Mattis Resigns, Gatwick Airport Resumes Flights, Chinese Hackers Charged, US Government Shutdown Over Border Wall Looms, An

Mattis Resigns, Gatwick Airport Resumes Flights, Chinese Hackers Charged, U.S. Government Shutdown Over Border Wall Looms, And More
  • ​U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced his resignation on Thursday, alarming Democrats, Republicans, and other military leaders over plans for his departure in February. Mattis made the decision after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and ordered a troop reduction in Afghanistan—both against the advice of Mattis. “My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held,” Mattis wrote in his resignation later obtained by NPR. “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”​

  • Britain’s Gatwick Airport resumed flights Friday after grounding them due to multiple drone sightings in the runway area. Officials called the activity a “deliberate act” of disruption but are not considering it a terror attack. “The episode provided the starkest evidence to date of how vulnerable airports across the world are to drones, which are widely available, loosely regulated, and more advanced in their technology than equipment meant to guard against the risks they pose,” according to The New York Times.

  • China has focused its hacking efforts on managed service providers since 2014 in an effort to steal vast amounts of intellectual property from businesses around the world, according to an indictment released by the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday. Managed service providers “are incredibly valuable targets. They are people that you pay to have privileged access to your network,” said Benjamin Reed, senior manager for cyberespionage analysis at FireEye, in an interview with WIRED. “It’s a potential foothold into hundreds of organizations.”

  • Trump warned that a partial U.S. federal government shutdown could last for a “very long” time if Senate Democrats do not get on board with his plan to fund a border wall. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure late Thursday, which includes more than $5 billion for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. “Everyone knows it will not pass the Senate,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to NBC News. “Speaker Ryan, Leader McCarthy have cynically put it on the floor of the House, knowing it can’t pass the Senate.” Current funding for nine government agencies runs out at midnight tonight.

  • A suspect linked to the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris that killed 12 people was arrested in Djibouti. Authorities apprehended Peter Cherif, 36, also known as Abou Hamza, and plan to transfer him to France to answer questions about his suspected role as the mastermind behind the attack. 

  • In other news, a new report finds that developments in AI could adversely affect the gender pay gap, Uber puts its self-driving vehicles back on the road, Apple reveals an uptick in demands for user data, the acting U.S. attorney general has cleared himself to supervise the special counsel’s investigation, The New York Times takes a look at the effect opioids have on the human body, and U.S. lawmakers pass legislation to change sexual harassment policy in Congress.