Bannon: 'I regret' delay in responding to book – CNN

Bannon: 'I regret' delay in responding to book – CNN

“Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man,” read Bannon’s statement, which CNN obtained Sunday from a source close to Bannon. “He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around.”
The statement later adds: “I regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president’s historical accomplishments in the first year of (Trump’s) presidency.”
Axios first reported Bannon’s statement.
In the book, “Fire and Fury,” author Michael Wolff quotes Bannon as saying the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials, including Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and a Russian lawyer purportedly offering damaging information about Hillary Clinton was “treasonous.” The book also attributes statements to him denigrating the President.
CNN has not independently verified all the assertions in Wolff’s book.
Bannon said his comments about the Trump Tower meeting were aimed at Manafort, “a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends.”
Following the publication of Bannon’s quotes in the book, which went on sale Friday, Trump has called friends and allies to make clear they must choose between him and his estranged former adviser, a source familiar with the calls told CNN. Axios previously reported the calls.
Trump has also taken to Twitter to attack Bannon, labeling him “Sloppy Steve,” and said in a statement released by White House last Wednesday that Bannon had “lost his mind.”

Published at Sun, 07 Jan 2018 17:20:26 +0000

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Wolff: Post-Brexit trade deal at risk if Trump doesn't get invite to royal wedding – The Hill

Wolff: Post-Brexit trade deal at risk if Trump doesn't get invite to royal wedding – The Hill

The author of the controversial new book on the Trump White House is predicting consequences if President TrumpDonald John Trump House Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimonySkier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at OlympicsPoll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with RussiaMORE is not invited to the royal wedding later this year.

Michael Wolff said during an interview with The Mail on Sunday that a post-Brexit U.K. trade deal with the U.S. could be at risk if Trump doesn’t get an invite to Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle’s wedding.

“He doesn’t like being snubbed and wants to be the center of attention all the time,” Wolff said during the interview. 


“Trump’s foreign policy doctrine is simple: you Brits suck up to him and enlist in whatever geopolitical fantasy he has going, he’ll give you what you want – though only if it doesn’t hurt him. It is not so much vengeance, rather ‘you flatter me and I’ll flatter you.’ “

Wolff said Trump will “value the Brits” if they give him what he wants.

“He sees the queen in reality-TV show terms. That’s the Trump modus operandi,” he said. “He will try to Trumpalize the queen and Buckingham Palace.”

Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” which was released last week, has spurred conversations about Trump’s mental fitness for office.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was asked about accusations that Trump is mentally unfit to hold office and appeared to dismiss concerns.

“When I deal with President Trump, what I see is somebody who is committed to ensuring that he is taking decisions in the best interests of the United States,” she told the BBC.

Trump has blasted claims made in the book and defended his mental health, calling himself a “very stable genius.”

Published at Sun, 07 Jan 2018 12:59:00 +0000

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Mega Millions announces single winner for $450M jackpot – CBS News

Mega Millions announces single winner for $450M jackpot – CBS News

Updated Jan 6, 2018 2:38 AM EST

One lucky Mega Millions ticket holder in Florida has won a $450 million jackpot after matching all six numbers in the prize. Choosing the cash option would bring home $281 million.

The winning numbers drawn Friday just after 11 p.m. Eastern time were 28, 30, 39, 59, 70 and Gold Mega Ball 10.  It is the fourth-largest jackpot in the 15 year history of Mega Millions and the 10th largest prize in any U.S lottery.

A total of eight Match 5 winning tickets also were sold in Friday’s drawing — one each in California, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Virginia, and two each in Oklahoma and Texas. More than 21 million tickets were sold for all the prizes.

The Mega Millions jackpot now resets to its starting amount of $40 million ($25 million cash) for the next drawing on January 9. 

Powerball jackpot jumps to $570 million

Lottery officials also increased the jackpot of Powerball, the other national lottery game, to $570 million. That drawing is Saturday night.

The jackpots refer to the annuity options for both games, in which payments are made over 29 years. Most winners opt for cash options, which would be $358.5 million for Powerball.

Ahead of the drawing, Mega Millions players rushed out to snap up tickets, some in areas facing frigid temperatures after a Northeast snowstorm.

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot was 1 in 302.5 million. Powerball has odds of 1 in 292.2 million.
Both games are played in 44 states plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico also participates in Powerball.

The average American spends about $200 a year on lottery tickets, although residents of some states spend far more. According to a study by LendEDU, the average Massachusetts resident spends $735 annually on lottery tickets, while those in Delaware or New York are likely spending about $400 a year, or $33 per month.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 07:24:14 +0000

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First phase of Trump border wall gets $18 billion price tag, in new request to lawmakers – Washington Post

First phase of Trump border wall gets $18 billion price tag, in new request to lawmakers – Washington Post

The Trump administration has told lawmakers that it wants $18 billion over the next decade for the initial phase of a Mexico border wall, laying out for the first time a detailed financial blueprint for the president’s signature campaign promise.

The money would pay for 316 miles of new fencing and reinforce another 407 miles where barriers are already in place, according to cost estimates sent to senators Friday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. If the work was completed, more than half of the 2,000-mile border with Mexico would have a wall or other physical structure by 2027.

Democratic lawmakers blasted the $18 billion request, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, and it arrived in the middle of delicate budget negotiations that include the risk of a government shutdown Jan. 20 if no deal is reached.

“President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall. With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Immigration subcommittee.

CBP provided the funding outline at the request of Durbin and other senators preparing to launch negotiations this month on several contentious immigration issues, including a potential deal to protect the hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who will be subject to deportation when the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program expires, beginning in March.

With their votes needed to keep the government open, Democrats are looking to use their leverage in the spending talks to force the Republicans who control Congress to reach a deal on DACA.

Though Trump ran for office on a promise that Mexico would pay for a border wall, the spending plan indicates American taxpayers would fund it for at least the foreseeable future.

[A look at Trump’s border wall prototypes]

Trump has told Democrats he’s unwilling to reach an agreement unless they fund his wall plan, among other measures, but the CBP document is the first time his administration has sketched out what that might cost.

In addition to the $18 billion in wall funding, the CBP also requested $8 billion for additional personnel and training, $5 billion for new border technology and at least $1 billion to build more access roads. The final price tag for the CBP spending plan would exceed $33 billion over the next decade, according to a copy of the document obtained by The Washington Post.

The $33 billion would not include what are likely to be additional funding requests for the other Department of Homeland Security agencies central to Trump’s plans for an immigration overhaul, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is looking to add 10,000 more officers and dramatically expand the number of beds it has available for immigration detention.

Benjamin L. Cassidy, the DHS assistant secretary for legislative affairs, said in a letter to Durbin that the funding requests “were developed through a rigorous assessment and are derived directly from the experience and insight of U.S. Border Patrol Agents in the field, supported by operational data and analysis.”

“It is essential to note that this submission represents only one element of the President’s overall immigration priorities,” Cassidy wrote. “Effective border security will not be successful unless we close dangerous legal loopholes that enable illegal immigration and visa overstays. If these loopholes are not closed, and enforcement capabilities are not enhanced, our immigration system and border cannot be secured.”

Democrats have repeatedly said they will not pay for a wall. Even though on a year-over-year basis the CBP request would not represent a dramatic funding increase over current border spending levels, it would represent a long-term commitment to a physical structure that Trump would be able to claim as a political trophy.

Democrats and immigration activists have recoiled at the administration’s other enforcement plans, including proposals to expedite the deportation of unaccompanied minors, tighten asylum standards and crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not allow local police officers to cooperate with federal immigration agents.

“Trump can have a shutdown fight over his stupid wall that pleases the nativists in his base, or he can have a breakthrough that pairs the Dream Act and border security so he can brag he did something Obama couldn’t get done. He can’t have both,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an immigrant advocacy group. “This move by the White House does not bode well.”

Republican reaction was muted Friday. Even many Republicans have deemed a physical wall along the entire border unnecessary and impractical, saying that more effective border security could be achieved through other means, including better surveillance and technology.

CBP said it would like to add more than 2,000 miles of what it called a “total Border wall system” that would eventually encompass 864 miles of new primary wall on land where no barrier currently exists. It would add 1,163 miles of replacement wall or secondary wall, which DHS officials said could consist of a wall backed by a fence or two fences.

Some of the new barriers would have to be installed along the winding banks of the Rio Grande, where landowners have protested construction of new fencing on their ranches and farms.

The $18 billion would cover only the initial phase of the CBP plan. About 650 miles of the border with Mexico currently has some form of physical obstacle, from vehicle barriers to taller steel fencing designed to prevent people from climbing over.

CBP is evaluating several prototypes, all of which are significantly taller, but the funding request sent to senators does not specify what type of barrier would be used.

Trump has said he may travel to San Diego to inspect the prototypes, which range in height from 18 to 30 feet and combine different formulations of see-through steel bars, concrete slabs and metal spikes.

Ed O’Keefe contributed to this report.

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 00:32:50 +0000

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Plessey moves to develop monolithic microLED

Plessey moves to develop monolithic microLED

Plessey Semiconductor intends to be the first to market a monolithic microLED based display fabricated using a GaN on silicon approach. 

Michael LeGoff, CEO, said: “By being the first to market with a monolithic microLED display, we will be demonstrating our expertise and the ability to access our proven turn-key solution, enabling manufacturers to ramp up the development and production of microLED displays to address emerging applications.”

One of the main challenges involved with manufacturing microLED displays using a non-monolithic approach is the placement of LED chips onto a CMOS backplane, currently achieved using pick and place equipment. This involves the individual placement of every LED on a pitch of less than 50μm, requiring new and expensive equipment that is subject to productivity issues. As the pixel density of displays increases and pitch reduces, pick and place becomes less feasible both commercially and technically.

Moving to a monolithic process removes the need for chip placement and will enable smaller and higher resolution displays for a range of applications.

Dr Keith Strickland, CTO, added: “GaN on silicon is the only technology that makes sense in terms of scalability and performance. It offers better thermal conductivity than sapphire and higher luminosity than OLED, which is why this technology is widely acknowledged to be the only one that can deliver high resolution, high luminance displays.”

Plessey has also started a programme that will see the company license its GaN on silicon expertise to microLED manufacturers.

Bethan Grylls

Published at

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ON Semiconductor joins CharIN Ecosystem

ON Semiconductor joins CharIN Ecosystem

ON Semiconductor has joined the global Charging Interface Initiative (CharIN) ecosystem, which aims to promote standards for charging systems in electric vehicles (EV).

Ali Husain, ON Semi’s senior manager of power conversion and motor control, said: “We are seeing a ramp up of our IGBT modules and FETs for electric vehicle charger designs. We expect next generation semiconductor materials, such as silicon carbide and gallium nitride, to drive improving power density and efficiency.”

CharIN was founded by Audi, BMW, Daimler, Mennekes, Opel, Phoenix Contact, Porsche, TÜV SÜD and Volkswagen. It now has more than 60 members. The group says it has three primary aims:

  • To develop and establish the Combined Charging System (CCS) as the standard for battery-powered EVs of all kinds
  • To draw up requirements for the evolution of charging-related standards and develop a certification system
  • To promote the CCS standard worldwide

The CCS specification combines single phase and rapid three phase charging using AC at a maximum of 43kW, as well as DC charging at up to 200kW. The approach is also said to be taking into account the ability to charge at up to 350kW.

The specification also includes the connector and inlet combination, as well as all control functions and communications between the EV and the infrastructure.

Husain added that ON Semi intends to collaborate with other industry leaders to create a CCS and ‘support the continued evolution of EV charging infrastructure’.

Bethan Grylls

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The 'Bomb Cyclone' Has Put a Freeze on the Power Supply in Parts of the East Coast – Fortune

The 'Bomb Cyclone' Has Put a Freeze on the Power Supply in Parts of the East Coast – Fortune

A severe winter storm froze pipes and disrupted services at refineries on the U.S. Atlantic coast on Thursday, sending fuel prices higher as heavy snowfall and high winds caused electricity outages for almost 80,000 homes and businesses.

The only nuclear plant in Massachusetts was shut just after 2 p.m. because of the failure of a line that connects the reactor to the power grid. Entergy Corp, which operates the Pilgrim Station, said it had not identified the cause of the line problem. ISO New England, which operates the region’s power grid, attributed the shutdown to blizzard conditions. The company did not say when the station would restart.

Utilities in the Southeast have restored service to some customers who were hit by the storm overnight.

Heavy snow pounded the East Coast from Maine as far south as North Carolina on Thursday, taking out power lines, icing roadways and closing schools.

The storm was powered by a rapid plunge in barometric pressure that some weather forecasters referred to as bombogenesis or a “bomb cyclone,” which brought high winds and swift, heavy snowfall.

The region has also been in the grip of a prolonged cold spell.

Prices for heating oil and natural gas in the U.S. Northeast hit their highest levels in years on the back of near-record heating demand. Benchmark U.S. heating oil futures are near their highest in almost three years.

The U.S. average home residential heating oil prices rose 5.4% to $3.078 a gallon in the week through Jan. 1 from a week earlier, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. On the East Coast, prices rose 5.4% to $3.085 a gallon.

U.S. average residential heating oil prices for the 2017-18 period are well above the 2016-17 levels, the data showed.

For more on bomb cyclones, watch Fortune’s video:

U.S. natural gas demand was expected to remain near record highs this week. Natural gas is the major fuel for residential and commercial heating in the U.S. Northeast and is also widely used by power plants.

On Thursday, natural gas futures fell 12.8 cents, or 4.3%, to settle at $2.880 per million British thermal units. That was the biggest one-day decline for the contract in three weeks as less cold weather was predicted. However, regional prices soared under pressure from the cold snap.

U.S. spot natural gas and power prices on Thursday rose to their highest in years in several regions.

Next-day power prices in New England and PJM, which covers much of the U.S. mid-Atlantic and Midwest region, rose to their highest since January 2014 due to a spike in local natural gas prices.

New England’s cash prices soared last week, and remained near four-year highs at $36.32 per mm Btu. ISO-New England, that region’s power grid operator, said on Thursday that its power operators were relying more heavily on generators that burn heating oil due to heavy natural gas demand from homes and businesses.

“We expect to have sufficient capacity and fuel available and expect to be able to weather the storm without running up against significant emissions limits, but concerns remain the same regarding fuel availability and emissions limits throughout this protracted cold spell and the rest of the winter,” the company said in a statement.

ISO New England spokeswoman Marcia Blomberg said there were “no immediate reliability issues to the local area” due to the shutdown of Pilgrim.

The lights did not go out in New England after the 688 megawatt Pilgrim plant shut because New England, like all U.S. power grids, keeps some generating plants in reserve in case an operating unit unexpectedly shuts. On Thursday, the grid had a reserve of over 2,100 MW. One megawatt is enough to power about 1,000 U.S. homes.

Blomberg added that the loss of Pilgrim “does further challenge the region on fuel availability because we need to rely on other generating resources to meet consumer demand and meet overall grid reliability.”

In New York, very few generator outages were reported and there were no problems with a lack of fuel, Wes Yeomans, vice president of Operations at the New York Independent System Operator, said on a call on Thursday.

There are concerns that a significant disruption could lead to a heating oil shortage as distillate inventories, including heating oil, in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions are at their lowest levels for this time of year since 2015.

This has spurred tankers carrying diesel and heating oil to set out from Europe bound for the United States to address supply worries, reversing a traditional trade route.

Icebreakers have been used in ports of Boston, New York and Philadelphia to keep shipping lanes clear, though delays are expected, and the Coast Guard said late on Wednesday that those ships would remain at shore until the storm had passed.

Reliance on heating oil is highest in the Northeast, with about 21% of households using oil for space heating.

Most northern U.S. refiners are not reporting problems. Phillips 66 shut a crude and coking unit at its Wood River, Illinois, refinery after a frozen line and short-lived fire, a source said on Wednesday. It did not have a timeline for restarting the units at the Illinois plant, the source said.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions postponed planned work at its 335,000 refinery complex in Philadelphia until after the storm.

Crude carrier Ridgebury Pioneer, carrying 1.9 million barrels of heavy crude into the Philadelphia area, has been delayed by the storm, according to Reuters Eikon shipping data and two sources familiar with the delivery.

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 02:31:11 +0000

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Apple confirms all Mac and iOS devices are affected by Meltdown and Spectre bugs – The Verge

Apple confirms all Mac and iOS devices are affected by Meltdown and Spectre bugs – The Verge

Apple confirmed on Thursday that all Mac and iOS devices are affected by the Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws that have roiled the computing industry for the past 24 hours, resulting in a race to patch operating systems and cloud computing infrastructure at the highest levels.

“‘All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time,” the company writes in a blog post. “Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the App Store.”

Apple was one of the last remaining holdouts to speak up about Meltdown and Spectre, although it was already widely believed Apple devices were affected due to the company’s use of components from chip manufactures like Intel and ARM. Apple says that it has already mitigated some of the potential negative consequences of Meltdown, which is the Intel-specific exploit, with patches to iOS (11.2), macOS (10.13.2), and tvOS (11.2).

The company says it plans to issue patches for Safari on macOS and iOS to better help devices defend against Spectre, which is more easily exploitable and affects devices using chips from Intel, AMD, and ARM. Apple Watch devices are not affected by Meltdown in any way, the company confirms.

Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly said the Apple Watch makes use of an Intel chip in relation to the device’s immunity to Meltdown. That is not the case, and we regret the error.

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:28:06 +0000

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The CPU catastrophe will hit hardest in the cloud – The Verge

The CPU catastrophe will hit hardest in the cloud – The Verge

This week, two disastrous new processor vulnerabilities spilled out into the open — and the tech world is still coming to terms with the damage. The vulnerabilities, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, affect nearly every processor made in the last 20 years. Meltdown is the immediate threat, with proof-of-concept exploits already available, but Spectre is much deeper and harder to patch, potentially leading to generations of more subtle exploits in the years to come. The result has left nearly every major technology company scrambling to protect themselves and their customers.

The focus so far has been on personal devices, with a flood of patches already available this morning, but many experts think the most severe damage is likely to come when the exploits are turned on cloud services. “These vulnerabilities will allow one tenant to peer into the data of another co-hosted tenant,” says Mounir Hahad, the head of threat research at Juniper Networks. “This is the reason many organizations steer clear of hosted services when it comes to processing sensitive information.”

Both Meltdown and Spectre deal with data leaking from one part of the computer to another, which makes them particularly dangerous when a single device is shared between users. With lots of commands running in parallel, the attacks found a way to extract data from the processor cache through a complex timing attack, sidestepping the usual privileges. Executed right, that could let a low-level process like a web plugin get access to passwords or other sensitive data held in a more secure part of your computer.

On a personal computer, that attack would be most useful for privilege escalation: a hacker running low-level malware could use a Spectre bug to own your whole computer. But there are already lots of ways to take over a computer once you’ve got a foothold, and it’s not clear how much a new processor attack would change things.

But privilege escalation is much scarier in the cloud, where the same server could be working for dozens of people at once. Platforms like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud let online companies spread a single program across thousands of servers in data centers across the world, sharing hardware the same way you’d share an airplane or a subway car. Collective hardware isn’t a security problem because even when different users are on the same server, they’re in different software instances, with no way to jump from one instance to another. Spectre could change that, letting attackers steal data from anyone sharing the same chip. If a hacker wanted to perform that kind of attack, all they’d have to do is start their own instance and run the program.

Cloud services are also a lucrative target for anyone hoping to cash in on Spectre. Lots of midsize businesses run their entire infrastructure on AWS or Google Cloud, often trusting the platform with sensitive and potentially lucrative information. Bitcoin exchanges, chat apps, even government agencies all keep passwords and other sensitive data on cloud servers. If you’re running a modern web service, there’s simply no other choice. If someone did set a new exploit running on a cloud instance, there’s no telling what kind of data might shake out.

So far, cloud platforms are taking the threat seriously, and doing everything they can to contain it. Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure all immediately deployed patches against the Meltdown attack, and there’s no indication that the available exploits could work against any of those platforms. Where there have been lingering vulnerabilities, it’s because companies are waiting on patches from third parties, like the Windows-based instances of Amazon EC2. The major platforms have handled the immediate response well, and there’s no reason to think we’re headed toward a cloud catastrophe in the days immediately to come.

(Reached by The Verge, a Google representative said the company’s cloud services had been protected against both Meltdown and Spectre, although they declined to elaborate on the Spectre protections. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.)

What’s more worrying is what happens in the next few years. Deeply rooted vulnerabilities like Spectre can be hard to stamp out. Researchers will be finding new variants and exploits for years — much like we saw with Stagefright — and not all of the new tricks will be as well-publicized as Spectre and Meltdown were. It’s easy to imagine an undiscovered Spectre exploit falling into criminal hands six months from now — and when it does, platforms like AWS and Google Cloud will be extremely tempting targets.

It’s particularly daunting because those platforms undergird almost all of what we think of as the internet. They run nearly every program on your phone, stream your songs and shows. It’s hard to think of a piece of information on the internet that doesn’t pass through those servers at some point, even just for caching. In a material sense, they are the internet. And while they’re staffed by some of the best security teams in the world, the attack surface is almost unlimited. Dealing with the fallout from Spectre will be one of the hardest security problems the system has ever faced — and it’s a problem that won’t go away anytime soon.

Published at Thu, 04 Jan 2018 18:02:08 +0000

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Magnitude 4.5 earthquake felt throughout Bay Area – Los Angeles Times

Magnitude 4.5 earthquake felt throughout Bay Area – Los Angeles Times

The earthquake was centered along the Oakland-Berkeley border, just north of the Claremont Hotel. The epicenter of the earthquake is in the area of the Hayward fault, one of the most feared in the Bay Area, which could produce a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake and is directly underneath heavily populated areas.

Published at Thu, 04 Jan 2018 10:56:19 +0000

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