FORT IRWIN, Calif.

U.S. military moving faster to train Iraqis, Hagel says

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. military is accelerating its efforts to train and advise Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State militants.

Hagel said Sunday that U.S. special operations troops in Iraq’s western Anbar province began the train-and-advise effort a few days ago. He did not provide details.

According to plans laid out last week, the U.S. expects to train nine Iraqi security forces brigades and three Kurdish Peshmerga brigades.

Hagel said the speed-up was recommended by Gen. Lloyd Austin, the commander of U.S. Central Command.

DALLAS

Would-be rhinoceros hunter awaits decision on permit

A Texas hunting club that auctioned off a permit to shoot an endangered black rhinoceros in Africa said it will cancel the hunt if a federal agency denies the winning bidder’s request to bring the dead animal back to the U.S. as a trophy.

Corey Knowlton bid $350,000 at a January auction that the Dallas Safari Club billed as a fundraising effort to save the endangered species. Last spring, he applied for a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that would enable him to import the rhino’s body following the hunt in Namibia. But he’s still waiting to hear back.

The agency is applying extra scrutiny to Knowlton’s request because of the rise in poaching, said spokesman Gavin Shire.

– From news service reports