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Coast Guard prepares for 2009-2010 icebreaking season

The Ninth Coast Guard District is preparing for the 2009-2010 icebreaking season in the Great Lakes. Coast Guard icebreaking operations are designed to facilitate the movement of commercial vessels to meet the reasonable demands of commerce on the Great Lakes and to assist the U.S.

West African Summit Postponed Until January

The Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, has postponed a summit that was scheduled for Nigeria next week. The group's current chairman, Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua, has been hospitalized in Saudi Arabia since late November. An ECOWAS spokesman announced Tuesday that the summit of heads of state has been moved to January 18.

Blast Kills 27 in Pakistan

Pakistani officials say the death toll from a suicide car bombing Tuesday in the central town of Dera Ghazi Khan has risen to at least 27.  Investigators say dozens of people have been injured in the blast, with some victims possibly trapped under rubble. The explosion occurred in a busy market near the home of a provincial government adviser Zulfikar Khosa.   Officials say several buildings - including the adviser's home - were heavily damaged.  However, no one was in the home when the attack occurred, and authorities are uncertain if the adviser was the target. The attack is the lat

Congo Minister Warns Ex-Rebels Against Fomenting Trouble

A Democratic Republic of Congo cabinet minister has warned armed groups of stiff punishment if they join forces with the rebel Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDRL) to fight government against troops. Information minister Lambert Mende said former rebels who join the FDLR to destabilize the country undermine the deal that shields them from criminal prosecution. “Those people who enjoyed the amnesty must be careful because the law of amnesty says that whoever will go with those terrorist will destroy all judicial effects of the amnesty.

IJC Operational Update, Dec. 15: Taliban Commander Detained in Zabul; Militants Killed in Kandahar; ISAF Casualty

An Afghan-international security force detained a Taliban commander and other militants in Zabul province today. The Taliban commander is linked to IED facilitation and is responsible for several attacks in the area. The joint security force searched a compound in the provincial capital of Qalat where intelligence sources reported the commander to be located. The joint force searched the compound without incident and detained a few militants, one of whom identified himself as the targeted individual in the operation.

Makin Island Completes First CSSQT, Harrier and AAV Ops

Sailors and Marines aboard the Navy's newest Amphibious Assault Ship returned to port Dec.

C-27J training operations center opens

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Air Force, Army and community officials celebrated the opening of a new cargo plane schoolhouse Dec.

Japan-U.S. Military Exercise Improves Readiness

CAMP HIGASHI-CHITOSE, Japan-On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan mutual defense treaty, U.S. and Japanese forces have successfully concluded a major exercise here on Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. Yama Sakura, an annual joint and combined full-spectrum training exercise, this year involved 1,500 U.S. service members and 3,500 members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. Its focus was the refinement of bilateral planning, coordination, and interoperability. "This exercise proves the strength of the long-standing relationship between the U.S.

Loss for Government As BOI Finds LtCol Chessani Not Guilty of Misconduct

Late last Friday afternoon (Eastern Standard Time), after three hours of deliberation, the military Board of Inquiry ruled LtCol Chessani was not guilty of misconduct and should not be demoted.  Nevertheless, the Board’s ruling produced a mixed result.  It ruled Chessani must now retire because he displayed “substandard performance” by failing to conduct a more detailed investigation of the civilians killed as a result of the house clearing actions of four Marines after they were ambushed in Haditha, Iraq on N

UN Reports Rise in Opium Cultivation in Burma

United Nations officials say opium cultivation in Burma rose for the third straight year as ethnic rebel groups sell drugs to buy arms. The increase reverses past successes in cutting opium cultivation in Southeast Asia.   The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime - UNODC - said Monday that opium poppy cultivation in Burma rose more than 10 percent in 2009 - the third successive year of growth.   The agency's latest report covering Thailand, Laos and Burma says the area poppies are cultivated on around 31,700 hectares.

ECOWAS Leader Calls for Intervention Force in Guinea

The head of West Africa's regional alliance says foreign troops should be sent to Guinea to establish security, following the shooting of the country's military leader.  Talks to resolve Guinea's political crisis resumed Sunday in Burkina Faso. The secretary general of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, says Guinea needs a regional intervention force to prevent further violence. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the preventative deployment of such a force would ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance and establish a safe environment for the Guinean people.

Man Attacks Italian PM, Breaks Nose and Teeth

Police in Italy say a man with a history of mental problems hit Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the face with a statue Sunday. Mr. Berlusconi was taken to a hospital with a broken nose, two broken teeth, and a cut lip. Italy's ANSA news agency said the prime minister told reporters that he was fine after emergency treatment. But doctors say they want to keep him in the hospital overnight for observation. Mr. Berlusconi was signing autographs and shaking hands after a rally in Milan Sunday. His attacker moved close enough to throw a small statue at the prime minister's face.

IJC Operational Update, Dec. 14: Militants Detained in Khowst, Kandahar

An Afghan-international security force detained a Haqqani weapons facilitator and a small group of other militants in Khowst province today. The facilitator is responsible for the supply and distribution of weapons to several militant elements in the area. The joint force searched a compound near the village of Paru Kheyl in the Sabari District where intelligence sources reported the facilitator to be located.

Iraqis Arrest 4 Terrorism Suspects

Iraqi soldiers and police arrested four terrorism suspects in two operations yesterday, military officials reported.  Iraqi soldiers arrested a suspect yesterday during an operation in northeastern Baghdad targeting the Promised Day Brigade terrorist network. The soldiers and U.S. advisors searched a home for a suspected leader of the group believed to be responsible for attacking security forces in the Baghdad region.