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IAVA Daily News Brief – May 12, 2015

A diver at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center returns to the surface of the Aquatic Training Facility during dive demonstration at a Year of the Military Diver event. | Military Times >>

A diver at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center returns to the surface of the Aquatic Training Facility during dive demonstration at a Year of the Military Diver event. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Bill Requires VA to Further Study Effects of Burn Pits on Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is sponsoring a bill to have the federal VA create a research center focused on the health of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were exposed to burn pits. Burn pits were used to get rid of all kinds of garbage on military bases. | NPR >>

Veterans stranded after using GI Bill at defunct for-profit college
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans Ashton Harris and Devin Wilson were among the 16,000 students attending the for-profit Corinthian College when it abruptly closed on April 27. They paid for their education using their GI Bill benefits, which can cover three years of tuition. Now they worry they’ve wasted valuable benefits on a school that no longer exists. | CNN >>

Afghanistan

Militants in Afghanistan freed 19 civilian hostages as part of a prisoner swap with the Kabul government Monday, a breakthrough in a high-profile case that has rattled the country’s Hazara minority. | Wall Street Journal >>

After more than a decade on the ground in the Middle East, the Coast Guard is pulling out of Afghanistan – a small but symbolic change as the U.S. continues to scale back military operations there. | The Virginian-Pilot >>

Powerful religious leaders in Afghanistan are growing uneasy about the challenge to their authority posed by rare civil rights protests in Kabul and widespread anger over the lynching of a young woman wrongly accused of burning a Koran. | Reuters >>

Iraq

Iraq’s Shiite-led government has begun training Sunni tribal fighters here in the western province of Anbar, in an urgent U.S.-backed initiative to stem recent advances by Islamic State. | Wall Street Journal >>

One month after Iraq’s prime minister assured American officials here that his Shiite-dominated government was striving to build a multisectarian state, two leading Sunni politicians said Monday that Sunnis were being squeezed out of the country’s political system. | New York Times >>

U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today. Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports. | Defense.gov >>

Military Affairs

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the United States has focused largely on the thousands of American casualties suffered in the grinding ground combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. But while tiny in comparison, the number of fatal aviation accidents — in combat and in training — illustrates the everyday hazards facing American military pilots and aircrews around the globe. | New York Times >>

When the Navy cruiser Lake Erie moved from Hawaii to San Diego this summer, it brought along more than the two-legged crew. A pet goat was aboard the warship during the weeklong sail. That goat, named Master Chief Charlie, may have gotten the cruiser’s captain in trouble — he was ousted from his job late last month. | U-T San Diego >>

In support of Operation Sahayogi Haat, Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines are ensuring humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies and personnel are moving smoothly in and out of Nepal at an intermediate staging base (ISB) at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand. | U.S. Air Force >>

#VetsRising

Comedy greats Johnny Carson, Bill Cosby, Drew Carey, and Rob Riggle all started their working lives in the military, and all of them have credited their service for giving them unique perspectives that shaped their routines or approaches to roles they played. And now a new generation of veterans are finding success in comedy. | We Are The Mighty >>

An Oklahoma Army veteran suffering from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury is giving back by helping fellow veterans heal. Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Shane Mayall grew up with boxers. Now, he breeds them in Anadarko and donates them to fellow veterans as companion dogs. | KSWO 7 ABC >>

A Navy veteran who works as a nurse anesthetist can now add television game show contestant to his resume. Cody Johnston, Warrensburg, will compete on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” where his body and mind will be put to the test by taking on the show’s grueling obstacle courses, June 5 and 6, in San Pedro, California. | The Daily Star-Journal >>

Inside Washington

House Republicans are again attacking measures aimed at protecting U.S. troops from predatory lending practices, two weeks after a similar GOP effort failed. | Huffington Post >>

Work on the 2016 defense authorization bill will dominate both chambers of Congress again this week, with the full House scheduled to vote on its draft midweek and the Senate Armed Services Committee hoping to finalizing its version by Friday. | Army Times >>

The Department of Veterans Af­fairs’ Inspector General’s Office continues to withhold findings of health care violations at Augusta’s Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, despite six months of calls from congressional leaders to tell the public about how potentially dangerous problems are being resolved. | The Augusta Chronicle >>

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