Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Friday September 21, 2001

PC News

Operation Flashpoint Mulitplayer Demo
Codemasters has released a Operation Flashpoint Mulitplayer demo. Download now

New Ghost Recon Trailer
Ubi Soft will be releasing a trailer from their upcoming FPS "Ghost Recon" at 14.30 PST Friday, September 21, 2001. For more on Ghost Recon and the new trailer click here

Real War Goes Gold
Simon & Schusterís modern warfare RTS, Real War, has gone gold and will be available in stores next week. Originally developed to train the United States military, "Real War", is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game, players choose between U.S.A. or a rogue army called "The ILA" (Independent Liberation Army). and each side includes 12 scenarios and around 40 hours of gameplay. The game features more than 50 different types of real-life units, including infantry, armored vehicles such as the M1A1 and the T80, nuclear submarines, and aircraft such as the F16 and the B52. Click here for our preview.

Matrox Introduces 1st WHQL WinXP Driver
Matrox has announced the release of its WHQL-certified drivers for Microsoft Windows XP, for the Matrox Millennium G450 and Millennium G550 series of graphics cards. The first to release WHQL-certified drivers for Microsoft Windows XP, Matrox continues providing graphics cards for corporate users, while supporting Microsoft's initiative to deliver increased reliability and stability with its new operating system. Now with Matrox's WHQL-certified driver for Windows XP, end-users can count on maximum performance and reliability.

Military News

ATK Begins Testing LOSAT Weapon System
ATK (Alliant Techsystems) said ATK Tactical Systems Company, Rocket Center, W. Va., has successfully completed two static-firing tests of a developmental solid rocket motor for the U.S. Army's Line-of-Sight Antitank (LOSAT) Weapon System, clearing the way for qualification tests of the motor later this year and production of 42 motors for missile flight qualification tests in 2002.

The LOSAT Weapon System consists of the Kinetic Energy Missile (KEM) and its fire control system mounted on an air-mobile, heavy High-Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) chassis. The system, which is designed to support early-entry force missions, will defeat all current and predicted future armored combat vehicles at distances beyond the range of a tank main gun.

ATK Tactical Systems Company is developing the motor for the KEM missile under a contract from Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Dallas, Texas, the prime contractor on the LOSAT program. Low-rate initial production of the motor is expected to begin in 2003.

Lockheed Martin Receives F-22 Production Contract
The F-22 Team, led by Lockheed Martin Corporation, has received an $862 million contract to finish building the first lot of 10 F-22 Raptor fighter jets, all of which will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force during 2003. Previously during fiscal year 2001, the Pentagon had provided $1.2 billion to the F-22 Team to begin building these aircraft. Lockheed Martin's portion of the total funded value is approximately $1.4 billion.

The September 19 award follows the Pentagon's August 2001 decision to authorize low rate initial production (LRIP) of the Raptor. In addition to the aircraft, the contract also provides funding for associated support equipment.

Flown from the F-22 Combined Test Force facility at Edwards AFB, Calif., five Raptors now comprise the flight test fleet. The last three test aircraft will be delivered to Edwards by the end of 2001. Since the start of testing nearly three years ago, the F-22 test program has flown nearly 1,400 hours and completed more than 600 flight test sorties.

Slated to be operational in 2005, the F-22 air-dominance fighter with unprecedented qualities of maneuverable stealth, super cruise and integrated avionics will replace the U.S. Air Force's aging fleet of F-15 fighters.

"Noble Eagle" Needs 35,000 Reservists
President George W. Bush authorized a partial mobilization of the reserves Sept. 15 for homeland defense and civil support missions in response to the terrorist attacks Sept. 11 at the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

While the authorization legally allows Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to call up to a million reserve soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines and Coast Guard members for up to two years of active duty, service chiefs said they only need about 35,000 between them for the stated missions collectively dubbed Operation Noble Eagle.

The Army share of the presidential order is about 10,000 soldiers from the Army Reserve and National Guard Bureau. The Air Force plans to call up around 13,000 reservists; the Navy, 3,000; the Marine Corps, 7,500; and the Coast Guard, 2,000.

"The kinds of units that might be called up include air defense, airlift, intelligence support, military police, medical, logistics, engineers, search and rescue, civil affairs, chaplains and so forth," said Craig W. Duehring, principal deputy for the assistant secretary of defense for Reserve Affairs. "The last partial mobilization order occurred on Jan. 18, 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, when 265,322 National Guard and Reserve members were mobilized."

Most of the reserve-component soldiers who will be called up to augment the active force for homeland defense and civil support will likely be volunteers, reserve leaders told reporters, as thousands have already called in to say they are ready to report for duty wherever needed. Some of them are already at work at the World Trade Center and Pentagon in an extended annual training status, they said.

Under a "handshake" agreement with the White House, Rumsfeld will have to coordinate with the president for any call up exceeding 50,000 reservists, Duehring said. The current call up is just for homeland defense and civil support. However, nothing in the order precludes it from expanding to include a call-up of the reserves for "Infinite Justice," the name recently given the operation which covers retaliatory action the country might take against terrorists.

Duehring praised Colorado Springs Utilities, Advance Auto Parts and Georgia Pacific for calling into the Department of Defense to ask how they can assist in easing the transition of many their employees to federal service.

"To those of you who are employers of these people, we ask you to help make their transition an easy one as they leave their homes and families to perform their military service," Duehring said. "For those of you who know a member of the National Guard or the Reserve, take time to thank them for the sacrifice they are making as they join the ranks of the heroes what are even now working so hard in New York City and just outside our building here at the Pentagon."

Afghanistan: A Battleground Through the Ages
It is a country that has humbled three empires, yet Afghanistan has few natural resources and is wreathed in poverty.

Afghanistan is sheltering Osama bin Laden, the man at the center of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. President Bush wants him "dead or alive."

Bush also has said the United States "will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them." A full range of diplomatic and economic efforts is under way to convince the Islamic Taliban movement to turn over bin Laden.

Afghanistan is a rugged country regarded as the crossroads between Central and South Asia. As such, it lies on the route that invaders and explorers have taken from Alexander the Great to Marco Polo to the British to the Soviet Union.

There is no functioning government in Afghanistan. The executive branch broke down in 1996. The legislative branch stopped functioning in 1993. The judicial branch stopped in 1995.

The Taliban get most of their support from the Pashtun ethnic group. They control the capital of Kabul and about 80 percent of the country, while other factions rule the multiethnic north. The United States does not recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan's government.

The Taliban said their aim was to set up the world's purest Islamic state. They initially gained favor by efforts to stamp out local warring factions and to stamp out corruption.

The Taliban has imposed Shari'a -- Islamic law -- in the areas it controls. The imposition means offenses are punished by public executions and amputations. The Taliban have made it illegal to educate women or for women to work outside the home. It is illegal to watch any television program not cleared by the Taliban or to own any videocassettes that are not religion-oriented. The Taliban has also outlawed the Internet.

Afghanistan has 25 million people, but many are refugees. Pakistani officials said about 2.5 million Afghans are living in Pakistan. More are trying to reach Pakistan as tensions between the United States and Afghanistan ratchet up over bin Laden. Other counties with significant Afghan refugee populations are Iran and Turkmenistan.

Afghanistan is a landlocked country bordered by Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. In the north of the country is the Hindu Kush, a mountain range that is part of the Himalayas.

The main "industry" is herding. Some 46 percent of the land is in permanent pastures. Only 12 percent of the land was considered arable a few years ago, and that percentage is suspect today because of a long-term drought.

Afghanistan has no industry worth the name. It has less than 25 kilometers of railroads. The most recent statistics available put the per capita income at $800 per year, but people who have been in the country say that's an exaggeration -- the estimate's too high.

The country is 99 percent Muslim and 1 percent "other." The Taliban have outlawed all other religions in the area they control. In fact, the Taliban are prosecuting some American aid workers for allegedly distributing bibles and "trying to tempt people from the 'True Faith.'" Some 84 percent of Afghans are Sunni Muslim and 15 percent are Shi'a Muslim, mostly along the border with Iran.

Afghan history has been bloody. Alexander the Great moved through the area and allegedly fought a battle near what is now Kandahar. Genghis Khan's invasion and subjugation of the area in the early 1200s marked the last time Afghanistan was conquered.

Czarist Russia and Britain vied for control of Afghanistan throughout the 19th century because its strategic location made it a key to the control of India. Both suffered defeats.

The British occupied Kabul in 1838, but worsening resistance led them to quit in January 1842. Given a pledge of safe passage, the British commander led about 700 Britons -- soldiers, wives and children -- 3,800 Indian troops, and more than 12,000 camp followers from the city. The trek through a snow-covered mountain pass to safety would become a 90-mile death march. Only one man emerged alive.

In the 20th century, Afghanistan humbled the Soviet Union. Seeking to prop up their communist satellite in the country, the Soviets invaded in 1979. In a 10-year effort, hundreds of thousands died. The United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and others supplied and trained the anti-Soviet mujahidin forces. In 1989, the Soviets were forced to leave.

But fighting didn't end. Various mujahidin factions fought among themselves for control of the country. The Taliban rode to power on this fighting. Civil war continues in the country, but to a lesser extent than in the past. In addition to the continuing civil strife, the country suffers from enormous poverty, a crumbling infrastructure, and widespread live land mines. (Source: Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service)

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