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ECOWAS Resumes Talks on Niger's Political Crisis

The mediator appointed by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS has been meeting with a coalition of Niger's opposition and civil society groups in Abuja in a bid to find a solution to the West African country's constitutional crisis. A meeting involving a 41-member opposition delegation and ECOWAS-appointed mediator, former Nigerian military ruler Abdulsalam Abubakar, explored ways of narrowing differences between Niger's government and the opposition before a wider stakeholder forum at a later date. Abubakar held talks on Monday with a 22-member government delegation

Operational Update, Nov. 13: Update to Vehicle Detonation; ANSF Detain Taliban Militants

The vehicle borne improvised explosive device which detonated on Jalalabad Road in Kabul, Afghanistan, around 8 a.m. today, injured nine ISAF service members, 10 civilian contractors and several Afghans. No ISAF service members were killed. "The insurgents use indiscriminate attacks like this to attempt to intimidate international forces and our Afghan partners, but we will continue our important efforts in support of the Afghan people," said Navy Capt.

Iraqi airmen score bull's eye with Hellfire missile

For the first time since the re-formation of the Iraqi air force, an Iraqi pilot fired a missile from an aircraft Nov. 4, at a target on a bombing range near Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.  A three-man Iraqi aircrew from Squadron 3 fired an AGM-114 Hellfire missile from an AC-208 Caravan, officials at Multinational Force Security Transition Command Iraq announced in a Nov. 10 press release. The event marked a milestone for the Iraqi military as they become increasingly responsible for their own security.

Airmen fly C-5M into U.S. record books

Airmen flew a C-5M Super Galaxy into the official record books Oct. 30 when a previous world-record-attempt flight was certified by U.S. National Aeronautic Association officials. A Dover Air Force Base, Del., aircrew flying a C-5M named The Spirit of Normandy consisted of eight 512th Airlift Wing reservists and four 436th Airlift Wing active-duty members set 41 records in a single flight that included various altitude, payload and time-to-climb records. "I am pleased to announce that all 41 of the records claimed in the C-5M on Sept.

Hasan Charged with 13 Counts of Murder

Military prosecutors have charged Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan with 13 counts of premeditated murder in the Nov. 5 attack at Fort Hood, Texas.  The charges fall under Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the case will be heard in the military system. “These are initial charges, and additional charges may be preferred in the future, subject to the ongoing criminal investigation,” said Chris Grey, spokesman for U.S.

Essex ESG Begins Bilateral Exercise with JMSDF

Amphibious Squadron 11, USS Essex (LHD 2) and USS Tortuga (LSD 46) with embarked Marines got underway from White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 12 for an exercise with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. Annual Exercise 21G (ANNUALEX) is a yearly bilateral training exercise for U.S.

N. Korea Says South Will Pay 'Expensive Price' for Naval Clash

North Korea says South Korea will pay "an expensive price" for firing at a North Korean patrol boat on Tuesday. The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper published a commentary Thursday saying the clash in the Yellow Sea was not an accident, but instead was a "premeditated act of aggression" by the South.

Russian Gas: Pipelines, Politics and Money

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned Ukraine he will cut off the country's gas supplies if it siphons fuel from export lines. Mr. Putin made the statement in Moscow following a meeting with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann. His warning carries an implicit threat that Europeans this winter could again face shortages of gas they receive from Russia via pipelines that go through Ukraine.   Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been discussing energy with European leaders much of this past year.

Pirates Seize Cargo Ship in Indian Ocean

Somali pirates have seized another ship, this one a cargo vessel with 22 crew members. The Greek-owned MV Filitsa was hijacked Wednesday in the Indian Ocean, 750 kilometers northeast of the Seychelles islands. The vessel was carrying cargo from Kuwait to South Africa.