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IAVA Daily News Brief – April 22, 2015

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Service members run down Boylston Street during the 119th Boston Marathon on Monday in Boston, Mass. | Military Times >>


 

Today’s Top Stories 

The White House Is Spending More Money to Help Homeless Veterans — And It’s Working
On Monday, first lady Michelle Obama visited New Orleans to acknowledge a historic accomplishment. A few months ago, the Big Easy became the first city in the United States to eliminate homelessness among its veteran population by placing them all in supportive housing. | Mic >>

VA secretary calls House budget plan too small, harmful
VA Secretary Bob McDonald on Tuesday blasted a $1.4 billion shortfall in the House’s budget proposal for fiscal 2016 as “inadequate” to maintain his department’s reform and outreach efforts. “It will cause veterans to suffer,” he told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “It means fewer veterans will get care.” | Military Times >>

House chairman blasts VA relocation payments as ‘scheme’
The chairman of a House committee called Tuesday for the Department of Veterans Affairs to end its “outrageous scheme” for relocating highly paid executives after learning of the agency’s itemized breakdown of its $288,000 “relocation” payment for the new director of the VA’s beleaguered Philadelphia office. | Washington Times >>

Afghanistan

For months the presence of Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan was the subject of rumours and little more. Small splinter groups of local militants hoisted black flags, but they showed no sign of operational connections to the self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Their talk sounded like fanciful bluster. | The Economist >>

A bomb blast near a police station in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday killed three people and wounded 17, while a separate bomb killed one person and wounded five in the north, officials said. | Associated Press >>

The abduction of the 31 passengers sent a shock wave through Afghanistan’s predominantly Shiite Hazara community. Afghanistan has largely been spared the sectarian strife that plagues other parts of the Muslim world, but many Hazaras see the kidnapping as an indication they, too, now are a target. | Wall Street Journal >>

Iraq

The ancient Rabban Hermizd Monestary, on a hill overlooking the northern village of al-Qosh, is a testament to the long history of Christians in Iraq. Stone walls leading up the hill are decorated with iconography, and the 7th-century monastery is covered with the ancient Syriac language, still spoken today by the people of al-Qosh. | NPR >>

U.S.-led forces targeted Islamic State militants in Syria with six air strikes from Monday to Tuesday morning and conducted 22 strikes against the group in Iraq, the U.S. military said. | Reuters >>

Iraqi security forces battling Islamic State (IS) militants have retaken key areas in the western city of Ramadi, including a hospital, officials say. Militants based inside the hospital blew themselves up when they ran out of ammunition, an official said. | BBC News >>

Military Affairs

Kristen L Rouse writes a blog for True Boots: Today an anticipated 20 or so women will begin the U.S. Army’s elite Ranger school, bringing on yet another phase of public discussion on whether “women” (meaning, roughly 50% of the global human population) are capable of meeting the same standards required of the men in this particular school. | True Boots >>

U.S. troops kicked off a training program for their Ukrainian counterparts at a military base in western Ukraine Monday, far from the continuing fighting near Russia’s border. | Wall Street Journal >>

Laser weapons are no longer a matter of science fiction: The U.S. Navy is testing prototypes that can shoot down a drone or sink a boat, and these weapons of the future may be deployed in limited capacity by the mid 2020s, analysts say. | US News & World Report >>

#VetsRising

Nguyen, a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan with the Marine Corps, produced a winning black-and-white photo titled “Far From Home” that represented the struggles younger veterans like himself have faced back home. | The Orange County Register >>

Kevin Davis, a veteran and resident of Fisk, Mo. can give first-hand knowledge of how a dog saved him from a life of seclusion, and how he decided to help other veterans suffering from depression and other issues related to war through a free program called, “Veterans and Dogs.” | The Daily Dunklin Democrat >>

Venture Hive, the Miami-based entrepreneurship education company, is partnering with the city of Fort Walton Beach to launch a national accelerator for veteran-owned businesses. | Miami Herald >>

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