Dec 28, 2017

U.S. military casualties rose for first time in 6 years

Photo: Saul Loeb / Getty

In 2017, 33 U.S. military personnel gave their lives overseas — seven more than last year. This was the first rise in U.S. casualties in six years, Buzzfeed News reports.

Big picture: Military officials and experts told BuzzFeed that they are most concerned about the military's transparency in the age of Trump. The Pentagon said in June that it would no longer release immediate information about combat deaths in Afghanistan. Many Americans and some lawmakers were not even aware of the presence of U.S. troops in Yemen, Niger and Somalia until the deaths of U.S. military personnel made headlines. And we've seen the Pentagon present deceiving troop numbers in Syria.

Why the secrecy: The U.S. military is starting to use more special forces, which make up only 5% of the U.S. military, to carry out their missions. This has led to more deaths among elite troops than conventional forces.

Perspective: In 2007, more than 1,000 U.S. troops were killed at the height of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Go deeper: BuzzFeed's Vera Bergengruen's piece.

Go deeper

Palantir CEO reflects on work with ICE

Palantir CEO Alex Karp told "Axios on HBO" that there have "absolutely" been moments he wished the company hadn't taken a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • "Did I suffer? ... I've had some of my favorite employees leave," Karp told "Axios on HBO."

Michigan governor won't apologize for coronavirus lockdown

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defended the strictness of her state's coronavirus lockdown in an interview with "Axios on HBO," saying it was necessary — despite the protests that have drawn national attention — because of how quickly the state's cases were rising.

The big picture: Whitmer, who has been a frequent target of President Trump, insisted that she had to act in the face of a lack of federal leadership — and that thousands more people in her state would have died without the lockdown.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has only one novel coronavirus patient in hospital and just 22 active cases in the country, top health official Ashley Bloomfield confirmed at a briefing. He's "confident we have broken the chain of domestic transmission," with no new cases reported for most of May, he added.

By the numbers: Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.