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IAVA Daily News Brief – April 7, 2015

Today’s Top Stories

Department of Veterans Affairs’ proposal could cut aid for vets
A government attempt to close a loophole in a benefit for low-income wartime veterans could hurt many of those it was designed to help, a benefits consultant said. | Pittsburgh Tribune >>

Veterans’ health records lost in VA-Department of Defense divide
Veterans advocates are urging the Defense Department and VA to collaborate better so electronic health records can simply be clicked and dragged from one system to another when a service member transitions to civilian life, eliminating problems like the ones faced by Sgt. Morey. | Washington Times >>

Could veterans have concussion-related CTE?
The living brains of two ex-soldiers show damage similar to that of football players who have committed suicide. Brain trauma is a “signature injury” of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, has no cure. | CNN >>

Afghanistan

The flag is crude, handmade, but the message is clear — allegiance to ISIS in Afghanistan. And the timing — with America withdrawing, the Taliban fractured, young men disillusioned and angry — could not be worse. | CNN >>

The Taliban have issued the first biography of their reclusive leader Mullah Omar. Believed to be in hiding in Pakistan, he has not been seen in public for many years. There is no explanation for the decision to release the biography, but perhaps it is to counter rumours that he is dead. | BBC News >>

Authorities say separate roadside bombs targeting police vehicles have killed 10 people in Afghanistan. The deadliest of the two blasts Monday happened north of the capital, Kabul. Abdul Sami Sharifi, an administrative chief of Kabul’s Qarabagh district, said the bombing killed four police officers and two civilians. | Associated Press >>

Iraq

Iraqi security forces and their U.S. partners are divided about where to next confront Islamic State after their victory over the extremist group in Tikrit last week. | Wall Street Journal >>

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the Baghdad government would work with Kurdish authorities to liberate the northern province of Nineveh from Islamic State militants. | Reuters >>

U.S.-led forces conducted airstrikes aimed at Islamic State militants in both Iraq and Syria Monday, U.S. military officials said. U.S. war planes targeted ISIS fighters with strikes near Bayji, Mosul and Ramadi in Iraq, destroying mortar and sniper positions, and positions on the ground, the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement. | Fox News >>

Military Affairs

Navy and Marine officials will be able to put brand-new seabasing ships through their paces next month in a Pacific-based exercise designed to highlight the concept. | Marine Corps Times >>

The David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition will kick off Friday at Fort Benning, Georgia. The storied and famously tough three-day competition pits two-man teams against each other in back-to-back events. The winning duo will earn the title of Best Ranger. | Army Times >>

The Air Force sent two B-52s on round-trip missions to the Arctic and North Sea last week as part of NATO training missions. | Air Force Times >>

New Greatest Generation

When pursuing careers in entertainment, many think of the high-profile careers such as acting, directing, and producing, but there are many ways to find success in the industry. Here are 11 veterans who are finding success in entertainment with some of the coolest jobs in Hollywood. | We Are the Mighty >>

Melony Butler credits everyone else for the success of Eagle’s Healing Nest. Everyone else credits Melony Butler. In 2012, she founded the residential veterans campus on the grounds of a defunct reform school in Sauk Centre, Minn., a small town about 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis. | Stars and Stripes >>

Poachers beware: Elephants and rhinos aren’t the only game in Africa. A gutsy, sharp-shooting U.S. Army veteran from Washington state has recently joined forces with a U.S. veteran-staffed anti-poaching organization that combats the slaughter of protected wild animals in East Africa. | NY Daily News >>

Inside Washington

A Vietnam veteran long denied his own post-military benefits is suing the Veterans Affairs Department to speed up the disability compensation appeals process, a move that could potentially affect thousands of cases stuck in administrative limbo. | Military Times >>

Victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting will receive the Purple Heart in a ceremony Friday morning in the culmination of a yearslong battle to designate the shooting spree as an act of terrorism. | Washington Times >>

Billings Gazette OpEd: Veterans say they receive a lot of good care from the VA clinic on the West End, but serious problems persist with wait times that are too long, services not locally available and too few doctors, dentists and mental health professionals to provide timely and continuing care. | Billings Gazette >>

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