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Comfort Staff Readies for Haitian Patients

As the hospital ship USNS Comfort continues its race south to Haiti, sailors aboard the vessel race to get the facilities ready for the expected patients. The Comfort, bulling its way through stormy seas, will receive another 350 medical personnel and support staff when it reaches the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, Navy Capt. (Dr.) Jim Ware, commander of the medical treatment facility. This, he explained, will allow the staff to double the number of operating rooms. The staff wants 11 operating rooms ready upon arrival in Port-au-Prince, expected to be Jan. 21.

The gun cencus tax form myth explodes!

The Form 1040 is out...and surprise of surprises, there is no space to list all of your guns!

Haiti Earthquake Displaces 300,000

In its first estimate, the United Nations reports about 10 percent of the housing in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince has been destroyed, leaving some 300,000 people homeless.  The UN says a full assessment of the damages inflicted by the powerful earthquake will take several days to complete. The United Nations says some 3.5 million people are living in areas affected by the earthquake. Nearly three million are in the capital, Port-au-Prince, which was most seriously affected.  Aid agencies say it is too soon to know how many people were killed and injured.

US, China at Odds Over Taiwan Arms Deal

China is warning the United States that the recently announced sale of air defense missiles to Taiwan could damage trust between Washington and Beijing, and that further protests might follow.  China has called on the United States to end all arms sales to the island, but the missile deal is one of several advanced weapons systems that are likely to be approved by the U.S. Congress in the coming months. The planned U.S. sale of Patriot air defense missiles to Taiwan is part of a larger package of high-end military hardware that originally was approved by former U.S. president George W.

Southern African Leaders Discuss Madagascar, Zimbabwe at Summit

Southern African leaders have rejected plans by the leader of Madagascar to unilaterally organize national elections in March.

Afghan, Coalition Forces Foil Taliban IED Efforts in Arghandab

Afghan and coalition forces conducted a major clearing operation Jan. 10 in the Arghandab river valley near Kandahar, Afghanistan. The objective of Operation Fazilat was to attack the Taliban's improvised explosive device capabilities and establish a permanent coalition presence in a section of the valley.

Jan. 14 airpower summary

Coalition airpower integrated with ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan during operations Jan. 14, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here. Air Operations in Afghanistan: Shurikian An Air Force MQ-9A Reaper operator provided armed overwatch and reconnaissance for friendly ground forces. The pilot observed suspicious activity in the vicinity of friendly forces and requested confirmation of position coordinates.

USS Carl Vinson Arrives in Haiti

ABOARD USS CARL VINSON IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA, Jan. 15, 2010 – The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson arrived off the coast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, today to begin humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.  “Our initial focus is to concentrate on saving lives while providing first-responder support to the people of Haiti,” said Navy Rear Adm. Ted N. Branch, commander of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group and of the sea-based portion of the Navy’s humanitarian-support mission in the earthquake-stricken nation.

Report Finds Shortfalls in Countering Internal Threats

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2010 – The shooting spree allegedly perpetrated by a self-radicalized soldier of Muslim faith has revealed shortcomings in the Defense Department’s ability to counter dangerous outside influences on the military, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today.  Gates disclosed this and several other key findings of a broad review he ordered after Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly killed 13 people in a Nov. 5 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas.

Cobra Gold 2010 to build on 29 years of dynamic training

Cobra Gold, the largest multinational exercise in the world, begins its 29th year of joint training and cooperation among six countries in the Asia-Pacific Theater in Thailand on Feb. 1. Participating nations include Thailand, the United States, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea. "Thailand is one of our closest friends and partners in Asia, as well as being our oldest ally in Asia," said Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commander, U.S. Army, Pacific.

Snohomish County Council ignores state statute

What happens when governments ignore the law? The Snohomish County Council is ignoring the fact that a long-standing state preemption statute has nullified the county's 1971 parks handgun ban.

International Relief Operations Under Way in Haiti

International aid agencies report emergency operations for earthquake victims in Haiti are slowly gathering steam.  But, they say they are working under severe constraints and it will take time before essential, critical needs are met. The United Nations reports the airport is open, but is congested and good coordination will be necessary to move relief goods to affected areas.

Pirate Attacks Off Somalia Nearly Double

The International Maritime Bureau in London reports piracy incidents on the high seas increased nearly 40 percent in 2009 from a year ago.  Pirate activities off the coast of Somalia accounted for more than half of all attacks worldwide. In its annual report, the maritime watchdog said the number of attacks off the coast of Somalia doubled in 2009 from 111 to 217.   According to the bureau, pirates successfully hijacked 47 of those vessels and took 867 crew members hostage, earning them untold millions in ransom payments. The director of the International Maritime Bureau, Captain Potteng

China Says Cyber Hacking Is Against Law

China says cyber hacking is against Chinese law and that it welcomes international companies to operate in China.  This comes one day after Internet giant Google said it is considering pulling out of China because of cyber attacks and because of mandatory censorship requirements.  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu faced numerous questions about Google's announcement that it is ready to leave China because of cyber attacks and censorship rules. She told reporters at a briefing Thursday that China's Internet is, in her words, "open." Jiang says Chinese law prohibits cyber at

IJC Operational Update, Jan. 14

An Afghan-international security force searched a compound in the village of Gorgerah Ghar, in the Sabari District of Khowst and captured a Haqqani facilitator responsible for the delivery of weapons, IED's, mines and ammunition to other militant factions. The joint force also detained another insurgent. The assault force recovered a rocket propelled grenade, a hand grenade and machine gun ammunition. No shots were fired and no Afghan civilians were harmed in the operation. A local citizen saved lives yesterday when he directed an Afghan-international force to an IED in Kandahar.