An attack on Saudi oil facilities at the weekend has exposed the vulnerability of the kingdom to drone strikes and underscores how traditional air defences can be breached by new low-cost technology, experts say.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world's biggest buyers of weapons and spent an estimated $65 billion on arms last year, mostly from the United States, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Its air defences include the latest radars, fighter jets such as the F-15, and Patriot missiles which are meant to intercept missiles fired from enemy territory.
But on Saturday, attacks on national energy giant Aramco's Abqaiq processing plant and the Khurais oil field knocked 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) off production, over half of the OPEC kingpin's output.
Warning of election 'disaster', Israel's Netanyahu battles for survival
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu battled for his political survival in the final hours of a close-run election on Tuesday, urging voters to support him to avert a “disaster”.
His voice hoarse from weeks of campaigning, the veteran leader took to the streets and social media, at one point using a megaphone in Jerusalem’s bus station, to urge voters to extend his unbroken decade in power.
Opinion polls put former armed forces chief Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party neck-and-neck with Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, and suggest the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party could emerge as kingmaker in coalition talks.
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Iran Leader Rules Out Talks as Trump Links Tehran to Saudi Oil Attack
Iran's supreme leader on Tuesday ruled out talks with Washington after President Donald Trump blamed Tehran for an attack on Saudi oil facilities that knocked out half the kingdom's output.
Trump said on Monday that it looked like Iran was behind the weekend strike at the heart of the Saudi oil industry, which cut 5% of global production, but stressed he did not want to go to war. Iran denied it was to blame.
"Iranian officials, at any level, will never talk to American officials ... this is part of their policy to put pressure on Iran," Iranian state TV quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying.
'Lies and smears': Senate investigators reject N.Y. Times' new Kavanaugh claims
Senate investigators said Monday that the FBI ended the investigation of alleged sexual misconduct in college by Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh after interviewing at least four people involved in the purported incident who could not substantiate the story.
Details of the dead-end for the probe blew holes in claims published in The New York Times that investigators dropped the ball, perhaps purposely, during the brutal confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh. It also undermined calls by Democratic presidential hopefuls and lawmakers to reopen the case and pursue impeachment of the high court justice.
Senate investigators involved in the probe said their work was mischaracterized in the article, posted Saturday in The Times’ opinion section.
“A year ago, The New York Times did not even find Deborah Ramirez’s flimsy at best allegations fit to print,” said Mike Davis, a former Senate Judiciary Committee counsel who worked on the Kavanaugh confirmation. “These allegations have not gotten any truer over the last year, and this is just the left’s attempt to repackage and relitigate their lies and smears against Justice Kavanaugh, a very good man.”
White House orders ex-Trump aides to defy House subpoenas
The White House has instructed two former aides to President Trump not to appear at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, saying Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter are “absolutely immune” from testifying at what the panel is calling its first impeachment hearing.
In a letter sent to the panel and obtained by The Associated Press, White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote that the Justice Department has advised, and Trump has directed, Dearborn and Porter to defy subpoenas because of “constitutional immunity.”
In a separate letter, Cipollone said that former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski should not reveal private conversations with Trump beyond what is in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Lewandowski is scheduled to appear Tuesday.
High school cheerleaders on probation over pro-Trump banner
A high school cheerleading squad in North Carolina is on probation after some cheerleaders posed with a banner supporting President Trump before a football game.
Stanly County Schools Superintendent Jeff James told The Associated Press in an email Monday that the warning was levied by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
It happened before the Aug. 30 game at North Stanly High School, northeast of Charlotte. News outlets reported that the banner read: “Trump 2020: Make America Great Again.”
The superintendent said the probation simply means “don’t do it again.” He says all North Carolina schools have a policy against displaying political signs.
Corey Lewandowski likely to clash with Dems during testimony at 'impeachment hearing'
Congress-watchers expect Corey Lewandowski to give Democrats a hard time on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as the star witness in their first “impeachment hearing.”
Steve Schwinn, a professor at the John Marshall Law School, said he predicts the president’s former campaign manager will come in “guns blazing” when House Judiciary Democrats pepper him with questions about how President Trump handled the Mueller investigation in its early days.
“I think he’s going to come in very bombastic and aggressive with the panel,” he told The Washington Times. “My guess is this Lewandowski thing is just going to devolve into a shouting match.”
The Navy Says Those UFO Videos Are Real
And they were never meant to be released to the public.
The U.S. Navy has confirmed that three online videos purportedly showing UFOs are genuine. The service says the videos, taken by Navy pilots, show “unexplained aerial phenomena,” but also states that the clips should have never been released to the public in the first place.
The three videos in question are titled "FLIR1," "Gimbal," and "GoFast." They show two separate encounters between Navy aircraft and UFOs.
One video was taken in 2015 off the East Coast by a F/A-185F fighter jet using the aircraft's onboard Raytheon AN/ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) Pod. The other clip, also recorded with a Super Hornet ATFLIR pod, was taken off the coast of California in 2004 by pilots flying from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. In the videos, air crews loudly debate what the objects are and where they came from.
The videos were released for public viewing by The New York Times and To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, a UFO research group from former Blink-182 member Tom DeLonge.
NATO, what is it good for?
Republican and Democratic administrations over the decades have urged the allies to pay their fair share
President Trump’s criticism of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and his insistence that the allies “pay their fair share,” have received prominent play in the media. What has been forgotten is that American frustration with burden sharing within the alliance is a long-standing issue. Both Republican and Democratic administrations across the last seven decades have echoed this complaint.
In fact, the Trump administration’s insistence that allies meet their commitments can be taken as a signal it does value the organization. Mr. Trump wants it to remain useful and relevant in a complex international security landscape. The prodding reflects an understanding that international cooperation and multinational action require effort on the part of members and contributors — and that the effort is ongoing. In essence, every ally, each generation and each administration has to relearn and recommit to habits of dialogue, consultation and cooperation. This is because complex multinational organizations are not autonomous, or above national governments in authority. They also cannot be taken for granted or rest on the laurels of their previous successes, because the global security environment and political and economic conditions are constantly changing. When a security alliance becomes static, it dies.
Speeding bus traffic means fixing, and enforcing, parking rules
Just a few illegally parked cars create traffic bottlenecks and slow traffic for everyone, but buses most of all
The Washington Area Bus Transformation Project issued a comprehensive report earlier this month that laid out a multi-pronged approach for improving the performance and utilization of the area’s buses calling for redesigned routes, new buses, traffic signal improvements and other complicated, costly investments that most area jurisdictions will be reluctant to make.
However, there is a simple and effective — and cheap — way to greatly speed up bus traffic in Washington D.C.: Enforce current parking rules downtown and stop allowing people to store their cars on residential streets for a pittance.
My daily commute takes me along Columbia Road to Connecticut Avenue NW to Farragut Square, and I traverse the two miles by foot most days because the bus doesn’t travel much faster than a brisk walk. The slow bus traffic is almost entirely caused by parked cars obstructing traffic and hindering the ability of buses to access and egress bus stops.