Day: June 19, 2017

US F/A-18E Shoots Down Syrian Su-22 in Air-to-Air Kill

Cmdr. Patrick McKenna pilots an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Pacific Ocean on April 18, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo/Aaron B. Hicks)
Cmdr. Patrick McKenna pilots an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Pacific Ocean on April 18, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo/Aaron B. Hicks)
 

A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Su-22 on Sunday after the Soviet-era fighter-bomber dropped munitions near U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighters, U.S. Central Command officials confirmed.

The strike was believed to be the U.S. military’s first air-to-air kill involving manned aircraft in nearly two decades. The last known such instance was when a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon shot down a Serbian MiG-29 in 1999 during the Kosovo campaign.

“A Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah and, in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet,” the command said in a release.

The attack comes after pro-Syrian forces attacked SDF fighters in Ja’Din, wounding a number of SDF fighters, officials said. The town is south of Tabqah and a known area where U.S. works with Russia to deconflict the airspace.

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“Coalition aircraft conducted a show of force and stopped the initial pro-regime advance toward the SDF-controlled town,” the release said.

Following the advance on the SDF, the coalition alerted Russian counterparts to de-escalate the situation. However the forces — backed by President Bashar al-Assad — did not appear to back down, with the Su-22 entering the area, CentCom said.

“The coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend coalition or partner forces from any threat,” the command said.

While Central Command said its mission is to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, the strike against the pro-Syrian regime forces marks the fourth strike in recent weeks by the coalition.

Drone Shootdown

Most recently, a U.S. F-15E on June 8 shot down an unidentified drone deemed hostile toward coalition forces in At Tanf.

The drone, similar in size to a U.S. MQ-1 Predator, was suspected to be “pro-regime” and was struck down after it was observed dropping a munition near coalition personnel training partner forces in the fight against the Islamic State, according to Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Army Col. Ryan Dillon.

The drone strike marked the first time that forces supporting the Syrian government have attacked inside a so-called “deconfliction” zone near At Tanf, close to the Jordanian border, Dillon said.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said the pro-Syrian forces are backed by Iran, and have been knowingly operating “inside an established and agreed-upon deconfliction zone.” They are believed to be a threat to coalition forces in the region, he has said.

The deconfliction zone is an area in which U.S. and Russian forces have agreed not to operate. The zone previously applied to airspace but now includes ground territory, a defense official told Military.com last month.

First Kill

The last air-to-air kill for the F/A-18 was during the Gulf War when two F/A-18s shot down two Iraqi MiG-21s during a brief dogfight. The kill over Syria, however, is believed to be the first air-to-air kill for the E model.

The F/A-18s are flying the most combat missions in Operation Inherent Resolve, the Pentagon’s name for operations against the Islamic State, according to recent statistics provided to Military.com.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Su-22 — a variant of the Sukhoi 17 and Su-20 and heavily used throughout the Arab-Israeli conflicts and the 1982 Lebanon War — have been involved in the Assad’s Syrian war since roughly mid-2012.

The Su-22s were believed to be the aircraft behind the nerve agent attack in April against the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northwestern Syria’s Idlib governorate.

Days later, President Donald Trump ordered two Navy destroyers to launch more than 50 Tomahawk missiles on Al Shayrat base north of Damascus, where the SU-22s launched from.

— Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

Related Topics

Navy Syria Russia Headlines Oriana Pawlyk

What we know about Navy destroyer’s deadly collision with a container ship in Japan

By JULIA JACOBO  Jun 19, 2017, 1:13 PM ET

The Japanese coast guard is now investigating the deadly collision between the Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald and a container ship off the coast of Japan Saturday that killed seven U.S. sailors and injured several more.

Here’s what we know:

The collision happened early Saturday

The USS Fitzgerald collided with the Philippine-flagged container ship off the coast of Yokosuka, Japan, before 2:20 a.m. Saturday local time, according to the U.S. Navy.

The Navy destroyer was operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, when it collided with the container ship. Most of the 300 crew members on board would have been asleep at the time, The Associated Press reported.

Weather conditions were clear at the time of the collision, the AP reported. The area is often busy with sea traffic, with as many as 400 ships passing through it every day, according to Japan’s coast guard.

The container ship made a sudden turn shortly before the collision

The route of the container ship ACX Crystal, provided by vessel-tracking service MarineTraffic, shows that the ship made a sudden turn around 1:30 a.m., as if possible trying to avoid something, before continuing eastward.

PHOTO: A screenshot provided by vessel-tracking service MarineTraffic shows the route of the container ship ACX Crystal that collided with the USS Fitzgerald in the waters southwest of Tokyo, June 16, 2017, killing seven U.S. sailors. MarineTraffic via AP
A screenshot provided by vessel-tracking service MarineTraffic shows the route of the container ship ACX Crystal that collided with the USS Fitzgerald in the waters southwest of Tokyo, June 16, 2017, killing seven U.S. sailors. more +

The ACX Crystal then made a U-turn and returned around 2:20 a.m. to the area near the collision.

It took nearly an hour for the collision to be reported

An official for Japan’s coast guard said it is investigating why it took nearly an hour for the collision to be reported, the AP reported.

The coast guard originally said the collision occurred at 2:20 a.m. because when the container ship reported the incident it at 2:25 a.m., it said the collision had just happened. The coast guard later changed the collision time to 1:30 a.m. after interviewing crewmembers aboard the container ship.

Coast guard officials are trying to get a hold of a device with communication records to further examine the details of the crash, which is also being investigated by Japan’s Transport Safety Board.

The U.S. Navy said it is sticking with the 2:20 a.m. timing for the crash that had been reported by the USS Fitzgerald, according to the AP.

A spokeswoman for the NYK Line, the ship’s operator, agreed with the earlier timing, but she could not provide details about what the ship was doing for the 50 minutes between the time of the collision and when it was reported.

7 sailors were killed

Initially after the collision, five sailors aboard the USS Fitzgerald were reported injured and seven sailors were reported missing. The remains of the missing sailors were later found in the berthing compartments, which were flooded.

The deceased sailors were identified as: Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, of Palmyra, Virginia; Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, of San Diego; Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, of Oakville, Connecticut; Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, of Weslaco, Texas; Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, of Chula Vista, California; Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, of Halethorpe, Maryland; and Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, Ohio.

PHOTO: The seven U.S. sailors who died in a collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship off Japan, June 17, 2017.U.S. Navy via AP
The seven U.S. sailors who died in a collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship off Japan, June 17, 2017.

The victims may have been killed by the impact of the collision or drowned in the flooding, Navy spokesman Lt. Paul Newman said, according to the AP.

Four sailors and the ship’s commanding officer were medically evacuated by a Japanese coast guard helicopter, Cmdr. Richard Gourley of the U.S. Naval Forces Japan said. The 7th fleet later confirmed that the sailors were in stable condition and were being treated for lacerations and bruises at the Naval Hospital Yokosuka.

The captain of the Fitzgerald, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, suffered a head injury in the collision.

Raleigh, North Carolina, resident Mia Sykes told the AP that her son, Brayden Harden, 19, was knocked out of his bunk by the impact of the crash, and that water immediately began filling the berth.

Harden tried to save his shipmates by diving back down until the flooded berth began running out of air pockets, Sykes said.

Sykes said her son told her that four men in his berth died, including those sleeping in bunks below and above him. Three men in the berth above his died as well, Sykes said her son told her.

The warship sustained ‘extensive’ damage

The USS Fitzgerald sustained damage on its starboard side and experienced flooded in some spaces as a result of the collision, according to the Navy.

At a news conference Sunday, Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin of the 7th Fleet described the damage as “extensive.” One side of the destroyer suffered a big puncture and gash below the waterline, and three compartments were severely damaged, Aucoin said.

“The water flow is tremendous, and so there wasn’t a lot of time in those spaces that were open to the sea…,” he said. “They had to fight the ship to keep it above the surface. It was traumatic.”

PHOTO: The damaged side of USS Fitzgerald at the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, June 18, 2017. Eugene Hoshiko/AP
The damaged side of USS Fitzgerald at the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, June 18, 2017.

While the ship will require “significant repair,” it is “salvageable,” Aucoin said, adding that he hopes the repairs take less than a year.

The container ship’s left bow was dented and scraped in the collision as well.

PHOTO: The container ship ACX Crystal with its left bow dented and scraped after colliding with the USS Fitzgerald in the waters off the Izu Peninsula, is berthed at the Oi Container Terminal in Tokyo, June 17, 2017.Hitoshi Takano/Kyodo News via AP
The container ship ACX Crystal with its left bow dented and scraped after colliding with the USS Fitzgerald in the waters off the Izu Peninsula, is berthed at the Oi Container Terminal in Tokyo, June 17, 2017.more +
PHOTO: The container ship ACX Crystal with its left bow dented and scraped after colliding with the USS Fitzgerald in the waters off the Izu Peninsula on June 17, 2017, is berthed at the Yokohama port near Tokyo, June 19, 2017.
Hiroshi Kashimura/Kyodo News via AP
The container ship ACX Crystal with its left bow dented and scraped after colliding with the USS Fitzgerald in the waters off the Izu Peninsula on June 17, 2017, is berthed at the Yokohama port near Tokyo, June 19, 2017. more +

The damage to the destroyer may suggest that the container ship slammed into it at a high speed, according to The AP.

What we still don’t know

It is unclear whether there were any warning signs leading up to the collision, and authorities have not speculated on the cause of the crash.

Although weather conditions were clear at the time of the collision, the fast currents and high-traffic area could make it tricky to navigate.

It is also unclear whether the sudden turn taken by the shipping container contributed to the collision.

ABC News’ Luis Martinez and Elizabeth McLaughlin contributed to this story, which was supplemented with reporting by The Associated Press.

Russian warning after US downs Syrian jet

An F/A-18E Super Hornet (similar to the one pictured) shot down the Syrian plane© Getty Images An F/A-18E Super Hornet (similar to the one pictured) shot down the Syrian plane Russia has warned the US-led coalition fighting in Syria that it will view its aircraft as targets, after a Syrian military plane was shot down.

The coalition said it had shot down the Syrian SU-22 after it bombed US-backed rebels in Raqqa province on Sunday.

Russia, Syria’s main ally, said it was also halting communication with the US aimed at preventing air incidents.

Syria condemned America’s “flagrant attack”, saying it would have “dangerous repercussions”.

“Any aircraft, including planes and drones belonging to the international coalition operating west of the Euphrates river, will be tracked by Russian anti-aircraft forces in the sky and on the ground and treated as targets,” the Russian defence ministry said.

It denied the US had used a communications channel before the SU-22 fighter bomber was downed.

The memorandum of co-operation with the coalition aimed at preventing air incidents and guaranteeing flight safety was ending as of Monday, the defence ministry added.

What does this signify? Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence and diplomatic correspondent

The downing of a Syrian warplane by a US jet threatens to draw Washington further into the Syrian fighting.

The US has already attacked pro-government forces on the ground after they entered an exclusion zone designed to protect US personnel training and advising anti-government rebels near Syria’s border with Iraq.

Now Washington is extending this protection to forces that it backs who are engaged in the offensive against Raqqa. These local, tactical steps inevitably could have strategic implications creating a further source of friction between Washington and Tehran.

Iran’s focus is increasingly on the border region between Syria and Iraq. The struggle for control of this crucial territory is becoming ever more dangerous.

Iran’s own missile strikes against what it says are IS targets underscores Tehran’s willingness to act in defence of its own interests in Syria.

The co-operation had been halted after the US launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria’s Shayrat airbase in April in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town in Idlib province.

But the US and Russia had agreed to resume communications last month.

The SU-22 fighter bomber was engaged by an F/A-18E Super Hornet after it had dropped bombs near the town of Tabqa in Raqqa province on Sunday afternoon, the Pentagon said.

It is believed to be the first air-to-air kill of a manned aircraft by a US military jet since the Kosovo campaign in 1999.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were operating in the Tabqa area.

The SDF have been fighting Islamic State militants as part of a drive to retake the city of Raqqa, the IS stronghold further to the east.

Map showing control of Iraq and Syria (31 May 2017)

© BBC Map showing control of Iraq and Syria (31 May 2017) A statement from the US-led coalition’s Operation Inherent Resolve said pro-government militiamen had attacked SDF units, driving them from the town of Ja’Din.

The US-led coalition conducted what it said was a “show of force” – a reported buzzing of the pro-government troops by jets – to stop the attack and then called Russia to try to “de-escalate the situation and stop the firing”.

However, the SU-22 dropped bombs on SDF positions a few hours later, the coalition said, and “in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defence of coalition-partnered forces [the plane] was immediately shot down”.

Attempts to warn the plane away using an emergency radio frequency failed, the US Central Command said.

The coalition statement added: “The demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward Coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-Isis [IS] operations will not be tolerated.”

The coalition, it added, did “not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend coalition or partner forces from any threat”.

The Syrian army said its warplane had been on a mission against IS when it came under fire, according to state television.

It said the incident would have “dangerous repercussions” on efforts to fight terrorism.

An army statement said the pilot of the plane was missing.

Although this is the first time the coalition has shot down a Syrian jet, there have been an increasing number of incidents between the two sides:

In a separate incident on Sunday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said they had launched several missiles from Iran into eastern Syria, targeting IS fighters.

The Guards said they had fired mid-range ground-to-ground missiles from western Iran targeting “the headquarters and meeting place and suicide car assembly line” of “IS terrorists” in Deir al-Zour province.

A “large number” of militants were killed and equipment and weapons were destroyed, the Guards said.

The missiles were apparently in response to an IS-claimed attack on the Iranian parliament earlier this month which killed more than a dozen people.

“The spilling of any pure blood will not go unanswered,” a Guards statement said.

Iran has been a key ally of President Assad, sending military advisers and thousands of “volunteer” troops.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Good Web Content That Can Sell For $100

Not so long ago, UX Myths posted an article which demonstrates that people are not too fond of web content reading. In fact, they only read around 20% of all the articles and there’s no guarantee that they actually read everything.

So, it seems kind of unfair that you have to spend hours picking the right keywords, writing and polishing texts only to have readers simply scan through your article.

This, however, should not bother you. As long as you create worthy content and find your audience, you will have no trouble having people that will read your articles. Moreover, you will be able to easily sell this content and make money from it.

Sounds fantastic, don’t you think?

We can almost see you asking us how can you sell your writing for at least $100. And it’s a good thing because we do have an answer.

So, meet this complete guide to good web content writing.

Content is the king

The question of whether your content is read or only scanned through relies heavily on how good the content is. Of course, the style, lists, and visual aids are vital. But, unless your content is interesting and engaging, you will not draw your readers’ attention.

What makes for good content?

According to Kissmetrics, high-quality content is:

  • original
  • actionable
  • accurate
  • engaging
  • though-provoking
  • diverse
  • easy to read

It might sound a bit overwhelming and you might be forced to spend long hours polishing and changing your text. Well, you don’t have to do that. All you need to do is spend some time learning how to create content that will grab readers’ attention.

Identify the audience

target audience

Each one of your articles needs to target the correct audience. It’s the secret of successful writing.

Once you start writing some general articles that talk about everything and at the same time about nothing in particular, you won’t be able to sell it.

People will only want to buy content that is likely to bring them traffic and, as a result, revenue. And for that, it has to speak to a specific audience on specific topics.

So, before you grab a pen or hit the keys, make sure to create a clear picture of who your audience is. Think of why they would be listening to you, what they expect to hear, what pain they have and what solutions you can offer.

Go over each one of these statements if you want to reach them with your message – and voila! – your content will easily be in demand!

Follow the latest trends

You wouldn’t want to be left behind. So, try your best to understand the latest trends these days. Know what people expect to see and what channels you can use to reach out to new people.

For instance, you need to remember that 34% of all online users only read their emails through mobile devices, states the Impact. The same applies to the blog posts on social networks.

Therefore, if you want more people to read your content, you need to optimize it for mobile devices. This means that paragraphs and sentences need to be shorter, the font should be bigger and the formatting eye-catching.

Moreover, keep in mind that more people read content via social media. Posts on Facebook should not be long, must have catchy headlines and contain many visual aids.

All in all, follow the latest trends for better results!

See Also: How To Avoid A Content Crisis When Your Deadline Is Looming

Use the right copywriting techniques

Another important thing when it comes to content writing is to use proper copywriting techniques that can bring your writing to a whole new level.

Among common methods every copywriter must know include:

  • using keywords
  • having one main idea per section
  • adding lists and bullet points
  • using sub-headings
  • writing short paragraphs, sentences, and words
  • inserting links to reliable sources

You will be surprised to see what results such an approach can bring! If you follow these recommendations, that 79% of users that do not read the whole article will be more likely to finish your whole piece. So, why not try it?

Find a good site to sell your articles

find a good site

Thanks to the latest trends, more and more people are willing to work from home. Thus, new sites for freelancers emerge. All you need to do is to find the one that fits your expectations.

We have gathered a list of good sites where you can start your career as a freelancer.

Remember that it is good to have a good and persuasive portfolio at first so that when asked about your experience, you would be able to present good examples of your writing.

To create a portfolio, you might offer your articles to bloggers who can post them in the “Guest posts” section of their sites. You can also start your own blog on any topic you are good at or start writing good informative posts on your page on Facebook.

Good websites to check out

  • CollegeHumor – It’s not hard to guess what this site is looking for from their writers. Should you have relevant content, don’t hesitate to offer it to them.
  • Love To Know – It is a perfect resource for writers focusing on the financial topics, fashion, beauty, technology, and many other subjects.
  • Freelance Writing Gigs – This site offers you a list of openings for writers you can check out as well as helpful tips for the beginners.
  • iWriter.com – This site has fixed rates for the articles. The problem with this is that once your writing is rejected, you get no money.
  • Upwork – This is a place where both freelancers and clients meet. You can find the job you will enjoy here in no time.
  • Tuts+ – If you are an experienced writer, you can write for this website as well.

The list can go on and on. You absolutely have all the chances to enter the niche and make your first $100 in the nearest time. Just learn how to write well or polish your skills – and get paid for the amazing content you are crafting.

See Also: 21 Must-Read Tips To Write Better Web Content

The post A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Good Web Content That Can Sell For $100 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Make-Ahead Feta and Spinach Breakfast Wraps

Make-Ahead Feta and Spinach Wraps

This post is brought to you in partnership with Frigo® Cheese.

These cheesy spinach and feta breakfast wraps make life easy, whether you are serving them at a big potluck brunch or just for your family during the week.

Frigo’s tangy Feta Cheese and spinach are such a classic and irresistible combo – doubly so when paired with the soft scrambled eggs in this recipe. The wraps are so quick to assemble, though you can also make them up to two days in advance and reheat in the oven or microwave. What’s not to love?!

Continue reading “Make-Ahead Feta and Spinach Breakfast Wraps” »

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J.K. Rowling made a huge correction to this 'Daily Mail' headline

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Just after midnight on Monday morning, a man drove a van into a crowd of Muslim worshippers outside Finsbury Park Mosque in London.

Ten people are injured and one man is dead, the BBC reports, and counter-terrorism officers are in attendance.

For awhile after the attack happened, though, some news headlines weren’t mentioning the word “terrorism”. This didn’t go unnoticed.

This is not an accident, it’s not a collision, it’s not revenge. It’s terrorism. The media should be calling it as such#FinsburyPark

— Tez (@tezilyas) June 19, 2017 Read more…

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BrideClick acquires Mode Media

Mode Media The Mode Media story refuses to end — following its abrupt shut down last year, the company’s assets have been acquired by wedding-focused advertising company BrideClick.
Mode previously operated lifestyle sites including Glam and Foodie, plus a larger ad network that it said reached 144 million unique visitors each month.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but… Read More

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