Trump: Obama told me that he 'was so close to starting a big war with North Korea'
- WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump claimed Friday that the Obama administration "was so close to starting a big war with North Korea" when asked for details of the second summit between the U.S. and North Korea.
- The president then said that "a lot's been accomplished" since meeting in June with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
- Since 2011, the North Korean leader has fired more than 90 missiles and conducted four nuclear weapons tests, which is more than what his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, launched over a period of 27 years.
- In 2017 alone, Kim launched 24 missiles and carried out North Korea's largest nuclear test.
- North Korea is the only nation to test nuclear weapons this century.
- The North's arsenal includes short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.
- The Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile is the most powerful rocket the North has tested to date.
Some on-base military housing is infested with mold, vermin and other health risks, report says
- The Konzens are one of several families highlighted in a report from the Military Family Advisory Network published Wednesday, which found that military families living in on-base housing face dangerous conditions including mold, vermin and poor water quality.
- The military uses private companies to provide and maintain on-base housing for families, but the report shows that substandard living conditions are widespread.
- Pentagon spokeswoman Heather Babb told CNBC that the military and private housing companies work together to review conditions and address living hazards.
- Megan Konzen, 20, told CNBC she fears her health has been permanently impacted from the mold in her home, but she and Lance, 23, can't move off base to a house in Del Rio, the remote West Texas town of about 36,000 people where the base is located.
Google Maps just accidentally exposed Taiwan's secret missile sites
- Google released new maps of Taiwan Wednesday, and in the process, exposed some of the island's hidden missile sites, Taiwanese media reported Friday.
- Google Maps, as part of an effort to produce 3D maps of the world that began in 2012, released impressive three-dimensional renderings of Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan and Taichung Wednesday.
- New city maps from Google offered a clear look at some of the island's defense infrastructure, Taiwan News reported Friday.
- Visible in the new maps are the National Security Bureau, the Military Intelligence Bureau, and a previously secret Patriot missile base, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.
- The Taiwanese defense ministry had to ask Google in 2016 to blur out a military installation on an island in the South China Sea known as Itu Aba, Reuters reported at the time.
Here's where the money for Trump's border wall will come from
- WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to gain access to roughly $8 billion to fund a border wall.
- What's more, the $1.375 billion would specifically not allow construction of new wall prototypes proposed by Trump, and would instead put money toward 55 miles of bollard fencing.
- The additional troops will bring the total number of forces supporting the border mission to approximately 4,350, according to estimates provided by the Department of Defense.
- The troop deployment, which was approved by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Jan. 11, will last for 90 days.
- The border mission includes mobile surveillance capability as well as the emplacement of approximately 150 miles of concertina wire between ports of entry.
- A congressional aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Trump can divert roughly $21 billion in military construction funds that aren't already obligated for use on border projects.
The Army's next-generation rifle will come with deadly accurate fire control
- The US Army may be close to a breakthrough in lethality with its Next Generation Squad Weapon program, but what will make it truly deadly is the new sighting system that guides the 6.8mm round on target, says the Defense Department official responsible for making Army and Marine infantry squads more lethal.
- To Joe L'Etoile, a veteran Marine officer who leads the Close Combat Lethality Task Force (CCLTF), the most exciting feature of the NGSW is the digital fire control system, which could be revolutionary to infantry squad tactics.
- Today, the task force is overseeing "$3.6 billion [in] reprogramming efforts and additional funding" in the Future Years Defense Program, or FYDP, L'Etoile said, adding that the early stages of the CCLTF gave the Army "some money upfront to accelerate" research and development of the Next Generation Squad Weapon.
Opinion: Robert Mueller's report is coming whether Trump likes it or not
- The special counsel regulations require Mueller to "provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions." And Whitaker confirmed to Congress that "we have followed the special counsel's regulation to a T." The big question -- which you asked, and I answer below -- is what happens to the report after the attorney general gets it from Mueller.
- The special counsel regulations, by contrast, require that Mueller send his findings confidentially to the attorney general, who in turn can decide to provide all, some or none of the report to Congress and the public.
- Tim: We understand that in the American Media Inc./David Pecker immunity agreement (protecting them from prosecution by the Southern District of New York for making hush money payments to Karen McDougal, potentially violating campaign finance laws), they agreed not to commit any more crimes.
Take a peek at Honda's Urban EV dashboard
- Honda's upcoming Urban EV is one of the most highly anticipated vehicles being shown off at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
- As the spiritual (and technological) successor to the venerated Civic hatchback, the Urban EV will reportedly sport a suite of high tech toys, features, and functionality when it goes on sale in the near future (only in Europe, unfortunately).
- Honda's been dribbling details about the vehicle for more than a year now and -- just in time for Geneva -- has revealed what its dash and instrument cluster will look like.
- As you can see in the image above, the Urban EV's split instrument cluster will offer what are quickly becoming the standard features for smart vehicles and EVs: Navigation, hands-free calling, a (presumably voice activated) personal assistant, smartphone connectivity, and an array of various EV system statuses.
Carlos Ghosn Replaces Lawyers with 'Hotshot' Attorney as His Trial Approaches
- There’s a new twist in the Carlos Ghosn saga: two of his defense lawyers, including lead lawyer Motonari Otsuru, suddenly quit Wednesday without saying why.
- However, Ghosn told the Wall Street Journal that he had decided to reorganize his legal team in order to prepare for trial.
- To that end, he has taken on Junichiro Hironaka, a veteran defense attorney described by various outlets as a “hotshot” with a reputation for winning high-profile cases.
- Ghosn is in a Tokyo jail, awaiting trial on three financial misconduct charges, which he denies.
- He claims to be the victim of “plot and treason” by Nissan executives who disagreed with his plans for the company.
- Otsuru conducted a press conference a month ago in which, AFP reports, he “pointedly declined” to play along with international concern over Ghosn’s conditions in jail.
- Ghosn’s family claims he has been subject to “draconian” treatment that has been affecting his health.
The Pentagon Doubles Down on AI–and Wants Help from Big Tech
- The plan depends on the Pentagon working closely with the tech industry to source the algorithms and cloud computing power needed to run AI projects.
- Federal contracting records indicate that Google, Oracle, IBM, and SAP have signaled interest in working on future Defense Department AI projects.
- John "Jack" Shanahan, who leads the JAIC, said the unit will focus on rapidly deploying existing AI algorithms and tools, often contracted from technology companies, in military scenarios.
- Brian Roach, managing director for regulated industries at SAP North America, said the company works with all branches of the armed services and is interested in supporting all kinds of future government AI programs.
- Pichai has said Google’s AI principles still permit military projects, although the company claimed in October that they prevented Google from bidding for the JEDI cloud contract.