The Senate on Wednesday stripped from the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill language directing the Defense Department to privatize up to five commissaries through a two-year pilot program.Lawmakers also passed a second procedural vote to end debate on the annual policy bill, setting up a final vote for passage which likely will take place Thursday. The 84-14 vote also signaled the Democrats’ decision not to filibuster the authorization bill over its reliance on DOD’s overseas contingency operations account to exceed the Budget Control Act spending caps. Instead, Senate Democrats will resume that fight over the defense spending bill. The party is expected to block a vote, which could come today, to debate the spending measure in the Senate.Before voting to invoke cloture on the underlying bill, the Senate approved language requiring DOD to assess the costs and benefits of privatizing military grocery stores prior to launching a pilot program to evaluate privatization. The amendment was offered by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), but it was modified to include the text of a related amendment from Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), reported CQ.“This amendment puts all efforts to prioritize commissaries on hold, requiring instead an assessment on privatizing before we make significant changes to our service member’s commissary benefits,” Inhofe said in a joint press release. “There are too many unknowns as to whether privatization could directly impact military members’ ability to provide for their families as well as the potential for it to affect retention,” he stated.The House bill does not include language requiring DOD to test privatization.On Tuesday, the Senate rejected an amendment from David Vitter (R-La.) that would have established a floor of 32 Army brigade combat teams (BCTs) in the active and reserve Army components. That is the number of BCTs the Army will have at the end of the current fiscal year when it reaches an end strength of 490,000. Officials shortly are expected to announce further cuts that would shrink the Army by up to 70,000 additional troops and 10 to 12 BCTs. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington’s Heav’nly Donuts is now under new ownership.Owner Dimitrios Saragas, son of the company’s founders, recently announced a Grand Re-Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will take place on Tuesday, June 26, from 10am to noon, at its 579 Main Street location.The event will feature:A formal ribbon cutting ceremony with the Wilmington-Tewksbury Chamber of Commerce and Town Officials at 11am.Kiss 108’s DJ Romeo will offer music and prizes.Face painting and balloons for the kids.In addition, ALL DAY LONG, customers will receive FREE medium coffee (hot or iced, any flavor). Excluded expresso drinks. Limit 1 per customer.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email email@example.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedPHOTOS: Heav’nly Donuts Holds Grand Reopening, Founding Family Returns To WilmingtonIn “Photo of the Day”NATIONAL DONUT DAY: Wilmington’s Dunkin’ Donuts & Heav’nly Donuts Offering Free Donut Deal TODAY (June 7)In “Business”BUSINESS BRIEF: Wilmington’s Strive Fitness To Celebrate Grand ReopeningIn “Business”
Culture Tech Industry Security 1:54 Share your voice On Wednesday, House Democrats unveiled a new border security plan that contains no money for physical barriers along the southern US border.”We’ve seen that walls can and will be tunneled under, cut through or scaled,” Rep. Pete Aguilar, from California, told The Washington Post. “We cannot focus on archaic solutions in order to address this very modern problem. Technology works for securing the border.”So what are we talking about? Smart wall systems could comprise technologies ranging from infrared and laser-enhanced cameras, drones, sensors and radar to artificial intelligence. There’s also imaging technology that scans vehicles for drugs as they pass through official border crossings. But these approaches could too easily violate our privacy, security and civil liberties, according to tech companies and the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU described security technologies as “ineffective” and warned that “programs intended for border security purposes have had a tendency to expand toward the rest of the country.” Here are the most likely technologies that could be used on the border in place of, or in addition to, a wall.SensorsSensor technology is now small enough to embed in a car, allowing it to power self-driving test vehicles. Advocates say today’s sensors could be used on the border.One company, Quanergy, says one of its products relies on lidar, which uses pulsed light to measure distances and generate detailed images, to scan for movements. Quanergy says its products can tell the difference between a person and an animal.Given that the border stretches 1,950 miles, the project might require more than 15,000 sensors. At an estimated $250 per sensor, the price tag could amount to $3.7 million, or less than 1 percent of Trump’s border wall ask.Then there’s Anduril, a 2-year-old startup that’s building sensor-packed towers filled with radar, laser-enhanced cameras and communications antennas. Together, the sensors, cameras and antennas can detect objects from two miles away and identify the difference between people and animals, the company says.Anduril is headed by Palmer Luckey, the 26-year-old co-founder of Oculus VR who was forced out of Facebook. Now in his second act, Luckey said he’s hoping to “rebuild the bridge between the tech and defense communities.”His technology, called Lattice, is already being tested by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In a 10-week span, it helped agents catch 55 unauthorized border crossers and seize 982 pounds of marijuana, according to a 2018 Wired profile of the company.Anduril’s and Quanergy’s technologies could potentially augment an existing program created by Elbit Systems, an Israeli company that’s reportedly built 43 towers in Arizona carrying radar as well as daylight and infrared cameras that can capture images from 7.5 miles away, according to a report by Bloomberg. The contract, awarded in 2014 for $145 million, has been called a key piece of technology by CBP. DronesDrones can use combinations of cameras, lasers and heat sensors. They’ve also been tested in war zones by the US military and by firefighters battling last year’s wildfire blazes in California.The US Customs and Border Protection agency uses drones like this Predator for surveillance flights near the Mexican border. John Moore / Getty Images CBP operates a fleet of at least nine drones, according to a 2018 report from the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington. “The biggest difficulty with drones is positioning them to surveil the border,” Cato’s report said, noting that issues such as bad weather, crashes and operation costs have plagued the program.Though CBP spent $255 million buying and operating drones between 2013 and 2016, apprehensions have risen by less than 1 percent, Cato estimates, at a cost of $32,000 per capture. Captures not involving drones cost an average of $9,000, according to Cato.CBP didn’t respond to a request for comment.Artificial intelligenceThe tech industry’s buzziest buzzword is already being used to help identify people in your photographs, recommend new beauty products and weed out bad behavior on the internet. And there are companies who say AI can help secure the border as well.Cogniac offers camera software that identifies people and objects. The company is backed by Google parent Alphabet and says its technology can work in real time with security cameras, cameras mounted on drones or even smartphones. So where is facial recognition in all this, you might ask?That technology has two potential issues. First, it would be mostly practical in places like border crossings, where lots of people stream by cameras. Second, such systems aren’t foolproof, and they carry a very real risk of abuse. “When combined with ubiquitous cameras and massive computing power and storage in the cloud, a government could use facial recognition technology to enable continuous surveillance of specific individuals,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in an official Microsoft blog last year. “We must ensure that the year 2024 doesn’t look like a page from the novel ‘1984.’”Taking It to Extremes: Mix insane situations — erupting volcanoes, nuclear meltdowns, 30-foot waves — with everyday tech. Here’s what happens.CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET’s newsstand edition. Drones Microsoft Donald Trump 39 Now playing: Watch this: Comments Tags US agents patrol the border between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Herika Martinez/Getty Images Since 2015, President Donald Trump has promised to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the 1,950-mile US border with Mexico: a 20- to 30-foot high concrete wall/steel fence he says will stem illegal immigration, keep out illicit drugs and stop terrorists from entering the country.Critics say a physical barrier is unnecessary and ineffective, and they argue that modern tech could do the job instead at a lower cost. Which is how we got to the recent 35-day shutdown, the longest in US government history. Trump insists on Congress budgeting $5.7 billion for a wall, while Democrats push for high-tech border protections. “The positive, shall we say, almost technological wall that can be built is what we should be doing,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during a press conference in January. She’s proposed spending “hundreds of millions of dollars” for tech to scan for drugs and weapons and detect people attempting to cross the border. Pelosi’s office didn’t respond to a request for an interview. Neither she nor her Democratic allies have specified which technologies they’d like to fund. Border security: Tech options that could replace a wall
Singapore based low-cost airliner Tiger Asia has gone for an image makeover changing its name to ‘Tigerair’ along with a brand new logo.”We have initiated a series of changes since late last year, and this brand identity should be seen as a reinforcement of our commitment towards a better and bolder Tigerair,” said Koay Peng Yen, Group CEO of Tiger Airways Holdings, on the rebranding.The new look has the airliner dropping the ‘leaping tiger’ logo for a suave ‘Tigerair’ font with a blush of orange accents to give it a contemporary feel.According to the company, the “fresh and upbeat look” embodies its “brand personality of (being) warm, passionate and genuine.”Dr Seshan Ramaswami, associate professor of marketing education at Singapore Management University, said the new look is a welcome change from the older tiger leaping logo which he felt was “a little brash” and “in-your-face”.”(The new logo) signals a change from an aggressive emphasis on price alone to slowly developing other competitive advantages,” Dr Ramaswami was quoted saying by Asia One.Samir Dixit, managing director at Brand Finance, said the new logo is “an attempt to erase the past and start afresh.”Tigerair Managing director Ho Yuen Sang also revealed the airliner’s plans for expansion of its air base in Malaysia based on increasing passenger demands.”We are looking at Ipoh, Kuala Terengganu and Kota Kinabalu as the new destinations for Tigerair. Currently, Tigerair stops in Penang and Kuala Lumpur,” said Ho at the unveiling of the new look, reported The Star Online.The airliner also aims to increase the number of passengers by about 20 per cent by March 2014 and it has leased six A320 airbuses. Tigerair had carried 4.5 million passengers in 2012.The firm had recently sold 60 percent of its holdings in its Australian subsidy to Richard Branson’s Virgin Australia.
AP Photo/John RaouxOrange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, left, answers questions at a news conference near the scene of a shooting where there were multiple fatalities in an industrial area near Orlando, Fla., Monday, June 5, 2017. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said on its official Twitter account that the situation has been contained.ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A disgruntled former employee opened fire Monday inside a Florida awning factory, killing five workers before killing himself, authorities said.Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings described the shooter as a 45-year-old man who had been fired in April and had been previously accused of assaulting a co-worker. The attacker was not believed to be a member of any type of subversive or terrorist organization, he said.The man was not charged when he was accused of battering the co-worker in June 2014, and his previous criminal record was otherwise minor — marijuana possession and driving under the influence, the sheriff said. The co-worker he allegedly beat up three years ago was not among the victims Monday, the sheriff added.Shelley Adams said her sister, Sheila McIntyre, called her from the company’s bathroom during the shooting and kept repeating, “My boss is dead. My boss is dead.”Fiamma Inc. calls itself one of the largest manufacturers of awnings for camper vans, motor coaches and sport utility vehicles.State and federal law enforcement officers converged on the awning business in an industrial park in Orlando shortly after 8 a.m. after a woman ran out and called 911 from a tile business across the street, said Yamaris Gomez, that store’s owner.“All she kept saying was he was holding a gun and told her to get out,” Gomez said.Officers were dispatched within 45 seconds and arrived two minutes later, the sheriff said. The FBI also responded, said Ron Hopper, who runs the FBI’s Orlando office. And while five people were killed, “seven others’ lives were saved due to the quick actions of the officers who arrived on the scene today,” said Special Agent Danny Banks of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.Authorities had no reports of any specific threats the gunman made to people at the company or anyone else, Banks said.The attack shows why people need to alert authorities whenever they learn of anything that could lead to violence, Banks said.“If people see something that seems abnormal, they need to say something,” Orlando Mayor Teresa Jacobs added.Sen. Bill Nelson called for more action to address mental health issues. He noted that next Monday will mark a year since the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, at a gay nightclub in Orlando. The attack at the Pulse club killed 49 people and wounded dozens more.“The city of Orlando, which is still healing from the Pulse massacre, has seen too much violence this past year,” the Florida Democrat said in a statement.Republican Gov. Rick Scott asked “all Floridians to pray for the families impacted by this senseless act of violence.”___Associated Press Writer Freida Frisaro in Miami contributed to this report.___The story has been edited to correct spelling of last name of sheriff to Demings, not Demmings. Share