CNO.


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