August 11th, 2011
07:37 PM ET

Libyan embassy in US officially opens under rebel government

By Senior State Department Producer Elise Labott

The Libyan Embassy in Washington officially re-opened Thursday under the control of the Transitional National Council, a senior State Department official and the new Libyan ambassador told CNN.

Ali Aujuli, the former Libyan ambassador to the United States, was formally accredited Thursday as the head of the Libyan mission.

"This is a message that Gadhafi can no more rule Libya," Aujali told CNN in a phone interview. "The recognition of this embassy under the leadership of the TNC is a clear message to the regime the US recognizes the council and they recognize the new Libya."

Calling the re-opening of the embassy "a great day for Libyan-American relations," Aujali said "the Libyan people appreciate this very much."

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Clinton announces additional US aid to fight famine in Horn of Africa
Somali women and children with food aid at a caomp in Mogadishu Photo by: AFP/Getty Images
August 11th, 2011
12:10 PM ET

Clinton announces additional US aid to fight famine in Horn of Africa

By Senior State Department Producer Elise Labott

An additional $17 million in U.S. aid will go to combat the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, with $12 million designated specifically for helping the people in Somalia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Thursday.

Clinton made the announcement during a speech to the International Food Policy Research Institute, where she spoke on U.S. efforts to not just feed starving people, but also address issues of long-term food security, which could help avoid another crisis.

The money is on top of the $105 million in emergency U.S. funding President Barack Obama announced Monday, and brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance to the region to more than $580 million this year, Clinton said.

"What is happening in the Horn of Africa is the most severe humanitarian emergency in the world today and the worst that East Africa has seen in several decades," she said.

Clinton said the United States, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and donor governments "are racing to save as many lives as possible."

She noted that because of the Famine Early Warning System Network, which monitors drought and crop conditions and alerts governments and aid groups when crises are coming, the international community was able to preposition some food since last September, thereby somewhat lessening the impact of the drought.

"But a great deal more must be done and it must be done fast," Clinton said. "Famine conditions in Somalia are likely to get worse before they level off."

Pentagon officially releases names of troops killed in helicopter shootdown
Family of photo Lt. Cmdr. Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, La., the highest ranking SEAL killed in Saturday's crash of the Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan
August 11th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Pentagon officially releases names of troops killed in helicopter shootdown

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of 30 servicemembers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

(Full list after the jump)
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Lost at sea. Military loses contact with hypersonic test plane
August 11th, 2011
08:17 AM ET

Lost at sea. Military loses contact with hypersonic test plane

By Adam Levine

Military researchers conducting the flight of the fastest unmanned aircraft ever launched said Thursday an "anomaly" caused a lost contact with the vehicle nine minutes into its flight. The plane is believed to have crashed in the Pacific at some point along the planned flight path, according to a statement from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), which conducted the test.

The Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle (HTV-2) had successfully separated from the launch vehicle and was performing "glide phase" maneuvers meant to test its aerodynamics when contact was lost, according to an 11 a.m. (ET) Twitter post from DARPA. A tweet, at 12:30 p.m. said downrange trackers were unable to relocate the HTV2 but the vehicle "has an autonomous flight termination capability".

The vehicle was launched by a Minotaur IV rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, before separating and re-entering the atmosphere over the Pacific. The launch, originally slated for Wednesday but then scrubbed because of weather, was not broadcast live.

This was the second run for the craft. In April 2010 ended with the aircraft crashing into the Pacific after a loss of contact nine minutes into the flight. But those nine minutes provided some key information about flying 22 times faster than a commercial jetliner.

Thursday's flight was to test control and communications capabilities, as well as heat resistance and other effects of hypersonic flight. The nine minutes of data demonstrated that launching the aircraft was mastered but they continued to be stymied in controlling the vehicle at Mach 20 speed.

"We do not yet know how to achieve the desired control during the aerodynamic phase of flight. It’s vexing; I’m confident there is a solution. We have to find it," said Air Force Maj. Chris Schulz, the DARPA program manager.

DARPA's goal is to create the capability of reaching any target in the world in less than an hour.

The triangular wedge of zoom is capable of reaching Mach 20 – approximately 13,000 miles per hour – according to DARPA. At such speeds in Earth's atmosphere, friction subjects the vehicle to temperatures of more than 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

As DARPA said on the HTV-2 site, at that speed "air doesn't travel around you – you rip it apart."

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Filed under: DARPA • Military