U.S. in for long Afghan stay

first_imgInsurgents have launched more than 100 suicide attacks this year, an unprecedented pace, including a bombing in Kabul on Saturday against a U.S. convoy that killed an American soldier and four Afghan civilians – the third suicide blast in Kabul in a week. More than 5,100 people – mostly militants – have died in insurgency related violence so far this year, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Afghan and Western officials. That far outpaces last year’s violence, when the AP count topped 4,000 for the entire year. Some 87 U.S. troops have also died so far this year, also a record pace. About 90 U.S. service members were killed in all of last year. Wide areas of the south – in Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan provinces – are controlled by the Taliban, and the fighting is migrating north, into Ghazni province – where 23 South Koreans were kidnapped in July – and Wardak, right next door to Kabul, the capital. Osama bin Laden, whose presence here was a trigger for the U.S.-led attack, is still at large, possibly hiding in the mountains along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. And Afghan farmers this year grew a record amount of opium poppy, prompting officials to draw up plans to use the military in drug interdiction missions against traffickers. Rubin said Washington ignored how difficult the fight would be and wanted to prevent U.S. forces from being tied down in nation-building exercises as in the Balkans. “Since 2005, U.S. generals have told me (former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld) was drumming his fingers on the table trying to find out when he could take the troops out,” Rubin said. “Now the administration has completely reversed itself, but of course without ever admitting it was wrong and still without a strategy that has a serious chance of success.” Still, U.S. commanders point out that military operations have killed more than 50 mid- and high-level Taliban commanders this year, causing at least a temporary disruption in the militants’ abilities. The Afghan army participated in its first jointly planned and executed operation, in Ghazni province, earlier this summer. Originally, Pentagon planners thought Bagram would be a “temporary” camp, Ives said, but an increased U.S. commitment to Afghanistan means Bagram needs to grow. “Where we designed a base around 3,000 (troops), it quickly moved to 7,000 and now we’re housing about 13,000, so just in a very short period of time you’ve grown not necessarily exponentially but you’ve definitely doubled just about every two years,” Ives said. A new runway accommodates heavier C-5 cargo planes and Boeing 747s. New soldiers’ barracks – safer and more comfortable than the wooden structures that dot Bagram – are being built. And more workers are flowing in. Two years ago, some 1,500 Afghans worked in support roles at Bagram; today 5,000 walk through its front gates daily. Six years after CIA agents and Special Forces soldiers helped the Northern Alliance swoop down from their northern stronghold toward Taliban-controlled Kabul, President Hamid Karzai is increasingly asking that Taliban militants join the government through peace talks. And the U.N. has said an increasing number of fighters want peace. But the Taliban and factional warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the militant group Hezb-i-Islami, have rejected those offers, saying that international troops must first leave the country.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BAGRAM, Afghanistan – Six years after the first U.S. bombs began falling on Afghanistan’s Taliban government and its al-Qaida guests, America is planning for a long stay. Originally envisioned as a temporary home for invading U.S. forces, the sprawling American base at Bagram, a former Soviet outpost in the shadow of the towering Hindu Kush mountains, is growing in size by nearly a third. Today the U.S. has about 25,000 troops in the country, and other NATO nations contribute another 25,000, more than three times the number of international troops in the country four years ago, when the Taliban appeared defeated. The Islamic militia has come roaring back since then, and 2007 has been the battle’s bloodiest year yet. Barnett R. Rubin, an expert on Afghanistan at New York University, said U.S. leaders in Washington “utterly failed” to understand what was needed to consolidate that original Taliban rout, which started with airstrikes on Oct. 7, 2001, less than a month after the Sept. 11 attacks in Washington and New York. “The Bush administration did not see Afghanistan as a long-term commitment, and its leaders deceived themselves into thinking they had won an irreversible victory. They did not consider Afghanistan important and always intended to focus on Iraq,” he said. “Now the U.S. and international community have fallen way behind, and the Taliban are winning strategically, even if we defeat them in every tactical engagement,” he added. At Bagram, new barracks will help accommodate the record number of U.S. troops in the country. “We’ve grown in our commitment to Afghanistan by putting another brigade (of troops) here, and with that we know that we’re going to have an enduring presence,” said Col. Jonathan Ives. “So this is going to become a long-term base for us, whether that means five years, 10 years – we don’t know.” last_img read more

The Energy-Efficiency Pyramid

first_img This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. UPDATED on September 24, 2013We’re all familiar with the food pyramid — the triangle with grains and cereals at the bottom and fats and sugars at the top. Inspired by the food pyramid, a Midwestern electric utility, Minnesota Power, has created a useful graphic called the energy conservation pyramid. (According to a Minnesota Power spokesperson, the originator of the conservation pyramid was Bob McLean, the chief operating officer at Hunt Utilities Group.)The energy conservation pyramid includes ten levels. Like the food pyramid, it’s read from the bottom up. Homeowners who are uncertain of the best way to lower their energy bills should start at the lowest level of the pyramid and work their way up. In general, one shouldn’t proceed to a higher level until the actions below that level have been completed.Actions near the bottom of the pyramid are much more cost-effective than actions near the top of the pyramid. At current energy prices, in fact, the actions listed on the top two layers are never cost-effective.The rules displayed in the energy conservation pyramid are not set in stone; every house is different, and different climates dictate different strategies. But it’s hard to quibble with the pyramid’s basic hierarchy.From the bottom up, here are the pyramid’s ten steps.1. Home energy auditBefore beginning any energy retrofit work, a homeowner needs information — information best obtained through a home energy audit.A good home energy audit always includes a blower-door test; most audits also include a thermographic inspection. To be sure your auditor is well trained, choose one certified by RESNET, BPI, or CBPCA.A home energy audit can cost as much as $600. Thanks to subsidies from utilities and local governments, however, the cost of a home energy audit is often much… center_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log inlast_img read more

Apple Makes Its Move In The Smart Home With HomeKit

first_img4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Tags:#Apple#HomeKit#Internet of Things#iPhone#smart home#WWDC#WWDC 2014 adriana lee Related Posts 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnoutcenter_img After weeks of anticipation, Apple finally offered details on its smart home offering: HomeKit, a strategy designed to “bring some rationality to this space,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president for software engineering said at company’s Worldwide Developers Conference.HomeKit is designed to unify the various, piecemeal experience in the connected home, with a variety of providers, systems and connectivity options under “a common network protocol,” Federighi said.Specifics were scarce. Federighi said HomeKit will somehow allow iOS users to control their homes with their iPhones—and only their iPhones—to manage “locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs, switches.” The mobile device will offer secure pairing, and can control separate gadgets or set automations for groups of devices.And it will be controlled via voice, thanks to integration with Apple’s Siri personal assistant. So you can change modes by saying “time for bed,” and your house will respond by bringing down the lights and locking the front door.Federighi’s presentation focused mostly on features, not specifics, but we look forward to unpacking this protocol in the days ahead. 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

With Fajardo playing sparingly, Santos delivers for ‘complete’ SMB team

first_imgAgainst Globalport, though, Santos was again playing at his natural position while import Wendell McKines played at the five spot.This allowed San Miguel’s offense to spread out with Santos lurking in the perimeter and that allowed him to knock down a career-high seven three-pointers.“It’s just great that you can contribute in so many ways,” said Santos in Filipino. “Who wouldn’t be happy if they know they can help their team win in whatever way they can?”ADVERTISEMENT UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:02Fajardo predicts there will be no sweep in PBA Finals01:30’Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PBA IMAGESSan Miguel on Friday knew the reality that prized three-time MVP June Mar Fajardo wouldn’t be able to log in heavy minutes against Globalport. And even though Fajardo played just seven minutes and 30 seconds, all in the first half, one-time MVP Arwind Santos was there to will the Beermen to a 115-112 win over the Batang Pier for their third win in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup.ADVERTISEMENT Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses “Our performance out there, even though we didn’t have June Mar, just shows that this San Miguel team is a complete team,” said Santos in Filipino at Smart Araneta Coliseum.Santos finished with 30 points, eight rebounds, and five blocks in the victory as he reverted back to his natural power forward spot.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutREAD: San Miguel overcomes GlobalPort behind Santos’ heroicsThe 2013 MVP usually gets moved to the three spot during import conferences to accommodate the  reinforcements that play power forward while Fajardo remains at center.center_img LATEST STORIES SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Caluag fails to defend BMX title, settles for bronze MOST READ LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games View commentslast_img read more

23 days agoLeicester midfielder Praet insists they’re going for Europe

first_imgLeicester midfielder Praet insists they’re going for Europeby Paul Vegas23 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLeicester City midfielder Dennis Praet insists they’re going for Europe this season.The Foxes are third in the Premier League table after seven matches, only behind Liverpool and Manchester City.He said, “We are trying to force European football.”That is what we are aiming for. It is going very well now, but there are teams behind us who will return and must do so, such as Tottenham and Arsenal.”We are enthusiastic and bring good football. European football is our goal and that would be a great step for Leicester.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

12 days agoItaly coach Mancini urges Everton striker Kean ‘to be more careful’

first_imgItaly coach Mancini urges Everton striker Kean ‘to be more careful’by Paul Vegas12 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveItaly coach Roberto Mancini has urged Everton striker Moise Kean to keep his cool during games.Mancini has commented on Kean’s recent red card after the Everton striker was sent off on U21 duty.The Blues star was in action against Republic of Ireland U21s on Thursday but saw his evening cut short after being dismissed for an altercation with Tottenham Hotspur’s Troy Parrott, who also saw red.”‘m sorry for yesterday’s expulsion,” Mancini told reporters on Friday.”He was also unlucky. But he is always involved, he must be more careful.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

LSU Basketball Has The No. 1 2015 Recruiting Class After Commitment Of 4-Star Brandon Sampson

first_imgLSU head basketball coach Johnny Jones had already locked up a pretty transformative 2015 recruiting class, and added to it today with the commitment of four-star shooting guard Brandon SampsonBrandon Sampson in his #LSU hat pic.twitter.com/n3hIcS6ady— Jerit Roser (@JeritRoser) April 20, 2015Sampson chose his hometown Tigers over schools like Cal, St. John’s, and USC, and joins a class that already features consensus No. 1 recruit Ben Simmons, and five-star guard Antonio Blakeney. With Sampson in the fold, LSU has jumped conference-mate Kentucky for the No. 1 class in the country. 247lsu2015Kentucky is still pursuing a few top players, so there is a chance that the Wildcats will retake the top spot by the time the classes are finalized, but this should be considered a major victory for Tiger fans either way.last_img read more

The AliFrazier Battle Of Internet Chess Is Happening This Week

Share on Facebook You’re reading Back of the Envelope, an experiment that aims to bring shorter, quicker content to FiveThirtyEight. Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian chess grandmaster and No. 1-ranked chess player in the world, is just over two weeks away from defending his world championship in New York City. It’ll be a grueling test, with hours-long games spread out over 19 days, but Carlsen will be the heavy favorite. But rather than poring over potential opening moves or studying the intricacies of endgames, he’s heading to the internet to play some speed chess.Thursday, Carlsen will play Hikaru Nakamura, the four-time U.S. chess champion, in Chess.com’s online Grandmaster Blitz Battle final, which the site is billing as the Ali vs. Frazier of online chess. In the world championship for chess with “classical” time controls, each player gets at least 100 minutes for all his or her moves. But Thursday’s blitz battle will feature a series of games wherein the players get just 5 minutes, 3 minutes and, finally, 1 minute per side.According to the latest FIDE list, a ranking that uses Elo ratings and in-person results, Carlsen and Nakamura are the second- and third-best blitz players in the world, respectively. (China’s Liren Ding is No. 1.) But according to Chess.com’s newly developed Computer Accuracy & Precision Score (or CAPS), Nakamura may have a slight edge in speed games over the world champion. CAPS is based on a comparison between the humans’ actual moves and the moves deemed best by a computer.You can watch the match, starting at 1 p.m. Eastern, on Chess.com and Twitch. And if you can’t wait, here’s an appetizer — the two grandmasters playing a private speed game in a hotel room a few years ago: read more