Tag Archives: Trump’s
President Trump has approved a plan to send Javelin anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine to help the U.S.-backed government there fight Russian-allied forces. Russian military and allied forces have been active in Ukraine since the 2014 ouster of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych.
The sale, reported by the Wall Street Journal, would put a uniquely effective weapon into play in the conflict. The Javelin, developed by Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin and first put in service in 1996, is a shoulder-fired missile designed to track targets by infrared. But rather than hitting a tank in the front or sides, where its armor is thickest, the Javelin projectile flies along a long arc to hit a tank’s roof, where the armor on most models is thinnest.
The Javelin is both more powerful, more expensive, and more tightly controlled than other anti-tank weapons, such as the older BGM-71 TOW system. According to an in-depth overview by The National Interest, the Javelin had a major showing in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In one battle, it enabled a small group of U.S. special operations troops with four Javelin launchers to destroy a substantially larger Iraqi tank unit.
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The Javelin is said to be effective against most tanks in the Russian arsenal, though it has not been battle-tested against the most modern tanks. The State Department also recently approved the sale of Javelins to Georgia, which has had its own recent clashes with Russia, and has also sent units to Lithuania and Estonia.
Russian tanks have been instrumental in some victories by pro-Russian forces in the Ukrainian conflict. However, commentators have also described tank battles as relatively rare. That has led some to speculate that the decision is primarily political rather than tactical, intended to signal deeper American support for anti-Russian forces. Ukraine expert Michael Kofman told the Washington Post that Russia would “see this as a premise of the U.S. wanting to kill Russians,” pointing to a possible escalation of both the conflict, and broader U.S.-Russia tensions.
SAN FRANCISCO – A German man has come forward as the former Twitter Inc (twtr) employee who shut down the account of U.S. President Donald Trump for 11 minutes this month on his last day of work at the social network.
The technology news website TechCrunch published an interview on Wednesday with Bahtiyar Duysak, whom it called a 20-something with Turkish roots who was born and raised in Germany. He was a temporary contract worker in San Francisco for Twitter, the website said.
Duysak, who had not previously been identified as the person behind the takedown, told TechCrunch that he considered Trump’s temporary silencing a “mistake” and never thought the account would get deactivated.
It was not a planned act, he said. Rather, he said, the chance to shutter the account fell into his lap near the end of his scheduled final shift, and he decided to take it.
“There are millions of people who would take actions against him if they had the possibility. In my case, it was just random,” Duysak said in a video of the interview posted online. He wore a gray sweater emblazoned with the American flag.
For more on Trump and Twitter, see Fortune’s video:
Twitter on Wednesday would not confirm whether Duysak was the ex-employee in question or answer other questions. Reuters could not immediately reach Duysak.
BuzzFeed News, citing two anonymous sources, reported separately that Duysak was the ex-employee responsible.
Duysak is a former volunteer security guard at a Muslim community center in California, BuzzFeed reported. Trump has been critical of Muslims, calling during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States.
The takedown of Trump’s account on Nov. 2 sparked concerns among Twitter users over how much power employees have over sensitive accounts and whether abuse of their power could lead to international incidents.
Twitter said in a statement on Wednesday: “We have taken a number of steps to keep an incident like this from happening again.”
Duysak did not shed much light on the incident. Near the end of his last day at the San Francisco-based company, an alert came to him that someone had reported Trump’s account for an unspecified violation, he said.
Duysak put the wheels in motion to deactivate it, TechCrunch said, although the account did not go offline until hours later. Neither Duysak nor TechCrunch explained the delay.
“I didn’t hack anyone. I didn’t do anything which I wasn’t authorized to do,” he said.
The Trump Administration said Wednesday that unspecified local and state agencies as well as tribal authorities would help the federal government to create a set of drone regulations for commercial flights.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversee drones in the national airspace, released rules in Aug. 2016 for how businesses can use drones for tasks like aerial photography or to monitor farms. However, many states and local governments have enacted their own drone rules that in many cases conflict with current FAA regulations.
Although the FAA has approved some companies to use drones to photograph property damage, for example, doing so could potentially violate local privacy laws if drones take pictures of nearby homes without their owners’ consent.
This mishmash of local and federal drone rules in addition to the hurdles to businesses of obtaining FAA approval for commercial drone flights has caused some companies like Amazon amzn and Google goog to move their test flights to countries like United Kingdom and Australia where laws are more lax.
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The Trump Administration’s drone program is intended to make it easier for companies to test drones by having local authorities, tribal government, companies, and the federal government work together. It’s also designed to give businesses more flexibility to fly drones at night, beyond the sight of human operators, and over people’s heads—things that are currently banned without approval but important to making drone deliveries a reality.
“Overall this is a hugely important step forward,” said attorney Lisa Ellman, who helps run the drone advocacy group Commercial Drone Alliance. “The intent is to open up the skies to commercial drones. It will help us gather data to inform future rule making.”
Still, the Trump Administration revealed limited details about how the new drone program, planned for the next three years, would work. For example, the administration said in a statement, “Prospective local government participants should partner with the private sector to develop pilot proposals,” but it did not say how those partnerships would function.
The DOT said it would evaluate at least five applications in which local authorities and companies will jointly propose plans for potential drone projects in certain municipalities. But, the DOT did reveal how it is determining the appropriate projects or its criteria for how it is selecting participants, likely to be many considering it will include numerous local governments as well as companies with competing interests.
The department also did not say how much the federal program would cost, but it added that the cost would be revealed in the coming days.
Nevertheless, several organizations and companies that are interested in drones are pleased about the Trump Administration’s initiative.
“The beauty of this program is that the White House is allowing everyone from cities to states to tribal authorities to apply,” Greg McNeal, co-founder of drone startup AirMap told Fortune in an email. “States and cities will apply to open the airspace for operations that they’re most interested in, that are the best fit for local conditions and complexities, and that allow them to welcome drone operations that can kickstart their drone economy.”
Drone advocacy group Small UAV Coalition, which represents companies like Google’s parent, Alphabet, and Amazon, also commended the program.
“As the pilot program gets underway, the Coalition looks forward to continuing to work with Congress, the FAA, and all stakeholders to advance long-term FAA reauthorization legislation that will help ensure that the United States fully embraces the immense economic potential and consumer benefits of UAS [drones] technology in the near-term,” the group said in a statement.
But just because the new drone program debuted, doesn’t mean that local authorities, the federal government, and corporate interests won’t butt heads. States are still free to enact their own drone law regardless of Trump’s proposal.
Supporters of Trump’s plan like the Small UAV Coalition, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, and the Academy of Model Aeronautics praised how the new drone program still designates the FAA as the ultimate authority over drones, trumping local governments. One reason these groups like this is because local laws often impede corporate interests especially surrounding privacy laws, thus limiting the ability of companies to launch commercial drone projects.
“We are encouraged that this new program appears to preserve the FAA’s authority over the nation’s airspace,” said Academy of Model Aeronautics spokesperson Chad Budreau.
About why it’s taken so long for such a framework to be developed, Ellman explained that’s just the way Washington D.C. politics works.
“I think when you’re dealing with any major federal government policy, there’s just a lot of ‘I’s’ to be dotted and ‘T’s’ to be crossed,” Ellman said.
Twitter has responded to people who criticized it for not taking down President Donald Trump’s bellicose tweet about North Korea, which led the country to claim he had declared war on it. The tweet was too newsworthy to take down, the social media platform said.
The tweet, which Trump posted on Saturday, followed a speech to the United Nations General Assembly by North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho.
Ri said it was “inevitable” that his country would fire missiles at the U.S. mainland. In response, Trump tweeted: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”
Twitter’s terms of service claim the company does not “tolerate behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.” Many people have wondered why, given the nature of Trump’s Twitter activity, this rule hasn’t led to his suspension from the platform.
In a thread late Monday, Twitter’s policy team addressed the question. The team insisted that it holds “all accounts to the same rules,” but pointed out the factors it takes into account when assessing violations.
“Among the considerations is ‘newsworthiness’ and whether a tweet is of public interest,” the policy team wrote. “This has long been internal policy and we’ll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect this.”
“We need to do better on this, and will,” the team added.
Twitter has a longstanding problem with abuse that many see as contributing to its stagnant user growth. It has brought in several new measures this year to address the issue, such as making it harder for abusive tweets to reach the eyes of their targets, and banning more people for their trollish behavior.
The U.S. administration has strongly denied that Trump’s Saturday tweet was a declaration of war, with White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders calling the assertion “absurd.”
There’s a Wikipedia edit war going on right now on the page of the law firm of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman. That wouldn’t be notable except for the fact that someone is trying to scrub Donald Trump’s name from the page and Joe Lieberman is a special counsel at the firm. Lieberman is a frontrunner to head the…
Yet another fear among scientists and climate activists has become reality in the era of Trump.
Years of research and data about carbon emissions, other greenhouse gases, and more was hidden from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website by the Trump administration Friday as the climate change webpage goes under “review.”
Adding insult to injury, this comes on the eve of the People’s Climate March.
Climate change activists have been wringing their hands ever since Inauguration Day, fearing that the new administration would do something just like this. The EPA has been chipping away at climate change mentions on its website since January, but Friday’s takedown seems to be the biggest step yet. Read more…
President Donald Trump made a dramatic appeal for lowering the hurdles new medicines face in gaining approval from the Food and Drug Administration. But his promises – that reduced regulatory standards would result in more cures reaching the market and lower drug prices – may be hard to keep.
Tuesday night, in his address to Congress, President Trump invited as his guest a college sophomore with a rare disease to illustrate why the Food and Drug Administration needs to be ripped to pieces. After 20-year-old Megan Crowley was diagnosed with the neuromuscular disorder Pompe disease as a young child, her…