Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Wednesday September 25, 2002

PC News
New Screens: IGI2 Covert Strike
We have 17 new screens from Codemasters upcoming stealth-based first-person shooter, IGI2: Covert Strike. IGI 2 pits IGI operatives against terrorist groups from around the globe. The varied multi-objective based gameplay will include hacking data satellites to launching space shuttles, bombing oil refineries and escorting convoys. Reconnaissance elements provide for a new style of FPS multiplayer gaming, blending stealth and surveillance with action and gunplay.

Ghost Recon Patch v 1.3 Now Available
Red Storm has released another huge update to Ghost Recon. Version 1.3 weighs in at a hefy 47 MB and offers a ton of goodies. Currently, only the US version is available but a European/UK version will be arriving shortly. Check out what's new in this version. Click here to download.

Ghost Recon: Island Thunder Ships
Ubi Soft Entertainment announced today that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon : Island Thunder ships today in the United States. Island Thunder is the latest expansion pack of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon developed at Ubi Soft's Red Storm Entertainment's development office.

Ghost Recon: Island Thunder features eight new single-player missions, five new dedicated multiplayer maps, twelve new multiplayer weapons-including the FN M240G and the MM-1 automatic grenade launcher-and two new multiplayer game types. There are also new Cuban enemy vehicles, new allied vehicles and amazingly realistic insertions by helicopter.

Today, NVIDIA launched the industries only top-to-bottom line-up of GPUs and platform processors for next-generation PC platforms. With the new GeForce4 Ti 4200 with AGP 8X, the new GeForce4 MX 440 with AGP 8X and the nForce2 core logic products.

AGP 8X is a watershed event in the PC industry, doubling the graphics bandwidth of the AGP interface to 2.1 gigabytes per second. This will enable a new level of 3D gaming and graphics applications - keeping data hungry GPU's fed with information necessary to render high fidelity, real-time graphics. The doubled bandwidth will give significant performance improvements to today's flagship games and applications, which are bandwidth-intensive and need AGP 8X to move vertices, textures and other data quickly from system memory to frame buffer memory.

Military News
U.S. Marines Conduct Field Training on HIMARS
DALLAS, September 24, 2002 - The U.S. Marine Corps recently completed its first installment of field training on their new Lockheed Martin High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers at Fort Sill Field Artillery School, Okla. After their first few sessions, one Marine Corporal participating in the exercises proclaimed the launchers "the missing link in Marine artillery."

In addition to the Marine units, a United States Army brigade also trained on the HIMARS Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) launchers. Six HIMARS EMD launchers were delivered to the U.S. Army recently, along with two additional launchers for the Marine Corps.

The training was part of Lockheed Martin's commitment to deliver HIMARS to the Army and the Marines and to provide maintenance, as well as contractor logistical and training support. The Marine units involved were Battery F, 2ND battalion, 14th Marines, a Marine Reserve unit out of Oklahoma City, and the U.S. Marines HIMARS Test Unit at Fort Sill.

"These were the first U.S. Marines to train specifically on the new U.S. Marine HIMARS launchers," said Ron Abbott, vice president - Fire Support for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "We delivered the first HIMARS units to the Corps in July, so these exercises were their first training sessions on Marine-owned launchers. And from what we've heard from the field, the Marine Corps was thrilled with the system."

The Marines involved in the training exercises expressed their elation about the capabilities of the Corps' new HIMARS launchers. "HIMARS was highly maneuverable and powerful on hard surface or cross-country," said Sgt. Richard Arellanez. Sgt. Richard Pineda added, "HIMARS is bringing the Marine Corps into the futuristic battlefield, especially with the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) family of munitions." Cpl. Phillip Pitts said, "HIMARS is the birth of new technology that will lead us into tomorrow's future with force." Cpl. Michael Quackenbush summed it up neatly by adding, "HIMARS is the missing link in Marine artillery."

Because of its C-130 transportability, HIMARS can be deployed into areas previously inaccessible to larger launchers. It also sports the self-loading, autonomous features that have made MLRS the premier rocket artillery system in the world. HIMARS carries a single six-pack of MLRS rockets, or one Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile. Its fire control system, electronics and communications units are interchangeable with the MLRS M270A1 launcher, and the crew and training are the same.

HIMARS is capable of launching the new Guided MLRS, the next major step in the evolution of the MLRS Family of Munitions, offering advanced capabilities, reduced logistics support and precision attack. Designed to enable troops to engage and defeat artillery, air defense concentrations, trucks, light armor and personnel carriers, as well as support troop and supply concentrations, after launching, HIMARS can move away from the area at high speed before enemy forces are able to locate the launch site.

British Intel Details Scope of Saddam's Weapons
President Bush today praised British Prime Minister Tony Blair for releasing a report in London that further makes the case Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace in the world.

Blair released a dossier this morning compiled by British intelligence that outlines the presumed extent of Hussein's weapons of mass destruction program. He said the British intelligence agency responsible for keeping him informed believes Hussein has continued to build his chemical and biological weapons programs after more than a decade of flouting U.N. sanctions that require open access to international weapons inspectors.

"Prime Minister Blair is a very strong leader, and I admire his willingness to tell the truth and to lead," Bush said in comments to the press after a Cabinet meeting at the White House.

Bush and Blair continue to pound home the same message. "He continues to make the case, like we make the case, that Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace," Bush said of Blair.

Blair's comments before Parliament this morning come a day after strong statements by Bush that Hussein is willing to team up with terrorist groups to attack America and its allies.

"This is a man who would use weapons of mass destruction at the drop of a hat," Bush said Sept. 23 at a National Guard facility in New Jersey.

Britain is a staunch ally of the United States, and the two leaders' recent public comments seem to shore up each others' feelings. In his speech this morning, Blair spent considerable time describing the details of Iraq's past and recent disregard for U.N. resolutions.

"I set out the history in some detail because occasionally debate on this issue seems to treat it as if it had suddenly arisen, coming out of nowhere on a whim in the last few months of 2002," Blair said. "It is an 11-year history: a history of U.N. will flouted, lies told by Saddam about existence of his chemical biological and nuclear weapons programs, obstruction, defiance and denial."

The prime minister said the only consistent theme in Iraq's history since the Persian Gulf War is Hussein's total determination to maintain his weapons program.

In the dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program, the British government maintains that in 1998 Iraq had 360 tons of bulk chemical warfare agents, including one and a half tons of VX nerve agent, and also had 3,000 tons of "precursor chemicals," which could be used to create chemical weapons.

The report also says that at the same time Iraq had enough "growth media" to produce 26,000 liters of anthrax spores and tens of thousands of special munitions for the delivery of chemical and biological agents, according to Blair.

The British Joint Intelligence Committee compiled the information. Blair explained this group's work is normally classified.

"Unusually, because it is important to explain our concerns over Saddam to the British people, we have decided to disclose these assessments," he said.

Since 1998, the report states, Iraq had rebuilt previously destroyed chemical and biological weapons facilities and has acquired large amounts of needed chemicals and equipment by purchasing and smuggling dual-use items. Britain now believes Iraq can produce many biological agents, including anthrax, botulinum toxin, aflatoxin and ricin.

Money taken illegally from the U.N. Oil for Food program has bankrolled many of these purchases. Blair alleged today that Saddam siphons $3 billion from the program every year.

Iraq's nuclear capabilities have increasingly alarmed the international community as well. Blair said Hussein has attempted to buy large amounts of uranium from sources in Africa and no one is sure if he was successful. Intelligence agencies have also shown that Iraq has bought or tried to buy equipment to produce enriched uranium needed to build nuclear weapons.

All the evidence points to one thing, Blair said. "The case for ensuring Iraqi disarmament is overwhelming," he said. "I defy anyone on the basis of this evidence to say that it is an unreasonable demand for the international community to make when, after all, it is only the same demand that we have made for 11 years and (Saddam) has rejected."

Bush backed up these comments with another call for the United Nations to pass a strong resolution on Iraq. "And if they're unable to do so, the United States and our friends will act because we believe in peace," he said today. "We want to keep the peace. We don't trust this man, and that's what the Blair report showed today." (Source: American Forces Press Service )

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