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.
The debate over what to do about the approximately 700,000 Dreamers – immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children – has often been conducted at a playground level. Democrats are threatening to shut down the government at midnight Friday night unless the Dreamer issue is resolved on their terms. President Trump is reported to have used some kind of obscenity to describe his view of some of the countries Dreamers and other immigrants come from. Immigration activists have freely and openly accused the president of being a "racist" or worse. In this kind of a toxic environment, it will be amazing if both sides can bridge the enormous gap between them.
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.
The International Space Station sits at an altitude of approximately 220 miles above the Earth in this photo taken by Expedition 27 crew member Paolo Nespoli from the Soyuz TMA-20 following its undocking. Inside NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley is a test environment that simulates the International Space Station's pressurized capsules. Here, aerospace engineers test the new Astrobee intra vehicular activity (IVA) robots, which will be heading to the ISS in the spring. These robots are 1-by-1-foot cubes, with an array of LED communication lights. They can function autonomously or be remotely controlled from Houston.
The aim is for a SMET robot to be able to carry 1,000 pounds across more than 60 miles in 72 hours. Whether you're interested in trucks, tanks, motorcycles, armored vehicles or ATVs, 2017 was a great year, with lots of incredible machines. And it was a year in which lots of out-of-the-box advances – some might even say shocking – were revealed. Where do we find these insider machines? I also meet with military and private sector innovators to closely evaluate the vehicles and put them through their paces.
When Celeste Kidd was a graduate student of neuroscience at the University of Rochester she says a professor supervising her made her life unbearable by stalking her, making demeaning comments about her weight and talking about sex. Ten years on and now a professor of neuroscience at the university, Kidd is taking legal action. She has filed a federal lawsuit against the school alleging that it mishandled its sexual harassment investigation into the professor's actions and then retaliated against her and her colleagues for reporting the misconduct. "We are trying to bring transparency to a system that is corrupt," Kidd told The Associated Press. Academia -- like Hollywood, the media and Congress -- is facing its own #MeToo movement over allegations of sexual misconduct.
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.