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03 Mar 06. President Bush is expected to meet with top U.S. military commanders next week, just as the escalating violence in Iraq threatens to complicate the administration’s goal of withdrawing more troops this year. So far, military officials say they have made no decisions on future troop withdrawals. They say they are sticking to current plans to send additional units to Iraq later this summer, and acknowledge that a decision will have to be made soon on whether to keep some of those troops home instead. One Defense Department official said the military is waiting to see if attacks between the majority Shiite Muslims and the Sunni Arabs escalate or slack off. Military units will continue preparing to go to Iraq because it is easier to cancel deployment orders than to restart preparations if troops are suddenly needed, said the official, who requested anonymity because troop decisions have not been finalized. Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a military spokesman in Baghdad, played down suggestions the fragile country is on the brink of civil war. He said Thursday there is a sense that this may just be another peak in the violence in Iraq, and it may not continue at the level seen in recent days. Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Gen. John Abizaid, chief of Central Command, are expected to meet with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Bush next week, according to defense officials who also requested anonymity because details are tentative. Defense officials have said they would reassess troop levels in the spring, and the Pentagon has hoped to reduce the military presence in Iraq to below 100,000 by year’s end. There are currently 133,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. (Source: Military.com)

08 Mar 06. Iraqi Air Force Stands Up Its First Operational C-130 Squadron
The new Iraqi air force opened the gates of its first base, located at Baghdad International Airport, and announced the “stand-up” of its first operational C-130 transport squadron. In addition to the C-130s, the Iraqis fly Mi-17 multirole helicopters donated by Russia and 16 UH-1H Iroquois utility helicopters given to them by Jordan. (Source:
Mideast Stars and Stripes/Defense News)

02 Mar 06. Raptors To the Rescue. Alamogordo Base Could Get High-Tech Jets As Soon As ’08 to Replace Stealths. Coming soon to Alamogordo: two squadrons of the Air Force’s brand-new F-22 Raptors that will replace its aging fleet of F-117 stealth fighters. The new planes could start arriving at Holloman Air Force Base from the production line in late 2008 after a mandatory environmental impact review, the Air Force said. The first F-22s are housed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. Alaska’s Elmendorf Air Force Base is slated to get the next squadron of F-22s, and then Holloman and Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii would get the third and fourth squadrons, under the Air Force’s plan. (Source:
Albuquerque Journal/Defense News)

06 Mar 06. Beijing plans to build a $300m computer chip fabrication plant, underlining its determination to become a semiconductor manufacturing centre. Fullcomp International Investment, a Samoa-registered holding company, plans to manufacture chips on a contract basis for local semiconductor design houses as well as international electronics groups. Construction of the plant, the third to be built in Beijing, also reflects industry expectations of growing local demand for chips as China becomes an increasingly important link in the global electronics supply chain. China’s technology sector depends heavily on imported chips, but the government has made creation of a domestic semiconductor sector a
priority. The Beijing city government and the suburban Linhe Industrial Development Zone have promised substantial support to the Fullcomp fabrication plant, or fab, said Jim Kuo, secretary to the company’s board of directors. (Source: FT)

07 Mar 06. Fort Dix Lands $40.7 Million Army Reserve Center. A $40.7 million Army Reserve Center-the first

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