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Cost-of-living allowances for U.S. troops stationed in Europe will stay at current levels through the end of August, according to a message posted Friday on the Per Diem Travel and Transportation Committee’s Web site.

No change in allowances was expected, but recent gains by the dollar against major European currencies have raised the odds that COLA could fall significantly at the start of September. COLA, a supplement designed to equalize purchasing power between servicemembers overseas and those in the States, generally rises as the dollar weakens against foreign currencies, and falls when the dollar strengthens.

Recently the dollar has surged. The euro was 10 cents cheaper in mid-day trading Thursday than it had been July 18.

About half that came in the last week — after exchange rates used for COLA calculations were locked in.

On Friday, the dollar continued to strengthen, hitting a six-month high against the euro.

The dollar has also improved against the pound: One pound now costs about a dime less than it did at the beginning of the month, and is now trading at a 22-month high against the dollar.

Some market watchers are forecasting continued improvement for the dollar against foreign currencies.

In a research note, investment bank Goldman Sachs on Thursday wrote that it expected the dollar to climb to $1.40 against the euro within a year.

Funeral service set for Army retiree, employeeA funeral will be held Monday for James Carl Coleman, an Army retiree and employee at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, who died Friday of pancreatic cancer. He was 58.

Campbell, known as "J.C.," retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in 2000. He worked for the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwöhr, Germany, before moving to his position with JMRC in 2002.

He was born in Abbeville, S.C., in 1949, joined the Army in 1972, arrived in Germany in 1976 and married the following year. He is survived by his wife, Marita of Kaltenbrunn, Germany; daughter, Christina; and son, James Charles.

The funeral service will be 3 p.m. at Kaltenbrunn Catholic Church.


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