NATO investments in the new, data-hungry Drones

Contracts for the new NATO Drones are starting out at around $1.85 billion this year. These drones are expected to be on the market later this year and have a gamut of new capabilities. Many of the drones will be used in surveillance, however others will be sold to private parties with a contract to the specific uses allowed within the country they will be operated.

Not just is NATO working with these drones, but they are expected to announce an additional $3 Billion dollars of security and surveillance projects at the end of April. Italy will be one of the first areas to benefit and test these new drones. Five are going to be stationed there later this year as well. Although these drones are creating new pathways for air and satellite technology, they are also creating problems with data usage.

“‘The AGS drone is a huge collector of data, it is a vacuum cleaner of data,’ said a NATO official. ‘Bandwidth is a problem for NATO, for most of the nations.’ ”

NATO has yet to decide what they are going to do about this excessive data usage. In order for the drones to work at full capacity, they need to have full access. NATO and other companies in collaboration with the construction and testing of the drones are working on ways they can limit data usage in areas that don’t need everything, kind of like a  battery saving mode on your phone. Contracts and buying options for these drones will out later this year and in the beginning of 2018. So I would assume these problems will be fixed and troubleshooted by then.


Article Here

United Airlines Refuses to Let Girls In Leggings On Plane


Just yesterday, a gate agent for United Airlines prevented two teenage girls from boarding their plane to Minneapolis simply because they were wearing leggings. The gate agent claimed their clothing was inappropriate, and also forced a young girl in leggings to change into a dress before boarding. Apparently, an eyewitness said the gate agent told the girls in leggings: “I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them.” The result has been a Twitter battle between United and thousands of upset people. While critics of the gate agent’s decision have contended that what happened was intrusive and sexist, United has maintained that what the gate agent did was in accordance with their policy. Apparently, the girls wearing leggings were traveling as “pass travelers”, taking advantage of a United employee benefit that lets United employees and their dependents to travel for free on standby flights. However, the policy also states that “pass travelers” represent United as a company, and as such, are not permitted to wear clothes deemed as inappropriate, such as spandex leggings, ripped or tattered jeans, flip flops, and anything else that shows their undergarments. United also confirmed its right to deny service to any pass travelers deemed inappropriately dressed, as stated in the company policy.

Is United right to deny service to any pass travelers who don’t meet their dress code requirements? Should they even have a dress code policy in the first place? Obviously, I recognize that many companies enforce dress codes because they want their employees looking professional as they represent the company. But what about employees’ dependents who travel with them?

Read the full article here:

U.S. Protests U.N. Talks of Banning Nuclear Weapons

The United Nations has been entertaining discussions of banning nuclear weapons on a global scale. At the moment, most countries are not allowed to have nuclear weapons, and only a handful of countries have them (U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, DPRK and Israel unofficially). So I don’t think that it is a surprise that these discussions are happening, most of the world would be in supportive of banning nuclear weapons.

It is also not surprising that the U.S. is against such measures. Having nuclear weapons was a huge factor of moving the U.S. to a world superpower. Furthermore, the U.S. argues that banning nuclear weapons is impossible and we need to keep them in order to protect our country as well as our allies.

I think that completely boycotting talks is ineffective and uncooperative. Even though talks will likely never turn into action, it would be nice to see that the U.S. is willing to give up nuclear weapons if others do as well. However, completely banning nuclear weapons at this point is practically impossible. The technology already exists so it would be naive to believe that we can always prevent other countries and non-state actors from creating nuclear weapons. Furthermore, chemical weapons have been banned for many years, and that ban has been terribly ineffective so banning nuclear weapons likely would not be successful either.

Iraqi Civilian Death Toll Rising After American-led Airstrikes


In the American-led airstrikes on an ISIS-held neighborhood of Mosul this past month, scores of Iraqi residents are believed to be killed. Iraqi officials are predicting the total civilian death toll to be approximately 200 killed, with hundreds more displaced, missing, or wounded. If this turns out to be the case, this month will have carried one of the worst instances of civilian casualties from a US-led attack during the entire period of time that America has had a military presence in Iraq.

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Apparently, the pace at which the United States will fight the Islamic State has quickened, and Iraqi officers are saying that the American coalition is now quicker to strike urban targets from the air than before. According to these officers, the US is no longer giving as much weight to the risks their strikes will present to civilians and that this is a “reflection of a renewed push by the American military under the Trump administration to speed up the battle for Mosul.”

See more details and read the accounts of survivors here.

Ethics Flags in the White House

Mr. Icahn is a advisor recently appointed for Trump. He, like many others, is very wealthy with his fortune being estimated to be around 16.6 billon dollars. Ever since President Trump put together his cabinet and advisors, there has been red flags everywhere. Mr. Icahn was appointed to be an adviser on regulatory matters, and has been using his influence to deal mostly with the EPA. This is concerning to many because of his involvement with the CVR Energy as he is a major investor in it. Mr. Icahn is particularly interested in trying to revamp the EPA rule that governs the way corn-based ethanol is mixed into gasoline nationwide and wants to decrease regulation in regards to it. The way that he and others have justified his role is that he is an unpaid advisor to Trump, not a cabinet member. With this justification, he is able to get out of excessive interviews to assess his advisor-ship.

With Trump’s presidency we have seen an increasing merging of private business interest with government affairs. Whether this will in the long run be beneficial is unclear but I think that we need to be careful. While Mr. Icahn can’t make the rules, he can certainly influence the people that do. It will be interesting to see if this will be beneficial or not for the EPA and Trump’s presidency.

Read the whole story here.

Will Republicans be able to pass their health care plan?

A vote is scheduled for the Republican health care bill today, which needs 216 votes to pass. As of right now, House Speaker Paul Ryan is still scrambling to secure enough votes.

Out of the 216 votes needed to pass, only 145 Republicans openly support it. No Democrats will vote yes, so the pressure is on the remaining Republicans to push it over the passing threshold. As of right now, 46 Republicans are still undecided or unclear, 15 have concerns or will likely vote no, and 31 have said they will vote no.

Some more conservative Republicans will not vote yes on the GOP-backed bill, claiming that is “Obamacare Lite.” They wish the bill didn’t give subsidies to help Americans buy insurance and that it cut Medicaid funding right away.

Many Republicans are also uncomfortable that the Republican bill would leave 24 million more people uninsured by 2026. This group also wants to delay the bill’s cuts to Medicaid funding. Clearly, these groups are on two different sides.

Will House Republicans be able to pass this bill? If not, will they go back to square one and try to create a whole new plan?

We Might Soon Resurrect Extinct Species. Is It Worth the Cost?

Scientists have found a way to possibly bring back extinct species through living ones. There is a debate in the science world not only if this is unethical, but if the cost would be worth it. What would be the benefit of bringing back lost species? Scientists think that this may help show details about evolution that we may not know yet, and help us learn about the Earth post-Ice Age.

The debate is whether nor not this cost would be worth it, especially because although the past is important, it will not help us in our future. The other side suggests that the Earth goes in a cycle with it’s atmosphere, and that eventually we could go towards another Ice Age.


Politics with Construction, Trump, and Manhattan

Two Years ago Charles Kushner started planning for his “big-break,” the construction of a multi-million dollar building in the center of Manhattan. However, his son Jared is Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, since the election this relationship has affected his dream and the construction of it. The largest investor for Kushner resides in China and is heavily involved in chinese politics, Kushner has fear that this investor will try and use Jared and himself to pass policies in favor of investor and his country. However, without the equity given by this investor, it will be nearly impossible to begin and finish construction.

Other investors are also questioning their support in conflict to Jared’s role in the White house. Mr. Kushner has promised there will be no influence or involvement between Jared, his roles, Donald Trump, and the White House. Nevertheless, investors are still weary and questioning their involvement and support with this project. A few investors have already stated to the press that they have no involvement in the Kushner Construction, thus leading to potential bankruptcy for Mr. Kushner. BN-SO081_MTHZHA_574RV_20170320144038.jpg

Link/Article Here

The Linguistic Labyrinth of Arabic News

Ben Hubbard, a journalist who has spent significant amounts of time in the Middle East, reflects on his experiences with Middle East new sources. Hubbard points out the vast disparity between sources such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya.

Hubbard tells of his experiences learning Arabic in 2004 when his vocabulary words to study included such phrases as “pre-emptive strike,” “booby-trapped car” and “the Zionist entity.” Such opinion-charged vocabulary, Hubbard argues, can make it difficult for people to trust their news sources. Switching from one channel to another can completely change the same news story.

While Hubbard points out the United States news media is not exempt from these types of biases–for example the way Fox News and MSNBC tell the same story in different ways–it would appear the Middle East news has a bit further to go.

This phenomenon is yet another reminder that as consumers of news, we need to be conscious of the biases which we are fed, and it is a reminder to journalists like Hubbard that the way in which journalists portray news has an effect.

Man Attacks People Near British Parliament

A UK man stabbed a police officer outside of Parliament this morning in what is officially being called a terrorist attack. Five people were also run over by a large vehicle on Westminster bridge. Police are still not sure whether the man stabbing people was also the same person driving the car. The assailant was shot and killed by police after the stabbing.

Parliament was put on lockdown and all of the lawmakers were told to remain in the building for their safety. It’s still unclear whether this was a rogue violent act or if the man had plans to advance onto Parliament, but either way the British authorities are taking no chances. It has been officially dubbed terrorism and services such as the Tube and Parliament will remain closed for the rest of the day.

Read the full article here.