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Malaysian minister speaks to Hammond about search

The Malaysian transport minister's communications team has posted an image of him talking on the phone - in his dressing gown - to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond about the Royal Navy submarine arriving to help search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight:

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0630AM Hawaii, on the phone w/ Sec. Hammond of UK. Just got word - HMS Tireless sub is joining search for #MH370 http://t.co/oLR3SlwfJ6

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MoD defends shooting pigs for medical training

The Ministry of Defence has defended its involvement in a military training exercise that involves the shooting of live animals. Images published in the Daily Mirror appear to show live pigs strung up as targets during a medical training course at Nato's training facilities in Jaegerspris, Denmark.

The pictures, published in the Daily Mirror, appear to show live animals strung up as targets.
The pictures, published in the Daily Mirror, appear to show live animals strung up as targets. Credit: Press Association

The pigs are shot by a marksman to replicate battlefield wounds so that military medical staff can train in emergency surgery. The MoD said it had not yet seen the pictures, but a spokeswoman said it was normal for military surgeons to carry out training on animals:

"Our military surgeons undertake vital training in Denmark where they learn specialist trauma treatment skills that save lives on the battlefield.

"All animals used in medical training are anaesthetised before they are treated and by participating in the Danish led exercises twice a year rather than conducting our own, we minimise the overall number of animals used."

Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) said the exercise was "impossible to justify medically, ethically and educationally."

Militants capture British Army dog in Afghanistan

The dog is reportedly called 'Colonel'.
The dog is reportedly called 'Colonel'

A military dog belonging to British armed forces has been captured by militants in Afghanistan, ITV News understands.

The Ministry of Defence has refused to comment on reports that the animal, which has appeared in videos on jihadi websites surrounded by armed men, is British.

Media reports claim the dog is called Colonel and is believed to have been captured at the end of last year, nothing is known about his current whereabouts.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has confirmed a military dog in Afghanistan went missing in December.

Veterans 'owed a huge debt' for contribution in society

Veterans have made a unique contribution to our society, the MP for Penrith and the Border has said, as the government plans to review how to support offenders who had served in the Armed Forces.

Tory MP Rory Stewart, who served in the armed forces and also worked as a local official in Iraq, said:

[We] owe [veterans] a huge debt. Their needs are specific, and it is an honour to have the opportunity to support veterans in this way.

I am very much looking forward to working with veterans organisations, the armed forces and the Ministry of Justice to make sure we have the best programme for veterans in the world.

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Army recruitment campaign launched for Reserves

Nearly one in four Britons are unhappy with their current career, according to research commissioned by the army.

The findings were published to coincide with the launch of a new recruitment campaign announced today by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

Army recruitment campaign launches today. Credit: PA

The campaign, dubbed "More than meets the eye", aims to show how the new Army Reserve is fully integrated with its regular counterpart.

Through a series of TV adverts, it hopes to capitalise on New Year's resolutions which see people wanting to transform their lives and careers.

Govt should support veterans 'through tough times'

The Government should help support Britain's veterans, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said, as a Government review sets to look at service personnel who turn to crime after leaving the armed forces.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond Credit: PA

Mr Hammond said: "Armed forces veterans have made a significant commitment to their country and it is right that the Government should help support them when they hit tough times.

"That is why we should look at how we can improve the level of support and rehabilitation available to veterans who end up in the criminal justice system."

Civilian life 'not straightforward' for some veterans

Some British veterans end up in the criminal justice system, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said, as a Government review is set to look into the reasons why some of Britain's veterans turn to a life of crime after they leave the armed forces. Mr Grayling said:

After leaving the armed forces the vast majority of veterans continue to make a hugely positive contribution to our country. But for a few the transition to civilian life isn't always straightforward...

I want to make sure that we take specific account of their needs and experiences and make sure that they get the right rehabilitation to get their lives back together again. It's the very least we can do for people who put their lives on the line for our country.

MP to probe why some UK veterans turn to life of crime

A Government review is set to look into the reasons why some of Britain's veterans turn to a life of crime after they leave the armed forces.

The review, ordered by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, will also look at the support provided for ex-service personnel convicted of criminal offences and given custodial or community sentences, and how that support can be improved.

MP to probe offending by veterans. Credit: PA

The study taken by the Ministry of Defence in 2010, suggest that ex-servicemen and women make up around 3.5% of the prison population, and around the same percentage of offenders on licence, while almost all convicted veterans were men from non-commissioned ranks and 80% were army careerists.

The review, led by Tory MP Rory Stewart, a veteran himself, is expected to last six months and will consider issues including how ex-service personnel are identified on conviction and what advice and support is available to them - as well as looking at effective interventions in other countries.

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