Saturday, February 25, 2017

Is Russia's New RS-28 Sarmat ICBM A U.S. Missile Defense Killer?

Screenshot of the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau website, showing an illustration of what appears to be the RS-28 Sarmat. © PHOTO: MAKEYEV.RU

The Strategist: The RS-28 Sarmat and the future US nuclear triad

Russian media recently claimed that the Federation’s new intercontinental ballistic missile will be able to penetrate even America’s most effective defense systems—but are they right? Russia claims the new RS-28 Sarmat heavy ICBM, being introduced as part of its nuclear modernization, can wipe out an area ‘the size of Texas or France’. They may be referring to the missile being able to deliver nuclear weapons via the South Pole rather than the traditional ‘over the north pole’ route. It may also be typical Russian grandstanding in an effort to intimidate. Whilst the RS-28 will certainly get US planners thinking about nuclear modernization, it seems unlikely that such hyperbole will have US leaders rushing for the nuclear bunkers.

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Previous Post: Russia Shows-Off Its New Ballistic Missile (October 25, 2016).

WNU editor: What caught my eye is that this ICBM will be carrying 16 nuclear warheads. But .... it appears that the Russian military are having some problems with this missile .... First Flight Tests of Russia’s New Sarmat ICBM Scheduled for 1st Quarter Faces Delay (China Topix).

Contracts To Build The U.S. - Mexico Border Wall To Be Awarded By April

Border fence near Campo, California. Credit: Fred Greaves/Reuters

Chicago Tribune/AP: Mexican border wall building contracts to be awarded by April

US Customs and Border Protection said Friday that it plans to start awarding contracts by mid-April for President Donald Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico, signaling that he is aggressively pursuing plans to erect "a great wall" along the 2,000-mile border.

The agency said it will request bids on or around March 6 and that companies would have to submit "concept papers" to design and build prototypes by March 10, according to FedBizOpps.gov, a website for federal contractors. The field of candidates will be narrowed by March 20, and finalists must submit offers with their proposed costs by March 24.

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WNU Editor: They are pushing this fast.

Leaked U.S. Department of Homeland Security Document Disputes Terror Threat From Countries Included In The Travel Ban



CBS: DHS report: Citizens of travel ban countries "rarely implicated" in U.S.-based terrorism

An intelligence report compiled by DHS’ Intelligence and Analysis Unit has concluded that citizens affected by President Trump’s travel ban are “rarely implicated in U.S.-based terrorism.”

The report concluded that “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity,” and it says that “relatively few” of the citizens of these countries maintain access to the U.S.” The countries named in the president’s original travel ban were Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Yemen.

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WNU Editor: The White House is disputing this DHS memo .... Trump rejects DHS intelligence report on travel ban (FOX News). What's my take .... this is just a draft report using incomplete data .... the final report may come to an entirely different conclusion. But this leak tells me that the intel community's war against the Trump administration is still continuing.

More News On A Leaked Department of Homeland Security Document That Disputes The Terror Threat From Countries included In The Travel Ban

Analysts downplay threat from 7 nations in ban -- AP
DHS analysis found no evidence of extra threat posed by travel-ban nations: report -- The Hill
Homeland Security Intelligence Report Disputes Terror Threat for Countries Included in Travel Ban -- TIME
Donald Trump Rejects Intelligence Report on Travel Ban -- WSJ
DHS memo contradicts threats cited by Trump's travel ban -- USA Today
DHS report casts doubt on need for Trump travel ban -- Washington Post
DHS Draft Report Casts Doubt on Extra Threat From ‘Travel Ban’ Nationals in U.S. -- NBC
Leaked DHS Doc Says Trump's Seven Countries Aren't Very Dangerous -- Mother Jones
White House request of report to support travel ban said to cause concern among intelligence officials -- International Business Times
In Latest Intel Mutiny Against Trump, DHS Analysts Say White House Travel Ban Is Wrong -- Zero Hedge

it Will Cost The U.S. Navy $566 Billion To Build A 308-Ship Fleet

The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) conduct dual aircraft carrier strike group operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. The operations mark the U.S. Navy’s continued presence throughout the area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jake Greenberg / Released)

Navy Times: A 308-ship Navy to cost $566 billion, CBO estimates

A U.S. Navy plan to build a 308 ship fleet will cost a whopping $566 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

As of 2016, the Navy’s fleet of combat capable ships numbered 272, an inadequate number to meet Navy’s role of policing the global commons and responding to near-peer adversaries like Russia and China, according to 2014 Navy assessments.

The 2017 Navy shipbuilding plan, submitted to Congress in July, intends to increase the size of the fleet to 308 ships by building 254 ships over a 30-year period. Figuring in retirement plans of current ships, the U.S. Navy would reach that goal by 2021, according to a report published by the CBO.

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WNU Editor: I suspect that some jaws dropped when they heard that $566 billion number.

B-2 Bomber Are Getting Their Computers Upraded

People without security clearances aren’t going to learn what the winning design for the Long Range Strike Bomber looks like anytime soon, but the Northrop Grumman B-2 bomber probably bears some resemblance. The lack of a fuselage or tail makes it much harder to track with radar; unfortunately, its stealth coatings and other “low-observable” features are a nightmare to maintain. (Wikipedia)

Scout Warrior: New Air Force B-2 Bomber Processor Improves Computing 1000-Times

The new processor increases the performance of the avionics and on-board computer systems by about 1,000-times.

All 20 Air Force B-2 Spirit stealth bombers have been outfitted with a new flight management control processor designed to modernize the aircraft’s computer system, improve its weapons integration and enable it to rapidly embrace software upgrades, service officials said.

The new processor increases the performance of the avionics and on-board computer systems by about 1,000-times, Air Force officials said.

"The B-2 Flight Management Control Processor has been replaced with a modern Integrated Processor Unit. This upgrade is a quantum improvement over the legacy system, providing over a thousand times the processor throughput, memory, and network speed,” Maj. Gen. Jon Norman, Director of Global Power Programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, told Scout Warrior in a written statement.

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WNU Editor: I would not be surprised if there are more upgrades in the works. I am also a nerd when it comes to software .... not surprising .... no mention of that in this report.

The Next Big Development In Drones Will Be The Deployment Of 'Anti-Drone' Devices



Defense Systems: Mosul battle fuels anti-drone development

Drones are emerging as one of the asymmetrical threats in the battle for Mosul. A series of Islamic State drone attacks on Iraqi forces fighting to retake the northern Iraqi city have resulted in casualties and a heightened state of alert as ISIS fighters supplement deadly car-bomb attacks with harassing drone strikes using off-the-shelf quad-copters rigged to drop munitions.

Those attacks by short-range drones have prompted the U.S. military to step up development of countermeasures along with technical assessments of directed energy technologies, official said.

"We've assisted in the targeting of ISIL's drones, bringing down almost a dozen," Army Col. Brett Sylvia, a U.S. commander in Baghdad, acknowledged in a Jan. 13 briefing with reporters.

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WNU Editor
: The Iraqis want to have want the U.S. already has .... Iraq wants drone killer gun from US to fight weaponized ISIS drones (SOFREP).

The Real Reason Why The F-22 And F-35 Are Stealth Planes

An Air Force F-22 Raptor (left) flies with an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter over Florida. USAF Photo by Master Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock

Dave Majumdar, National Interest: The Real Secret to Keeping an F-22 and F-35 Stealth: Their Super Special 'Skin'

While pilots of advanced fifth-generation fighters like the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor or the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter often claim the spotlight, it is the ground crews who maintain those jets’ pristine surfaces that are often the real heroes. Without proper maintenance of their skin, the signature of those advance stealth jets degrade over time—rendering them vulnerable to enemy radar.

“If the pilot’s seen by radar, he can be shot down,” said Senior Airman Joshua Moon, a 192nd Fighter Wing low observables (LO) aircraft structures technician, in an Air Force release issued during the service’s Red Flag exercise in Nevada. “If he isn’t, he can do his mission, go behind enemy lines, and they’ll never even know he was there until it’s too late. Without us, he’s going to get spotted, or shot down, so lives are at risk when it comes to our job.”

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WNU editor: This "stealth skin" is also very vulnerable to the elements .... American F-22 Raptor Fighter Jets Lose Anti-Radar Coating in Syria (South Front)

These Are The 7 Priciest Military Planes Made in the USA

SO EXPENSIVE IT WAS ONCE SAID TO COST TWICE ITS OWN WEIGHT IN GOLD, NORTHROP GRUMMAN'S B-2 SPIRIT STEALTH BOMBER IS NO LONGER THE PRICIEST MILITARY PLANE BUILT IN THE USA. IMAGE SOURCE: AIRMAN FIRST CLASS MICHAEL S. DORUS FOR THE U.S. AIR FORCE.

The Motley Fool: The 7 Priciest Military Planes Made in the USA

Three are guaranteed to surprise you.

Which of America's military aircraft are the most expensive? Opinions vary.

Turn to Google for the answer, and you'll find multiple "top 10" lists. Most of these key off an old Time magazine report that ranked such aircraft as Northrop Grumman's (NYSE:NOC) B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and Lockheed Martin's (NYSE:LMT) F-22 Raptor stealth fighter as among America's priciest planes -- which is sort of true. With sticker prices of $2 billion for each B-2 and $412 million for the F-22, Spirit and Raptor were among the priciest planes America produced. But that's no longer the case.

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WNU Editor: The new version of Air Force One .... when completed .... is the priciest plane that will be built.

Tweet For Today

This Sentence Sums Up What Cyber-Warfare Is Like

Cyberwar games at the United States Military Academy.
(Photo: Michael Falco for The New York Times)

Business Insider: This top military officer perfectly captured the strange nature of cyber warfare in one sentence

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The US military recognizes cyber as a war fighting domain in the same league as ground and air war now, but its unique nature can be a bit hard to comprehend.

Fortunately, Coast Guard Vice Adm. Marshall Lytle gave the perfect analogy that demonstrates how unique, and difficult it can be, for the US military to operate in the cyber realm.

"Cyberwarfare is like a soccer game with all the fans on the field with you and no one is wearing uniforms," Lytle, who serves as the Chief Information Officer of the Joint Staff, said during a panel discussion on information warfare at the AFCEA West 2017 conference on Wednesday.

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WNU Editor: Yup .... could not say it any better ....

.... Cyberwarfare is like a soccer game with all the fans on the field with you and no one is wearing uniforms.

Picture Of The Day

Russian President Vladimir Putin during the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin Wall on the Defender of the Fatherland Day. February 23. © SPUTNIK/ MICHAEL KLIMENTYEV

Russia's Air Force Wants A New Next-Generation Stealth Bomber

© Photo: militaryrussia.ru

Sputnik: Russia's Next-Gen Stealth Bomber to Replace Tu-22, Tu-95 and Tu-160 Planes

Developers of the Russian new-generation strategic bomber, known as the Advanced Long-Range Aviation Complex (PAK DA), have defended the preliminary design of the project, according to Evgeniy Fedorov, scientific director of the Russian State Research Institute of Aviation Systems.

According to him, the Defense Ministry submitted very strict requirements for the new aircraft.

"The military mentioned everything they could, including a strategic bomber, an operative and tactic missile-carrying bomber and even a long-range interceptor capable of launching space vehicles," Fedorov told the Russian news agency RNS.

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WNU Editor: Russia's new bomber is expected to make its first flight sometime before 2021, with the first deliveries starting in 2023. My prediction .... add a few more years before we see these new bombers flying in the skies.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The U.S. Navy Has Figured A Way To Use Cheaper 'Dumb Bombs' Over Expensive Missiles

Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Shirley Shugar, from Joppa, Ala., takes inventory of ordnance in the bomb farm aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is underway continuing training before deploying to the western Pacific Ocean and U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nicholas A. Groesch

Business Insider: The US Navy may have just figured out a way to save billions on bombs

The US Navy may have come across a common sense way to save billions on bombs, according to statements made from US officials at the AFCEA West 2017 conference.

For years now, the Navy has been working on the Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) network to help detect, track, and intercept targets using a fused network of all types of sensors at the Navy's disposal.

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Update:
NIFC-CA Advances Could Allow The Navy To Use Cheaper ‘Dumb’ Weapons (USNI News)

WNU Editor: Yup .... bombs are not cheap.

Germany Spied On Foreign Journalists

The BND's future headquarters in Berlin. DPA

Spiegel Online: Documents Indicate Germany Spied on Foreign Journalists

Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, apparently spied on large numbers of foreign journalists overseas over the course of several years, including employees of the BBC, Reuters and the New York Times. Critics see a massive violation of press freedoms.

Arnaud Zajtman, 44, is not exactly the kind of person you would mistake for a terrorist, weapons trader or drug dealer. The Belgian journalist has been reporting from Africa for almost 20 years, with a keen interest in Congo. For 10 years, he was stationed in Kinshasa as a correspondent, first for the BBC and then for the television broadcaster France 24. His stories focused on the forgotten children of Congo, on the battles fought by the rebels and on the country's first free elections since 1965.

In that election year, in September 2006, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency, took an interest in the journalist's work. Agents included Zajtman's two Congolese telephone numbers in the agency's surveillance list as so-called "selectors."

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WNU Editor: Germany is not the only country doing this.

What Does Russia Want To Accomplish In Syria?

Russian President Vladimir Putin (3R) and President of Syria Bashar Assad (2L) at a meeting at the Kremlin. From right: Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. © Alexei Druzhinin / RIA Novosti

John Irish, Stephanie Nebehay and Tom Miles, Reuters: One question at U.N. Syria talks: What does Russia want?

The first U.N.-led Syria peace talks in almost a year are in danger of getting lost in procedure, as officials obsess about who will meet whom, but behind the scenes diplomats say it's largely up to Russia to call the tune.

Russia and the United States were the prime movers behind the last peace talks, which halted as the war heated up.

With the United States now taking a diplomatic back seat, Russia - whose military intervention turned the tide of Syria's war and helped President Bashar al-Assad recapture Aleppo - is potentially a kingmaker.

But its endgame is unclear.

"Our task is only to stabilize the legitimate authorities and deliver a final blow against international terrorism," Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday at a military ceremony as the Geneva talks began.

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WNU Editor: The Kremlin's focus on Syria involves ending the war, negotiating a peace treaty that will keep Assad in power, and keeping their naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus. My prediction .... the Syrian civil war is not going to end according to the Kremlin's timeline.

Tonight's Movie Is 'Eight Iron Men'



From Wikipedia: Eight Iron Men is a 1952 American World War II drama film directed by Edward Dmytryk and produced by Stanley Kramer.[1] It stars Bonar Colleano, Arthur Franz, Lee Marvin and Richard Kiley. The screenplay by Harry Brown was based on his 1945 play A Sound of Hunting, which had featured Burt Lancaster during its short run on Broadway.

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Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 24, 2017



David Gilbert, VICE News: Advancing: Iraqi forces recapture ISIS-held airport and military base in western Mosul

Iraqi forces made significant gains Friday in their mission to retake Mosul, taking back total control of the city’s airport as well as the Ghazlani military camp. Having already captured the eastern part of the city, Iraqi forces are now focusing their efforts on retaking the west, where entrenched Islamic State fighters remain well-armed. The terrorist organization is trying to hold onto its last major urban stronghold in Iraq.

Iraqi forces, backed by coalition forces and U.S. air support, pushed into Mosul’s western Mamun neighborhood on Friday, where they were immediately met with intense gunfire from IS militants. One captain in Iraq’s emergency response division told the BBC inside western Mosul: “We very close to liberating Mosul.”

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Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- February 24, 2017

What To Look For in Trump’s 30-Day ISIS Review -- Paul D. Shinkman, US News and World Report

Battered Mongolia faces make-or-break moment -- Ken Koyanagi, Nikkei Asian Review

South Korea's Dangerous Leadership Vacuum -- Benjamin Lee, The Diplomat

North Korea's use of nerve agent in murder sends a deliberate signal to foes -- Julian Borger, The Guardian

China's North Korea Problem -- Hannah Beech, New Yorker

China Moves to Put North Korea in Its Place -- Rodger Baker, Stratfor

Analyst: North Korea coal trade with China operated on 'kickbacks' -- Elizabeth Shim, UPI

As US-China tussle, Asean frets -- Richard Javad Heydarian, Asia Times

Fears of Trump giving China free rein in East Asia misplaced -- Doug Tsuruoka, Asia Times

The Philippines Criticizes China -- Jacob L. Shapiro, Geopoltiical Futures

If Zuma isn’t ousted South Africa faces ruin -- Jenni Russel, The Times/The Australian

Exclusive: How money flowed to Gambia's ex president -- Edward McAllister and Emma Farge, Reuters

As famine threatens, an unprecedented global challenge – and response -- Peter Ford, CSM

A German Clash over Trump's NATO Demands -- Konstantin von Hammerstein, Spiegel Online

It might be time to create an international terrorism court -- Ignacio De La Rasilla Del Moral, The Conversation

What on Earth Is Going On With the Stock Market? -- Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

World News Briefs -- February 24, 2017 (Evening Edition)



Reuters: Iraqi air force hits Islamic State inside Syria for first time

Iraqi warplanes have struck Islamic State targets inside Syria in retaliation for recent bomb attacks in Baghdad by the group, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Friday.

It appeared to be the first time Iraqi jets have conducted such raids across the border. A Syrian source said the strikes had been coordinated with Damascus.

Islamic State, which is now on the defensive after losing control of eastern Mosul in Iraq to a U.S.-backed Iraqi military offensive, has claimed responsibility for several car bombs in Baghdad in the capital in the past few weeks.

"We are determined to chase terrorism that tries to kill our sons and citizens, wherever it is found, so we gave orders to the air force command to strike Islamic State positions in (the Iraqi town of) Hosaiba and Albu Kamal inside Syrian territory as they were responsible for recent bombings in Baghdad," Abadi said in a statement.

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MIDDLE EAST

U.S. provided intelligence for Iraq strike in Syria: Pentagon.

Top US commander for Mideast in secret Syria trip: alliance.

Army claims gains in fight for western Mosul.

IS attack kills 15 Iraq border guards near Jordan: officials.

Almost 70 dead, 100 injured in two blasts near Al-Bab, Syria – reports. Suicide bomber kills 29 near Syria town taken from ISIS. Car bomb explodes near al-Bab, Syria, dozens dead.

Syria peace talks struggle as bomb kills dozens.

Suicide bomber kills at least five soldiers in Yemen. Yemen clashes and suicide bombing kill 43.

Yemen on 'brink of famine' as more than one-third of population faces starvation, UN warns.

Turkey coup: 136 diplomats and relatives seek Germany asylum.

New Hamas Gaza leader in rare public appearance.

Israel denies Human Rights Watch work visas due to 'extreme, hostile agenda'.

Israel to publish long-awaited report on 2014 Gaza war.

Iran complying with nuclear deal, says UN watchdog.

ASIA

North Korea steps up sanctions-busting: UN report.

Pakistan army launches first nationwide anti-terrorism operation. Pakistan OKs military cross-border operations against terrorists.

China hits back at Donald Trump's 'champion of currency manipulation' jibe.

‘S. China Sea is not Caribbean’: Chinese media slams ‘reckless’ US behavior in disputed waters.

China say North Korea's nuclear plan is a problem between U.S. and North Korea. China says US must work together on solution to N. Korea.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Nam killed with VX, the ‘most toxic weapon ever’.

North Korean suspects in Kim Jong Nam slaying had diplomatic passports.

Top Philippine drug war critic arrested, but defiant.

AFRICA

Angola says Portugal decision to charge vice president a 'serious attack'.

Morocco urges UN to end Polisario 'provocation'.

Egypt Christians flee Sinai after a spate of attacks. Egyptian Copts flee Sinai after suspected Islamic State attacks.

Boko Haram attack kills seven in Nigeria: security sources.

Boko Haram leader killed spokesman over 'leadership plot'.

Fear hangs over busy Uganda-DR Congo border post.

Residents trapped in Libya Tripoli amid militia fighting.

East Libya bans travel for those aged between 18 and 45.

South African police use force to disperse anti-immigration protesters.

EUROPE

Pro-Kremlin politicians warn Trump could unleash new arms race.

Trump badmouths Sweden, Germany, Paris.

Paris mayor fires back at Trump for insulting her city.

Juncker envisions EU overhaul, roles for post-Brexit UK and Turkey.

Ukrainian military shell Donetsk water purification plant.

Le Pen SURGES to lead in latest poll as voters serve 'a slap in the face' to establishment. 'Teflon' Le Pen unshaken as corruption plagues French election.

Le Pen blasts EU, NATO, praises Trump.

A citizens' petition calls for a new French President: Barack Obama.

Geert Wilders suspends election campaign over alleged security leak.

German entrepreneurs see pickup in Russia business.

Bosnia appeals against UN court's Serbia genocide ruling.

AMERICAS

U.S. charges former Guatemala VP, ex-minister with drug trafficking.

White House bars major news outlets from gaggle.

Trump repeats call for US nuclear supremacy.

At conservative gathering, Trump blasts purveyors of 'fake news'.

FBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump-Russia stories. White House dismisses CNN report on FBI as ‘indefensible’.

Trump blasts FBI for 'leaks' in midst of investigation.

Guatemala army blocks Dutch boat offering abortions. Dutch boat offering abortions to Guatemalans detained by army.

Venezuela loses right to vote in the UN until it pays its debts.

Colombia freezes FARC assets under peace deal.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Treasury, UN sanction 2 senior leaders in al Qaeda’s Syrian branch.

Pakistan launches terrorism crackdown after spate of bloody attacks.

Syrian 'moderate' rebels flocking to Al-Qaeda after CIA halts weapons pipeline.

Al-Qaeda calls for attacks on America over ‘Blind Sheik’ death.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street edges higher to give Dow 11th straight record.

Oil futures suggest bullish funds' big bet on price may pay off.

Alphabet sues Uber for allegedly stealing autonomous car technology.

US no longer Germany's top trade partner. China steams past U.S., France to be Germany's biggest trading partner.