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NEWS IN BRIEF

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EUROPE

11 Nov 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Captain from 1st Bn The Royal Regiment of Scotland was killed by a member of the Afghan Army at Forward Operating Base Shawqat on 11 Nov 12. UK deaths since the start of Operations thus rose to 438 of whom 395 were killed due to hostile action. (MoD, 11 Nov 12.)
From 1 Jan 06 to 31 Oct 12, 2,055 personnel were Wounded in Action and 6,301 were aeromedically evacuated. (DASA, 15 Nov 12.) For October 2012 the figures were 15 and 54.
Over the past 12 months Task Force Helmand completed more than 47,000 partnered patrols with the Afghan National Security forces. (Written Answers (WA), 12 Nov 12.)
The most significant recent changes to tactics relevant to improvised explosive devices have been associated with the introduction of the Foxhound protected mobility vehicles. (WA, 12 Nov 12.)
As at 1 Nov 12, 297 Hellfire precision guided missiles and 52 laser guided bombs have been employed by the UK Reaper remotely piloted air systems (RPAS). (WA, 12 Nov 12.)
The average monthly attrition rate for the Afghan National Army from October 2011 to September 2012 was around 4,500 (or roughly 2.3 to 2.6%). (WA, 13 Nov 12.)
901 Expeditionary Air Wing hosted a visit by the Prime Minister, who was accompanied by the Defence Secretary and officials from the United Arab Emirates. (RAF, 14 Nov 12.)
Comment: The Defence Committee took evidence for its Inquiry into ‘Securing the Future of Afghanistan’ at 14.30hrs on Tue 20 Nov 12 in Committee Room 6, Palace of Westminster. The main witness is expected to be the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Strategy and Operations).
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/45, 19 Nov 12)

15 Nov 12. Gibraltar: Incursions. The Foreign Office reported (15 Nov 12) that the Spanish Ambassador was summoned “in order to underline the British Government’s concerns regarding recent incursions into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters”.
Comment: The meeting followed two incidents on 13 Nov 12: in the first a Spanish naval vessel conducteda patrol through British Waters lasting several hours. Later on the same day a Spanish customs vessel sought to apprehend a Gibraltarian civilian boat in the Waters. These incidents followed a confrontation betweenHMS SCIMITAR and a Spanish corvette on 7 Nov 12. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/45, 19 Nov 12)

09 Nov 12. U.K. Ups ESA Investment 25% Ahead of Key Budget Meeting. Despite budget pressures at home, the U.K. plans to invest £1.2bn ($1.9bn) in European Space Agency (ESA) programs during the next five years, a 25% increase over current spending aimed at attracting more high-tech jobs and strengthening the U.K.’s position as a global player in satellite and telecommunications technology development. Britain’s Chancellor George Osborne announced the funding increase in a speech delivered Nov. 9 at the Royal Society, less than two weeks before ESA’s ruling council will meet in Naples, Italy, to set a multiyear budget for the agency. (Source: glstrade.com/AvWeek)

15 Nov 12. The Commonwealth: Report Published. The Foreign Affairs Committee published (15 Nov 12) a Report entitled: The Role and Future of The Commonwealth. The Report suggests that the Commonwealth Secretariat needs to “sharpen, strengthen and promote its diplomatic performance”. The Committee notes that the Commonwealth has recently appeared less active and less publicly visible. The Report concludes that continuing evidence of serious human rights abuses in Sri Lanka shows that the Commonwealth’s decision to hold the 2013 Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo was “wrong”.
Comment: Apart from the difficulties with Sri Lanka, the Report also draws attention to the implications of and for an independent Scotland. The Report is published as HC 114 for £23:00.

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