WASHINGTON – As bad as President Donald Trump describes U.S.-Pakistani ties today, they can get far worse. Over 16 years that included hundreds of deadly U.S. drone strikes, Osama bin Laden's killing on Pakistani soil and accusations Pakistan helps insurgents that kill Americans, the reluctant allies never reached one point of no return: Pakistan closing the air routes to Afghanistan. It's an action that could all but cripple the U.S.-backed military fight against the Taliban. It could also be tantamount to Pakistan going to war with the United States. Even if such a step is seen as unlikely by most officials and observers, Pakistan's ability to shape the destiny of America's longest war is a reminder of how much leverage the country maintains at a time Trump is suspending hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance.
File photo - A man takes a selfie in front of the CES logo during the 2018 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Jan. 10, 2018. While great laptops and 2-in-1s come out every year, we don't see significant innovation taking place in computing on an annual basis. But this year at CES, we saw some upending of the standard quo on a number of levels. The trends we saw from the show floor have us both curious and excited about the future of computing. Some will undoubtedly end up in dead ends -- and others will probably become the new status quo in just a few years.
MOSCOW – The Russian military has urged its Turkish counterparts to tighten monitoring of opposition in northern Syria in the wake of a drone attack on Russian military bases in the country. Russia's Defense Ministry said its forces repelled a series of drone attacks Saturday, adding that out of the 13 drones involved, seven were shot down and six were forced to land without causing any damage. The official military daily Krasnaya Zvezda said the ministry sent letters to the Turkish military, asking it to deploy observers to Syria's northern province of Idlib to ensure that rebels don't launch more attacks. Russia has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad while Turkey has supported his foes, but they struck a deal last year to set up de-escalation zones in Syria, helping reduce fighting.
AUGUST 2008: Border agents recovered this 2-foot-high drone that was seen swooping over the border fence in southern California. Drug cartels are using unmanned drones to carry drugs across the southern border, challenging the U.S. technological ability to stop the advance. Brandon Judd, an agent and president of the National Border Patrol Council, warned that the border patrol does not have the technology to contain drones. "The number is just astronomical," Judd told The Washington Times. At least 13 drones believed to be carrying drugs were spotted in November alone, agents said, according to the Times.
Driving in winter conditions can be slow and hazardous, even for skilled drivers. The self-driving cars in development today are generally designed and tested on city streets, with curbs and lane markings and GPS maps to rely on. But what happens when you live in a country like Finland, where roads covered with several inches of snow are a fact of life every year? Researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre are tackling that problem head-on with Martti, an autonomous vehicle specifically programmed to safely navigate public roads blanketed in snow. Built on a Volkswagen Touareg, it's equipped with a variety of antennas, sensors, cameras, and laser scanners.
JOHANNESBURG – A group that monitors extremist organizations says the Islamic State group has posted what is thought to be the first video from IS-affiliated fighters in Somalia. The video posted online Monday calls on supporters to "hunt down" what it calls nonbelievers and attack churches and markets. The SITE Intelligence Group says the video urges supporters to take advantage of people's "drunkenness" over the holiday season to attack. The United States last month launched its first drone strikes against Islamic State group-affiliated fighters in Somalia. The Horn of Africa nation has a small but growing presence of the fighters, many of them defectors from the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group.
File photo - An airplane flies over a drone during the Polar Bear Plunge on Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York Jan. 1, 2015. While it seems unlikely that everyday drone hobbyists would want to make a beeline for their nearest nuclear facility to grab some aerial shots, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has nevertheless announced a ban on drone flights over such locations in the U.S., namely: As you can see, they're mainly labs, while the Hanford Site, for example, is a mostly decommissioned nuclear production complex. Another of those listed, the Pantex Site, is an active nuclear weapons assembly and dismantlement plant. The restrictions, which come into force on December 29, have been put in place "to address concerns about unauthorized drone operations over seven Department of Energy (DOE) facilities," the FAA confirmed on its website. It added that "operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges."
WASHINGTON – Federal investigators say a recreational drone operator was at fault in the first confirmed midair collision in the U.S. between a drone and a manned aircraft. That's according to a National Transportation Safety Board report. The report says the operator was unaware the Federal Aviation Administration had temporarily banned drone flights in New York when his drone collided with an Army Blackhawk helicopter on Sept. 21. The U.N. General Assembly was meeting at the time. The helicopter suffered minor damage while the drone was destroyed.
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – Pakistani intelligence officials say a suspected U.S. drone strike has hit a militant compound near the Afghan border, killing three militants. Two officials say the unmanned drone fired two missiles at the Ghazni compound of the militant Haqqani network's commander Abdur Rasheed early in the morning on Thursday. The network is affiliated with the Taliban. They said it's unclear if Rasheed was at the compound located on the Pesho Ghar mountain in the Kurram tribal region's Ghuzgari area. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
SANAA, Yemen – Yemeni security and tribal officials say a suspected U.S. drone strike has killed three alleged al-Qaida fighters in the country's central Bayda province. They say the Sunday strike was the third of its kind in a week in the province, a stronghold for the group. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. Yemen fell into chaos following its 2011 Arab Spring uprising that deposed longtime autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh, now allied with Shiite rebels from the north who have occupied much of the country and are fighting his successor. A Saudi-led coalition has been battling the rebels and Saleh's forces since March 2015.