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Obama to tout government and auto industry’s combined work on ‘talking’ cars

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday plans to highlight his administration’s work alongside researchers and the private sector to develop vehicles that “talk” to each other using wireless technology.

In a visit to a government highway research center in Virginia, Obama is expected to tout work on so-called vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technology to improve navigation, according to the White House.

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The technology allows cars, trucks and other vehicles to send real-time information wirelessly, an innovation researchers hope can help reduce accidents and boost fuel efficiency by alleviating traffic.

U.S. regulators are already crafting a proposed rule that would require all new vehicles to use such technology, which could be put in place by early 2017 before Obama leaves office.

At Tuesday’s event, Obama is expected to showcase efforts to ensure vehicle-to-vehicle communication is safe, pointing to a joint effort between leading carmakers and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co, Honda Motor Co, Hyundai Motor Co, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America, Inc., Nissan Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp, and Volkswagen AG are all part of the research effort, according to the White House.

Current tests are looking at how wireless technology could improve safety when used with sensor-based technologies aimed at deterring vehicle crashes, the White House said.

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The Transportation Department has finished two phases of testing, it added. One pilot study involved “a highly concentrated environment of vehicles ‘talking’ to each other” with 3,000 cars, trucks and buses, while another focused on driver acceptance issues.

At the Department of Transportation’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, which Obama will visit, researchers test new technologies aimed at use on highways.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Tom Brown)

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Even the Republican witnesses make Donald Trump look like a depraved criminal

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The second half of Tuesday's hearing offered something new in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: Witnesses called by the Republican minority on the House Intelligence Committee. It's understandable why Republicans would want these two men.

One of them was Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide who is among the few people directly exposed to Trump's famous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who claims to believe there was nothing wrong with it. The other was Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, who appears to have been a major actor in Trump's extortion scheme in that country. Indeed, Volker was deemed one of the "three amigos" — along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Trump donor/EU ambassador Gordon Sondland — who Trump entrusted with Ukrainian relations as he exerted increasing pressure on the country's leaders to give into his extortion scheme.

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Impeachment: Trump’s ‘hearsay’ defense just crashed and burned

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In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.

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Jim Jordan’s attacks on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman at impeachment hearing badly backfire

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Republicans tried to raise doubts about Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s credibility and loyalty during Tuesday’s impeachment hearing. Their attacks appeared to backfire.

Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council and an Iraq war veteran who earned a Purple Heart after being wounded in combat, faced questions from the House Intelligence Committee in full uniform.

This piece first appeared at Salon.com.Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who was transferred to the Intelligence Committee specifically for the impeachment hearings, attempted to discredit the witness during his questioning.

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