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Search Tags: Pentagon & Beyond
Military health care premiums for retirees will be raised slightly starting Saturday and that more cost increases are on the way. According to the Associated Press, premiums haven't been raised since 1994 and still will be just a fraction of what civilians pay. Officials said Thursday that individual retirees will pay $260 annually, up from $230; and it will be $520 annually for a family, up from $460. Yearly hikes are expected in the future.
A 26-year-old Massachusetts man has been arrested and charged in connection with a plot to damage or destroy the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. Rezwan Ferdaus, of Ashland, Mass. and a U.S. citizen, also was charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization -- specifically to al-Qaida -- in order to carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.
Iraq is going to buy 18 F-16 warplanes from the U.S. This is a step forward in a still unclear discussion about what the U.S. role will be in Iraq after the U.S military drawdown is complete. U.S. military officials say Iraq is spending three billion dollars on the fighters. Iraqi and U.S. military officials contend that a more capable Air Force is a major priority. It's unclear yet whether the Lockheed Martin F-16s they are buying would be the standard A/B model or the more advanced C/D variant.
A former Marine accused of firing shots at the Pentagon, Marine Corps museum and other military buildings has been charged with damaging his jail cell in an apparent escape attempt. The Associated Press reports, Loudoun County sheriff's office says officials noticed damage Friday to a cinder block wall of Yonathan Melaku's holding cell. Officials say the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center is constructed as a maximum security facility.
The Moroccan government says an al-Qaida-linked cell planning attacks inside that country has been dismantled. Morocco has been has been left alone in recent years by Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African branch of the terror network, but the latest arrests suggest the group is trying to work its way into the country of 32 million. A three-man group with connections to Al Qaida were arrested.
A fishing boat and a Russian nuclear-powered submarine collided off the country's Pacific coast, damaging the outer shell of the naval vessel but causing no radiation leak, Russian news agencies reported on Thursday. According to Reuters, "the nuclear reactor of the submarine St George the Conqueror was unaffected and radiation levels after Wednesday's incident in Avachin Bay off Kamchatka Peninsula were normal."
China has condemned the United States for its latest arms sales offer to Taiwan, calling the decision "grave interference" in Chinese internal affairs and warning it will damage U.S. military and security ties with Beijing. On the other side of the matter, Taiwan is upset the U.S. won't sell them the advanced F-16 C and D version of the fighters they want. Instead the U.S. says it will only sell upgrades to the current A and B models.
There will be fallout from the killing of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani. Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen says it seems the Taliban is shifting tactics to more spectacular, high-profile attacks and assassinations. He said this also means that U.S. and Afghan forces will have to adjust to it. Mullen said at a news conference commanders are working with the Afghans to shore up their personal security.
Another controversy is brewing. A video called "collateral murder" has been posted at wikeleaks.org. It appears to show a group of unarmed men being fired on by U.S. military forces in Iraq in July of 2007. Reuters is reporting a Senior U.S. miltiary official confirms the video is authentic and came from an Apache helicopter gunsight. Reuters says among those believed to be killed in the attack was Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver. Two children also were wounded.
The clashes between Yemeni government forces and al Qaida continue in the southern part of the country. Radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki is believed to be in the region and Yemeni media report his protectors have been hit hard. More than 10,000 people have fled their homes in the Shabwah Province. John Brennan, interestingly enough was in Yemen, when the clashes kicked off. An Obama administration spokesman said Brennan left the capitol of Sanaa on Monday.