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May 30, 2015

U.S. military orders review as anthrax mishap widens

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military said on Friday it discovered even more suspected shipments of live anthrax than previously thought, both in the United States and abroad, and ordered a sweeping review of practices meant to inactivate the bacteria.

The Pentagon said a total of 11 states, two more than it first acknowledged, received “suspect samples,” as did Australia and South Korea. It had previously only identified a foreign shipment to a U.S. air base south of Seoul.

May 29, 2015

Live anthrax found in U.S. military shipment to Australia: official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An investigation of a U.S. military facility’s mistaken shipments of live anthrax bacteria has turned up another live sample, this one from a 2008 batch sent to Australia, a U.S. defense official said on Friday.

The disclosure, if confirmed, suggests the possibility of a broader problem among anthrax samples meant to have been made inactive at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

May 28, 2015

U.S. Army chief says no human error seen in anthrax mishap

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. personnel working at an Army facility in Utah appeared to follow correctly all the outlined procedures to inactivate anthrax before they mistakenly shipped off live samples of the deadly bacteria, the Army’s top general said on Thursday.

Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno said investigators were now reviewing the procedures themselves to determine why the bacteria was not rendered inactive.

May 28, 2015

U.S. training of Syria rebel fighters expands to Turkey: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military has started training Syrian opposition fighters in Turkey to combat Islamic State, an expected expansion of a program that first launched in Jordan weeks ago, a U.S. official told Reuters on Thursday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not offer details on the size of the first group of recruits undergoing training in Turkey or the specific start date.

May 27, 2015

U.S. military mistakenly ships live anthrax to labs in nine states

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. military facility in Utah mistakenly sent live anthrax bacteria to private laboratories in nine U.S. states, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, adding, however, that there were no known suspected infections or risk to the general public.

The anthrax had been meant to be sent to laboratories in an inactive state as part of U.S. military efforts to develop a field-based test to identify biological threats in the environment, the Pentagon said.

May 27, 2015
via FaithWorld

Pentagon slams “unhelpful” Shi’ite code name for offensive against Islamic State


(Shi’ite paramilitaries riding military vehicles travel from Lake Tharthar toward Ramadi to fight against Islamic state militants, west of Samarra, Iraq May 27, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer)

The Pentagon on Tuesday said it was “unhelpful” for Iraq’s Shi’ite militia to have announced an openly sectarian code name for the operation to retake the Sunni city of Ramadi and added that, in the U.S. view, the full-on offensive had yet to begin.

May 26, 2015

Pentagon slams ‘unhelpful’ Shi’ite code name for Ramadi offensive

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon on Tuesday said it was “unhelpful” for Iraq’s Shi’ite militia to have announced an openly sectarian code name for the operation to retake the Sunni city of Ramadi and added that, in the U.S. view, the full-on offensive had yet to begin.

A spokesman for the Shi’ite militias, known as Hashid Shaabi, said the code name for the new operation would be “Labaik ya Hussein”, a slogan in honor of a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed killed in the 7th Century battle that led to the schism between Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims.

May 21, 2015

Despite Obama endorsement, U.S. concerns grow over Iraqi premier

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration is publicly voicing confidence in Iraq’s prime minister in the fight against surging Islamic State militants, but privately some U.S. officials question whether he is too weak to bridge the sectarian divide.

Washington is still betting on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who stands at the center of President Barack Obama’s strategy to roll back the latest conquests of Islamic State while keeping the United States from being pulled deeper into a conflict U.S. combat troops left in 2011.

May 19, 2015

Pentagon says Iran warships ‘linked up’ with cargo vessel

WASHINGTON/LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on
Tuesday that two Iranian warships have “linked up” with a cargo
ship that Iran has said is carrying humanitarian aid to Yemen,
as activists on board the vessel said it was due to arrive at
the Yemeni port of Hodaida on Thursday.

“We’re not overly concerned at this point,” Pentagon
spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told a briefing, adding that the
ships’ locations were being monitored “every step of the way.”

May 18, 2015

U.S. signals no strategy shift in Iraq, despite Ramadi’s fall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States signaled no intent to shift its strategy in Iraq’s war on Monday, even as the fall of the city of Ramadi to Islamic State called into question the relative strength of Iraq’s army after months of U.S.-led advising and air strikes.

The loss of the western Iraqi city to the militants represents the biggest defeat for Iraq’s government since mid-2014, when Islamic State swept into Iraq and seized more than a third of the country.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
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