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May, 2017


U.S. Air Force Veteran Sentenced To Prison For Attempting To Provide Material Support To ISIS

U.S. Air Force Veteran Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Attempting to Join ISIS and Obstruction of Justice

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Today (31st May), Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, a U.S. citizen and former member of the U.S. Air Force, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, and obstruction of justice. Pugh, of Neptune, New Jersey, was convicted at trial on March 9, 2016.

The sentence was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana Boente; Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde for the Eastern District of New York; Assistant Director in Charge William J. Sweeney of the FBI’s New York Field Office; Commissioner James P. O’Neill of the NYPD. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.

“With this sentence, Tairod Pugh – an American citizen and former member of the U.S. Air Force where he served as an aircraft mechanic – is being held accountable for attempting to travel to Syria to provide material support to ISIS,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Boente. “We are committed to bringing to justice all those who seek to provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations. I would like to thank all of the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this result.”

“The defendant turned his back on his country, and the military he once served, to attempt to join a brutally violent terrorist organization committed to the slaughter of innocent people throughout the world and the destruction of our way of life. Today’s sentence sends a powerful message that those who support terrorist groups and seek to obstruct the efforts of our law enforcement community will be brought to justice,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Rohde. Ms. Rohde expressed her appreciation to the members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which comprises federal, state and local agencies from across the region, for their work on the investigation.

“The alarming reality of this case is that Pugh served in the U.S. military but ultimately traded in his pledge to defend the United States to defend the Islamic State,” stated Assistant Director in Charge Sweeney. “Today’s sentencing should send a strong message to those who seek to support terrorists groups — they will face serious consequences for their actions. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force will continue to work with our partners, both here and abroad, to prevent acts of terrorism. This investigation demonstrates the importance of law enforcement coordination and collaboration here and around the world.”

“The defendant broke his oath to defend our nation and instead made repeated attempts to join ISIL on the battlefield of Syria,” stated Commissioner O’Neill. “The work of protecting New York City from those who seek to harm us is ever present. I am thankful for the work of so many whose diligence helps keep this city safe.”

Before traveling overseas to try to join ISIS, the defendant served in the U.S. Air Force as an avionics instrument system specialist and received training in the installation and maintenance of aircraft engines, navigation, and weapons systems. The defendant later worked as an airplane mechanic for numerous companies in the U.S. and Middle East. He lived abroad for more than one year before his arrest in this case.

On Jan. 10, 2015, the defendant traveled from Egypt to Turkey in an effort to cross the border into Syria to join ISIS to engage in violent jihad. Turkish authorities denied the defendant entry and returned him to Egypt. At the time of his detention, the defendant was carrying a laptop computer and four USB drives that he had stripped of their plastic casings in an effort to destroy their contents and thereby make them unavailable to investigators. The defendant was also carrying solar powered chargers, compasses, a black balaclava, and clothing suitable for war-torn Syria. Foreign government officials quickly deported the defendant to the U.S., where the FBI closely monitored him, relying in part on a covert undercover employee who encountered the defendant at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. The defendant was arrested on Jan. 16, 2015, in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and thereafter indicted in the Eastern District of New York.

The defendant’s laptop contained Internet searches for “borders controlled by Islamic state,” the ISIS propaganda video “Flames of War,” as well as terrorist videos he had downloaded, including ISIS execution videos. In the months before he attempted to join ISIS, the defendant made statements to coworkers and on social media establishing his support for ISIS, including advising Facebook followers to “support [ISIS] with your bodies.”

Shortly before he left Egypt for Turkey on his way to Syria, the defendant drafted a letter proclaiming, “I am a Mujahid. I am a sword against the oppressor and a shield for the oppressed. I will use the talents and skills given to me by Allah to establish and defend the Islamic State. There is only 2 possible outcomes for me. Victory or Martyr.”


The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security & Cybercrime Section. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samuel P. Nitze, Tiana A. Demas and Mark Bini are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorney Larry Schneider of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

[Source: U.S. Department of Justice/Office of Public Affairs -/- Media Relations]
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A Major U.S. ‘Electronic Health Records Vendor’ To Pay $155 Million Settlement For False Claims And Kickbacks Allegations

Electronic Health Records Vendor to Pay $155 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

Justice scale and flag

One of the nation’s largest vendors of electronic health records software, eClinicalWorks (ECW), and certain of its employees will pay a total of $155 million to resolve a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging that ECW misrepresented the capabilities of its software, the Justice Department announced. The settlement also resolves allegations that ECW paid kickbacks to certain customers in exchange for promoting its product. ECW is headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts.

“Every day, millions of Americans rely on the accuracy of their electronic health records to record and transmit their vital health information,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This resolution is a testament to our deep commitment to public health and our determination to hold accountable those whose conduct results in improper payments by the federal government.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 established the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program to encourage healthcare providers to adopt and demonstrate their “meaningful use” of EHR technology. Under the program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers incentive payments to healthcare providers that adopt certified EHR technology and meet certain requirements relating to their use of the technology. To obtain certification for their product, companies that develop and market EHR software must attest that their product satisfies applicable HHS-adopted criteria and pass testing by an accredited independent certifying entity approved by HHS.

In its complaint-in-intervention, the government contends that ECW falsely obtained that certification for its EHR software when it concealed from its certifying entity that its software did not comply with the requirements for certification. For example, in order to pass certification testing without meeting the certification criteria for standardized drug codes, the company modified its software by “hardcoding” only the drug codes required for testing. In other words, rather than programming the capability to retrieve any drug code from a complete database, ECW simply typed the 16 codes necessary for certification testing directly into its software. ECW’s software also did not accurately record user actions in an audit log and in certain situations did not reliably record diagnostic imaging orders or perform drug interaction checks. In addition, ECW’s software failed to satisfy data portability requirements intended to permit healthcare providers to transfer patient data from ECW’s software to the software of other vendors. As a result of these and other deficiencies in its software, ECW caused the submission of false claims for federal incentive payments based on the use of ECW’s software.

“This settlement is the largest False Claims Act recovery in the District of Vermont and we believe the largest financial recovery in the history of the State of Vermont,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Eugenia A.P. Cowles for the District of Vermont. “This significant recovery is a testament to the hard work and dedication of this office and our partners in the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division and at HHS. This resolution demonstrates that EHR companies will not succeed in flouting the certification requirements.”

Under the terms of the settlement agreements, ECW and three of its founders (Chief Executive Officer Girish Navani, Chief Medical Officer Rajesh Dharampuriya, M.D., and Chief Operating Officer Mahesh Navani) are jointly and severally liable for the payment of $154.92 million to the United States. Separately, Developer Jagan Vaithilingam will pay $50,000, and Project Managers Bryan Sequeira, and Robert Lynes will each pay $15,000.

As part of the settlement, ECW entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) covering the company’s EHR software. This innovative five-year CIA requires, among other things, that ECW retain an Independent Software Quality Oversight Organization to assess ECW’s software quality control systems and provide written semi-annual reports to OIG and ECW documenting its reviews and recommendations. ECW must provide prompt notice to its customers of any safety related issues and maintain on its customer portal a comprehensive list of such issues and any steps users should take to mitigate potential patient safety risks. The CIA also requires ECW to allow customers to obtain updated versions of their software free of charge and to give customers the option to have ECW transfer their data to another EHR software provider without penalties or service charges. ECW must also retain an Independent Review Organization to review ECW’s arrangements with health care providers to ensure compliance with the Anti-Kickback Statute.

“Electronic health records have the potential to improve the care provided to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, but only if the information is accurate and accessible,” said Special Agent in Charge Phillip Coyne of HHS-OIG. “Those who engage in fraud that undermines the goals of EHR or puts patients at risk can expect a thorough investigation and strong remedial measures such as those in the novel and innovative Corporate Integrity Agreement in this case.”

The settlement with ECW resolves allegations in a lawsuit filed in the District of Vermont by Brendan Delaney, a software technician formerly employed by the New York City Division of Health Care Access and Improvement. The lawsuit was filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery. The Act also allows the government to intervene and take over the action, as it did in this case. As part of today’s resolution, Mr. Delaney will receive approximately $30 million.

This matter was jointly handled by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont, the HHS Office of Inspector General, and multiple HHS agencies and components.

The case is captioned United States ex rel. Delaney v. eClinialWorks LLC, 2:15-CV-00095-WKS (D. Vt.). The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

[Source: US Department of Justice -/- Media Relations]
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Germany – The ‘Strategic Partnership’ Between Germany And India Has Been Intensified

Angela Merkel, “We Have Taken Our Strategic Partnership To A New Level”

Berlin reichstag CP

Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take cooperation to a new level. Germany will be a fair partner for India, said Angela Merkel following the 4th Indo-German government consultations. The two countries signed agreements in the fields of industry, science and research, and education.

The strategic partnership between Germany and India has been intensified yet again through this year’s consultations, stressed Chancellor Angela Merkel following the 4th Indo-German government consultations. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that relations between Germany and India are no longer of purely bilateral importance, but of international significance.
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Preparations for the G20 summit

Consultations between the two nations focused on regional and global aspects of climate, economic and development policy. In the run-up to the G20 summit in July in Hamburg, they also discussed G20 topics, in particular promoting stability and security. The two countries’ joint engagement for liberty and diversity was another point on the agenda.

Alongside bilateral issues, shaping the global order was a salient issue during talks. “India is a democracy and counts on the world being networked and sensibly shaped.” That is why Germany will be a fair partner both at bilateral level and in international cooperation, said Angela Merkel.

Development budget of one billion

Alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the pertinent line ministers from the two countries were involved in the consultations. The German side was represented by the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Education, the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Development Ministry.

In the presence of both heads of government, the two countries signed a total of eight agreements. Earlier, a development budget for India worth one billion euros a year had been agreed.

The two sides reaffirmed their desire to cooperate even more closely in future on bilateral, regional and global matters. The Chancellor stressed how the two countries cooperate in the education and research sector, especially with respect to dual vocational training. “We hope to enable a great many Indian managers to incorporate vocational training in their businesses,” she underlined.

India to accelerate expansion of renewables

Alongside agreements in the smart cities and transport cooperation sectors, the Chancellor pointed to cooperation in the field of renewable energy. In view of the massive challenges in connection with climate change, she said, it is impressive how India is stepping up the expansion of its use of renewable energy. “I am delighted that India is implementing the Paris Agreement so intensively and so enthusiastically,” declared Angela Merkel.

The Chancellor underscored the fact that all issues that Germany’s G20 Presidency has put on the G20 agenda have the support of India. The question of terrorist threats, for instance, played a key part in their talks.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined the importance of bilateral economic cooperation and singled out cooperation within the framework of the Fast Track mechanism and the Make in India programme, to support German companies operating in India.

Narendra Modi pointed to the partnership with Germany in the field of vocational training, which is offering young Indians a wide range of opportunities. Cooperation in the railways sector, in air transport, the road network and in the field of information technology is also very important, he added.

Chancellor advocates unfreezing free trade negotiations

On Tuesday afternoon Angela Merkel and Narendra Modi attended the Indo-German Business Summit. Angela Merkel advocated relaunching the free trade negotiations between the EU and India, which are currently frozen. A great many protectionist trends can currently be seen in the world. Germany, by contrast, wants open and fair global trade, she declared, to the audience of managers from both countries.

The Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) hosted the bilateral business forum jointly with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) is an initiative founded by the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), the German Asia-Pacific Business Association (OAV), the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) and the Association of German Banks (Bankenverband). It aims to step up cooperation with countries in the Asia-Pacific Region and promote two-way trade and investment.

Indo-German relations

The Agenda for the Indo-German Partnership in the 21st Century is the foundation for Indo-German relations, Since May 2000 it has been carried forward with a number of new joint declarations.

This regular dialogue gives strong impetus to Indo-German relations. The Cabinet ministers of both countries attend government consultations which are held every two years, alternately in Germany and in India.


For the first round of these consultations, Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Delhi in May 2011. In 2013 the German government invited their Indian counterparts to Berlin. The third bilateral government consultations were held in October 2015 in New Delhi. At these consultations 18 bilateral agreements were signed in sectors as diverse as energy, industry, vocational training, culture and science, security and agriculture.

[Source: The Federal Government of Germany -/- Media relations]
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Kenya – Chinese Built Railway Celebrates Inaugural Run In Mombasa

Tusks in City of Mombasa
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Amid concerns of its high price tag, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has inaugurated a Chinese-built railway, the country’s biggest infrastructure project since its independence. The red-and-white diesel train left from the port city of Mombasa on Wednesday on its journey to Nairobi , carrying Kenyatta, Chinese dignitaries and citizens from around the country. “Today we celebrate… Read More

Afghanistan – A Suicide Car Bomb Explodes Near The German Embassy In Kabul, Kills 64 And 300 Wounded

Abdul Rahman Mosque in March 2010
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A suicide car bomb has exploded near the German embassy in Kabul, killing and wounding scores of people, Afghan officials report. A security source told Reuters news agency it was not yet clear whether any German embassy staff had been affected. The Afghan interior ministry said 64 people had died and more than 300 have been… Read More

France – French Tennis Player Maxime Hamou Was Banished From The French Open, Groped a TV Journalist

Hamou RG15 (7) (19120086200)
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French tennis player Maxime Hamou was banished from the French Open on Tuesday after he kissed and groped a TV journalist following his first-round exit. Footage of the interview showed Hamou pulling the female journalist close before kissing her on the side of the head. As the reporter looked embarrassed and tried to push him away,… Read More

Russia Fires Off Cruise Missiles From Submarine In The Mediterranean Sea, Aimed At Islamic State In Syria

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Russia’s Defense Ministry says its forces fired four cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea to hit Islamic State targets in Syria. The ministry said the missiles came from a frigate and a submarine and landed near the city of Palmyra, striking heavy weapons and Islamic State militants who had deployed there from the group’s de facto… Read More

Mother And Daughter Serve Full-Time In The Air National Guard

Mother And Daughter Reflect on Air National Guard Service

GOLDWATER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ariz., — Although set on different paths for military service, Air Force Master Sgt. Peggy Schmidt and Staff Sgt. Nichole Jordan of the Arizona Air National Guard‘s 161st Air Refueling Wing have experienced a journey few airmen can claim — one characterized by dedication, tradition, and ultimately, love.

Although assigned to different units here since 2011, the mother-daughter duo serves side-by-side at the 161st Air Refueling Wing.

“It is beneficial to work with my mother, because she sets the bar for me to exceed,” said Jordan, who works as an aerospace medical technician with the wing’s medical group. She added that her mother sets a good example of airmanship and challenges her to always exceed expectations.

Service Before Self

Jordan said she joined the Arizona Air National Guard for education benefits, but that gradually her desire for continued service was fueled by a specific Air Force core value: service before self. “I can make a difference in this Air Force of ours, and being a ‘1 percenter,’ like many of my brothers and sisters in arms, is something to be proud of,” she said.

Both airmen serve full-time.

“I like the whole generation-effect thing that I share with my mother on this base,” Jordan said. “At times I feel like a protege of my mom’s, but that just motivates me to continue improving myself in my own way.”

Schmidt, a supply supervisor for the wing’s logistics readiness squadron, said she’s proud to serve in uniform with her daughter.

“It’s a pleasure for me to work with Nichole, because it puts a smile on my face knowing that my daughter is right across the street and she is always there when I need her,” she said.

In addition to her supervisory duties, Schmidt is the squadron’s health monitor.

“I think Sergeant Jordan gets a lot of strong features from having a military mother,” said Air Force Master Sgt. June Nicholas, who works as a full-time health technician at the wing. “Staff Sergeant Jordan is very ambitious, and she gets her leadership skills from her mother.”

Representing the Base

Schmidt said she also highly encourages her daughter’s participation on the base color guard team. “Before the team even steps out on the field, I am so proud of Nichole and the team,” she added. “That pride is for everyone on the team, because they represent the base so well, but I am particularly proud of my daughter for joining on her own.”

Schmidt, a 31-year veteran, was herself a member of the honor guard drill team when she attended Northern Arizona University. “I am extremely proud of my daughter,” she said. “I know that eventually I will be gone and she will be setting her own pace, and then maybe she will have her own kids do the same thing.”

Jordan said she tells her mother how much she loves her and appreciates her support in what she does. “I love my mother with all my heart,” she added. “She is always there for me, and I would not have it any other way than to serve my country with my mother.”

Videos: Short Clips – Arizona Air National Guard/161st Air Refueling Wing:


[Source: By Air Force 2nd Lt. Tinasha T. Machona/161st Air Refueling Wing/US DoD -/- Media Relations]
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Airbus Helicopters Is Moving Forward With Its Strategic Partnership In China, Building H135 Final Assembly Line

The Ground Breaking Is A Remarkable Milestone For Airbus Helicopters’ Global Footprint

Qingdao, Airbus Helicopters is moving forward with the expansion of its global footprint and its strategic partnership with China, as construction is now underway for its H135 Final Assembly Line (FAL) – the first of its kind not only for Airbus Helicopters, but also for the Western helicopter industry in China.

The FAL will be located in Qingdao, Shandong Province, eastern China, and construction is expected to be completed by 2018. A framework agreement signed in June 2016 calls for 100 H135s to be assembled over the next 10 years, and the first aircraft roll-out from Qingdao is planned for mid-2019. The FAL will have a total annual capacity of 18 H135 helicopters, which could be extended for future growth.

“This ground breaking is a remarkable milestone for Airbus Helicopters’ global footprint and demonstrates our commitment to further enhancing our industrial cooperation with China’s rapidly growing aviation industry,” said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “We are confident that this project will achieve a win-win solution to fulfill the requirements of local customers while supporting the development of crucial helicopter services for the benefit of Chinese citizens.”

The new facility, located in Jimo Provincial Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, will be jointly operated by Airbus Helicopters and Qingdao United General Aviation Company Limited (UGAC), a joint venture between China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) and Qingdao United General Aviation Industrial Development Company Limited (UGA). Following the joint venture agreement signed in April of this year, Airbus Helicopters holds a majority share of 51%.

“The H135 Final Assembly Line is another strong example of Sino-European cooperation and will play an important role in further promoting the development of China’s general aviation industry,” said Mr. Li Hai, President of CAS. “We believe in this partnership and are looking forward to seeing the first Airbus helicopter assembled in China to fly in the skies.”

The H135 is one of the most popular light twin-engine helicopters in China, mainly operating in helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), search and rescue, law enforcement, firefighting and tourism. To date, more than 1,200 helicopters of the H135 family are in operation around the globe with more than 4 million flight hours.

For the first time in 2016, China became Airbus Helicopters’ largest civil market in terms of annual bookings. Given the rapid development of the HEMS, public services and offshore wind industry in the country, a potential demand of 600 light twin-engine helicopters is expected over the next two decades.

About Airbus

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2016, it generated revenues of €67 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as Europe’s number one space enterprise and the world’s second largest space business. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

Video: Airbus Helicopter H135

[Source: Airbus Helicopters -/- Media Relations]
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The ‘Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trailer’ (A Virtual Trainer) Assists U.S. Soldiers In A Variety Of Scenarios

Virtual Trainer Assists Soldiers’ Readiness in Kosovo

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo, — The light is dim. The tension is so thick someone could cut it with a knife. The rattling sound of firing comes from out of the darkness. The soldier grips a M2 .50-caliber machine gun.

Locked and loaded, the soldier begins to scan the … screen?

Walking into the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trailer is like walking into a giant three-dimensional gaming system. The RVTT is made up of a series of trailers that house full-size Humvees. On the Humvee is mounted a M2 .50-caliber machine gun, or a M249 squad automatic weapon. The trailer walls are lined with large screens that display a simulated video scenario.

Training Available Anywhere

Soldiers are virtually transported to any location ranging from missions in Afghanistan, to basic range target practice at any military installation. The video screens that surround the soldiers display terrain, roads, and even civilians walking in the villages. The soldiers scan the screens at 360 degrees for enemy activity while they talk on the radios to other members of their platoon and “drive” the Humvee on the roads.

The Military Police detachment assigned to Multinational Battle Group-East took full advantage of the opportunity to utilize the first-ever RVTT deployed to Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, from Grafenwoehr, Germany.

“Our primary mission in Kosovo is law enforcement,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Hatchell, platoon sergeant of the MP detachment assigned to MNBG-East. “Our soldiers who came together 90 and 120 days prior to our deployment to Kosovo did not train on our tactical mission set that we would normally conduct in Afghanistan or Iraq. By conducting the RVTT it assists in hitting those objective measures of training and coming up with those proper tactics, techniques, and procedures.”

Variety of Training

The primary mission of the RVTT when it was fielded in October of 2009 was for soldiers to practice convoy operations to prepare them for missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Today, with upgrades to the systems, units can use the RVTT for missions at home station such as gunnery ranges and driver training, explained Bruner Caudill, the project manager for the RVTT system.

This system enables units to continue to train even when deployed environment such as Camp Bondsteel, where there’re a limited amount of tactical training resources.

“It saves the units a lot of time and money on resources,” Caudill said.Using the RVTT also mitigates the risk of injury, Caudill said.

“I have a lot of junior soldiers in my platoon that have not deployed to a combat environment,” said Army 2nd Lt. Shamara Nichols, platoon leader of the MP detachment. “This was a good first step for them to do this simulation where our lives are not in danger, in order to get those good tactics, techniques, and procedures in and work on our convoy operations.”

The Army has come a long way, Caudill explained. He recalled a time when he was a 1st Sgt. in the U.S. Army and had to paint the Hohenfels, Germany terrain on his unit’s parking lot in order to rehearse battle drills with this company.

“We have such a great asset, such as the RVTT, for our troops to train with, it’s just incredible how far the military has come,” Caudill said.

Video RVTT:

[Source: By Army Capt. Rachael Jeffcoat, Multinational Battle Group – East/US DoD -/- Media Relations]
[Photo Credits/Video: inserted by credits embedded]


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Romania’s President Repudiated Angela Merkel’s Ungracious Remarks Directed At The U.S.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis yesterday (29 May) rebuffed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s insistence that Europe must now take fate into its own hands and insisted that the transatlantic relationship remains vital.

Klaus Iohannis Senate of Poland 2015 02 (cropped 2)

On Sunday (28 May), Merkel said Europe can no longer completely rely on its allies, pointing to bruising meetings of G7 nations and NATO last week.

She did not mention by name US President Donald Trump, who criticized major NATO allies and refused to endorse a global climate change accord, but said that the days when Europe could completely count on others were “over to a certain extent”.

Yesterday, Iohannis was invited by journalists in Bucharest to comment on Merkel’s comments. “NATO is still the transatlantic relationship which is and will remain vital for the way Europe and North America will evolve. This relationship cannot disappear, it can be more intense or less intense, but these relationships will remain,” he told

Iohannis also said that Merkel’s comments could be explained by “some expectations” that were not fulfilled at the NATO summit.

“Romania takes the view that the transatlantic relationship should be as solid as possible,” the head of state added.

Romania’s transatlantic relations are indeed of primary importance. The country hosts a $800 million US missile shield, which officially shelters Europe from rogue states.

But Russia says the shield’s aim is to neutralize Moscow’s nuclear arsenal long enough for the United States to strike Russia in the event of war. Washington and NATO deny that.

Romania has recently called for more NATO warships in the Black Sea, a move which did not obtain the support of Bulgaria, another NATO member.

[Source: By Georgi Gotev | -/- Media Relations]
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Children Should Experience Working A Service Job

Child Labor in North Carolina, United States 1908
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Many people get their start in the service industry. Whether they’re ringing up shoppers in retail, answering phone calls in customer support, or helping people navigate health issues, service is everywhere. Direct customer support is often the place to start. Not only does it allow people to get a foot in the door for many industries,… Read More