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Businesses

Trump Says He'd Make Apple Build Computers In the US (businessinsider.com) 875

mrspoonsi writes with Business Insider's report that presidential candidate Donald Trump says he'd like to make Apple "start building their damn computers and things in this country instead of other countries." From the article: Trump's ultimatum to the most valuable company in the world was made towards the end of a 45-minute speech he gave at Liberty University in Virginia on Monday. The most popular candidate in the Republican party said he would impose a 35% business tax on American businesses manufacturing outside of the United States. Apple has manufactured its Mac Pro at a factory in Texas since 2013, but the vast majority of its products (including the iPhone) are largely made and assembled in China. How Trump would force Apple's supply chain, which relies heavily on a vast network of suppliers and large factories throughout Asia, to be brought stateside remains unknown. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently called the U.S. tax code "awful for America." If Trump (or anyone) thinks this is a good idea, why start or stop with Apple?
EU

Iran Complies With Nuclear Deal; Sanctions Lifted (nytimes.com) 229

An anonymous reader writes: Iran has shipped most of its nuclear fuel out of the country, destroyed the innards of a plutonium-producing reactor and mothballed more than 12,000 centrifuges. This compliance with the nuclear accord struck in July has caused the U.S. and Europe to lift financial sanctions on Iran, releasing ~$100 billion in assets. "Under the new rules put in place, the United States will no longer sanction foreign individuals or firms for buying oil and gas from Iran. The American trade embargo remains in place, but the government will permit certain limited business activities with Iran, such as selling or purchasing Iranian food and carpets and American commercial aircraft and parts. It is an opening to Iran that represents a huge roll of the dice, one that will be debated long after Mr. Obama he has built his presidential library. It is unclear what will happen after the passing of Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has protected and often fueled the hardliners — but permitted these talks to go ahead."
Government

TPP Signing Ceremony To Take Place In February (freezenet.ca) 192

Dangerous_Minds writes: New Zealand officials are hoping that the TPP signing ceremony is to take place in February in Auckland, New Zealand. According to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, it is expected that all 12 countries are going to sign the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Those 12 countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S., and Vietnam. Note: signing doesn't necessarily make the agreement law, but it is one critical step closer to ratification.
Republicans

Marco Rubio: We Need To Add To US Surveillance Programs (dailydot.com) 343

Patrick O'Neill writes: The debate over surveillance hit the 2016 race for the White House again on Sunday when Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said he wants to add to American surveillance programs, many of which were created after 9/11. He invoked a recent shooting of a Philadelphia police officer by a man who allegedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. "This the kind of threat we now face in this country," Rubio said. "We need additional tools for intelligence." Rubio also addressed the NSA leaks that led to this debate: "Edward Snowden is a traitor. He took our intelligence information and gave it to the Chinese and gave it to the Russians. We cannot afford to have a commander-in-chief who thinks people like Edward Snowden are doing a good public service."
The Military

North Korea Claims It Detonated Its First Hydrogen Bomb (nytimes.com) 412

HughPickens.com writes: North Korea announced it has detonated its first hydrogen bomb, dramatically escalating the nuclear challenge from one of the world's most isolated and dangerous states. "This is the self-defensive measure we have to take to defend our right to live in the face of the nuclear threats and blackmail by the United States and to guarantee the security of the Korean Peninsula," said a North Korean announcer on the state-run network. "With this hydrogen bomb test, we have joined the major nuclear powers." The North's announcement came about an hour after detection devices around the world had picked up a 5.1 seismic event that South Korea said was 30 miles from the Punggye-ri site where the North has conducted nuclear tests in the past.

"North Korea's fourth test — in the context of repeated statements by U.S., Chinese, and South Korean leaders — throws down the gauntlet to the international community to go beyond paper resolutions and find a way to impose real costs on North Korea for pursuing this course of action," says Scott Snyder, a Korea expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. According to the NY Times, the test is bound to figure in the American presidential campaign, where several candidates have already cited the North's nuclear experimentation as evidence of American weakness — though they have not prescribed alternative strategies for choking off the program. The United States did not develop its first thermonuclear weapons — commonly known as hydrogen bombs — until 1952, seven years after the first and only use of nuclear weapons in wartime.

United States

Obama Orders Feds To Study Smart Gun Technology (cnet.com) 935

An anonymous reader writes: Today U.S. President Barack Obama rolled out a set of executive actions aimed at reducing gun violence. The most controversial of the provisions requires licenses for those who sell guns at gun shows and on the internet, and forces background checks on buyers. There are also a number of measures dedicated to making background checks more foolproof and universal. Less controversial but more on-topic for Slashdot is that Obama is requiring the departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to investigate smart gun technology. This can include RFID chips, fingerprint scanners, and other bits of technology. Their goal will be to "explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety." The new gun measures include a proposal for a $500 million investment into providing care for people with serious mental illnesses.
Politics

Ask Slashdot: We've Had Online Voting; Why Not Continuous Voting? (iamnotanumber.org) 490

periegetes writes: This idea has been bugging me for a while. It takes months to organize a physical election, and several days to count the results, so it makes sense that we don't organize elections every day. However, with the computing resources at our disposal, it would be child's play to setup a site where every citizen could vote for (or against) proposed laws themselves, and could even change their vote at all times, cutting out the middle man and restoring true democracy to the world. That last part may be a stretch, but I, for one, would feel more involved in my government if I didn't have to watch it screw up for years before getting another say in it. I've found precious few articles discussing the matter, which usually means I'm missing an obvious problem. Why, in the age of Big Data and petaflops, don't we consider continuous voting?
United States

US Stops British Muslim Family From Boarding Flight To Visit Disneyland (theguardian.com) 704

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. authorities blocked a British Muslim family from boarding a plane at London's Gatwick airport. They were flying to Los Angeles on a trip to visit Disneyworld. "U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials provided no explanation for why the country refused to allow the family of 11 to board the plane, even though they had been granted travel authorization online ahead of their planned 15 December flight." This comes at a time when prominent groups and individuals within the U.S. are arguing in favor of blocking entrance for all Muslims. The refusal, and the U.S.'s unwillingness to explain, is raising concern within the UK government. The family is out $13,340 for their plane tickets.
Earth

The Science Behind the Paris Climate Accords (thebulletin.org) 118

Lasrick writes: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists offers a pretty thorough run-down of the pros and cons of the Paris climate accords. William Sweet examines not only the political machinations behind the agreement but much of what the agreement entails and how it got there after 21 years of COP meetings. "As for the tighter 1.5-degree standard, this is a complicated issue that the Paris accords fudge a bit. The difference between impacts expected from a 1.5-degree world and a 2-degree world are not trivial. The Greenland ice sheet, for example, is expected to melt in its entirely in the 2-degree scenario, while in a 1.5-degree world the odds of a complete melt are only 70 percent... But at the same time the scientific consensus is that it would be virtually impossible to meet the 1.5-degree goal because on top of the 0.8–0.9 degrees of warming that already has occurred, another half-degree is already in the pipeline, 'hidden away in the oceans,' as Schellnhuber put it." In an additional audio recording of a teleconference briefing given to the Bulletin's Science and Security Board and other leading scientists and policy makers, Sivan Kartha and Richard Somerville (both on the S & S Board) explain what was accomplished (and not accomplished).
Democrats

Bernie Sanders Campaign Blocked From DNC Voter Info After Improper Access (washingtonpost.com) 313

PolygamousRanchKid writes with news that staffers for the Bernie Sanders campaign improperly viewed the voter data gathered by Hillary Clinton's campaign by exploiting a software error. "The discovery sparked alarm at the DNC, which promptly shut off the Sanders campaign's access to the strategically crucial list of likely Democratic voters. The DNC maintains the master list and rents it to national and state campaigns, which then add their own, proprietary information gathered by field workers and volunteers. Firewalls are supposed to prevent campaigns from viewing data gathered by their rivals." On Wednesday, while the software was being patched, it briefly opened access to all of the restricted voter data. The Sanders campaign fired the staffer responsible for viewing the data, Josh Uretsky. The campaign says their access was simply part of an investigation to determine their own exposure, and blames the vendor (and those who hired it) for improperly securing the data.
Earth

A Typo Almost Derailed Paris Climate Deal (nytimes.com) 339

An anonymous reader writes: On Saturday, world leaders completed an ambitious international agreement to address climate change. But when the officials received the first copy of what was supposed to be the final draft, a one-word mistake threatened to derail their progress. Part of the agreement involved language that encouraged wealthy nations to provide monetary aid to poorer nations in order to help transition to more sustainable systems. But the draft used the word "shall," which would have made it a legally-binding requirement. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pushed back on the change, noting that previous versions of the document had used the word "should" instead. Officials tried to quickly figure out whether the swap had been made intentionally. Ultimately, they classified it as a typo, and hurriedly prepared a corrected version of the document, which was adopted without incident.
Government

Iran's Military Nuclear Program Lasted Longer Than We Thought (thebulletin.org) 134

Lasrick writes: Two articles in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists analyze the IAEA's December 2nd report (PDF) on the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program. Ariane Tabatabai goes into what the report did (and did not) reveal: "According to U.S. intelligence, Iran ceased its nuclear-weapon-related activities in 2003 and did not subsequently make a political decision to resume them. The IAEA report unsurprisingly indicates that Tehran did have a “coordinated” nuclear weapon development program until 2003. Iran further engaged in some activities after 2003 but these were not coordinated, according to the report." Harvard's Martin Malin summarizes key takeaways from the process: "[T]he report points out that, unfortunately, Iran has taken steps that make it more difficult for the country to put the past behind it."
The Military

Turkey Downs Allegedly Intruding Russian Fighter Near Syria Border (reuters.com) 600

jones_supa writes: Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 fighter near the Syrian border on Tuesday after repeated warnings over airspace violations. Moscow said it could prove the jet had not left Syrian air space. Footage from private Turkish broadcaster Haberturk TV showed the warplane going down in flames in a woodland area. Separate footage from Turkey's Anadolu Agency showed two pilots parachuting out of the jet before it crashed. A Syrian rebel group sent a video to Reuters that appeared to show one of the pilots immobile and badly wounded on the ground and an official from the group said he was dead. This is the first time a NATO member's armed forces have downed a Russian military aircraft since the 1950s. The Guardian is following the developments with live updates. Also covered by the BBC, which notes Russian aircraft have flown hundreds of sorties over northern Syria since September. Moscow says they have targeted only "terrorists", but activists say its strikes have mainly hit Western-backed rebel groups. Turkey, a vehement opponent of Syria's president, has warned against violations of its airspace by Russian and Syrian aircraft. Last month, Ankara said Turkish F-16s had intercepted a Russian jet that crossed its border and two Turkish jets had been harassed by an unidentified Mig-29.
Power

Sabotage Blacks Out Millions In Crimea 156

HughPickens.com writes: In a preview of what the U.S. may one day face with cyberattacks on the U.S. power grid, Ivan Nechepurenko reports at the NY Times that power lines in southern Ukraine that supply Crimea have been knocked down by saboteurs, leaving millions without electricity. Four local power plants, including two nuclear ones, scaled back production because they had no means to distribute electricity. More than 1.6 million people still lacked power on Monday morning, Russia's Energy Ministry said in a statement. Local power plants in Crimea, as well as backup generators, were being used to provide power to hospitals, schools and other vital facilities. The Crimean authorities declared Monday a day off for non-government workers and declared a state of emergency, which can last as long as one month.

It was not immediately clear who destroyed the main electric pylons on Friday and Sunday, but the blasted-away stump of at least one tower near the demonstrators was wrapped in the distinctive blue Crimean Tatar flag with a yellow trident in the upper left-hand corner. Tatar activists blockaded the site, saying they would prevent repairs until Russia released political prisoners and allowed international organizations to monitor human rights in Crimea. The activists claim that the 300,000-member minority has faced systematic repression since Russia annexed the peninsula in March 2014. In the meantime Russia is building an "energy bridge" to Crimea that officials hope will supply most of the peninsula's need and its first phase will begin operating by the end of this year.

Defending the power grid in the United States is challenging from an organizational point of view. There are about 3,200 utilities, all of which operate a portion of the electricity grid, but most of these individual networks are interconnected. The latest version of The Department of Defense's Cyber Strategy has as its third strategic goal, "Be prepared to defend the U.S. homeland and U.S. vital interests from disruptive or destructive cyberattacks of significant consequence."
Government

Florida Group Wants To Make Space a 2016 Presidential Campaign Issue (examiner.com) 118

MarkWhittington writes: According to a story on News 13, an Orlando TV station, Space Florida is working to make space a political issue in the 2016 presidential election. Thus far the campaign for the presidency has been dominated by more mundane issues such as the economy, illegal immigration, and the threat of terrorism. Space Florida, which is "the State of Florida's aerospace economic development agency," is said to be "working with three other battleground states to make sure America's space program is a part of the campaign for president." Presumably one of those states is Texas, which has lots of electoral votes

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