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Five Marines missing after two US aircraft collide, crash into sea off Japan

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Five U.S. Marines were missing after two Marine Corps aircraft collided in mid-air and crashed into the sea off the coast of Japan during an air-to-air refueling exercise on Thursday, Japanese and American officials said.

Japan’s defense ministry said its maritime forces had so far found two of the seven Marines who were aboard the aircraft – an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet and a KC-130 Hercules – at the time of the incident.

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One was in a stable condition at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, while the second had been found about 10 hours after the collision and brought aboard a Japanese military vessel, the ministry said. No other details about the second Marine were known, a ministry spokesman said.

Search-and-rescue efforts for the remaining five continued, Japan’s highest-ranking military officer said.

“We plan to keep at it all through the night,” Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces’ Joint Staff, told a news conference.

The incident adds to a growing list of U.S. military aviation accidents around the world in recent years, prompting hearings in Congress to address the rise.

The Military Times reported earlier this year that aviation accidents jumped nearly 40 percent from fiscal years 2013 to 2017. At least 133 service members were killed in those incidents, it said.

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Congressional leaders have called the rash of accidents a “crisis” and blamed it on continuous combat operations, deferred modernization, lack of training and ageing equipment.

U.S. military accidents are a sensitive topic in Japan, particularly for residents of the southern prefecture of Okinawa, which is home to the bulk of the U.S. presence in the country. A series of emergency landings and parts falling from U.S. military aircraft have highlighted safety concerns.

People in a Tokyo hospital waiting room fell silent as news of the crash came on television, with one woman whispering to another, “This is so scary.”

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“The incident is regrettable, but our focus at the moment is on search and rescue,” Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya told a news conference. “Japan will respond appropriately once the details of the incident are uncovered.”

U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty thanked Japan’s military for their search-and-rescue efforts and confirmed the incident occurred during a refueling exercise.

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“My heart goes out to the families and colleagues of Marines involved in this tragedy,” Hagerty said at an event at Waseda University in Tokyo.

“They risk their lives every day to protect Japan and to protect this region and sometimes they pay the greatest costs. So I want to emphasize this security alliance that we have is critical and it is moving forward to the right direction,” he said.

The Marine Corps said in a statement the incident occurred around 2 a.m. local time in Japan (1700 GMT Wednesday) about 320 km (200 miles) off the Japanese coast.

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The two aircraft had launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and were conducting regular training when the incident occurred, it said.

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali in Washington, Kaori Kaneko, Tim Kelly, Elaine Lies and Mayuko Ono in Tokyo; Writing by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Peter Cooney, Rosalba O’Brien and Michael Perry


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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John Oliver explains how the Ukraine scandal so stupid even Fox News ‘idiot’ Steve Doocy should understand it

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"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver closed out his season with a special report for Fox News hosts who seem to be struggling with the basic understanding of things like "bribery" or the concept that attempted crimes are still actually crimes.

At the top of Sunday's show, Oliver played a clip of Fox News host Laura Ingraham who made the argument that if Trump tried to commit a crime and didn't manage to pull it off, then he's clearly innocent.

"Attempted bribery isn't in the constitution," proclaimed Ingraham, forgetting about what "high crimes and misdemeanors" covers. "Remember, Ukraine got its aid, it was 14 days delayed, big deal. And Ukraine never made any public statement about the investigation."

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This is the energy executive who first exposed Trump’s Ukraine scandal: report

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CNN host Chris Cuomo did a special investigative report by Drew Griffin looking at the money trail from Russia to President Donald Trump's Ukraine scandal.

"You probably don’t know Dale Perry, but history may record this energy executive as one of the first who sounded the alarm about what would become President Trump’s impeachment inquiry," said Griffin. "In April, Perry’s former business partner Andrew Favorov, now a director at Ukraine's state-owned gas company Naftogaz, says two shady characters had approached him, with a secret management plan to take over the management from the inside. Those two shady characters Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, are two low-level, Soviet-born businessmen from south Florida. And they were trying to clear the way for their own gas business."

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‘A slam-dunk-case’: MSNBC analysts predict GOP will defend Trump — and ‘the guy is going to get off’

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More evidence was outed Sunday as the Wall Street Journal revealed emails from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who promised to keep the White House abreast of President Donald Trump's demand for an investigation by Ukraine. The news prompted an MSNBC panelists to explain that it wouldn't matter how much evidence was presented, Republicans will never vote to remove Trump.

Host Geoff Bennett asked about the witness testimony and preponderance of evidence that "all points in one direction at this point, that President Trump orchestrated this entire" Ukraine investigations.

"It's a slam dunk case, and yet we know the guy is going to get off," said Los Angels Times White House reporter Eli Stokols. "That's effectively what you're saying. Because all the testimony has lined up so closely, the fact that [EU Ambassador Gordon] Sondland has come to come in, and because testimony from [Ambassador Bill] Taylor and others, has had to change testimony, Republicans have no choice -- the president has no choice but to try to dismiss the entire thing as partisan."

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