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Alaska Gov. Parnell: National Guard chief fired officers competing with him for a job

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Alaska National Guard [Alaska National Guard official Facebook page]

Governor Sean Parnell has ordered the Alaska National Guard’s top commander to rehire two senior officers he fired last week as the trio were all competing for the same higher-ranking job, officials said on Monday.

Brigadier General Mike Bridges, the guard’s top acting official in Alaska, fired Brigadier General Catherine Jorgensen and Colonel Edie Grunwald on Thursday, Parnell’s spokeswoman said in a statement.

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Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow declined to provide the original reason for the firings. But she said Parnell had not been consulted on the move and ordered the pair rehired after he learned of the dismissals.

“To avoid any appearance of impropriety on behalf of General Bridges, who has also applied for the adjutant general position, (Parnell) directed General Bridges to rescind the terminations,” Leighow said in a statement. 

The personnel rethink comes with Parnell, a Republican who faces re-election in November, facing scrutiny after a federal investigation he ordered cited examples of fraud, ethical misconduct and lack of confidence in the command.

The report led to the firing of Major General Tom Katkus, adjutant general and commissioner for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and his deputy, civilian McHugh Pierre.

On Thursday, Parnell told reporters there would be more firings but would not be specific, citing personnel laws. It was unclear whether Jorgensen and Grunwald were connected to the broader allegations of misconduct.

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“I initiated some leadership changes without consulting with the governor’s office, which I rescinded within 24 hours,” Bridges told the Alaska Dispatch News. “My fault.”

The Alaska National Guard did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Leighow did not say whether Bridges knew whether the other two were seeking the adjutant general job. Nor did she say how it became known that all three were vying for the top position.

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(Reporting by Steve Quinn; Editing by Eric M. Johnson and Eric Walsh)


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Moon may be richer in water than thought — and it could help propel humans farther from earth

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There may be far more water on the Moon than previously thought, according to two studies published Monday raising the tantalising prospect that astronauts on future space missions could find refreshment -- and maybe even fuel -- on the lunar surface.

The Moon was believed to be bone dry until around a decade ago when a series of findings suggested that our nearest celestial neighbour has traces of water trapped in the surface.

Two new studies published in Nature Astronomy on Monday suggest there could be much more water than previously thought, including ice stored in permanently shadowed "cold traps" at lunar polar regions.

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Asymptomatic coronavirus sufferers appear to lose detectable antibodies sooner than people who have exhibited Covid-19 symptoms, according to one of the biggest studies of its kind in Britain published on Tuesday.

The findings by Imperial College London and market research firm Ipsos Mori also suggest the loss of antibodies was slower in 18–24 year-olds compared to those aged 75 and over.

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2020 Election

Early voting to be hit by heavy rain and flooding as Hurricane Zeta barrels towards the Gulf Coast

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Hurricane Zeta is expected to make landfall near Louisiana's border with Mississippi on Wednesday evening as campaigns work to get supporters to the polls and convince any undecided voters to back their candidate.

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