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Conflicting Accounts in Niger Ambush Are Subject of Pentagon Investigation

The inconsistencies are at the heart of why the Pentagon has not been forthcoming with details about what happened in Niger, according to American military officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation. Four Americans were killed in the attack, including three Green Berets, as well as four Nigerien soldiers. Two Americans and six Nigeriens were wounded.The contradictions added to the major questions emerging about the attack: Had the soldiers acted beyond their planned mission without first gaining approval? And if they were given permission, who granted it?Military officials have said that the troops were on a reconnaissance patrol, which means they almost certainly were out to collect information on the Qaeda and Islamic State groups operating in the area; the American military has a list of Islamic State leaders they are targeting. For that mission, the commander of the American team would have needed approval from at least one or two higher levels — a subcommand in Chad and a task force commander in Germany, where the United States Africa Command is based.Once in the field, if the team wanted to change the mission to pursue a suspected Qaeda or Islamic State leader, the team leader would need to conduct a risk assessment and call for permission from his higher headquarters, according to current and former senior officials at the Africa Command who described how its soldiers conduct operations.PhotoThe four soldiers killed in Niger, from left, Staff Sgt. Bryan C. […]

Introducing the Next New York Times iPad App

We are pleased to unveil a completely redesigned New York Times app for your iPad. To get the new version, go to the App Store and download it. Tap here and then hit the “GET” button.The new app features:• Better performance, greater stability and more efficient downloads• A better organized and more lively Top Stories home screen that showcases the full depth of Times reporting, including views from our Opinion writers and trending stories• A cleaner article experience with bigger photos, 360 videos, and more graphics• Links at the bottom of articles to related coverage so you can dive deep into subjects that interest youPhotoOur new iPad app features a better organized and more lively Top Stories home screen.• Sections are more visual. Swipe left to right to get from section to sectionWe have also preserved popular features such as breaking news notifications, offline reading and an easy-to-navigate section list.How do I download it?Delete the existing NYTimes app from your iPad. Tap here and then hit the “GET” button. You will automatically be signed in if you were logged in on the previous app. If not, you can log in by navigating to settings.What happens to the old app?The old app will eventually be decommissioned, and we will be asking all our readers to shift to the new app.Why do I have to download another app?The new app is what Apple refers to as a “universal” application – meaning we will now maintain a single package of code for all iOS devices. This will allow our team to ship features and address bug reports more quickly for iPad and iPhone users.What if I have more questions?We are eager to hear your feedback and answer your questions. Please write to us at [email protected] reading the main story […]

Round & round: OGarden orbits plants around the light to grow 80 at a time

This indoor grow unit claims to enable users to harvest up to 2 to 4 vegetables daily, year-round, with just 5 minutes of maintenance per day. […]

Lightyear One solar electric car charges itself and will have a 500-mile range

A Dutch startup is planning to bring a completely solar-powered electric car to market, which could theoretically let some drivers go for months without plugging it in. […]

Praying mantises released for pest control are hunting hummingbirds

New research documents that mantises worldwide are eating small birds; in the US, invasive species are devouring hummingbirds. […]

Justices Strike Down Law Banning Disparaging Trademarks

On the other hand, the Supreme Court has said that the First Amendment falls out of the analysis when the government is not acting as a censor, but is merely choosing what speech to adopt or support. In 2015, in a 5-to-4 decision in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans, the court ruled that Texas could refuse to allow specialty license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag because the plates were the government’s speech and were thus immune from attacks on First Amendment grounds.Continue reading the main storyThe Slants said they did not intend to disparage anyone. Instead, they said, they sought to adopt and reform a disparaging term about Asians, much as some gay people have embraced the term “queer.”The government has applied the law inconsistently when faced with trademarks based on ethnic slurs. It has, for instance, both registered and rejected trademarks for the terms “Heeb,” “Dago,” “Injun” and “Squaw.”In the Redskins case, the trademark office registered the team’s trademarks in 1967, 1974, 1978 and 1990. In 2014, though, it reversed course and canceled six registrations, saying they disparaged Native Americans.The team lost before a trial judge in Virginia and appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, also in Virginia. The appeals court put the case aside while the Supreme Court considered the Slants case, Matal v. Tam, No. […]

Miracle material could eliminate cracked smartphone screens

The material could also one day charge our devices. […]