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European briefs: Army band to give free concert at Heidelberg fest

The U.S. Army Europe Band will perform a free summer pops concert behind the castle in Heidelberg, Germany, on June 29.

Part of the Schloss Festspiele concert series, the band will perform numbers from "West Side Story"" and pieces composed by Glenn Miller, John Philip Sousa and others. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Concert goers should arrive early, since the concert series is well-attended, a USAREUR press release said.

For more information on the concert, call DSN 379-7834.

Move extends credit to foreign military spouses

WASHINGTON — President Bush on Tuesday signed the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act into law, authorizing about $2 billion in tax breaks for troops and their families.

Among those is a provision to allow troops with foreign spouses to receive the 2007 economic stimulus credit after lawmakers discovered a loophole in the original plan which prevented them from claiming the money.

The credit, approved by Congress earlier this year as a way to spur consumer spending, gave a $300 to $600 payout per taxpayer for households, plus another $300 per dependent child.

But the legislation required that all spouses and dependents listed on a tax return have Social Security numbers for the household to be eligible.

For troops’ foreign spouses who had only individual taxpayer identification numbers, that meant no stimulus checks.

The bill states that the change to stimulus package payouts affects only current military members, and gives no mention of retirees or Department of Defense civilian employees.

IRS officials said they would announce how troops can receive the payouts in coming days.

Helo that made ‘hard landing’ to be destroyed

BAGRAM, Afghanistan — American troops will destroy a helicopter that went down Tuesday during a "hard landing" in Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.

No "serious injuries" resulted from the incident and all the crew and passengers were accounted for. But, because "the remote terrain and location have prevented recovery of the aircraft," it will be destroyed to keep it from being used in any way by insurgents.

The helicopter went down in eastern Nuristan province, close to the border of Kunar province, officials said.

Helicopter engines go missing in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Four U.S. military helicopter engines worth a combined $13.2 million are missing in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, the American military said Wednesday.

The engines were being shipped by truck from the main U.S. base at Bagram, said U.S. spokeswoman Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green. She said they were destined for Fort Bragg, N.C., where the 82nd Airborne is based.


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