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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 140)

Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome

Pope Francis asked Amazonian bishops and tribal leaders for forgiveness Friday after indigenous statues were stolen from a Vatican-area church and thrown into a nearby river.

The wood-carved figures of naked pregnant women, known as Pachamama, were brought to the Vatican to be displayed during the pope’s three-week assembly of Amazonian clergy, called a synod.

The pope insisted there was no intention of idolatry, which undercut conservative claims that the statues are symbols of pagan worship.

“Above all, this happened in Rome and as the bishop of this diocese I ask forgiveness of the people who were offended by this gesture,” Francis told the synod hall.

DEMARIO DAVIS JOKES HE MIGHT SEND POPE ‘MAN OF GOD’ HEADBAND AFTER SAINTS TWEET

The Vatican has said the statues are symbols of life, fertility and Mother Earth.

Westlake Legal Group AP19298514569323 Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome Louis Casiano fox-news/us/religion fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 4fef6ac1-d755-50cd-a7e0-63df398c5706

Members of Amazon indigenous populations walk during a Via Crucis, or Way of the Cross, procession to the Vatican. In foreground is a wooden statue portraying a naked pregnant woman. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The wooden figures were found unharmed in the Tiber River this week. The pope said he would consider having them displayed during the final Mass of the synod on Sunday.

The theft was caught on surveillance video Monday as thieves took the figures from the Santa Maria in Traspontina church, just down the block from St. Peter’s Square.

POPE FRANCIS KISSES SHOES OF SUDANESE LEADERS IN PLEA FOR PEACE

The video appeared to show at least two men enter the church before dawn, take the statues placed at an altar and then throw them in the river. The act was celebrated by conservative Catholics who deemed the statues pagan idols.

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, the conservative German fired by Francis in 2017 as the Vatican’s doctrine chief, said it was a “great mistake” to bring the statues to the Vatican in the first place.

Westlake Legal Group AP19298514339529-1 Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome Louis Casiano fox-news/us/religion fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 4fef6ac1-d755-50cd-a7e0-63df398c5706

Pope Francis’ meeting about the Amazon is wrapping up after three weeks of debate over married priests, the environment and the destruction of indigenous statues that underscored the willingness of conservatives to violently vent their opposition to the pope. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

“To throw it out can be against human law, but to bring the idols into the church was a grave sin, a crime against divine law,” he told conservative U.S. Catholic broadcaster EWTN.

While the theft was cheered by conservative Catholics, progressives denounced the act as racism.

“Can you imagine the conservative outcry if someone tossed the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa into the Tiber?” the National Catholic Reporter, a progressive Catholic magazine, said in an editorial this week. “We do not use the term ‘racists’ lightly, but what else is it?”

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The meeting of more than 180 bishops and cardinals from nine Amazonian nations will conclude Saturday. The religious leaders plan to vote on a final document synthesizing proposals to better protect the Amazon rainforest and minister to its indigenous peoples.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP19298514569323 Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome Louis Casiano fox-news/us/religion fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 4fef6ac1-d755-50cd-a7e0-63df398c5706   Westlake Legal Group AP19298514569323 Pope Francis asks for forgiveness after Amazon statues stolen, thrown into river in Rome Louis Casiano fox-news/us/religion fox-news/person/pope-francis fox news fnc/world fnc article 4fef6ac1-d755-50cd-a7e0-63df398c5706

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Tom Del Beccaro: California’s power blackouts, energy nightmare and more are coming your way, America

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6097366733001_6097368501001-vs Tom Del Beccaro: California's power blackouts, energy nightmare and more are coming your way, America Tom Del Beccaro fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 4a74479b-aefb-54b7-afea-ab8e3594fc45

It’s fall in California and with it comes changing weather and winds. For millions of Californians, it also heralds a stark new reality: no electrical power to go with seasonal fires. This is the reality of California in 2019 and, also, what I have called the “failed social justice state.”

We all know California is called the Golden State. For decades upon decades, to many around the world, it was a land of great beauty and opportunity. “Go West” meant reaching its beautiful shores or pursuing a fortune from its bountiful resources and people.

Now the streets of its major cities feature the homeless, litter and used drug needles to go along with high taxes and uncertain water supplies.

PG&E WORKER TARGETED IN ‘DELIBERATE ATTACK’ IN CALIFORNIA

Millions of people have left California for opportunity in other states along with countless businesses. Meanwhile, California and its cities arrogantly pass laws refusing to do business with other states that fail to live up to the liberal social justice ideals of California politicians.

All of which brings us to PG&E – the financially and legally bankrupt gas and electric provider for most of California. Founded in 1905, PG&E rose to unprecedented heights for a utility providing service to over 16 million people – or  over three million more than the total population of Pennsylvania let alone the 45 other states smaller than Pennsylvania.

Friday, for the second time in a month, PG&E preemptively turned off the power to customers around the state causing economic damage in the untold billions. The first time PG&E did this, earlier this month, Morgan Hill, an affluent San Francisco suburb, had a curfew was imposed to deter crimes during the power outage.

Among other consequences, massive power outages across California pose a life-threatening risk to people dependent on electric-powered medical devices. This has led to at least one reported death and has also caused widespread food spoilage in stores.

All in all, PG&E’s drastic measures have resulted in billions lost – just in October alone.

If you don’t live in California you may think this is all irrelevant – but you’d be wrong.

Democrats seeking their party’s 2020 presidential nomination have already embraced some of the same Big Government and radical environmental policies that have brought blackouts to California – and could bring power outages and shortages to our entire nation should one of them become the next president.

Meanwhile, a federal bailout of PG&E and California might also be blowing in the wind.

Some history from this wacky state that is the darling of the green left is in order.

First, keep in mind that PG&E is a public utility, meaning it is a highly regulated monopoly and has to get government approval for its yearly budget and activities. It is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, a virtually unaccountable government agency.

As a monopoly, PG&E has no real incentive to please customers. Tens of millions of people have no choice but to get their electricity from PG&E and the regulators guarantee PG&E a rate of return. Absent market forces, PG&E is predictably poorly run.

Two decades ago, PG&E changed its business model and brought in a banker to run its business, change its operations and now, we know, its fortunes.

As a monopoly, PG&E has no real incentive to please customers. Tens of millions of people have no choice but to get their electricity from PG&E and the regulators guarantee PG&E a rate of return. Absent market forces, PG&E is predictably poorly run. 

Shareholder return was emphasized and routine maintenance was deemphasized. Rather than diligence, a “Just in Time” maintenance regime was put in place resulting in deferred maintenance.

So much was deferred that PG&E recently had to hire an outside firm to conduct an audit of power lines and facilities to determine the true state of its affairs – a clear admission of its failed policies and lack of confidence in its electrical grid.

Second, for decades environmentalist groups have successfully fought the thinning of forests and other wooded areas in the name of saving animal species. The result has been to create tinderboxes around the state.

Third, always remember that the state of California gets almost no rain from April to November – year after year. By itself, these conditions create a “fire season” each fall at the same time that Mother Nature picks up her winds.

The final piece in this puzzle is that California is one of only two states in the country (Montana is the other) with something called inverse condemnation for utility companies. That law, “exposes California utilities to liabilities from wildfires regardless of their negligence, as long as their equipment is involved.”

All of those factors combined have resulted in recent fires that have saddled PG&E with over $30 billion dollars in potential liabilities. At this writing, a new fire, potentially started by the negligence of PG&E, could make that figure jump up again. In plain truth, there is simply no way for its ratepayers to make up those losses.

The worst wildfire caused by this bad forest management was the Camp Fire in Northern California in November 2018, which claimed 85 lives – making it the deadliest wildfire in California history and deadliest in the U.S. since 1918.

The Camp Fire destroyed almost 14,000 homes, more than 500 businesses and nearly 4,300 other buildings as it raged for over two weeks.

So, who is at fault for this deadly mess?

Well, following the Camp Fire, California legislators saw the deadly error of their ways and eased forest management rules to allow for the necessary thinning of forests.

For years PG&E tried to have it otherwise. Over the last decade, PG&E has spent over $78 million of ratepayer money lobbying Democrats who control the California legislature. 
All was fine for PG&E with the Democrats until a natural gas pipeline operated by the utility in San Bruno, south of San Francisco, exploded in 2010 and killed eight people and destroyed a neighborhood. That was followed by the more recent wildfires.

The Democrats abandoned PG&E and rejected the utility’s request for a taxpayer bailout. Faced with astronomical bills, PG&E declared bankruptcy for the second time this century.

Without legislative help, PG&E has now preemptively been forced to shut off power to minimize its risk for paying for future disasters when seasonal winds and dryness come calling.

Ratepayers and industry insiders will tell you it was a big power play by PG&E to force legal changes by holding ratepayers hostage.

Not long ago, PG&E announced that there could be rolling blackouts for a decade to come.

More from Opinion

In the one-party state that is California, it is a safe bet that the Sacramento Democrats won’t do much given the state’s existing problems which include trillions in public employee pension debt and infrastructure debt.

So, Californians can expect more wildfires, more power outages, and higher electric bills for at least a decade.

When all of that fails, the state will undoubtedly turn to the federal government to bail out its functionally bankrupt utility.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Meanwhile, the Democratic presidential candidates think California is a model state and that government control is superior to the free market in determining our energy choices. It’s a safe bet to say that California’s energy nightmare could become a national nightmare under a Democratic president starting in 2021.

Looking farther into the future, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to run for president in 2024 or later. Should he ever move into the Oval Office, expect him to do his best to bring the craziness of California’s far-left policy disasters to our entire nation.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM TOM DEL BECCARO

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6097366733001_6097368501001-vs Tom Del Beccaro: California's power blackouts, energy nightmare and more are coming your way, America Tom Del Beccaro fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 4a74479b-aefb-54b7-afea-ab8e3594fc45   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6097366733001_6097368501001-vs Tom Del Beccaro: California's power blackouts, energy nightmare and more are coming your way, America Tom Del Beccaro fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 4a74479b-aefb-54b7-afea-ab8e3594fc45

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Rudy Giuliani butt-dials NBC reporter, heard discussing need for cash and trashing Bidens

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Trump Organization considers selling DC hotel at center of ethics complaints

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s real estate company is considering the sale of its lease of a hotel in the nation’s capital that has been a target for watchdog groups who say foreign officials stay there to curry favor with the administration.

The Trump International Hotel, located blocks from the White House, has drawn criticism because foreign officials and others with business before the administration book rooms and events there. The hotel’s customers in 2017 included officials from Malaysia, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, according to public disclosures.

Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, confirmed Friday that the company hired another real estate firm to market the property.

“Since we opened our doors, we have received tremendous interest in this hotel and as real estate developers, we are always willing to explore our options,” Eric Trump said in a statement. “People are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel and therefore we may be willing to sell.”

The move comes weeks after a federal appeals court in New York revived a lawsuit that alleged Trump is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clauses by accepting payments at his hotels in New York and Washington. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals recently agreed to hear a separate case claiming the payments to Trump’s hotels and restaurants violate the Constitution’s anti-corruption clauses.

It also comes as the White House has had to defend and ultimately reverse a decision to hold next year’s G-7 meeting of the world’s most industrialized economies at a Trump-owned property in Florida. Citing “Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility,” Trump announced on Twitter that the Doral golf resort in Miami would not be used, after all. 

In fact, some Republicans had also questioned holding an international meeting at a property owned by the president. 

The president’s income from his company’s hotel in Washington, D.C. topped $40 million in 2017, according to his 2018 financial disclosure report. Unlike previous presidents, Trump continues to own his former business empire, though his family runs it. 

Westlake Legal Group  Trump Organization considers selling DC hotel at center of ethics complaints

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Celebrity chef and Trump critic Jose Andrés to throw first pitch at World Series’ Game 5 — in front of Trump

Batter up.

The Washington Nationals have announced that chef José Andrés will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Game 5 of the World Series — the same game that President Donald Trump says he’ll be attending if the series goes to a fifth game.

The celebrity chef has been a critic of President Trump since before he took office. The president announced his plans to attend the game one day before the Nationals shared news of Andrés participation.

Major League Baseball said the decision on first pitches is made jointly between the host team and the MLB, according to the Associated Press.

Westlake Legal Group 19298548679342 Celebrity chef and Trump critic Jose Andrés to throw first pitch at World Series' Game 5 — in front of Trump Janine Puhak fox-news/sports fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/celebrity-chefs fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 70039f1d-7a9f-50c7-a887-935624c9cbeb

Spanish-American chef José Andrés speaks during a “Get out the vote,” rally for Hillary Clinton rally in Tampa, Fla. in 2016. (Andres Leiva/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)

RESTAURANT HOLDS ‘GORDON RAMSAY NIGHT’ AFTER PRANKSTER CLAIMS FAMOUS CHEF IS SHOWING UP

“I’m humbled by the invitation, and I realize is a big big big honor but I really hope that by Saturday night all of WASHINGTON will be celebrating that the Nationals are the 2019 MLB World Series Champions…” the celebrity chef wrote on Twitter on Friday morning, confirming the news.

Later in the day, the 50-year-old chef joked that he might need to “practice” ahead of the event.

“Please, I don’t want anyone to be nervous but… anyone has a baseball ball? Just in case, I need to practice…” Andrés tweeted, sharing a selfie as he held a glove.

The famed D.C. restaurateur has been internationally recognized for his humanitarian work in founding World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that serves meals in the wake of natural disasters, Fox 5 reports.

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Andrés and Trump previously feuded when the chef, who operates multiple eateries in Washington, D.C., withdrew from plans to open a restaurant in Trump International Hotel in Washington, following the then-candidate’s controversial comments about Mexican immigrants during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Andrés later criticized the Trump administration’s policies on immigration, as well as the federal government’s response to the devastation in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

As for the World Series, Washington leads Houston 2-0 in the best-of-seven series going into Game 3 on Friday, so a Game 5 on Sunday is not yet assured.

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Thursday that he plans to attend the game at Nationals Park if the series goes to a Game 5.

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Following the president’s announcement, a spokesperson for the Nationals previously told Fox News that Trump would not be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of the game. Trump has yet to throw the customary first pitch as president. Every president since William Taft has done so.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 19298548679342 Celebrity chef and Trump critic Jose Andrés to throw first pitch at World Series' Game 5 — in front of Trump Janine Puhak fox-news/sports fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/celebrity-chefs fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 70039f1d-7a9f-50c7-a887-935624c9cbeb   Westlake Legal Group 19298548679342 Celebrity chef and Trump critic Jose Andrés to throw first pitch at World Series' Game 5 — in front of Trump Janine Puhak fox-news/sports fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/celebrity-chefs fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article 70039f1d-7a9f-50c7-a887-935624c9cbeb

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Trump accuses Obama of treason for ‘spying’ on his 2016 campaign

Westlake Legal Group obama-trump-AP-Reuters Trump accuses Obama of treason for ‘spying’ on his 2016 campaign Washington Examiner Paul Bedard fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fnc/politics fnc article 1b53b97e-aa62-52c9-8442-6842c0c4a22a

President Trump has ratcheted up his claim that the Obama White House spied on his 2016 campaign, charging in a new book that it was a “treasonous” act by the former Democratic president.

“What they did was treasonous, OK? It was treasonous,” he told author Doug Wead for his upcoming book, “Inside Trump’s White House: The Real Story of His Presidency.”

“The interesting thing out of all of this is that we caught them spying on the election. They were spying on my campaign. So you know? What is that all about?” said Trump.

“I have never ever said this, but truth is, they got caught spying. They were spying,” said Trump who then added, “Obama.”

In 2017, Trump tweeted that he felt the Obama White House “had my wires tapped” in Trump Tower. He later said he didn’t mean it literally but that he felt his campaign was being spied on.

Attorney General William Barr earlier this year said he was looking into whether “improper surveillance” may have occurred in 2016.

Read more on WashingtonExaminer.com

Westlake Legal Group obama-trump-AP-Reuters Trump accuses Obama of treason for ‘spying’ on his 2016 campaign Washington Examiner Paul Bedard fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fnc/politics fnc article 1b53b97e-aa62-52c9-8442-6842c0c4a22a   Westlake Legal Group obama-trump-AP-Reuters Trump accuses Obama of treason for ‘spying’ on his 2016 campaign Washington Examiner Paul Bedard fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fnc/politics fnc article 1b53b97e-aa62-52c9-8442-6842c0c4a22a

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Another Tom Brady jersey stolen, this time from New England Patriots’ Hall of Fame exhibit

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Another Tom Brady jersey stolen, this time from New England Patriots' Hall of Fame exhibit
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Foxboro (Massachusetts) Police arrested a man who took a signed Tom Brady jersey and other memorabilia from the New England Patriots’ Hall of Fame exhibit on Thursday at Gillette Stadium.

Foxboro Police told CBS Boston that officers collaborated with Patriots security to arrest 33-year-old Zanini Cineus before he left the stadium parking lot. He was wearing the stolen jersey under his jacket and posed in the jersey for his jail mugshot. 

According to the Foxboro Police, Cineus pleaded not guilty to a larceny charge at his arraignment in Wrentham District Court. 

The Brady jersey was valued around $10,000, per the Attleboro Sun Chronicle, which reported a blue glove as another stolen item.

Brady’s jersey has been stolen before. In 2017, his game-worn Super Bowl jersey was stolen from the team’s locker room after the Patriots’ overtime win against the Atlanta Falcons. The FBI investigated and later solved the crime.

Messages left by USA TODAY Sports with the Patriots organization were not immediately returned Friday. 

Cineus’ lawyer, Bill Galvin, did not immediately return calls from USA TODAY Sports. 

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A broken PG&E wire was found near where the Kincade Fire started, California utility says

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close A broken PG&E wire was found near where the Kincade Fire started, California utility says

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in parts of Sonoma county, California as the Kincade fire continues to burn thousands of acres. Storyful

Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s biggest utility, says a broken jumper wire was found on a transmission tower near where the raging Kincade Fire broke out two days ago in northern California.

The utility said in a filing with state regulators that it registered an outage at the tower at 9:20 p.m. PT on Wednesday, only seven minutes before the fire erupted near the Sonoma County wine country town of Geyserville.

The blaze, only 5% contained on Friday, quickly swelled to 34 square miles, burned 290 buildings and forced the evacuation of 2,000 people.

Although PG&E had cut power on some lines in the area Wednesday afternoon because of concern over threatening weather, the utility said had kept the power flowing on that particular stretch of high-voltage transmission lines, which carry electricity from the power plant to various substations, because winds there had not triggered shutdown protocols.

The power shutoffs were imposed after PG&E electrical equipment was blamed for several blazes in recent years that killed scores of people and burned thousands of homes.

Why not just bury them? California power lines spark wildfires and prompt blackouts. 

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In its filing on the Kincade Fire, PG&E said a worker noted that a CAL FIRE team battling the blaze had taped off the area around one transmission tower. Fire workers directed PG&E to what appeared to be a broken jumper wire on the same tower. A jumper is the wire that carries the electrical current.

PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said it was too soon to know if the faulty equipment ignited the fire. He said the tower had been inspected four times in the past two years and appeared to have been in excellent condition.

CAL FIRE says that the cause of the fire is “under investigation.”

California governor slams PG&E: ‘Greed’ and ‘mismangement’ led to widespread power cuts

In May, PG&E agreed with fire officials who determined that equipment operated by the utility caused last November’s Camp Fire, the most destructive wildfire in California’s history. 

The fire killed 85 people and destroyed more than 150,000 acres. Investigators found that the fire started from electrical transmission lines controlled by PG&E near the community of Pulga. The fire, driven by strong winds, quickly spread in the dry vegetation, destroying the communities of Concow, Paradise and Magalia.

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close A broken PG&E wire was found near where the Kincade Fire started, California utility says

In Northern California wine country, authorities ordered 2,000 people to evacuate as a wildfire burned 49 buildings and exploded to 25 square miles. Authorities said on Thursday night that the fire is 5% contained. (Oct. 25) AP, AP

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/10/25/pge-broken-wire-near-kincade-sonoma-county-fire-started/2455668001/

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John Bolton retains counsel amid speculation over possible appearance in impeachment inquiry

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095114910001_6095115280001-vs John Bolton retains counsel amid speculation over possible appearance in impeachment inquiry John Roberts fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article Alex Pappas 57d38eed-7fff-5a45-9c88-ac7f10dd5dc8

Former national security adviser John Bolton has retained legal counsel as Democrats on Capitol Hill signal interest in having him testify as part of their Trump impeachment inquiry, a source familiar with the situation told Fox News.

Bolton’s lawyers have had “a conversation“ with the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry, but it has not progressed to the point of talking about an interview or deposition, the source said.

BOLTON INSTRUCTED FORMER RUSSIA ADVISER TO ALERT NSC LAWYER OVER UKRAINE, ADVISER TESTIFIES

The New York Times this week first reported the possibility of Bolton appearing before Congress for testimony, amid questions over what Bolton knew about President Trump’s requests that Ukraine conduct investigations related to the Biden family and other matters and whether the requests were linked to military aid.

Bolton departed the White House last month over disagreements with the president on a range of foreign policy issues, including over a planned troop drawdown in Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, Bill Taylor, the top American diplomat to Ukraine, testified that he was told Bolton was concerned while serving in the White House about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.

Taylor said he was told Bolton referred to this as a “drug deal.”

Earlier this month, Fiona Hill, the former senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs, told lawmakers that a July meeting with Ukrainian and U.S. officials about desired investigations left her and Bolton so concerned that he directed her to alert a lawyer in the National Security Council.

The interest in Bolton testifying comes as the three House committees leading the impeachment investigation are scheduled to hear from current and former staff of the National Security Council next week.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Closed-door interviews are tentatively scheduled with Charles Kupperman, who served as a deputy to national security adviser Bolton, and Tim Morrison, the NSC’s current Russia and Europe director. Kupperman, like Bolton, has left the White House.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095114910001_6095115280001-vs John Bolton retains counsel amid speculation over possible appearance in impeachment inquiry John Roberts fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article Alex Pappas 57d38eed-7fff-5a45-9c88-ac7f10dd5dc8   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095114910001_6095115280001-vs John Bolton retains counsel amid speculation over possible appearance in impeachment inquiry John Roberts fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article Alex Pappas 57d38eed-7fff-5a45-9c88-ac7f10dd5dc8

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Army AI task force works to massively ‘speed up’ weapons attacks

Envision high-speed, multi-domain, massive mechanized warfare in 2030 — — a fast-moving, lightweight armored vehicle detects an approaching column of enemy tanks with long-range infrared targeting sensors. The targets are dispersed across expansive, mountainous terrain, yet moving in coordination for attack. The armored vehicle cannot fire upon the enemy tanks and give away its position, so it “networks” the targeting specifics to an armed overhead drone which then attacks the enemy tanks — exploding them with Hellfire missiles, all without putting soldiers at risk.

In similar fashion – perhaps a forward operating unmanned ground vehicle receives the targeting information and, controlled by a human operator, fires on the enemy tanks without exposing the location of a manned crew. Survival and combat success in these kinds of anticipated future warfare scenarios hinge not only upon accurate detection “data,” but entirely upon the “speed” of processing and instantly networking data.

The successes of these kinds of hypothetical, high-intensity warfare scenarios, it is safe to say, describes and inspires some of the core mission parameters of the Army’s emerging AI Task Force, Army Futures Command.

SOLDIERS USE AI TO FIRE PRECISION GRENADES, GUIDE DRONE ATTACKS

“One of our challenges is how do we get more data off of combat systems and curate that data,” Brig. Gen. Matt Easley, director of the Army Artificial Intelligence Task Force, told reporters at the Association of the United States Army Annual Symposium.

Simply put, the faster target information is found, processed and shared, creating greatly reduced sensor-to-shooter time — the better the chance of victory or survival in war.

“It is about enabling a speed-up capability, so you can instantly recognize targets for soldiers who would normally have to go through intelligence data manually to look for cues to get the right targeting information. We are getting the right kind of data to enable this speed up. We are working on how to get the right data to enable maneuver with minimal input from soldiers,” Lt. Col. Christopher Lowrance, Autonomous Systems Lead, AI Task Force.

HOW AI CHANGES ATTACK MISSIONS FOR US FIGHTER JETS AND BOMBERS

Perhaps a drone, for instance, spends hours patrolling above high-interest enemy territories, yet only detects a minute or two of enemy activity; AI-compatible computer processing can identify those few minutes crucial to combat success — instantly — without there needing to be a human to sift through hours of video to find those combat crucial minutes of ISR data.

Newer algorithms are now enabling engineers to not only lower the hardware footprint by consolidating multiple sensor nodes or “boxes” into one but also use AI-enabled computer processing speed to organize otherwise disparate sets of data.

Easley mentioned the current practice of accumulating data from drones such as the Army’s Gray Eagle or modernized Bradley Fighting Vehicles; many of these platforms, he explained, have distinct or “stovepiped” sensor systems which need to aggregate, pool and organizing vast amounts of incoming data…such as navigational information and specifics related to weapons, electronics, sensor cameras and on-board computers. Integrating AI is intended to streamline and “fuse” otherwise separate sources, bringing an F-35-like “sensor fusion” both within and across combat platforms.

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Emerging combat vehicles, for instance, such as the Army’s Bradley replacement Optionally Manned Fighting vehicle and the newest v4 variant of the Abrams tank, are slated to receive a 3rd Gen FLIR sensor. This is targeting technology with greater resolution, image fidelity, range and information processing technology. It is something that is expected to change armored vehicle combat techniques by increasing range and target accuracy. Easley cited 3rd Gen FLIR as an example of the kind of information-gathering technology which can be massively improved through the use of AI.

“We are at a critical juncture of getting requirements into the system now … so that 10 years from now we are not where we are today, where it can be difficult to organize some data,” Easley said.

Making a point to emphasize the importance of organizing “wartime information first,” Easley stressed the need to analyze pressing information such as navigational details, fuel data and other key items such as weapons performance.

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Alongside infrared sensors, Easley also mentioned both Multi-Spectral sensors and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technologies as among those slated to benefit from AI-empowered data processing. AI-enabled advanced algorithms, for instance, can monitor or organize hours of drone video feeds or seemingly limitless amounts of sensor-acquired targeting data in a nearly instantaneous fashion. Incoming information is instantly bounced of a vast database with compiled information about terrain, prior targeting, shapes and contours of relevant objects such as enemy drones or combat vehicles, navigational information, distances, atmospheric conditions and countless other pertinent pieces of data – in order to perform real-time analytics, solve problems and organize data for human decision-makers. SAR, for instance, sends electromagnetic “pings” onto surrounding terrain before analyzing the return signal to create a rendering or image for commanders. Naturally, using AI to gather, analyze and process return signals can create much faster and more accurate results. AI-enabled algorithms will instantly compare radar returns against its existing database to generate faster results.

An AI-informed system, for instance, would instantly be able to recognize the form of an existing enemy tank, bounce it off a known database, and immediately determine the identity and location of the target. All of this, in light of fast-evolving processing speeds, takes place in a matter of milliseconds.

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The newest experiments with AI, interestingly, are speeding this up even further. DARPA and others are working on AI applications that perform near real-time machine learning and analyze context. In effect, analysis and comparison of new information is performed on data ….as it is arriving… almost allowing for a two-way data flow in real-time.

Using AI-empowered sensor consolidation and data networking introduces a range of new war possibilities and brings an expansive set of new combat tactics. This is quite significant to Army Futures Command, as it works with Army acquisition to both harness new technologies and explore how they will change formations, combat maneuver and key combat tactics. With this kind of fast-paced, AI-centric networking, combat platforms can operate in a more dispersed fashion, yet retain connected interoperability. This opens up new multi-domain options as well, should intelligence data from aircraft be processed and shared with ground commanders.

One example of this cited by Easley was the importance of “creating interoperability” between the Patriot and Terminal High Altitude Air Defenses (THAAD). While similar in mission concept and application, THAAD and Patriot interceptor missiles have different ranges, radar systems and flight speeds. THAAD, for instance, can destroy approaching enemy missiles as they re-enter the earth’s atmosphere during the “terminal” phase of flight. Patriot missiles, while similar, are designed for closer in approaching enemy fire.

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Should these air defense systems be better networked, they could expand the defensive envelope and possibly hand-off targeting data as incoming attacks pass into the earth’s atmosphere. Ballistic missiles, for instance, follow a certain flight trajectory, so information on an approaching missile could be handed from one radar system the other to coordinate and expand defenses. This increases the prospects for a successful intercept or “kill” of an incoming enemy missile. By increasing the data consolidation, and therefore speed, of information sharing, AI can improve air defenses and enable nodes to defend larger areas and operating farther apart.

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