White House has no clear plan for next steps in Syria after missile strike

Tensions mount with Russia as Sean Spicer says Assad must ‘abide by agreements not to use chemical weapons’ but fails to outline US objectives

The White House appeared to back away from wider military involvement in Syria less than 24 hours after launching Tomahawk missiles at one of Bashar al-Assad’s airbases.

The press secretary, Sean Spicer, refused to discuss any next steps – military or diplomatic – by the US in Syria, as the world struggled to understand Trump’s policy toward the grueling civil war.

Meanwhile, Syrian warplanes were reported to have taken off from the airbase targeted by the US missiles, suggesting that the military impact of the overnight attack had been minimal. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said that government aircraft had bombed the outskirts of Khan Sheikhun, the town targeted in Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack

Spicer called the missile strike on the airbase “very decisive, justified and proportional” and entirely justified by “humanitarian purposes”.

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Intel Security is McAfee again

If you were on the internet in a certain era, you remember McAfee. It was the defensive line between you and the rest of the internet, reminding you with incessant popups that you were not hacked, not quite yet, but only if you renewed your subscription right away. Then Intel bought the firewall company in 2010 for an eye-popping $7.68 billion and billed it as Intel Security, and the name McAfee became more closely associated with the company’s founder, a man who retired to Belize only to be accused of his neighbor’s murder. (Johnny Depp will reportedly play John McAfee in an upcoming film.)

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Opposition leader Alexei Navalny detained amid protests across Russia

Crowds gather in major cities to protest against corruption in largest anti-government demonstrations for five years, with over a hundred detained

Alexei Navalny is arrested at a rally in Moscow on Sunday.

Police detained over a hundred people in Moscow and dozens in other Russian cities, as some of the biggest protests against the Kremlin in several years were held across the country on Sunday.

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SpaceX is pushing back the target launch date for its first Mars mission

The company was aiming for 2018 but is now looking to 2020

Last year, SpaceX announced a bold plan to launch its Dragon spacecraft to Mars as soon as 2018 — in what would be the first ever private mission to the Red Planet. But now it looks like the company is pushing back the mission by a couple years. SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell confirmed today that SpaceX is now targeting the year 2020 for the Mars trip, a move that will allow the company to better focus on its other ambitious projects.

We were focused on 2018, but we felt like we needed to put more resources and focus more heavily on our crew program and our Falcon Heavy program,” Shotwell said at a pre-launch press conference in Cape Canaveral, Florida. “So we’re looking more for the 2020 timeframe for that.”

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Trump says cyberattacks had “no effect” on election outcome after briefing

Four top intelligence officials briefed the president-elect Friday on a classified report on Russian hacking and interference in the election

 

Top intelligence officials briefed President-elect Donald Trump Friday on Russia’s hacking efforts to interfere with the U.S. election.

Following the briefing at Trump Tower in New York, Mr. Trump released a statement on what he called a “constructive meeting and conversation” saying that the cyberattacks had “no effect on the outcome of the election.”

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German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel calls for ban on Islamist mosques

Social Democrats leader and German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has called for tougher measures against Islamist trends in Germany. His demands come just weeks after the “Islamic State”-claimed terror attack in Berlin.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel

In an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said that “Salafist mosques must be banned, communities dissolved, and the preachers should be expelled as soon as possible.”

“Those who encourage violence do not enjoy the protection of religious freedom,” the leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) added, stressing that he had “zero tolerance” in combating Islamism.

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Vermont power company finds malware linked to Russian hackers

A malware signature linked to ‘Grizzly Steppe’ by the FBI and DHS was found on a single laptop.

Just a few days ago, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security released a report detailing their assessment that Russian hackers were behind a series of attacks on US agencies and citizens. While the Obama administration issued sanctions, code linked to those hackers has been shared with other agencies, and on Friday, the Burlington Electric Department found malware with a matching signature on one of its laptops. The discovery raises more questions than it answers, but with recent reports of Russian hackers attacking the power grid in Ukraine, it obviously has raised alerts all over.

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Giant Avatar-style robot takes first steps in South Korea 

A giant South Korean-built manned robot that walks like a human but makes the ground shake under its weight has taken its first baby steps.

Designed by a veteran of science fiction blockbusters, the four-metre-tall (13-foot), 1.5 ton Method-2 towers over a room on the outskirts of Seoul.

An employee controls the arms of a manned biped walking robot "METHOD-2" during a demonstration in Gunpo, South Korea

The hulking human-like creation bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie “Avatar”.

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Terror attack on Istanbul nightclub leaves 35 dead

Terror attack on Istanbul nightclub leaves 35 dead

An assailant dressed in a Santa Claus costume opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul during New Year’s celebrations, killing at least 35 people and wounding several others, Istanbul governor Vasip Şahin said early Sunday.

A police officer was among the killed in the attack targeting the popular Reina nightclub in Istanbul’s Ortaköy district. More than one assailant may have been involved in the attack, sources said. Over 500 people were inside the club at the time.

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