World Briefs:US offers bonus to woo drone pilots

US offers bonus to woo drone pilots

WASHINGTON • The United States will offer a US$15,000 (S$20,500) annual bonus for drone pilots, the air force said, as part of a drive to address a critical shortage of manpower.

Drones are an essential part of Washington's arsenal in the battle on extremists abroad. But US officials have been concerned about the number of pilots of remotely piloted aircraft at their disposal, and the physical and mental demands on those left in the job.


ISIS told suspect 'to hit France'

PARIS • One of the suspects in a foiled attack on a French military base was instructed by an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant in Syria to "hit" France, a prosecutor said yesterday.

The youngest of three suspects in custody - aged only 17 and identified as Ismael K - was given the order when it became clear he would not be able to leave the country to wage jihad in Syria because he was under surveillance, prosecutor Francois Molins said.

Four young men were arrested in dawn raids on Monday, suspected of "planning to commit a terrorist act" at a French military base.


Hamas chief and Saudi king meet

DUBAI • Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and other top officials from the Palestinian militant group met Saudi Arabia's King Salman and senior Saudi leaders yesterday, a Hamas source said, in the first meeting between the two rival sides for years.

The meeting brought together top members of Hamas' political wing with the Saudi king, crown prince and defence minister in a possible rapprochement between the US-allied kingdom and the Iran-allied party.

"The delegation discussed Palestinian unity and the political situation in the region. This meeting will hopefully develop relations between Hamas and Saudi Arabia," the source said.


New guide: 2 people in cockpit at all times

BRUSSELS • Europe's aviation watchdog recommended yesterday that two people be present in aircraft cockpits at all times after a lone rogue pilot apparently crashed a Germanwings jet deliberately in March, killing all 150 people on board.

The European Aviation Safety Agency said pilots should "undergo psychological evaluation" during training or before entering service and face random drug and alcohol tests, although investigators have not cited those substances as factors in the Germanwings tragedy.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2015, with the headline 'World Briefs:US offers bonus to woo drone pilots'. Print Edition | Subscribe