Metro-East News

Scott Air Force Base goes all-in for National Bike to Work Day

Mike Fitzgerald
Mike Fitzgerald

National Bike to Work Day is this Friday. Group bicycle rides to Scott Air Force Base will originate from the red caboose in the 100 block of West First Street in O’Fallon at 6:45 a.m. and from Holy Trinity church in Fairview Heights at 6:20 a.m.

For more information, contact Mary Schmidt at 618-256-5094 or Paul Niesen at 618-229-2574.

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The Air Force Academy’s fledgling cyberspace major will graduate its first three cadets during the June 2 ceremony at Falcon Stadium, accordng to Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, the school’s superintendent, according to Air Force Times.

And the Class of 2017 will have an even stronger cyber presence, with 17 cadets expected to graduate, Johnson said in her annual “State of the USAFA” address in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The academy launched its computer network security major at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. One class, newly created that year, taught cadets to analyze and reverse-engineer viruses and other malicious software to figure out how they operate and how to stop them. Another class focused on computer forensics to build a chain of digital evidence on espionage or other criminal cases.

“The academic major of cyber is very much in need,” Johnson said.

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The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Eric Fanning, the White House nominee to be the next secretary of the Army, making him the first openly gay man to hold an armed service’s top civilian position.

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., relinquished an eight-month hold he said was unrelated to Fanning’s qualifications or his sexuality. Roberts sought assurances from the Obama administration that detainees at the military’s Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison would not be relocated to Kansas, and he announced on the Senate floor Tuesday he received them, according to Defense News.

The landmark move was praised by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization. His nomination comes five years after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” legislation barring openly gay people from serving.

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USA Today is reporting that The Islamic State has lost 45 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq and 20 percent of areas it controlled in Syria, according to new estimates by a U.S.-led coalition combating the extremist group.

Those slow but steady battlefield losses in Iraq are prompting the Islamic State to strike back against civilians with terrorist bombings, the latest killing dozens in Baghdad on Tuesday.

The territory seized by Iraqi forces, aided by coalition airstrikes and advisers, is up from 40 percent announced earlier this year, according to the latest estimates. The percentages are based on areas the militants controlled at their peak strength after they swept into Iraq in 2014.

In Syria, the Islamic State’s losses are up from the coalition’s estimates of 10 to 15 percent of areas it controlled earlier this year. The group’s de facto capital is in Syria, where the Islamic State, other rebel groups and the Syrian government have waged a five-year-long civil war.

In recent weeks, U.S.-aided Iraqi forces pushed militants out of towns in western Iraq’s Euphrates River valley as they consolidated gains made last December, when Iraq’s army retook the city of Ramadi.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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