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Weekly Military News Briefs Summary

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2000 – This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending July 21, 2000.

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Short Supply Forces Anthrax Vaccination Slowdown

DoD's dwindling supply of anthrax vaccine has forced a temporary slowdown in inoculations, except to personnel serving or about to serve in Southwest Asia and South Korea.

DoD has only about 160,000 doses of the vaccine on hand, DoD officials said, so the department is trying to avoid suspending or shutting down the anthrax inoculation program. What's left of the vaccine is being largely reserved for the 10,000 DoD people in Southwest Asia and 37,000 in South Korea.

For the time being, most personnel in those areas who have begun the six-shot series will stop the inoculations if they rotate out. DoD guidance allows for local commanders' discretion, so, for instance, rotating soldiers might still get shots because the 10-dose vaccine vials can only be used or discarded once opened. During the slowdown, dosing will fall from about 75,000 vaccinations monthly to around 14,000. At that rate, DoD has enough vaccine to last up to 10 months.

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POW/MIA Poster En Route to Troops Worldwide

Military units and ships around the world are receiving copies of the POW/MIA Recognition Day 2000 poster.

DoD officials said the poster's somber black tones symbolize the darkness in the lives of those who suffer through the agony of having a loved one missing in action. Family members of missing personnel and veterans helped decide design ideas for the second annual poster produced by DoD's POW-Missing Personnel Office.

The office polled the services and veterans and family organizations and printed 116,000 copies of the poster for their use. Family members of missing personnel who would like to have a poster may contact their respective family organizations, or call the POW/Missing Personnel Office at (703) 602-2102 or download it at www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

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Service Members see 'Spike' in Anti-American Demonstrations

American military personnel are urged to pay more attention to force protection in light of a "spike" in demonstrations against the American presence in Japan and Korea.

The increase in demonstrations against the American presence in the region is probably due to the summit in Okinawa, Japan, and because of some recent political developments in South Korea, Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said at a briefing here July 20.

A number of anti-American incidents have occurred near bases in South Korea. The most violent was the murder of Army Dr. (Maj.) David Berry, June 25. Berry was stabbed to death while walking with two other doctors in Itaewon, a popular shopping area in Seoul. U.S. Forces, Korea officials said a 37-year-old out-of-work construction worker was charged with the crime.

Other attacks have been made against American service members, a Korean national working for U.S. Forces Korea and the spouses of American service members.

American officials in Korea have urged U.S. personnel to travel in groups or at least in pairs, Bacon said. They have urged personnel "to be more aware of the situation around them and not to get into big crowds or angry crowds," he said. "They've urged them to report any suspicious activity to MPs immediately."

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