Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fw: TheList 4458


The List 4458

To All,
A bit of history and some tidbits.
This Day In Naval History - May 17
1940 - FDR announces plans to recommission 35 more destroyers
1942 - USS Tautog (SS-199) sinks Japanese sub, I-28; while USS Triton
(SS-201) sinks I-164
1951 - Aircraft from carriers attack bridges between Wonsan and Hamhung, Korea
1962 - Naval amphibious ready group lands Marines to guard Thailand's borders from Communist probes
1966 - Naval Support Activity Saigon established
1973 - First woman to hold a major Navy command, Captain Robin Lindsay Quigley assumes command of Navy Service School, San Diego, CA.
1987 - USS Stark (FFG-31) struck by Iraqi Exocet missile in Persian Gulf, killing 37 Sailors. 21 were wounded.
1990 - USS Roark rescues 42 refugees from unseaworthy craft in South China Sea
Today in History May 17
Afghan chief Sher Khan defeats Mongul Emperor Humayun at Kanauj.
Italian Jesuit Niccolo Zucchi sees the belts on Jupiter's surface.
Louis XIV sends an expedition to aid James II in Ireland. As a result, England declares war on France.
Merchants form the New York Stock Exchange at 70 Wall Street.
Denmark cedes Norway to Sweden.
Union General Ulysses Grant continues his push towards Vicksburg at the Battle of the Big Black River Bridge.
The first Kentucky Derby is run in Louisville.
Frederick Douglass is appointed recorder of deeds for Washington, D.C.
Germany occupies Brussels, Belgium and begins the invasion of France.
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rules for school integration in Brown v. Board of Education.
The Senate Watergate Committee begins its hearings.
In the Persian Gulf the American guided missile frigate USS Stark is struck by 2 Exocet missiles fired by an Iraqi aircraft; only one detonates, but 37 sailors are killed and 21 are wounded. Whether the launch was deliberate or a mistake is still debated.
This Week in American Military History:
By Thomas Smith
May 15, 1862:  U.S. Marine Corporal John F. Mackie participates in an action against Confederate forces at Drewry's Bluff, Virginia, for which he will become the first Marine in history to receive the Medal of Honor.
According to his citation, "As enemy shellfire raked the deck of his ship, Corporal Mackie fearlessly maintained his musket fire against the rifle pits on shore, and when ordered to fill vacancies at guns caused by men wounded and killed in action, manned the weapon with skill and courage."
May 15, 1963:  Astronaut, fighter pilot, and U.S. Air Force Maj. Leroy Gordon "Gordo" Cooper Jr., piloting "Faith 7," becomes the first American to spend an entire day in space, and the first man to sleep in space.
A former U.S. Marine private who ultimately was commissioned an Army second lieutenant, Cooper will retire an Air Force colonel.
May 18, 1775:  Future turncoat Col. Benedict Arnold leads a successful surprise attack against a British fort and the adjacent shipyards at St.
Johns, Canada. Among Arnold's prizes is the British sloop HMS George which he renames "Enterprise," the first of eight so-named American Navy ships.
May 18, 1863: Union Army forces under the command of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S.
Grant move against the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Vastly outnumbered Confederate forces under Lt. Gen. John Pemberton fall back on prepared defenses. Pemberton's army is quickly surrounded. Grant strikes Pemberton's positions the following day hoping to destroy his army before it is properly positioned. Losses are heavy among the ranks of the assault forces. The siege of Vicksburg has begun.
May 21, 1881:  Clara Barton, the Civil War's famous "angel of the battlefield," founds the American Red Cross.
Thanks to John
Elevator to Top of the One World Trade Center

  This is cool….. Enjoy.
Today on Fighter Sweep
Turkish Newspaper Demands the Withdrawal of US Forces from Incirlik Air Base
A prominent newspaper in Turkey is demanding that US personnel and aircraft be evicted from Incirlik Air Base. The tensions between the US and Turkey went up dramatically after the Trump View More ›
Watch: SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Takes the Inmarsat-5 F4 Satellite into Space
Another spectacular launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Blasting off from historic launch Complex 39A the Falcon 9 delivered the Inmarsat-5 F4 View More ›
Thanks to Bruce
Ten years ago today, the USS Oriskany was sunk 22 miles off Pensacola to create an artificial reef...what an amazing work of marine demolition that made this a reality!
View video at:
Oriskany: 11 years as 'The Great Carrier Reef'
Melissa Nelson Gabriel
Pensacola News Journal
In the 11 years since the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany was intentionally sunk in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola, it has become both a top international dive destination and an underwater memorial to thousands of veterans who served on the famed carrier that is now the world's largest artificial reef.
The ship has also become a final resting place for dozens of veterans who have had their ashes scattered over the site or had their sealed urns placed inside the ship since it was sunk 22 miles off Pensacola beach in about 220 feet of water.
Local dive enthusiasts say the Oriskany's size and complexity make it the Mount Everest of diving. Dubbed "The Great Carrier Reef" by locals, it has put Pensacola on the map of dive enthusiasts around the world.
"It's a bucket-list dive for a lot of people. Scuba diving and coming down on something like that, it's surreal," said Chris Kimball, a Pensacola diver.
The Oriskany sunk to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico on May 17, 2006, after Navy divers placed explosive charges throughout the ship and conducted a planned detonation. A flotilla of boats surrounded the ship and onlookers blew air horns and cheered as the ship dipped below the waves, water spraying from various compartments, before it sank to the bottom of the Gulf to became the world's largest intentionally created artificial reef.
The sinking followed years of back and forth between the Navy, state of Florida, the Environmental Protection Agency and Pensacola-area leaders.
"The Navy had to have wanted it sunk here or it never would have happened," said Douglas Hammock, captain of the dive charter boat H20 Below, who recalled endless community meetings with federal officials in the years before the sinking.
Hammock was a recreational diver who earned a living repairing boats before the Oriskany was sunk. In the decade since, he has retired from the boat repair business and started his dive charter business. He estimates he has taken more than 10,000 divers to the Oriskany site.
Hammock took his boat to the site the day after the sinking when divers went down to retrieve cameras that had been placed on the ship to capture the event. His fear was that the ship had laid over on its side after hitting the ocean floor.
"It was a relief for all of us to find it sitting upright," he said.
Hammock has taken divers from around the world to the Oriskany site. Many of the divers are the children of sailors who served on the Oriskany. He has also taken veterans' families to the site for memorial services conducted by a Navy chaplain. The families often scatter ashes over the site or ask divers to place an urn with a sailor's ashes inside the ship, he said.
"We've had several pilots who were stationed on the Oriskany come back and make the dive, but the veterans are getting in the older bracket now," he said.
U.S. Sen. John McCain flew off the Oriskany before he was shot down and taken prisoner during the Vietnam War.
The ship is most remembered for a 1966 fire in the hangar bay. The fire, which ignited when a magnesium parachute flare exploded, killed 44 sailors.
Keith Benoit of Lafayette, Louisiana, was a 19-year-old disbursing clerk working below deck when the blaze erupted.
"The fire is the thing that sticks with me more than anything," said Benoit, who recalled sailors fighting the blaze for more than 18 hours.
"The smoke was really thick and there was a strong odor from the magnesium," he said.
Benoit is now in charge of the Oriskany veterans' 2016 annual reunion, which will be held in Lafayette in October.
Some veterans would have preferred to see the Oriskany turned into a museum, but the move was cost prohibitive, Benoit said. Most are pleased the ship has found a second life as an artificial reef, he said.
Dive master Taylor Wachtel has made more than 3,000 dives to the Oriskany and said she still has much more of the ship to explore.
"I'd say I haven't even seen a tenth of the ship," she said.
Wachtel's job is to accompany divers and look out for their safety. She also likes to point out the things to new Oriskany divers that they might not notice.
One of her favorites things are octopuses that curl inside pipes to protect eggs they have laid below.
"You cannot really see them unless you shine your light in there. Sometimes they will reach out with one of their tentacles and that is very cool," she said.
Wachtel has also seen a 300-pound Goliath grouper on the Oriskany, a 14-foot tiger shark and a massive whale shark.
The top of the Oriskany's tower is 84 feet below the surface. At about 140 feet, the carrier deck is below the 130-foot limit for recreational diving.
The Oriskany is not a beginner dive, said Wachtel, who encourages would-be divers to explore other area ship wrecks in shallower waters before attempting the Oriskany.
"It is good to ease into diving the Oriskany," she said.
Wachtel has taken divers from Europe, Brazil, Thailand, Australia and many other parts of the world to the dive site.
Diver and videographer Bryan Clark has made more than 200 dives on the Oriskany. Clark, an experienced technical diver, has explored the depths of the ship and documented the sea life surrounding it for the nonprofit Coastal Watch Alliance.
As parts of the ship deteriorate, holes are created that allow light to penetrate deeper into the structure spurring the growth of vegetation and drawing more sea creatures to the site, he said.
Clark said the coolest thing he has seen so far at the Oriskany site is a giant sunfish. The prehistoric looking fish can weigh up to 1,000 pounds.
"It was amazing to be down there and see this crazy looking, humongous fish," he said.
Craig Clark, an Ocala dive shop owner and diving instructor, has teamed with a group of friends to explore much of the Oriskany's interior. The men are certified cave divers. They breathe a mix of oxygen, nitrogen and helium to make the deep dives. The group, called Intruders of the Deep, offers tours of the interior of the ship for advanced divers. But Clark said they haven't had many customers because of the complexity of the dive and the skill required.
The narrow passageways inside the ship can make it difficult to navigate. The men use different colored lines marked with arrows to help them find their way around.
"You have to be careful not to disturb areas with a lot of rust or silt because that can create zero visibility," he said.
Clark has been through most of the ship, but there are still areas he wants to explore.
"There is so much of it to see. It is a massive structure," he said.
The unexpected surprises are what keep him coming back. During one dive, he descended into the middle of tens of thousands of tiny jellyfish.
Because much of the ship is made of aluminum, it is oxidizing quickly and starting to  break down on the ocean floor.
"She is decomposing quickly. In another 20 to 30 years there might not be much left to dive," Clark said.
Milestones in the history of the USS Oriskany
Sept. 25, 1950 – Commissioned 
Oct. 26, 1966 – Hangar bay fire kills 44.
Oct. 26, 1967 – Lt. Cmdr. John McCain flies off Oriskany in an A-4 Skyhawk, is shot down and taken prison of war in Vietnam.
Sept. 30, 1976 – Decommissioned and sent to storage in Bremerton, Washington.
1989 – Recognized as obsolete and struck from the Naval Vessel Register.
April 5, 2004 – Navy announces plan to transfer Oriskany to Florida for use as an artificial reef.
December 2004 – Towed to Pensacola.
June 2005 – Towed to Texas to ride out the hurricane season after delays from exhaustive ecological and health studies.
March 2006 – Towed back to Pensacola for preparation for sinking.
May 17, 2006 – Sunk in the Gulf of Mexico off Pensacola
New life for the 'Mighty O'
•Dubbed "The Great Carrier Reef" by locals
•Part of the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail
•Largest artificial reef in the world
•Located 22 miles off Pensacola Beach at a depth of about 220 feet
•Is not a dive for beginners
Thanks to Mike
Do You Read
1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country, and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could find the time and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who is running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The Chicago Tribune is read by people who are in prison, who used to run the state, & would like to do so again, as would their constituents who are currently free on bail.

10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.

11. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure if there is a country or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are gay, handicapped, minority, feminist, atheists, and those who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided of course, that they are not Republicans.

12. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

13. The Seattle Times is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something to wrap it in.
Item Number:1 Date: 05/17/2017 AFGHANISTAN - ISIS CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR DEADLY ATTACK ON JALALABAD TV STATION (MAY 17/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- Police say gunmen wearing suicide vests have attacked a national television and radio station in eastern Afghanistan, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar).   Three attackers stormed the building of the state-run Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) on Wednesday in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, close to the governor's compound, said authorities.   Two attackers blew themselves up and a third engaged in a gunbattle with security forces before being killed, reported Reuters.   Three others were killed and 16 were wounded, police told Al Jazeera.   The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 05/17/2017 AUSTRALIA - NAVAL SHIPBUILDING PLAN HAS US$65.5 BILLION PRICE TAG (MAY 17/SMH)  SYDNEY MORNING HERALD -- The Australian government had made public its long-awaited naval shipbuilding plan, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.   The document, released on May 16, outlines how government's expects to build local industry to construct Aus$89 billion (US$65.5 billion) worth of ships over the next decade or so.   Around Aus$1.3 billion (US$957 million) more will be needed for significant upgrades to shipyards outside of Adelaide in South Australia and Henderson in Western Australia.   The plan also outlines the challenges of hiring and training a skilled workforce, which will need to grow significantly starting in the early 2020s.   There are also concerns that such efforts could fall short or rob other industries and the navy of vital skills.   The program aims to build 12 submarines, nine frigates and 12 offshore patrol vessels, as well as 19 Pacific patrol boats to be given to neighboring countries.   To train the planned workforce, the government will set up an Aus$25 million (US$18 million) naval shipbuilding college in Adelaide, the document says.   The workforce will need to double or triple from its current size to reach about 5,200 workers in 2026, according to the document. About 3,600 personnel will need to be found for South Australia in the first half of the 2020s, posing a "substantial challenge," says the plan
  Item Number:3 Date: 05/17/2017 CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - FACING MILITIA VIOLENCE, U.N. DISPATCHES MORE PEACEKEEPERS TO BANGASSOU (MAY 17/BL)  BLOOMBERG -- With militia violence spreading in the Central African Republic, the United Nations says it will deploy more peacekeepers to the town of Bangassou, reports Bloomberg.   About three-quarters of the 35,000 residents of the southeastern diamond-mining town need humanitarian assistance, said a U.N. spokesperson on Tuesday.   The additional forces will "neutralize attackers, protect civilians and facilitate critical humanitarian support to the population," he said.   An attack by Christian militias on Bangassou over the weekend left almost 30 people dead and forced thousands to flee.   The U.N says as many as 100 people were killed in three days of fighting last week in the CAR between Muslim and Christian militias, reported Reuters.   Up to 8,500 were displaced in the fighting, said a spokesman
  Item Number:4 Date: 05/17/2017 CHINA - BELARUSIANS, CHINESE TO WORK TOGETHER AGAINST TERRORISM, REVOLUTIONS (MAY 17/BELTA)  BELARUS TELEGRAPH AGENCY -- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have decided to establish a working group to combat "color revolutions" and terrorism, reports the Belarusian Telegraph Agency.   The presidents discussed the matter on Tuesday in Beijing.   "A joint working group to combat color revolutions and international terrorism, internal separatism and religious extremism will add a new impetus to cooperation in" the areas of security, military and special operations forces, said Lukashenko.   The "color" reference is a symbolic media allusions for a number of uprisings in the former Soviet Union and the Middle East."   Belarus is also interested in expanding military-technical cooperation, including the modernization of Polonez multiple launch rocket systems, development of advanced weapons and other military hardware, said the president
Item Number:5 Date: 05/17/2017 CHINA - CHINESE ROCKET LAUNCHERS PLACED ON DISPUTED REEF IN SPRATLEYS, SAYS STATE PAPER (MAY 17/REU)  REUTERS -- A Chinese state-run newspaper says rocket launchers have been installed on a disputed reef in the South China Sea, reports Reuters.   Norinco CS/AR-155-mm anti-frogman rocket launcher defense systems were installed on Chinese-controlled islands in the Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands, reported the Defense Times newspaper on Tuesday.   The system is designed to find, identify and attack enemy combat divers.   The exact date of installation was not given. The system was deployed as part of a response in May 2014 after Vietnamese divers installed large numbers of fishing nets in the Paracel Islands, which are north of the Spratlys, according to the Chinese newspaper.   The Fiery Cross Reef is administered by China, but also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 05/17/2017 DEM REP OF CONGO - OUTLAWED GROUP BREAKS ITS GURU OUT OF PRISON, FREEING 50 (MAY 17/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- A cult leader and dozens of other inmates have been broken out of a prison in the Democratic Republic of Congo.   The Congolese government said members of a separatist group attacked a prison in Kinshasa on Wednesday, reports Agence France-Presse.   Members of the Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK) movement attacked the Makala prison, freeing their guru Ne Muanda Nsemi and about 50 other inmates, said a government spokesman.   One prisoner still on the run told the wire service that he had escaped during a clash between the attackers and prison guards.   Nsemi was arrested along hit three wives and son in early March after two-week siege of his home in the Congolese capital. He is the spiritual leader of the BDK, which has called for an insurrection against the DRC government.   The outlawed BDK seeks to restore an African monarchy associated with the Kongo ethnic group.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 05/17/2017 HONDURAS - SHAKE-UP OF PRISONS PUTS 2,000 GANG MEMBERS IN HIGH-SECURITY FACILITY (MAY 17/ENEWS)  EURONEWS -- Authorities in Honduras have now transferred about 2,000 gang members to a new maximum security prison in an effort to stem criminal activities in the country's overcrowded jails, reports Euronews.   The government said on Tuesday that it had just relocated 773 gang members from the crowded Maroc Aurelio Soto prison to El Pozo II, a high-security facility east of Tegucighalpa.   This completed the transfer of 2,000 inmates. Those moved included hundreds of members of Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), reported Reuters.   Honduras began reorganizing its prisons in March, aiming to stop them from being used as gang command centers. Drug dealing, violence and escapes have been common in the facilities.   There are 30 jails in the country housing about 17,000 inmates, more than double their declared capacity.  
Item Number:8 Date: 05/17/2017 INDIA - RESPONDING TO EARLIER ATTACK, SECURITY FORCES HIT NAXALITES IN JOINT OPERATION (MAY 17/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- Security forces say they have killed at least 16 Maoist rebels during an operation in India's central Chhattisgarh state, reports the BBC.   The fighting occurred near Bijapur district, said police on Tuesday.   The Financial Express and other sources put the number of rebels killed on Sunday at 20. The Maoists are often called Naxalites or Naxals.   More than 300 police and paramilitary troops were tracking the rebels in a joint operation that began over the weekend. A Naxalite attack killed 25 members of the Central Reserve Police Force last month, reported the Hindu.   Those killed likely took part in that attack, said an officer with the paramilitary CRPF.  
  Item Number:9 Date: 05/17/2017 JAPAN - WRECKAGE OF RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT FOUND IN MOUNTAINS; 4 CREW DEAD (MAY 17/KNA)  KYODO NEWS AGENCY -- All four crew members of a military plane that crashed earlier this week in Japan have been confirmed dead.   A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force reconnaissance aircraft crashed on Monday in Hokuto in Hokkaido, northern Japan, reports the Kyodo News Agency.   The LR-2 aircraft disappeared from radar shortly after taking off from Okadama Airport in Sapporo on its way to Hakodate Airport, the Japanese Defense Ministry said.   On Tuesday, rescuers found the aircraft wreckage scattered near the peak of Mount Hakamagoshi in the city of Hokuto and confirmed that all four on the plane had been killed.   Poor weather was blamed for the crash
Item Number:10 Date: 05/17/2017 QATAR - SKETCHY INFORMATION RELEASED AFTER DEATHS OF WORKERS AT MILITARY CONSTRUCTION SITE (MAY 17/QNA)  QATAR NEWS AGENCY -- The Defense Ministry in Qatar says an "incident" at a Qatari military construction site has left three workers dead and several others injured, reports the state-run Qatar News Agency.   The ministry announced the deaths in a statement Tuesday night. It did not identify the workers, how they died or where the incident took place.   The statement said the ministry "stressed its commitment to abide by the highest safety standards in all its facilities."   Alleged harsh working conditions for Asian migrant workers in Qatar have been criticized by human-rights organizations concerning infrastructure for the 2022 soccer World Cup, noted AFP.   Qatar is home to the al-Udela Air Base, the forward home for the U.S. Central Command.  
  Item Number:11 Date: 05/17/2017 SINGAPORE - DEAL MADE FOR 2 MORE TYPE 218SG SUBMARINES (MAY 17/SIMOD)  SINGAPORE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE -- Singapore's Ministry of Defense has signed a contract with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Germany for two more Type 218SG submarines.   The deal includes a logistics package and crew training, the ministry said in a Tuesday release. The value of the contract was not revealed.   The Type 218SG boats are tailored for Singapore's operational requirements and fitted with advanced combat systems and air independent propulsion systems, noted the ministry.   Singapore ordered the first two boats in 2013. Construction began in 2014, with delivery slated from 2021
  Item Number:12 Date: 05/17/2017 SOMALIA - 3 SOLDIERS DIE TRYING TO DEFUSE BOMB IN MOGADISHU (MAY 17/GAROWE)  GAROWE ONLINE -- A car bomb in Mogadishu on Wednesday has killed at least three Somali soldiers and injured two others who were attempting to disarm the explosives, reports Garowe Online (Somalia).   A car loaded with explosives was intercepted by security personnel in the Hawo Tako neighborhood in Somalia's capital, said a police official.   The bomb went off as members of the explosives disposal unit were attempting to defuse it, he said.   The occupants of the car bomb were arrested and are being interrogated, said the official.   There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Police blamed the Al-Shabaab militant group
Item Number:13 Date: 05/17/2017 SOUTH KOREA - WASHINGTON, SEOUL SEEK 'NEW,' 'PRACTICAL' WAYS TO DENUCLEARIZE N. KOREA (MAY 17/YON)  YONHAP -- Senior South Korean and U.S. officials have agreed to cooperate on the "complete" denuclearization of North Korea, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   U.S. National Security Council officials met with their South Korean counterparts on Tuesday in Seoul.   "The United States reaffirmed its strong commitment to the security and defense of South Korea," a spokesman for President Moon Jae In told reporters.   The parties agreed that their "goal was the complete disposal of North Korean nuclear weapons" and to employ "all available means, including sanctions and dialogue," the spokesman said.   The sides agreed that dialogue with the North would be possible "under the right conditions."   "Right now, we certainly do not see the right conditions in light of the provocations," said Matt Pottinger, the NSC senior director for East Asia.   New President Moon has been an advocate for more negotiations and economic cooperation with North Korea.  
  Item Number:14 Date: 05/17/2017 SYRIA - REPORT OF BOMBING AT SYRIAN REFUGEE CAMP MET WITH DENIALS (MAY 17/REU)  REUTERS -- A car bomb has hit a Syrian refugee camp near the border with Jordan, says a monitoring group cited by Reuters.   There was a small explosion Wednesday at the Rukban refugee camp, which houses about 80,000 people, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.   The bomb targeted fighters from a rebel group, said the observatory.   Others say there was no blast. Denials came from a Jordanian military source and a member of the Jaish Ahrar al-Ashair.   On Monday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the double-bomb attack that reportedly killed 10 at the same camp, noted the New Arab.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 05/17/2017 SYRIA - U.S. CHARGES ASSAD REGIME WITH BURNING BODIES TO HIDE PROOF OF MASS KILLINGS; DAMASCUS MOCKS ASSERTIONS (MAY 17/WSJ)  WALL STREET JOURNAL -- Top U.S. State Dept. officials have charged that Syria's government is hanging as many as 50 detainees daily at a military prison and burning some of the remains to hide the proof, reports the Wall Street Journal.   The official presented evidence that Damascus has built a crematorium to dispose of bodies at the Saydnaya prison outside the capital, according to the Financial Times (U.K.).   On Monday, Stuart Jones, the acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, presented photos that he called "consistent" with a crematorium. He has been attending Russian-brokered peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan.   "We believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place in Saydnaya prison," Jones told journalists, citing human-rights reports and newly declassified information.   Jones cited modifications dating back to 2013 that he said included a likely discharge stack, probable firewall and snowmelt on part of the roof of the L-shaped unit, which he said were consistent with a crematorium.   On Tuesday, the Syrian government rejected and mocked the charges. "These allegations are totally untrue and are only fabrications by the imagination of this administration and its agents," said a statement from the Syrian Foreign Ministry that was cited by the New York Times.   State's assertions are not unprecedented, noted the Wall Street Journal, which pointed out that in February a report from Amnesty International estimated that 13,000 people had been hanged at that prison between 2011 and 2015
  Item Number:16 Date: 05/17/2017 TAIWAN - BOUGHT FROM U.S., FRIGATES SEEN STRENGTHENING ASW CAPABILITIES (MAY 17/CNA)  CHINA NEWS AGENCY -- Two former U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates purchased by Taiwan are now in Kaohsiung as part of a navy modernization program, reports the China News Agency (Taipei).   The former Taylor (FFG-50) and former Gary (FFG-51), renamed Ming Chuan and Feng Chia, arrived Saturday.   They will be assigned to the 146th Fleet based on the island of Penghu.   The frigates, expected to be commissioned in July 2018, will be assigned to patrolling the Taiwan Strait, said unnamed military sources
Item Number:17 Date: 05/17/2017 UKRAINE - ISRAELI DEFENSE LEADER HOSTS PRIME MINISTER; TALKS FOCUS ON SECURITY ISSUES (MAY 17/UKRINF)  UKRINFORM -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has been meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Jerusalem to discuss military cooperation, reports Ukrinform.   "Ukraine is interested in developing mutually beneficial cooperation with Israel in the military and technical sectors," said Groysman, as noted on the media site on Tuesday.   The prime minister urged Israel to provide assistance to Ukraine to support Kiev's security and defense sectors. The Ukrainian government is particularly interested in Israeli experience with medical treatment and the rehabilitation of those who participated in hostilities, he said.   Groysman also informed Lieberman about the conflict in eastern Ukraine
  Item Number:18 Date: 05/17/2017 USA - DRILLING IN VIRGIN ISLANDS, ARMY SPECIAL FORCES TEAM WORKS ON DISASTER RESPONSE (MAY 17/ANS)  ARMY NEWS SERVICE -- A U.S. special operations forces team has been taking part in a disaster response exercise in the U.S. Virgin Islands, reports the Army News Service.   The Army Special Forces members conducted a search-and-rescue mission during the Vigilant Guard drills, which began on Monday and run through May 19.   The scenario called for the team to bring in helicopter assets and boats and conduct initial patrols, sending back information to the Coast Guard and other organizations, officials said.   The drill is hosted by the Virgin Islands National Guard and U.S. Northern Command.   The exercise includes other search-and-rescue missions, road clearing, water purification and the transporting and care of casualties conducted by the Virgin Islands National Guard alongside other military forces in support of the territory's response agencies, the Army said
  Item Number:19 Date: 05/17/2017 USA - LIGHTWEIGHT PILOTS MAY NOW FLY F-35AS; EJECTION SEAT ISSUE FIXED, SAYS USAF (MAY 17/AFNS)  AIR FORCE NEWS SERVICE -- The U.S. Air Force has lifted restrictions for lightweight pilots flying the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter, reports the Air Force News Service.   The limitation imposed in 2015 prevented any pilots weighing less than 136 pounds from flying the F-35A due to the potential risks of ejection in parts of the flight envelope.   Three modifications have been implemented, including a switch that slightly delays parachute deployment at high speeds and decreases parachute opening forces for lightweight pilots, say officials.   A head support panel has been mounted on the rear risers of the parachute to prevent the pilot's head from moving backwards during an ejection, said the service.   Finally, the overall helmet weight is reduced through the reduction of internal strapping material and the removal of an additional external visor, which decreases injury risk during parachute opening.   The new ejection seats are being retrofitted into existing aircraft, and the lightweight helmets are available in pre-production now. Full production for the helmets is slated to begin later this year, said an Air Force release.   The service also decided not to pursue qualifying United Technologies' ACES 5 ejection seat — a victory for Martin-Baker and its US16E pilot escape system, which is used in all variants of the F-35, said officials cited by Defense News
Item Number:20 Date: 05/17/2017 USA - UPDATED DEFENSE ACCORD COVERS U.S. FORCE PRESENCE IN EMIRATES (MAY 17/MEM)  MIDDLE EAST MONITOR -- The U.S. and the United Arab Emirates have signed a new defense accord that could allow Washington to send more troops to that country, says the Pentagon, as reported by the Middle East Monitor.   The agreement signed on May 8 replaces a 1994 accord to better "reflect the broad range of military-to-military cooperation that the U.A.E. and U.S. enjoy today," said a Pentagon spokesman on Tuesday.   The updated deal covers "the magnitude and conditions of the U.S. military presence in-country," he said. It "provides the U.S. military with the ability to more seamlessly respond to a range of scenarios in and around the U.A.E., if necessary," the spokesman said.   No details were given on the size of the current U.S. presence in the U.A.E. The Pentagon considers this a "framework," not a "policy document." 

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