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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fourth Spacewalk planned for Thursday, will be moved to Friday, or possibly Saturday

Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The STS-120 astronauts will have an extra day to prepare for their mission’s fourth spacewalk, as the International Space Station Program has changed its priority from inspection of a rotary joint to repair of a solar array. The spacewalk, which was planned for Thursday, will be moved to Friday, or possibly Saturday if extra time is needed for preparation.

The crew spent part of Wednesday preparing for the spacewalk they would have taken on Thursday, which will put them ahead of schedule for preparations for Friday’s spacewalk. They also took time out to participate in a news conference with reporters from the United States, Italy and Russia.

Mission Specialist and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli and STS-120 Commander Pam Melroy also talked to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. The astronauts took questions from the Italian leader while they were inside the Harmony node.

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UPDATE: 1:00pm EDT
Thursday
, November 01, 2007
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* Fourth Spacewalk Now Pushed Back to Saturday *
Friday’s spacewalk, already pushed back from Thursday, has been pushed back again one more day to Saturday. The shuttle and station crews will continue spacewalk preparations, transfer activities and enjoy some off-duty time today...
* Read the latest updates on Flight/Spacewalks HERE
Info/photo courtesy of NASA

Oil Futures Surge To New Record High, Above $94 A Barrel, After Government Reports Supplies Fell Sharply For Second Week

Oil futures surged today to a new record above $94 a barrel after the government reported an unexpected drop in crude oil inventories for the second week in a row... Investors were also awaiting the Federal Reserve’s imminent decision on interest rates... In its weekly inventory report, the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said oil supplies fell by 3.9 million barrels last week. Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires, on average, had expected an increase of 100,000 barrels...
Be sure to read the rest of this troubling news at bostonherald.com

Photo for the Day - October 31, 2007

Faced with the possibility of heavy rains causing mudslides and flash floods following the Southern California wildfires, California Army National Guard citizen-soldiers fill thousands of sandbags to protect lives and property. More than 2,500 National Guard citizen-soldiers and -airmen are assisting civilian authorities with the fires.
Read the story at link below...
National Guard Ready for Fires’ Aftermath
National Guard Photo

Forces Capture Suspected al Qaeda Commander, Detain 11 Others in Iraq

Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Coalition forces captured a wanted individual and detained 11 others today during an operation in support of ongoing efforts to stabilize the region.

The captured suspect is a "special groups" commander with close ties to several other criminal organization members. Intelligence reports further indicate the suspect conducted multiple types of criminal operations in the Khalis and Qasirin areas. The suspected criminal appears to be directly linked to providing lethal weapons used against coalition and Iraqi security forces and innocent civilians, officials said.

"Coalition forces will continue to apply pressure to splinter groups that are not honoring (Muqtada al-)Sadr's pledge to cease attacks," said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Groups honoring the pledge have made Iraq a safer place, and criminal elements dishonoring Sadr's pledge cannot be allowed to destabilize Iraq."

In other operations today, coalition forces killed three terrorists during an operation targeting al Qaeda networks in Kirkuk. The forces were targeting an alleged al Qaeda leader in the Tamim province. The individual allegedly has ties to several terrorist senior leaders operating throughout Iraq and is believed to be involved in a variety of roles within the network, including oversight of assassinations and car-bombing attacks.

Upon arrival to the area, the ground forces called for the target building's occupants to come out. As they were awaiting response, coalition forces observed a group of men maneuvering toward them from the rooftop. The ground force engaged and killed three terrorists. "We're continuously assaulting al Qaeda in Iraq to bring down the networks conducting vicious attacks against the Iraqi people," Danielson said.


In operations earlier this week:

* Iraqi special operations soldiers advised by U.S. Special Forces troops conducted a raid Oct. 29 in Khadra, detaining a suspected al Qaeda terrorist network leader and three others. The commander is believed to lead four insurgent groups who are suspected of conducting attacks on Iraqi security forces and terrorizing local civilians. Coalition forces believe he and his network are involved in attacks on Iraqi infrastructure and medical facilities, including the burning of Iraq's main medication storehouse.

* Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers acting on a tip found a large weapons cache in the Doura neighborhood of the Iraqi capital Oct. 29. Soldiers found the cache hidden behind a false wall in a local residence. The cache consisted of an assault rifle, a flak vest, a military medical bag, an M-249 ammo bag and four M-4 magazines, 30 blasting caps, 69 hand grenades, three anti-armor grenades, two 40 mm grenades, 13 mortar rounds of various sizes and two 60 mm mortar tubes. The unit also found four rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, 13 launcher rounds, three propellant sticks, a bag of detonation cord, 10 AK-47 assault rifles, a machine gun, two sniper rifles with scopes, a rifle, a 9 mm pistol, two machine guns with extra barrels, 63 AK-47 magazines, 2 ammo cans, and 320 linked and 40 loose rounds.

* Concerned local citizens from Buaytha reported the location of a large weapons cache to coalition forces Oct. 28. Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, went with an explosive ordnance disposal team to the location of the cache to assess it. The cache contained several mortar rounds that were rigged with detonation cord, making them ready to be emplaced as IEDs.

* Operation Rock Hammer III, a joint Iraqi and coalition operation in southwestern Baqouba, resulted in the discovery of six weapons caches and a bomb-making factory Oct. 28, significantly reducing the enemy's supply network. The caches and factory consisted of more than 150 pounds of explosives; 47 fire extinguishers, four of which were already filled with explosives; five rocket-propelled grenades; more than 10 assorted mortar rounds; and a variety of IED materials such as strands of copper wire, initiating devices, batteries and oxygen canisters. Multiple small-arms munitions and terrorist propaganda flyers also were discovered.

"The discovery of these caches continues to limit the terrorists' ability to conduct acts of disgrace against the population and the security forces," said Army Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of coalition forces in Diyala province. "The Iraqi security forces, in partnership with my soldiers, will continue to aggressively and persistently attack the enemy's perceived safe havens. They are not welcome in Diyala and will not disrupt the progression of the province."

From news article by DoD’s American Forces Press Service that was compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1267-07 October 31, 200
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Staff Sgt. James D. Bullard, 28
, of Marion, S.C., died October 30th in Spearwan Ghar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using RPG rounds, machine gun fire, mortars and small arms fire during combat operations. He was assigned to the South Carolina National Guard's 1st Battalion, 263rd Armor Battalion, in Marion, S.C.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the South Carolina National Guard public affairs office at (803) 806-4327/4241.

Israeli Air Force Kills Terrorists After Mortar Shell Close Call

Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The IDF launched air strikes in Gaza Tuesday evening after a mortar shell hit a home with a child and her grandmother inside... Arab terrorists fired Four Kassam rockets and five mortar shells toward the western Negev Tuesday. Shells struck a home in Netiv HaAsara, setting it on fire, as well as nearby hothouses. A woman and her grand-daughter fled to their reinforced room as the shell struck the house and blew up in the living room, where they had been sitting. Though the house was severely damaged, they escaped harm. Several bystanders were treated for shock. Five additional shells were fired earlier...
Read this story in full at
IsraelNationalNews.com

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

If Iraq Dam collapses it could send 60-foot-high wall of water that would be inundate Mosul - flood Baghdad to depth of 15 feet

Tuesday, October 30, 2007...

CBSNews.com brings us this story today and it sadly starts off like this... If a dam north of Mosul, Iraq, collapses it could send a trillion-gallon wave of water roaring through Iraq's two largest cities - and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has warned that is perilously close to happening, CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey reports... The dam is on the Tigris River, 45 miles north of the city of Mosul... A catastrophic failure, engineers believe, could unleash a 60-foot-high wall of water that would be inundate Mosul - and flood Baghdad to a depth of 15 feet... Read this troubling story in full at link below...
Catastrophic Dam Collapse Feared In Iraq
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo
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* DoD posted this news article on its website
back on September 9, 2005...

Mosul Dam Repairs Benefit Tigris Basins
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What/who is the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR)???

The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), is a temporary federal agency serving the American public as a watchdog for fraud, waste, and abuse of funds intended for Iraq reconstruction programs... SIGIR, the successor to the Coalition Provisional Authority Inspector General (CPA-IG), was created by Congress to provide oversight of the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF) and all obligations, expenditures, and revenues associated with reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in Iraq... SIGIR oversight is accomplished via independent audits, field inspections, and criminal investigations into potential fraud, waste, and abuse of funds...

Read more HERE
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* SIGIR Report - Highlights, October 30, 2007
* Full report HERE
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Well... I wonder where al-Qaeda and company will try to attack next!!!?
AubreyJ.........

California Burning In The Winds - October 30, 2007

California Burning In The Winds
Tuesday
, October 30, 2007

...
Victory in sight for firefighters battling California blazes..
* LATimes.com brings us this report and it starts off like this... Firefighters hurried Monday to control the stubborn wildfires that continued to burn throughout Southern California before the Santa Ana winds return this week... Forecasters are predicting offshore winds by the weekend, though the ferocity was expected to be less than the gale-force winds that spread wildfires through the region's bone-dry tinder last week. Moist air and lower temperatures in recent days have helped firefighters battle the blazes.
Read the rest
HERE
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About above photo: A UH-1N Search and Rescue Unit helicopter stationed out of Naval Air Station Fallon releases a large amount of water onto the local fires in an effort to control and contain the fires on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., October 24, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt Wayne Bitselley)
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DoD’s American Forces Press Service has this news article out today...
.
Defense Department Works to Battle

Remaining California Fires
Tuesday,
October 30, 2007

Defense Department personnel continue to help state authorities battle five wildfires still burning in California, Pentagon officials said today.

According to U.S. Northern Command officials, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard C-130s flew 10 sorties yesterday dropping fire retardant. They will continue the mission today. The aircraft have flown 74 sorties since arriving in southern California.
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The Global Hawk, the Air Force's state-of-the-art unmanned aerial vehicle, flew missions to spot fires, as did an Air Force U-2 reconnaissance plane and a Navy P-3C Orion.
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On the ground, more than 2,700 California Guardsmen are working in a variety of roles from firefighting to security and communications assistance.
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In addition, the Army Corps of Engineers is helping to coordinate public works and engineering support for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, NORTHCOM officials said. The Corps is addressing four emergency support missions under FEMA: temporary power, temporary housing, planning, and debris removal and disposal.
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The wildfires destroyed 2,772 structures and damaged another 437. At their height, the fires forced more than 500,000 people from their homes from an area north of Los Angeles to the Mexican border. California officials said the fires killed seven people and hurt 117. California fire control officials said they expect the fires to be out by November 2nd.
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*
DoD’s Web Special Report: Military Helps Fight California Wildfires
* More Information on the California Wildfires...
HERE and HERE
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** Ledger-Dispatch.com has a report today and it goes in part like this... The state Office of Emergency Services damage tally rose Monday to 2,786 buildings destroyed, including more than 2,000 homes... Clouds streamed inland from the Pacific on Monday and meteorologists predicted areas of drizzle and light showers through Wednesday morning... Fire crews were already benefiting from precipitation in some areas, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "We continue to make great progress," he said...
Read story in full at link below...
Residents of fire-scarred Southern California communities mull next step as firefighters keep eye on weather
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Note: I’ll be posting more on the remaining fires in California over the next few days. But for now, again I say... god’s speed to all of those who are helping in the effort to fight these terrible... and still ongoing fires.
...
I also send out my thoughts and prayers to those who got hurt... to those that lost their lives, to their families, friends and loved ones... to the families that had to be evacuated from their homes... and to those who have lost everything.
...
God bless each and every one of you...
AubreyJ.........

Iraqi Security Forces Rescue Sheik Hostages

Now here’s some great news that I have yet to hear a word about from the MSM...
It goes as follows:

Iraqi Security Forces
Rescue Sheik Hostages
Tuesday
, October 30, 2007

Soldiers with the 9th Iraqi Army Division, led by Maj. Gen. Riyahd, conducted a mission to rescue abducted sheiks October 29th.

The mission was conducted to free sheiks from Diyala that were kidnapped in the Shaab area of northern Baghdad the day prior. The mission was supported by U.S. military advisors to the Iraqi Army and Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division and the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.

The mission resulted in the rescue of seven sheiks, the capture of four abductors and the killing of at least three extremists at the location where the sheiks were being held. The body of an eighth sheik was recovered at the scene. The rescued sheiks were taken to a nearby Iraqi Army facility where they received medical attention. Several stated they had been beaten with a tire iron. The sheiks also stated that they have no doubt that their abductors were Shi’a extremists.

“The execution of this mission shows how far Iraqi Security Forces have come,” said Brig. Gen. John F. Campbell, deputy commanding general for maneuver for Multi National Division - Baghdad. “The 9th Iraqi Army, led by General Riyadh, reacted very quickly to intelligence they received; they planned and then organized their forces, and executed a tough and precise mission with support from the Coalition. They are well on their way to being the pre-eminent security force for the people of Iraq.”

Iraqi and Coalition Forces continue to hunt all those responsible for the abductions.

(From press release #20071030-09 by Multi-National Corps-Iraq - Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory)

Photo for the Day - October 30, 2007

U.S. Army Spc. David Hooker fires an MK19 machine gun at a known insurgent position as Sgt. Chad Mohr looks on October 24, 2007, in the Kunar province of Afghanistan. The Soldiers are from Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne).
DoD photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Caldwell, U.S. Army

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1262-07 October 30, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Maj. Jeffrey R. Calero, 34
, of Queens Village, N.Y., died October 29th in Kajaki, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on dismounted patrol. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Massachusetts National Guard, Springfield, Mass.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Massachusetts National Guard public affairs office at (508) 233-6562.

STS-120 DISCOVERY Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock Go On 3rd Spacewalk

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
.
Watch 3rd SPACEWALK Live
this Tuesday morning
on NASA TELEVISION

About Photo: (October 28, 2007) Astronaut Scott Parazynski, STS-120 mission specialist, participates in the second of five scheduled sessions of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction continues on the International Space Station. During the 6-hour, 33-minute spacewalk Parazynski and astronaut Daniel Tani (out of frame), Expedition 16 flight engineer, worked in tandem to disconnect cables from the P6 truss, allowing it to be removed from the Z1 truss. Tani also visually inspected the station's starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ) and gathered samples of "shavings" he found under the joint's multi-layer insulation covers. Also the spacewalkers outfitted the Harmony module, mated the power and data grapple fixture and reconfigured connectors on the starboard 1 (S1) truss that will allow the radiator on S1 to be deployed from the ground later.

Image Credit: NASA TV
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..
Monday evening: As crew members aboard the International Space Station and Space Shuttle Discovery prepared for the third spacewalk, they learned that the shuttle will spend an extra day in space with landing now scheduled for Nov. 7. The additional docked day has been inserted between the fourth and fifth spacewalks and provides for some crew off duty time along with ample equipment preparation and turnaround for the fifth spacewalk scheduled for Saturday.
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After analyzing photos of debris found inside the station’s starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, mission managers decided to devote the mission’s fourth spacewalk Thursday to further inspection of the joint.

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As a precursor to the additional rotary joint inspection spacewalk, Tuesday’s spacewalk by Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock will include a short task to inspect the port rotary joint to provide comparison data to station managers who will spend the night developing procedures for the fourth spacewalk. All other tasks for the third spacewalk remain as trained with the focus being on installation of the P6 truss and solar array pair to its permanent location outboard of the port truss.
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The crews completed final preparations for the P6 truss installation and continued outfitting and activation of avionics and systems racks inside the Harmony Node. Despite the shutdown of the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly in the U.S. Destiny laboratory, work continues as normal with no interruption to operations with other means of carbon dioxide scrubbing equipment on board.
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The crew day ended with Parazynski and Wheelock beginning their routine overnight “campout” in the Quest airlock. They plan to begin the spacewalk at about 5:28 a.m. EDT Tuesday.
Info from NASA Website.
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* 3rd Spacewalk officially began at 4:45 am EDT
And concluded at 11:53 am EDT
.
* TODAY’S SPACEWALK lasted for
7 hours 8 minutes and is now OVER *
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Note: After Tuesday’s Spacewalk...
Discovery STS-120 has two more spacewalks scheduled
* 4th Spacewalk Scheduled for Thursday *
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* Read the latest updates on Flight/Spacewalks HERE
....
Watch Spacewalks/Mission LIVE
at NASA TELEVISION.... ...

Click HERE to find your preferred Video Player
(It’s under... “Watch NASA TV NOW”)

Windows Media Player is best for Full Screen viewing
ENJOY!!!
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I’ll be posting on all the spacewalks over the next few days so check back!
And again I say...
GOD SPEED to the Crew of STS-120 DISCOVERY... .

AubreyJ.........

Monday, October 29, 2007

80 Taliban said killed in U.S.-led six-hour battle in southern Afghanistan

U.S.-led coalition forces killed about 80 Taliban fighters during a six-hour battle outside a Taliban-controlled town in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, the latest in a series of increasingly bloody engagements in the region, officials said... The battle near Musa Qala in Helmand province - the world's largest poppy growing region - is at least the fifth major fight in the area since Sept. 1. The five battles have killed more than 250 Taliban fighters, a possible sign that U.S. or British forces could be trying to wrest the area back from Taliban militants... The latest fight began when Taliban fighters attacked a combined U.S. coalition and Afghan patrol with rockets and gunfire, prompting the combined force to call in attack aircraft, which resulted in "almost seven dozen Taliban fighters killed," the U.S.-led coalition said in a statement early Sunday...
Read the full story at CanadianPress.google.com

Security forces in oil-rich Azerbaijan Foils U.S. Embassy Attack by Islamic Group

Monday, October 29, 2007
Security forces in oil-rich Azerbaijan prevented a planned terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in the capital Baku by fundamentalist Islamic militants, officials said... An Azerbaijani terrorist group aimed to attack government buildings and the U.S. Embassy in Baku, National Security Ministry spokesman Arif Babayev said in a telephone interview today... Law enforcement officers killed one of suspected militants when he resisted arrest and detained others during an early morning operation outside the capital on October 27, Babayev said... The United States and the U.K. today closed their embassies in Baku in response to “security concerns.”...

Read the rest at Bloomberg.com

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1259-07 October 29, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Master Sgt. Thomas L. Bruner, 50, of Owensboro, Ky., died October 28th, in Kabul, Afghanistan from a non-combat related illness. He was assigned to the Headquarters, 2nd Brigade, 100th Division, U.S. Army Reserve, Owensboro, Ky. The incident is under investigation.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the 100th Division public affairs office at (502) 454-2980.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1258-07 October 29, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Staff Sgt. Joseph F. Curreri, 27
, of Los Angeles, Calif., died October 27th in Siet, Lake Jolo Island, Philippines from injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Lewis, Wash. The incident is under investigation.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the U.S. Army Special Operations Command public affairs office at (910) 432-6005 (http://news.soc.mil/).

Shiite and Sunni Tribal Leaders Kidnapped in Iraq

Eleven tribal leaders who had banded with U.S. soldiers to fight the Sunni insurgent group Al-Qaida in Iraq were kidnapped Sunday morning, the latest in a string of such attacks, fellow tribesmen said... The Shiite and Sunni sheiks, members of the Al-Salam Support Council, a group fighting Al-Qaida in Iraq in volatile Diyala province, were taken from their cars by gunmen as they returned home from a meeting in Baghdad with a government official, the tribesmen said... Hadi al-Anbaki, a spokesman for the mostly Shiite council, said the attack was carried out by the Mahdi Army, a militia controlled by the anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. "This was an ambush," Anbaki said...
Read story in full at MercuryNews.com

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Photo for the Day - October 28, 2007

An Iraqi Army Soldier provides security during combined combat operations in Baqubah, Iraq, October 15th.
Read the story at link below...

Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller, 1st Combat Camera

STS-120 DISCOVERY Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski and Station’s Newly Arrived Flight Engineer, Daniel Tani Go On 2nd Spacewalk

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Watch 2nd SPACEWALK Live
this Sunday morning
on NASA TELEVISION
About Photo: (October 26, 2007) Astronaut Scott Parazynski, STS-120 mission specialist, is pictured in the shuttle's cargo bay during the first of five scheduled sessions of extravehicular activity to perform work on the International Space Station while it is visited by the Space Shuttle Discovery. Node 2, also known as Harmony, joined the growing station complex, thanks to the work of the two spacewalkers in conjunction with that of their crewmates who remained in the shirt sleeve environment of the two spacecraft.
Image Credit: NASA TV
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Astronauts are working outside the International Space Station for the second time during the STS-120 mission. The main objective of today’s spacewalk, which began at 5:32 a.m. EDT, is the preparation of the Port 6, or P6, truss segment for its relocation.
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Parazynski and Tani began the spacewalk heading to the section where the P6 truss was attached to the Z1 truss. Once there they disconnected the umbilicals and bolts holding the two trusses together. Mission Specialists Stephanie Wilson and Doug Wheelock used the station robotic arm to remove the P6. They will place the solar array section in a temporary holding position for tonight before handing it off to the shuttle's robotic arm Monday morning.
.
Tani performed a couple of inspections requested by mission managers. He inspected handrails on a Crew and Equipment Translation Aid cart for sharp edges. While inspecting a rotary joint used to rotate solar arrays he noticed metal shavings and unusual wear on a race ring. The joint has been showing some increased friction lately, and engineers are analyzing potential causes.
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Parazynski is outfitting the Harmony node with handholds and other equipment. Both spacewalkers will finish up their tasks when they install a new grapple fixture to Harmony. The station’s robotic arm will use the grapple fixture next month when it reinstalls Harmony to the front of the Destiny laboratory.
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The excursion is scheduled to last 6 hours and 40 minutes. Mission Specialist Paolo Nespoli is the spacewalk coordinator, assisting the spacewalkers with their tasks.
Info from NASA Website.
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Note: After Sunday’s Spacewalk...
Discovery STS-120 has three more spacewalks scheduled

..
* 3rd Spacewalk Scheduled for Tuesday *

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* NOTE: 2nd Spacewalk is now over for the day...
.
2nd Spacewalk began today at 5:32 am EDT
And concluded at 12:05 pm EDT. .
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* Read the latest updates on Flight/Spacewalks HERE
...
Watch Spacewalks/Mission LIVE
at NASA TELEVISION....
..
Click HERE to find your preferred Video Player
(It’s under... “Watch NASA TV NOW”)
Windows Media Player is best for Full Screen viewing
ENJOY!!!
*******************************************
************************
..
I’ll be posting on all the spacewalks over the next few days so check back...
GOD SPEED to the Crew of STS-120 DISCOVERY...
AubreyJ.........

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Analysts Determine Construction of Syrian Nuclear Reactor begun as early as 2001

Experts examining new satellite images from 2003 estimate construction of Syrian complex bombed by Israel began six years ago... The New York Times reported on Saturday that independent analysts have determined that construction of the alleged nuclear reactor on Syrian soil which was bombed last month by Israel may have begun as early as 2001...
Read the rest of this story at YNET.com

Afghanistan: SEVERAL INSURGENTS KILLED IN FAILED TALIBAN AMBUSH

Afghanistan: Several Insurgents Killed In Failed
Taliban Ambush In Helmand Province
Saturday, October 27, 2007

Afghan National Security and Coalition forces engaged and killed several Taliban fighters near the Musa Qaleh Wadi region of Helmand Province today.

The combined force was conducting a reconnaissance mission when Taliban fighters engaged the patrol with rocket and small arms fire. ANSF and Coalition forces returned fire and out-maneuvered the enemy.

The Coalition forces used accurate small arms fire, machine gun fire and precision guided munitions to destroy Taliban fighters. All fires were controlled by a Coalition force Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) during this engagement.

There were no reports of civilian injuries or damage to property.

“This engagement was another example of ANSF and Coalition forces turning an ambush into an advantageous situation,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force- 82 spokesman. “It is important to note that many targets were not engaged due to ANSF and Coalition force precautions against causing collateral damage.”


From CENTCOM news release #07-01-03P - Afghanistan Map courtesy of CENTCOM

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1256-07 October 27, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Spc. David E. Lambert, 39, of Cedar Bluff, Va, died October 26th, in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 237th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command of the Virginia National Guard.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Virginia National Guard public affairs office at (804) 225-3724, ext. 2211.

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

No. 1255-07 October 27, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died of wounds sustained when they came in contact with enemy forces using RPG, machine gun and small arms fire during combat operations on October 25th, in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. The soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.

Killed were:
Sgt. Joshua C. Brennan, 22, of Ontario, Ore., who died Oct0ber 26th in Asadabad, Afghanistan
Spc. Hugo V. Mendoza, 29
, of Glendale, Ariz., who died October 25th

For further information related to this release, contact the Southern European Task Force public affairs office at 011-39-0444-71-7011 or 011-39-0444-71-8020.

Friday, October 26, 2007

California Burning In The Winds - October 26, 2007

California Burning In The Winds
Friday, October 26, 2007
(Note: This post on top today - Scroll for newer post below)
...
As Fires Burn, Some Evacuees Return Home
...
* CBSNews.com brings us this report and it starts off like this... Though several blazes still burned Friday across San Diego County, the region hardest hit by the firestorms that began last weekend, thousands of evacuees have been trickling back to neighborhoods stripped bare... The football stadium where thousands sought refuge is closing as an evacuation center, marking a symbolic show of progress. Once sheltering more than 10,000 people, Qualcomm Stadium was home to about 200 on Friday morning...
Read the rest HERE
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About above photo: A member of the Camp Pendleton Fire Department prepares to engage one of the many fires burning on Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 25, 2007. The fires, which began Oct. 23, 2007, continue to burn.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Denise M. Serrano
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* USAToday.com has this report and it goes in part like this... In all, fires raced across 497,000 acres... or 765 square miles, an area half the size of Rhode Island... They were fanned early in the week by Santa Ana winds that produced gusts topping 100 mph... Of the 1,800 homes lost so far, 80% were in San Diego County. The property damage there alone has surpassed $1 billion...
Read story in full at link below...
Some evacuees return home as firefighting continues
...
* The International Herald Tribune website has this report... While life began returning to normal in parts of southern California Friday, firefighters continued to battle several large blazes that still threatened more than 20,000 homes.
Read in full at link below
...
Homes still at risk on sixth day of fires in California

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* More Information on the California Wildfires...
HERE and HERE
...
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* Military Helps Battle Wildfires *

Military News Video about: Mandatory evacuation orders being lifted Friday for many of the residential areas of San Diego as military and civilian firefighters began making solid progress against wildfires...
Video update by DoD
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I will post more on this terrible story over the next few days.
But again I say... God’s speed to all of those who are helping in the effort to fight these terrible... ongoing fires.
....
I also send out my thoughts and prayers to those who lost their lives, to their families, friends and loved ones... to the families that have been evacuated from their homes... and to those who have lost everything.
...
God bless each and every one of you...
AubreyJ.........

Rudy on How He Can Beat Hillary

Rudy on How He Can Beat Hillary

Mayor Rudy Giuliani on how he is the Republican best prepared to beat Hillary Clinton in 2008 by running a 50-state campaign.

STS-120 DISCOVERY Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock Go On 1st Spacewalk Today

STS-120 DISCOVERY Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock Go On 1st Spacewalk
Friday, October 26, 2007
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SPACEWALK Was LIVE This Morning
On NASA TELEVISION

About Photo: STS-120 Mission Specialist Doug Wheelock rides the station's robotic arm into Discovery's payload bay.
Image Credit: NASA TV.
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Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski and Doug Wheelock wrapped up STS-120’s first spacewalk at 12:16 p.m. EDT. During the 6-hour, 14-minute excursion, the STS-120 and Expedition 16 crews successfully installed the Harmony module in a temporary location on the International Space Station and prepared the P6 truss for its relocation.

Parazynski and Wheelock removed and stowed the S-band Antenna Structural Assembly which is being returned to Earth on Discovery. Next, they secured a Payload and Data Grapple Fixture onto Harmony that could not be in place during launch, removed contamination covers and disconnected the power cables linking Harmony to Discovery.

When the spacewalkers’ preparations were complete, the station robotic arm operators removed Harmony from the payload bay and moved it to its position on Unity. Meanwhile, the spacewalkers prepared the P6 truss for its relocation.

The first spacewalk of STS-120 began at 6:02 a.m. Mission Specialist Paolo Nespoli coordinated spacewalk activities. Mission Specialists Stephanie Wilson and Clay Anderson and Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Daniel Tani were at the controls of the station’s Canadian-built robotic arm.
Info from NASA Website

Four more spacewalks are scheduled for STS-120
* 2nd Spacewalk Scheduled for Sunday *
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1st Spacewalk begin at: 6:02 am EDT
And concluded at 12:16 pm EDT
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* Read the latest updates on Flight and Spacewalks HERE .

Watch Mission LIVE
at NASA TELEVISION...

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Click HERE to find your preferred Video Player (It’s under... “Watch NASA TV NOW”)
Windows Media Player is best for Full Screen viewing

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ENJOY!!!
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* STS-120 Interactive Timeline - Click Here *

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I’ll be posting on all the space walks over the next few days so check back...
GOD SPEED to the Crew of STS-120 DISCOVERY...
AubreyJ.........

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1254-07 October 26, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Pfc. Adam J. Chitjian, 39, of Philadelphia, Pa., died October 25th in Balad, Iraq, of injuries sustained when he came in contact with enemy forces using small arms during combat operations. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood Texas.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at (254) 287-9993; after hours (254) 291-2591.

Navy Crew MIA From Vietnam War is Identified

No. 1253-07 October 26, 2007
Navy Crew MIA From Vietnam War is Identified


The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of five U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been accounted-for and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.


They are:
Lt. j.g. Norman L. Roggow, of Aurelia, Iowa
Lt. j.g. Donald F. Wolfe, of Hardin, Mont.
Lt. j.g. Andrew G. Zissu, of Bronx, N.Y.
Chief Petty Officer Roland R. Pineau, of Berkley, Mich.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Raul A. Guerra, of Los Angeles, Calif.
All were U.S. Navy...

Pineau was buried on Oct. 8 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. The dates and locations of the funerals for the other servicemen are being set by their families.

On Oct. 8, 1967, Zissu and Roggow were the pilots of an E-1B Tracer en route from Chu Lai Air Base, Vietnam, back to the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany. Also on board were Wolfe, Pineau and Guerra. Radar contact with the aircraft was lost approximately 10 miles northwest of Da Nang, Vietnam. Adverse weather hampered immediate search efforts, but three days later, a search helicopter spotted the wreckage of the aircraft on the face of a steep mountain in Da Nang Province. The location, terrain and hostile forces in the area precluded a ground recovery.

In 1993 and 1994, human remains were repatriated to the United States by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) with information that linked the remains to unassociated losses in the same geographical area as this incident. Between 1993 and 2004, U.S/S.R.V. teams, all led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), investigated the incident more than 15 times in Da Nang city and Thua Thien-Hue Province.

Between 2004 and 2005, the joint teams surveyed and excavated the crash site where they recovered human remains and crew-related items. During the excavation in 2005, the on-site team learned that human remains may have been removed previously from the site. S.R.V. officials concluded that two Vietnamese citizens found and collected remains at the crash site, and possibly buried them near their residence in Hoi Mit village in Thua Thein-Hue Province. In 2006, another joint U.S. /S.R.V. team excavated the suspected burial site in Hoi Mit village, but found no additional remains. In 2007, more remains associated with this incident were repatriated to the United States by S.R.V. officials.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at
http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/ or call (703) 699-1169.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1251-07 October 26, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Staff Sgt. Robin L. Towns Sr., 52, of Upper Marlboro, Md., died October 24th in Bayji, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations. He was assigned to the 275th Military Police Company, 372nd Military Police Battalion, Washington, D.C. National Guard.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the D.C. National Guard public affairs office at (202) 685-9862/9861.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Photo for the Day - October 25, 2007

President George W. Bush shakes hands with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as he talks with the media after touring the Rancho Bernardo neighborhood Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007, with Senator Dianne Feinstein, R-Calif., and FEMA Director David Paulison. Said the President: "To the extent that people need help from the federal government, we will help... My job is to make sure that FEMA and the Defense Department and the Interior Department and Ag Department respond in a way that helps people get the job done."
Read more at link below...
President Bush Tours Fire Damaged Southern California
White House photo by Eric Draper

California Burning In The Winds - October 25, 2007

California Burning In The Winds
Thursday, October 25, 2007

(Note: This post on top today - Scroll for newer post below)

Fire death toll climbs as weather aids firefighters' efforts

MercuryNews.com brings us this report this morning and it starts off like this... San Diego County authorities today said they have discovered the bodies of two more people believed to have been killed in the wildfires that scorched Southern California this week... Recovery crews found the burned bodies in a gutted home near Poway, north of San Diego, Sheriff Bill Kolender said. He had no other details but said medical examiners were trying to establish their identities... The discovery brings to eight the total number of deaths connected to the fires... The grim announcement came on a day when officials were otherwise upbeat. Prospects for gaining control of some of the most severe fires heightened as the Santa Ana winds calmed and temperatures dropped...
Read the rest
HERE
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About photo on right: Wildfires burn near Camp Horno on Camp Pendleton, Calif., October 23, 2007.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Grant T. Walker
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USAToday.com has this report... Despite a dramatic drop in high winds and record temperatures, wildfires raged out of control in two Southern California counties on Thursday, but firefighters battling 10 fires were at least able to throw more men, water and airplanes into the battle in hopes of reining in some of the blazes...
Read story in full at link below...
Calmer winds aid firefighters, but danger far from over
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The ABCNews.go.com website has this report and it goes in part like this... On the fire lines, a massive aerial assault and a break in the harsh winds that had fanned the flames throughout the week were helping firefighters make their first major progress... The hot, dry Santa Ana winds that have whipped the blazes into a destructive, indiscriminate fury since the weekend were expected to all but disappear...
Read in full at link below...
Calif. Fires May Be at Turning Point
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* More Information on the California Wildfires...
HERE and HERE
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Southern California Wildfires from Int. Space Station
About Video: NASA Video from the International Space Station shows the Southern California Wildfires
Info/Video posted on LiveLeak by:
jdischord
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I will post more on this terrible story over the next few days.
But again I say... God’s speed to all of those who are helping in the effort to fight these terrible... ongoing fires.
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I also send out my thoughts and prayers to those who lost their lives, to their families, friends and loved ones... to the families that have been evacuated from their homes... and to those who have lost everything.
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God bless each and every one of you...
AubreyJ.........

22 Dead, 34 Injured In Pakistan Suicide Attack On Military Vehicle

At least 22 people were killed and 34 injured when a suicide bomber blew up a truck carrying security personnel and ammunition in the Swat region of Pakistan's restive North West Frontier Province on Thursday... The attack came a day after thousands of troops were deployed in the valley to counter the activities of pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah and his militant followers who are running a parallel government in about 60 villages...
Read the rest of the story at link below...
22 dead in Pak suicide attack on military vehicle

Secretary Condoleezza Rice Remarks on Iran with Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson

Secretary Condoleezza Rice Remarks on Iran
with Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson
Thursday, October 25, 2007
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SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. In May 2006, the United States offered the Iranian Government an historic opportunity to improve its relations with the international community and with us. We said that our nation deeply respects the Iranian people and that we are eager to build a better future together. We offered Iran new incentives to cooperate and negotiate with Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States. We offered to support a civil nuclear program in Iran under international supervision if it agreed to give up pursuit of the fuel cycle. But we also said that if the Government of Iran continued to violate its international obligations and continued its unwise campaign for nuclear weapons capability that they would face serious circumstances and sanctions.

We and our partners remain fully committed to a diplomatic solution with Iran. On our behalf, the EU's Javier Solana reaffirmed that offer to Iran this week. Unfortunately, the Iranian Government continues to spurn our offer of open negotiations, instead threatening peace and security by pursuing nuclear technologies that can lead to a nuclear weapon, building dangerous ballistic missiles, supporting Shia militants in Iraq and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories and denying the existence of a fellow member of the United Nations -- threatening to wipe Israel off the map.

Working with other concerned nations, the United States is pursuing a comprehensive policy to confront the threatening behavior of the Iranian Government. We have worked with our fellow members of the UN Security Council to impose two sets of Chapter 7 sanctions on the Iranian Government and we are now discussing a third Chapter 7 resolution. We're taking additional actions to defend our interests and our citizens and to help our friends to secure their countries.

Today Secretary Paulson and I are announcing several new steps to increase the costs to Iran of its irresponsible behavior. Many of the Iranian regimes' most destabilizing policies are carried out by two of its agencies: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or the IRGC, and the Quds Force, an arm of the IRGC. Because of the Revolutionary Guard's support for proliferation and because of the Quds Force support for terrorism, acting under U.S. law and consistent with our international obligations, the United States today is designating both of these groups. We are similarly designating three Iranian state-owned banks: Bank Melli and Mellat, for their involvement in proliferation activities, and Bank Saderat as a terrorist financier. We are also designating several additional Iranian individuals and organizations.

What this means is that no U.S. citizen or private organization will be allowed to engage in financial transactions with these persons and entities. In addition, any assets that these designees have under U.S. jurisdiction will be immediately frozen. These actions will help to protect the international financial system from the illicit activities of the Iranian Government and they will provide a powerful deterrent to every international bank and company that thinks of doing business with the Iranian Government.

I want to repeat, the United States and our partners are fully committed to a diplomatic solution with Iran. If the Iranian Government fulfills its international obligation to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, I will join my British, French, Russian, Chinese, and German colleagues and I will meet with my Iranian counterpart anytime, anywhere. We will be open to the discussion of any issue. But if Iran's rulers choose to continue down a path of confrontation, the United States will act with the international community to resist these threats of the Iranian regime.

Let me finish by saying a few words directly to the Iranian people. We in the United States have no conflict with you. We want you to have every opportunity to develop and prosper in dignity, including the peaceful use of nuclear power. So we hope that your government will embrace the path of cooperation that we and the international community continue to offer.

And now, I would like to invite Hank Paulson, Secretary Paulson to speak...


Read the rest of the Transcript with Q&A’s HERE
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About video: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson give remarks from a joint press availability on Iran in the Ben Franklin Room Thursday morning, October 25, 2007.
Video/Transcript/File Photo from DoS website

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

No. 1250-07 October 25, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sgt. Edward O. Philpot, 38, of Latta, S.C., died October 23rd in Afghanistan, from a non-combat related Humvee rollover accident. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 263rd Armor Regiment, South Carolina National Guard, Dillon, S.C. This incident is under investigation.
For more information related to this release, the media may contact the South Carolina National Guard public affairs office at (803) 806-4327.

Iraqi Special Operations Forces, U.S. Special Forces detain two terrorist leaders

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Iraqi Special Operations Forces detained a suspected terrorist leader believed to be linked to the Al-Qaeda in Iraq criminal network during a raid October 23rd in the Abu Ghuraib area.

The suspected terrorist leader is believed to command 100 terrorists who have been active in the Abu Ghuraib, Fallujah and Ramadi areas. He and his terror network are allegedly responsible for the murder, kidnapping and rape of innocent Iraqi civilians. They are also accused of evicting Iraqi civilian families from their homes and then burning the houses down, as well as conducting numerous IED attacks against Iraqi Forces.

In another operation October 22nd, ISOF detained a suspected terrorist company commander in a raid in New Baghdad. The suspected terrorist company commander and his associates are believed to be responsible for kidnapping local Sunni Iraqis and conducting mortar attacks against Coalition and Iraqi Forces in the al-Kamaliyah area.

U.S. Special Forces were advisors on these operations. No Iraqi or U.S. Forces were injured during these operations.

From press release #20071025-06 by Multi-National Corps-Iraq - Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory

Discovery Arrives at Space Station - Thursday, October 25, 2007

Discovery Arrives at Space Station
Joint Operations to Begin Soon
Thursday, October 25, 2007
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Watch Space Shuttle Mission LIVE
On NASA TELEVISION

About Above Image: Space shuttle Discovery performs a back-flip over the Atlantic Ocean about an hour before docking to the International Space Station.
Image credit: NASA TV
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Space Shuttle Discovery and the STS-120 crew arrived at the International Space Station at 8:40 a.m. EDT, delivering a new module and crew member to the orbital outpost. The STS-120 astronauts and the station’s Expedition 16 crew will conduct pressure and leak checks before the hatches between the two spacecraft open about 10:30 a.m. After the crews greet each other, they will quickly begin joint operations.

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One of the first major tasks is the station crew rotation. STS-120 Mission Specialist Daniel Tani will switch places with Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Clayton Anderson, who will be wrapping up a four-month tour of duty as an Expedition crew member. Tani is scheduled to stay on the station until he returns to Earth with STS-122 later this year.
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Tani will officially become a member of Expedition 16 when his custom-made seat liner is swapped out with Anderson’s in the Soyuz spacecraft docked to the station. Also, preparations will begin today for the first of five scheduled STS-120 spacewalks. It is set to kick off at 6:28 a.m. Friday.
Info from NASA.gov website
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Read Latest News and Updates +
Countdown/Mission Elapsed Time Clock
at
NASA.gov
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Watch Mission LIVE
at NASA TELEVISION...
Click
HERE to find your preferred Video Player (It's under... “Watch NASA TV NOW”)
Windows Media Player is best for Full Screen viewing
ENJOY!!!
...
* STS-120 Interactive Timeline - Click Here *
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I’ll be posting on all the space walks over the next few days so check back...
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GOD SPEED to the Crew of STS-120 Discovery...
AubreyJ.........