Facebook is reportedly eyeing the purchase of a drone manufacturer to expand its Internet.org initiative. The social media network could spend $60 million on Titan Aerospace, a company that makes solar-powered flying robots that can float in the sky for up to five years. To help jumpstart Facebook's ambitious plan in connecting parts of the world that lack internet connectivity, the company wants to shoot 11,000 drones up into the African sky.
Titan Aerospace manufactures the Solara 60, a lightweight drone that shoots 12.5 miles into the sky and siphons the sun's rays for energy. But the part that Facebook is most impressed with is that the gizmos can be equipped with high-tech communication software that can beam the internet to the land below.
A suspected murderer gave police an alibi so outlandish — it involves a masked assailant with a voice like Vin Diesel's who was ultimately chased off with a blowtorch — that the fact a Fitbit could hold the key to whether he is telling the truth isn't the strangest part of the story.
Richard Dabate told authorities that at around 9 a.m. on Dec. 23, 2015, a mysterious intruder entered his Ellington, Connecticut, home, and subdued him using "pressure points," The Guardian reports. Then, using a gun belonging to Richard, the man shot Dabate's wife, Connie, as she returned home from the gym. Dabate then claimed he used a blowtorch to chase the assailant away. Police say that Connie Dabate's Fitbit tells a different story.
The electronic physical activity tracking device showed that Connie was moving for more than an hour after her husband said the murder took place, police documents say. It also showed that once she came home, she moved more than 1,200 feet; Richard Dabate said she was killed in the garage right when she arrived home. Investigators say they also looked at computer records and found that Richard Dabate lied about sending an email to his work from the road, plus they were unable to find any signs of a forced entry, struggle, or a tall man with a "Vin Diesel voice," which is how Dabate described the alleged murderer.
Police say the couple's marriage was on shaky ground, and that Richard Dabate had a pregnant girlfriend on the side and attempted to claim a $475,000 life insurance policy on Connie Dabate five days after her murder. Now facing trial on charges of murder, tampering with evidence, and making a false statement, Dabate is due back in court Friday. Catherine Garcia
Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News anchor who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her ex-boss Roger Ailes last year, is writing a book on women's empowerment that will come out this fall.
Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back is set to be released on Sept. 26, Hachette's Center Street Books announced Tuesday. The book will teach women how to recognize harassment and how to fight back, as well as share ways to end workplace abuse, the publisher says. After Carlson came forward with her claims against Ailes, which he denied, several other women lodged similar complaints, and he was ultimately ousted from Fox News. Carlson settled with the network in September.
"Make no mistake — sexual harassment is not just about sex," Carlson said in a statement. "It's really about power. Sexual harassers feel they can get away with it because they believe they're the ones holding all the cards. It doesn't occur to them that the women they're harassing have power, too. We need to encourage women to stop being silent, stand up and speak up, and join the movement. Together, we can make change." Catherine Garcia
Several House Freedom Caucus members are close to throwing their support behind a new version of the GOP health-care bill, several White House officials and Republican lawmakers told The Washington Post Tuesday.
The officials said three of the ultra-conservative group's leaders — Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) — hinted on Tuesday that they will back the revised bill. The GOP's earlier plan fizzled in March, when House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) pulled the American Health Care Act from the floor when it became clear it didn't have the votes. Most members of the House Freedom Caucus said at the time they would not vote for the bill as it was written.
Officials told The Post that the revised bill would make it so insurers could secure a federal waiver that kept them from having to cover certain essential health benefits established by the federal government, and while it would still require that people with preexisting conditions receive coverage, they could be charged higher premiums. The language was crafted by Meadows and Rep. Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), co-chairman of the more moderate Tuesday Group. Several Republicans told The Post that they are skeptical this new legislation would receive enough support, either, and GOP leaders in the House are not spearheading the discussions with the Freedom Caucus. Catherine Garcia
A U.S. missile defense system that China views as a threat to its own military capabilities was sent to a deployment site in South Korea early Wednesday.
Area residents watched as six trailers carrying Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) equipment arrived at a golf course, and the Yonhap news agency reports that the delivery caused clashes between the locals and police. The system is designed to intercept and destroy short- and medium-range ballistic missiles during their last flight stage, and is being deployed to counter the threat from North Korea.
North Korea is thought to be readying for its sixth nuclear weapons test. During his visit to South Korea earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence and the country's acting president agreed to an early deployment of the missile defense system. China has been vocal about its opposition to THAAD, as have South Koreans who think it escalates the situation with North Korea. Catherine Garcia
An advocacy group is demanding an investigation into a post originally published on the State Department's ShareAmerica website that read like it came straight from the marketing department inside Trump Tower.
On Tuesday, Common Cause filed a complaint with the Office of Government Ethics over the post from early April, which went into rhapsodic detail over Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's Palm Beach, Florida, club that he calls the "Winter White House," even though it is now spring. Since becoming president, Trump has spent half of his weekends at the private club, and after the election, its membership fee doubled to $200,000.
The Mar-a-Lago post also appeared on the websites for the U.S. embassies in the U.K. and Albania, but after the news broke on Monday, it was was removed. Mark Toner, acting spokesman for the State Department, said the post was written by the International Information Program, and no one in the administration asked for it. "It was meant to provide historical information and context relevant to the conduct of U.S. diplomacy, and was not intended to endorse or promote any private enterprise," he told NBC News. Common Cause disagrees, and said the post was an "abuse of taxpayer funds" that proves Trump does not separate his business from the government. Another group, American Oversight, also filed a complaint on Tuesday, calling for an investigation into why the glowing post was written and how it came together. Catherine Garcia
The Lion King's beloved warthog-meerkat duo of Pumbaa and Timon could be voiced by comedians Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner in the upcoming live-action remake. The Wrap revealed Tuesday that Rogen and Eichner are reportedly in "final negotiations" to sign onto the film that's being directed by Jon Favreau. Rogen would voice Pumbaa and Eichner would take the part of Timon.
Donald Glover has already agreed to voice Simba, and James Earl Jones will reprise his role from the 1994 animated film as Mufasa. Favreau is reportedly trying to convince Beyoncé to voice Nala.
A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Trump's executive order that threatened to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities, which refuse to comply with federal immigration orders by protecting undocumented immigrants. Cutting off this money was a key promise of Trump's presidential campaign.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco ruled that the plaintiffs, San Francisco and Santa Clara County, would likely be able to prove Trump's order unconstitutional. Orrick wrote in the preliminary injunction that the order has "caused budget uncertainty" for the counties, and argued that the president "has no authority to attach new conditions to federal immigration spending," The Associated Press reported. "Given the nationwide scope of the order, and its apparent constitutional flaws," Orrick wrote, "a nationwide injunction is appropriate." Becca Stanek