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COVER STORYSoldier unscathed in IED blastThe wiring of the bomb wasn’t very good, and the shell that did detonate was full of gunpowder and not its original explosives. Soldiers theorized that maybe the triggerman wanted to save those valuable explosives, or maybe he wanted to get paid to blow the bomb without hurting anyone. • Story

U.S. aids Philippines in battle against IEDs, al-Qaida-style warfareU.S. expertise and money have helped the Philippine government win pockets of stability and support. But the assistance has not been sufficient to stamp out persistent violence, and the ultimate goal of peace and stability remains elusive. • Story

Kandahar: Taliban’s birthplace, Afghanistan’s crucibleTogether, Kandahar and the Helmand River valley, where a 10,000-strong Marine brigade is already operating, are home to about 80 percent of the population in southern Afghanistan, and constitute the key strategic focus points in the region for McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy. • Story

U.S. troops turn to politicking in SamarraSamarra has been on the precipice enough times as Iraq appeared to tumble over that tensions here, like arguments at the edge of a cliff, bear close watching. • Story

DOD to miss deadline for removing Social Security numbers from IDsThe Defense Department will not meet its end-of-the-year deadline for removing Social Security numbers from military ID cards as they are issued or renewed, the Pentagon has confirmed. • Story

Thirsty after that run? Why not down a DMZ?That’s right, bottled water named after the Demilitarized Zone — one of the most dangerous places on the planet, known for its land mines and the ongoing tension between North and South Korea. • Story

More stories:• Misawa officials urge drinking airmen to use free ride program less • Professing a roundtrip way to Mars • Japan moves to address parental child abduction issue • Four U.S. teens arrested in crash near Yokota • Air Force nixes tattoo policy after two weeks • DOD to offer longer civilian tours in South Korea • Stop-loss pay starts flowing in December • Deployments will delay Army’s dwell time goal

Spouse CallsA weekly column in Stripes' Scene magazine by Terri Barnes, a military wife and mother of three who lives and writes in Germany. • This week's column • Terri Barnes' blog

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