August 13, 2008 in Nation/World

Boeing still in tanker competition

 

Boeing signaled Tuesday it will remain in the competition for a disputed $35 billion Air Force tanker contract, saying talks with the Pentagon were the start of a “continuing dialogue” over the latest round of bidding on the aerial refueling plane.

Officials from both Boeing Co. and rival Northrop Grumman Corp. met with Defense Department officials at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, to discuss the latest draft request for proposals for the second round of bidding on the tanker program.

Some Boeing supporters say the new round is unfairly tilted to Northrop’s larger plane, and there has been speculation that Boeing might not bid again.

Boeing said the meeting was used to attain clarity about the changes in the criteria the Pentagon will use to pick a new winner.

“We hope that it was just the beginning of a continuing dialogue as we move toward a final RFP that prescribes the right aircraft and gives appropriate weight to all of the capabilities that will be required for the evolving mission over the next several decades,” Boeing said.

Company spokesman Dan Beck added that Boeing “remains committed” to providing a new tanker to the Air Force, but that it needs to be selected “through a fair, open and balanced competition.”

San Francisco

Navy to restrict sonar in training

The U.S. Navy will restrict the use of low-frequency active sonar during training to prevent possible harm to whales and other creatures, under an agreement reached with environmental groups Tuesday.

The accord, approved by a federal court in San Francisco, would restrict the use of a type of sonar in areas in the Pacific Ocean that are known to be whale breeding grounds and key habitat, such as the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary off Hawaii.

The Navy and environmentalists have been jousting in court for several years over the risk to whales and other marine life posed by underwater noise from sonar exercises.

A separate lawsuit, not involved in Tuesday’s announcement, involves midfrequency sonar. That case is pending at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Navy officials insist that the sonar exercises are essential for sailors to train to detect ultra-quiet submarines being developed by nations such as Iran and North Korea. Environmentalists say the Navy is needlessly harming whales and other marine mammals and that training can be conducted in spots where whales are not common.

Greeley, Colo.

Dog stands guard after man’s suicide

A dog stood guard over her owner’s body for up to six weeks after the man committed suicide on the remote northeastern Colorado plains, authorities said.

The body of 25-year-old Jake Baysinger of La Salle was found Sunday on the Pawnee National Grasslands about 75 miles northeast of Denver. Cash, his German shepherd, was found beside him, thin and dehydrated but still alive.

The dog had apparently survived by eating mice and rabbits, authorities said.

The Weld County coroner ruled Baysinger’s death a suicide. The cause of death wasn’t immediately determined but authorities found a gun nearby, the coroner’s office said Tuesday.

Baysinger was reported missing June 28. An extensive search failed to locate him, but a rancher saw Cash last weekend, went to investigate and discovered Baysinger’s body and his pickup.

Cash has been reunited with Baysinger’s wife, Sara, and her 2-year-old son, Lane. She said her little boy is “very close to that dog” and happy to see her again.

Investigators said the dog probably kept coyotes away from the body.

From wire reports


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