Warren Buffett on hand as Navy commissions newest warship

In this Oct. 3, 2017, file photo, investor Warren Buffett gestures on stage at a national conference sponsored by the Purpose Built Communities group that Buffett supports, in Omaha, Neb. (AP)
Updated 04 February 2018
0

Warren Buffett on hand as Navy commissions newest warship

SAN DIEGO: The US Navy on Saturday commissioned its newest warship, the USS Omaha, a futuristic, $440 million vessel named for the Nebraska hometown of billionaire Warren Buffett, who was on hand for the ceremony.
The Omaha, a 218-foot-long littoral combat ship, was commissioned at its new home port in San Diego.
Buffett’s daughter, Susie Buffett, who was designated as the ship’s sponsor, gave the traditional order for officers and crew: “Man our ship and bring her to life.”
“Aye, aye, ma’am,” they replied and ran to the ship as a band struck up “Anchors Aweigh.”
The aluminum-clad Omaha is designed for missions close to shore. It has high-tech computer capabilities and can be reconfigured for various missions, including anti-submarine warfare and anti-mine operations.
“She is a beautiful ship,” said Cmdr. Michael Toth, the commanding officer. “To be at her helm is more akin to flying an aircraft with a pilot and a co-pilot than to conning a traditional warship.”
Other dignitaries at the ceremony included Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and former Nebraska Gov. and US Sen. Bob Kerrey, a Navy veteran and Medal of Honor winner.
“I am proud to share our name, our heritage and our community values with USS Omaha and its commander, and we wish you safety on your missions,” Stothert said.
Ricketts, whose state is landlocked, issued what he said was a unique honor in designating the entire crew collectively as “an admiral in the great Navy of the state of Nebraska.”
The ship is the fourth to carry the Omaha name since 1869. The last vessel was an attack submarine that was decommissioned in 1995.
“She represents the strength and the fortitude of her city and her state,” US Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said at the ceremony. “This ship is ready to deliver the fight tonight.”


Afghanistan’s vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum to return home from exile

Updated 22 July 2018
0

Afghanistan’s vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum to return home from exile

  • Dostum’s return follows nearly three weeks of mass protests in northern Afghanistan
  • The protests were a major headache for the government amid increased attacks by the Taliban and Daesh

KABUL: Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum, who was exiled by President Ashraf Ghani’s government over allegations of sexual abuse, returned home on Sunday to rapturous reception from supporters and is set to resume his duties as normal.
Dostum’s return follows nearly three weeks of mass protests in northern Afghanistan by his ethnic Uzbek supporters, who blocked several border crossings and government institutions, and threatened to boycott the long-delayed October elections.
The protests were a major headache for the government amid increased attacks by the Taliban and Daesh in the north recently.
Dostum’s supporters accuse Ghani of having sidelined him. The protests were triggered by the arrest of Nizamuddin Qaisari, a senior commander and Dostum loyalist accused of severe human rights abuses and threatening to kill provincial officials.
In a video, government troops were seen beating Qaisari’s handcuffed guards during his arrest, stoking further anger.
Haroon Chakansuri, a spokesman for Ghani, said Dostum had gone to Turkey for nearly 14 months for unspecified medical treatment, and would return home on a chartered aircraft on Sunday and be given an official reception.
Accusations that Dostum had ordered his guards to sexually abuse and torture political rival Ahmad Eschi will be handled independently by the courts, Chakansuri said. Dostum supporters say the allegations about Eschi are a conspiracy.
Ghani picked Dostum, the self-proclaimed leader of ethnic Uzbeks, as his running mate in the 2014 elections.
Ghani last year blocked Dostum’s return from exile when he tried to fly home to form an opposition alliance including senior government members.
The ethnic Uzbek vote is essential for any candidate in the presidential elections slated for next year. Ghani has said he will stand for office again.