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A conference began Tuesday in Praia, Cape Verde, to prepare U.S., European and African militaries for a July exercise designed to help safeguard the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, among other goals.

Participants from 22 nations were meeting through Friday in Cape Verde to lay out plans for African Endeavor 2007. The exercise will enable nations’ militaries to compare radios, satellites, telephones and other communications tools to make them work together.

Troops from 24 African nations, the U.S. and Europe participated in last year’s inaugural exercise. This year’s would further enable the continent’s militaries to work together, including for the World Cup, according to Army Lt. Col. Kevin Warthon of the U.S. European Command, which sponsors the exercise.

“We will conduct pre-World Cup communications training through African Endeavor, establish a baseline for military architecture for the World Cup as well as plan and manage for possible consequences that might occur during the competition,” Warthon was quoted in a release as saying.

Airman pleads guilty to using, distributing drugsAVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — An airman assigned to the 724th Air Mobility Squadron pleaded guilty at a special court-martial Friday to using and distributing controlled substances.

Senior Airman Justin E. Higginbotham was sentenced to three months’ confinement, reduced in rank to E-1, and given a bad-conduct discharge, according to court documents provided by the 31st Fighter Wing public affairs office.

Higginbotham was convicted of possessing morphine pills and bringing them on base and using, possessing and distributing Valium pills on base. All incidents were said to have taken place in June.

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