Thursday, December 13, 2018

Chaff From Military Plane Responsible For Mysterious Blob On Weather Radar

ABC News: Chaff from military plane likely caused mysterious blip in weather radar: Reports

Meteorologists may have discovered what caused a mysterious blip in the weather radar in Illinois and Kentucky earlier this week.

On Monday afternoon, large blips that would usually indicate stormy weather flashed across the radar maps showing southern Illinois and western Kentucky, but there was neither a storm system nor a raindrop in sight, according to the National Weather Service, which described the radar at the time as "interesting."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It appears they are doing this exercise in other states .... Now Massive Plumes Of Chaff Are Lighting Up Radar Over Maine and Florida Too (Warzone/The Drive).

More News On Chaff From Military Plane Being Responsible For A Mysterious Blob On Weather Radar

A West Virginia Air Guard C-130H Was Responsible For Massive Chaff Cloud Over Midwest -- Warzone/The Drive
Mystery of the strange blob that appeared on weather radar on a clear day is solved -- Daily Mail
A strange radar blip crawled over southern Illinois for 10 hours. What was it? -- Washington Post

Melania Trump Makes First Lady History With Ride In A V-22 Osprey

CNN: Melania Trump makes historic Osprey flight to visit US military

(CNN)Melania Trump spent part of Wednesday flying over areas of Virginia and the Atlantic Ocean in a V-22 Osprey, becoming the first first lady to do so.

The Osprey is a massive military flight machine that can fly longer ranges like a plane while also having the ability to land and take off like a helicopter, a maneuver that came in handy when Trump paid a visit to the USS George H.W. Bush, the Navy's 1,092-foot long warship, which is powered by two nuclear reactors.

rump's appearance on the aircraft carrier was the last of three military-themed events in which the first lady took part in the span of about five hours, first to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, outside of Washington, where she boarded the V-22, and then on to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, in Hampton, Virginia, for a tour and a meet-and-greet with military families.

"When preparing for this stop, I learned that this base is more than 100 years old, and has a long history of excellence," said Trump in prepared remarks to the approximately 600 servicemembers at Langley-Eustis.

Read more ....

More News On Melania Trump Making First Lady History With Ride In A V-22 Osprey

Melania Trump Makes First Lady History With Ride in Osprey -- US News and World Report/AP
'I speak on behalf of my husband when I tell you we are forever grateful for your service': Melania touts Trump's love of troops in series of appearances with military - and posts a military hat selfie -- Daily Mail
Melania Trump high-fives schoolchildren, thanks military families at Langley Air Force Base -- Virginia Pilot
Melania Trump arrives in style at military base in Osprey aircraft --

Everyone Wants A Selfie With Her

The first lady got a warm welcome from the service members

WNU Editor: If given a choice on having a selfie with her or her husband, I would choose her. :)

The above picture came from this news story .... 'I speak on behalf of my husband when I tell you we are forever grateful for your service': Melania touts Trump's love of troops in series of appearances with military - and posts a military hat selfie (Daily Mail).

Tweets For Today

Pomp And Ceremony For The Kremlin Cadet Ball In Moscow

Male cadets line the stairs while their ballgown-clad partners pose for a photograph on the staircase at the International Kremlin Cadet ball

Daily Mail: Grab a partner! Russia's soldiers of the future don their finery in a breathtaking display of pomp and ceremony for the Kremlin Cadet Ball in Moscow

* The annual military ball sees around 1,000 troops don their finest dress for a night of ball dancing
* Young soldiers swap the the parade ground for the ballroom to dance the night away with their peers
* Cadets are mainly from Russia but are also from other parts of Europe as far as Spain and Greece
* Taking part in tonight's proceedings were teenagers from orphanages as well as military cadets

Young Russian cadets donned their finery tonight for the International Kremlin Cadet Ball in Moscow.

The Gostiny Dvor ballroom, the city's old merchant court which is situated just a stone's throw from the Kremlin, was transformed into a sea of white and navy at the third annual military soir├ęe on Tuesday evening.

This year's event, held in Moscow's Kitai-gorod district, marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of earliest Suvorov military schools and the 76th anniversary of the establishment of the Nakhimov Naval School in Russia.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The times have certainly changed. These events were never permitted when the Soviet Union existed.

Picture Of The Day

Soldiers from North and South Korea verify the removal of guard posts on each side of the Demilitarized Zone, December 12, 2018. The two Koreas are taking steps to disarm areas along the border as part of talks between the two nations, including removing some landmines and guard posts and begin reconnecting rail and road links. South Korean Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

WNU Editor: The above picture is form this photo-gallery .... Easing tensions along the Korean DMZ (Reuters).

Russia Presents Its New State-Of-The-Art MiG-35 Fighter Jet

RT: Russia presents its new state-of-art MiG-35 fighter jet in stunning VIDEO

Russia’s most advanced lightweight MiG-35 fighters, which are currently undergoing flight tests, have been unveiled by the Ministry of Defense in a spectacular new video showing some of the jets’ capabilities.

In the twinkling of an eye, a pair of these multirole jets is seen taking off the runway, rushing into the skies, and rapidly gaining altitude. The MiG-35s then show off complex maneuvers almost immediately after becoming airborne.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Impressive video. But I still think the F-22 is the  best fighter jet out there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Russian Submarines Showing Up In The Gulf Of Mexico?

Michael Peck, National Interest: Coming Soon: Russian Submarines in the Gulf of Mexico?

“Our submarines, too, might have surfaced suddenly some place in the Gulf of Mexico to shock America,” Korotchenko said. “We have the corresponding forces of our submarine fleet there. We do not do that for the simple reason our purpose is not to show off in such a silly way, but to cope with the assigned tasks.”

Russia’s message to the United States: Sail your warships into Russian coastal waters, and we’ll send our warships into yours.

That threat comes after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed into an area of the Sea of Japan, near the Russian port of Vladivostok, that is claimed by Russia. The USS McCampbell conducted a freedom of navigation operation (FONOPS) cruise to demonstrate that the United States does not recognize Russian sovereignty over those waters.

The McCampbell sailed on December 5 “in the vicinity of Peter the Great Bay to challenge Russia’s excessive maritime claims and uphold the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea enjoyed by the United States and other nations,” announced the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Arleigh Burke -class destroyer can carry up to 96 Tomahawk missiles.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It would not be the first time that Russian naval vessels were in the Gulf of Mexico .... A Russian spy ship is snooping around US nuclear submarine bases — here's what it's up to (Business Insider).

3 U.S. Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarines 'Not Certified To Dive Today'

USS Boise moors at Marathi NATO Pier Complex in Souda Bay, Greece, during a scheduled visit Dec. 23, 2014.

ABC News: US Navy: 3 nuclear-powered attack submarines 'not certified to dive today'

Three nuclear-powered attack submarines are currently not operational, according to U.S. Navy officials, proving the service is still working to reduce its backlog of submarines that require maintenance.

The spotlight has been on the USS Boise, which has now been out of service for four years. Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran told senators during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday that the Boise would enter a private shipyard in January, but two other submarines "are not certified to dive today."

The Navy has been working for years to get more submarines into dry dock for maintenance, which now includes the use of private sector shipyards in addition to public ones. As many as 15 subs awaited maintenance in Oct. 2017, keeping a significant chunk of the service's 71-submarine fleet potentially out of service.

Read more ....

Update: 3 US Navy attack submarines 'not certified to dive today' (CNN)

WNU Editor: The USS Boise has been out of service for four years, and will finally enter a private shipyard in January. 15 other subs are waiting for maintenance. This is not how you run a Navy .... but apparently this has been a problem for a long time.

Tensions Grow Between Malaysia And Singapore

Nile Bowie, Asia Times: Malaysia opens old and new wounds with Singapore

Air and sea disputes have stoked new tensions between the causeway neighbors, revisiting an earlier era of testy bilateral relations.

Air and sea disputes have stoked new tensions between Malaysia and Singapore, driving ties between the neighbors to their lowest point since Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad notched a shock election victory in May this year.

Earlier this month, Singapore lodged a “strong protest” over Malaysia’s plans to extend the limits of a port in its southernmost state, Johor, claiming its territorial waters would be encroached upon.

The wealthy city-state also accused Malaysian vessels of repeated intrusions, claims that Malaysia’s Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook has contested.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There has been differences between Singapore and Malaysia for as long as I can remember. This border dispute will be resolved over time.

President Trump Says He Is Not Concerned About Being Impeached

U.S. President Donald Trump sits for an exclusive interview with Reuters journalists in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Reuters: Exclusive: Trump says he is not concerned about being impeached, defends payments to women

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he was not concerned that he could be impeached and that hush payments made ahead of the 2016 election by his former personal attorney Michael Cohen to two women did not violate campaign finance laws.

“It’s hard to impeach somebody who hasn’t done anything wrong and who’s created the greatest economy in the history of our country,” Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview.

“I’m not concerned, no. I think that the people would revolt if that happened,” he said.

Federal prosecutors in New York said last week that Trump directed Cohen to make six-figure payments to two women so they would not discuss their alleged affairs with the candidate ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He may not be concerned, but for many Democrats this is going to be the number one issue from now to the next Presidential election .... Pelosi’s Team Under Rising Pressure to Pursue Trump Impeachment (Bloomberg).

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- December 12, 2018

More Than Half of Britons Still Disapprove of European Union LeadershipU.S. Global Investors

Frank Holmes, Forbes: No One Ever Said Brexit Was Going to Be Easy

If you followed some of my posts from two years ago, you might recall that I was in favor of Brexit. I still am. One of British voters’ main grievances was the heavy burden of European Union (EU) regulations, many of which are decided by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. Altogether, these regulations cost U.K. businesses an estimated 33.3 billion pounds every year. Voters should have the right to decide whether to abide by these rules, which hamper business, or choose a different path.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- December 12, 2018

How May won over the waverers to survive leadership challenge -- Jessica Elgot, The Guardian

Intel: How Yemen talks may deepen US-EU divide over Iran -- Al-Monitor

The US & China: A Colder Peace or Thucydides’ Trap? -- James Kitfield, Braking Defense

The War on Huawei -- Jeffrey D. Sachs, Project Syndicate

China’s 'Tantrum Diplomacy' and Huawei -- Elliott Zaagman, RCW/Interpreter

Analysis: China plays hardball with ex-diplomat’s seizure -- Christopher Bodeen, AP

Canada is caught in the middle of a China-U.S. tech war -- Paul Evans, The Globe and Mail

Huawei Case Will Split Nations Between U.S. and China -- Mohamed A. El-Erian, Bloomberg

Meng arrest and Huawei claims illustrate China’s high-tech dilemma -- Gordon Watts, Asia Times

The Afghan government should not be sidelined in peace talks -- Safiullah Taye, Al Jazeera

A Path Forward in Afghanistan -- Bharath Gopalaswamy, Atlantic Council

Kim Jong Un a likely no-show in South Korea -- Andrew Salmon, Asia Times

France’s Macron caught between protests, Strasbourg attack -- Sylvie Corbet, AP

Is France's deradicalization strategy missing the point? -- Lisa Louis, DW

Putin's hypocrisy on human rights -- Miodrag Soric, DW

U.S. Killing by Drone: Continuity and Escalation -- Simon Frankel Pratt, The Interpreter

World News Briefs -- December 12, 2018 (Evening Edition)

Reuters: PM May survives party confidence vote but 117 dissent

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May survived a confidence vote from her Conservative party on Wednesday, but more than a third of her lawmakers said she was no longer the right leader to implement Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Britain’s March 29 exit has been plunged into crisis by parliamentary opposition to the divorce deal she struck with the EU last month, which has opened up possibilities including a delay to Brexit or even another referendum on membership.

May on Monday cancelled a parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal, designed to maintain close future ties with the bloc and agreed after two years of negotiations, after it became clear she would lose it badly.

Read more ....


U.S. wants U.N. to ban nuclear ballistic missile work by Iran.

Defying Trump, U.S. Senate advances resolution to end support for Saudis in Yemen war.

US Senate to vote on Yemen amid growing skepticism over US-Saudi alliance.

Donald Trump stands by Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi killing despite CIA and Senate stance.

UN pushes for truce, humanitarian corridors at Yemen talks.

South Yemenis demand independence vote at UN talks.

Syria war: Turkey warns of fresh anti-Kurd offensive in north. Turkey may soon launch military operation east of Euphrates River, Erdogan says.

Syrian state seizing opponents' property, rights activists say.

Hundreds of bodies found in mass graves near Syria ex-IS bastion.

Palestinians offer new details of Israel’s botched Gaza raid.

Jailed UAE academic Nasser bin Ghaith on 'hunger strike'.


China says it suspects ex-Canadian diplomat of 'harming national security'.

Chinese state security is behind detention of Canadian former diplomat Michael Kovrig, employer says. China mum on detained Canadian, queries status of employer.

Canada frees CFO of China's Huawei on bail; Trump might intervene.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou granted bail by Canadian court.

Sabrina Meng: ‘I am proud of Huawei, I am proud of my country’.

Afghan forces recapture Helmand's Babaji area after 3 years.

Indonesia: Papua rebels reject surrender after workers' killing.

Report: Kim Jong Un unlikely to visit Seoul this year.

North Korea named violator of religious freedom for 17 years.

Thailand lifts ban on political activities ahead of vote.


Burundi denies running secret torture houses.

Tunisia's 'truth commission' winds up 4-year mission.

Nigeria opposition candidate signs peace accord. Nigeria presidential candidate denies peace deal snub.

Nigeria warned over Shiite Muslim crackdown.

France arrests Central Africa Republic war crimes suspect.

Mozambique names top ex-rebels to army command.

Morocco's migrants treatment under spotlight after UN conference.

Rwandan government appeals verdict against dissident.

Tanzania dam: Power plant planned in Selous Game Reserve.

Dag Hammarskj├Âld crash inquiry: UK and South Africa criticised for not cooperating.


Italy makes 'serious and reasonable' offer to EU on budget.

Ukraine rebels transfer prisoners to Kyiv-controlled areas.

Police hunt across eastern France for Strasbourg Christmas market attacker.

Strasbourg shooting: French police hunt for gunman. France: Suspected gunman named, had long police record.

UK disarray: May to face no-confidence vote from her party.

UK leader May fights leadership revolt, warns Brexit in peril.

'Scotland wants to trade as freely as possible with Europe'.

No Brexit renegotiation, Angela Merkel tells Bundestag .

Merkel: There's still time for an orderly Brexit.

Germany backs extending EU sanctions against Russia: Merkel.

Italy’s far-right minister visits Israel, drawing criticism.

Pope removes scandal-hit cardinals from inner circle.


Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen sentenced to three years in prison.

Trump cites France attack as reason for US-Mexico wall.

House Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress.

House Dems talking more about impeaching Trump.

Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen faces possible jail sentence.

‘Bolton is preparing plan for my assassination, with help from Bogota’ – Venezuela’s Maduro.

Argentina Dirty War: Two former Ford executives jailed.

Brazil shooting: Campinas cathedral gunman 'mentally ill'.


Ch├ęrif Chekatt: who is the Strasbourg shooting suspect?.

Strasbourg shooting: gunman was listed as potential terror threat. Strasbourg shooting: Gunman shouted 'Allahu Akbar' as he attacked.

Taliban attacks on Afghan forces undeterred by mounting US pressure.

Jihadists deny Mali leader killed in French-led attack.

Over 10,000 people involved in terrorist activities banned from entering Russia in 2018.


Wall Street closes up, investors optimistic on China trade.

EU parliament approves 'world's largest' free trade deal with Japan.

Global economy in 2019: Growth beginning to fray.

Most CFOs see a U.S. recession coming by 2020.

Facebook among firms named on Myanmar human rights 'dirty list'.

Twitter CEO responds to critics after his Myanmar tweets didn't mention Rohingya Muslims.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May Survives No Confidence Vote

Daily Mail: Nothing sticks on Theresa as she wins no confidence vote: PM defeats coup attempt by 200 to 117 - keeping her safe from her own MPs for a year - after vowing she will QUIT before next election

* Eurosceptic Tory MPs have succeeded in forcing a no-confidence vote in the PM amid fury at her Brexit deal
* Chair of the Tory 1922 committee Sir Graham Brady confirmed the 48 letters needed have been received
* That has automatically triggered a formal vote of no confidence in her leadership among Conservative MPs
* The dramatic secret ballot is being held between 6pm and 8pm tonight with the result announced soon after
* Mrs May delivered an emotional final plea to MPs admitting she cannot fight the next general election
* If she wins by one vote she is immune from challenge for 12 months but narrow victory could still be fatal
* If Mrs May loses she will stay on as Prime Minister while another Conservative Party leader is chosen
* The PM has vowed to fight the challenge with 'everything I've got' and warned Brexit could be delayed
* Cabinet ministers have rallied behind her warning 'chaos' will ensue if the party kicks her out at this point

Theresa May dramatically survived a Brexiteer coup bid tonight after leaving MPs in tears with a last-ditch plea to save her political skin.

The Prime Minister was backed by a margin of 200 to 117 in a no-confidence ballot, staving off what would have been an ignominious end to her time as leader - and meaning she cannot be challenged by her own party again for 12 months.

There were cheers as 1922 committee chairman Sir Graham Brady announced the result in the Commons tonight.

But with more than a third of Conservative MPs refusing to support her and a civil war raging over Brexit, the outcome still underlines the scale of the problems she faces.

Read more ....

WNU editor: She is hailing this as a victor, but it is not. Over a third of the MPs want her gone, and for those who voted for her, I am sure a good number of them did so on her promise that she will not run in the next election .... May signals she will step down before 2022 election (The Guardian).

More News On U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May Surviving Today's Confidence Vote

Theresa May survives confidence vote with a majority of 83 – Politics live -- The Guardian
LIVE: Theresa May makes pledge to critics after winning confidence vote -- SKY News
Theresa May survives confidence vote of Tory MPs -- BBC
UK’s May wins party no-confidence vote, but troubles remain -- AP
British PM May survives party confidence vote but 117 dissent -- Reuters
Brexit: Theresa May wins Conservative Party confidence vote -- DW
Theresa May, British Prime Minister, survives no-confidence vote amid Brexit crisis -- ABC News Online
British PM Theresa May survives vote of confidence -- Al Jazeera

Japan To Purchase 150 F-35s

The Air Self-Defense Force’s F-35A fighter jet is shown at Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture in February. Pool photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun

Business Insider: Japan is loading up on F-35s for an aircraft carrier meant to check China

* Japan plans to purchase 147 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, Keitaro Ohno, parliamentary vice minister of defense for Japan's ruling party, revealed Wednesday.
* 107 F-35As will replace an aging fleet of F-4 and F-15 fighters, and 40 B variants are expected to serve aboard refitted Izumo-class destroyers.
* The focus, according to Ohno, is responding to China in the Pacific.

Japan is apparently considering tripling its original F-35 order "to respond to China in the Pacific," a senior defense official in the Japanese parliament revealed Wednesday.

Japan plans to purchase as many as 147 F-35s to replace Japan's aging fleet of F-4 and F-15 fighters, as well as significantly enhance the combat capabilities of Japan's maritime forces, Keitaro Ohno, parliamentary vice minister of defense for Japan's ruling party, explained Wednesday, confirming rumors that have been circulating for weeks.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is a major purchase.

More News On Japan's Decision To Purchase 150 F-35s

Japan’s potential buy of 100 more F-35s would have big international significance -- Defense News
Japan moves forward on F-35 buy, aircraft carrier transformation -- Military Times
Upgrade Would Arm Japan With First Aircraft Carriers Since World War II -- The New York Times
Japan plans to purchase nearly 150 F-35 fighter jets from the US -- VOX
Japan Triples Its F-35 Order: Stealth fighters to replace 99 F-15s -- War Is Boring
The Best Defense? Japan’s Controversial F-35 Carrier Upgrade Confirmed -- Sputnik
Japan Is Dumping the F-4 Phantom for the F-35 (And It’s a Big Deal) -- Michael Peck, National Interest

Erdogan: Turkey To Start Offensive Against US-Backed Kurds In Syria In The Next Few Days

Al Jazeera: Turkey expanding military operation in northern Syria: Erdogan

Turkey said an operation east of the Euphrates river in northern Syria will commence in the coming days.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will start a military operation east of the Euphrates river in northern Syria in a "few days".

The operation, announced on Wednesday, could further complicate already strained relations with the United States, which has troops stationed in the area currently controlled by Kurdish forces.

"We will start the operation to clear the east of the Euphrates from separatist terrorists in a few days. Our target is never US soldiers," Erdogan said in a speech televised live.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If Turkey does proceed with this offensive, they will be facing U.S. soldiers .... US installs outposts overlooking Turkish border in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria (The National)

More News On Turkey's Announcement That An Offensive Against US-Backed Kurds In Syria Will Start In The Next Few Days

Syria war: Turkey warns of fresh anti-Kurd offensive in north -- BBC
Turkey to launch operation against U.S.-backed Kurds in Syria 'in a few days' -- Reuters
Turkey says to launch new operation against Syria Kurd militia within days -- AFP
Turkey primed to start offensive against US-backed Kurds in Syria -- The Guardian
Turkey Says It Will Launch New Syria Offensive Within Days -- Bloomberg
Turkey to start operation in east of Euphrates in few days - Erdogan -- TRT World
Turkey deploys more military vehicles to Syrian border -- Anadolu Agency
Turkey will launch new military operation in Syria within days: Erdo─čan -- Hurriyet Daily News

Troops From Both North And South Korea Cross The DMZ For The 1st Time Ever To Conduct Inspections

Reuters: North, South Korea check work to ease tension in 'milestone' step

SEOUL (Reuters) - North and South Korean officials inspected work to ease tension on their militarised border on Wednesday, checking on the demolition of bunkers and probing for secret tunnels, despite scant progress on persuading the North to give up nuclear arms.

The two sides destroyed 11 guard posts within 1 km (0.6 mile) of each side of the heavily fortified border and withdrew equipment and personnel late last month, as a first step in a military pact reached in September between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Read more ....

Update #1: Troops cross North-South Korea Demilitarized Zone in peace for 1st time ever -- CBS/AP
Update #2: North and South Korean soldiers enter each other's territory -- AFP

WNU Editor: This is a huge first step. It may seem small .... to verify the removal of a few guard posts .... but it is going to be used as a template for future talks, and how to verify joint agreements that will ease tensions on the DMZ.

Central American Migrants Demand Reparations From The U.S.

Migrants from Mexico and several nations to the south, many claiming to be refugees from oppressive government, are staging a 'march of the crosses' and threaten to besiege the US-Mexico border. (Reuters photo)

San Diego Union Tribune: Migrant groups march to U.S. consulate in Tijuana demanding reparations

Two groups of Central American migrants made separate marches on the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana Tuesday, demanding that they be processed through the asylum system more quickly and in greater numbers, that deportations be halted and that President Trump either let them into the country or pay them $50,000 each to go home.

On the one-month anniversary of their arrival into Tijuana, caravan members are pressing the United States to take action but they are dwindling in numbers since more than 6,000 first arrived to the city’s shelters.

Read more ....

Update: Migrant group demands Trump either let them in or pay them each $50G to turn around: report (FOX News)

WNU Editor: The migrant surge to the U.S. continues .... More than 3,000 illegals caught in one day: DHS (Washington Times).