“Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco has gotten engaged to boyfriend Karl Cook.
Cook posted a video on his Instagram account Thursday of a tearful Cuoco flashing a diamond ring on her finger and shouting “we’re engaged” before officially accepting Cook’s proposal with a loud “yes.” Thursday also happened to be Cuoco’s 32nd birthday.
The 26-year-old Cook said in the caption of the video that the engagement comes after nearly two years of dating. He added: “This is the best night of my life and I think the video shows it is the best night for kaley as well.”
Cook is a professional equestrian and the son of Intuit co-founder Scott Cook. Cuoco has starred as Penny on “The Big Bang Theory” since the sitcom’s debut in 2007.
BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese company that is the world’s biggest maker of commercial drones is denying claims in a U.S. government document circulated online that it gives Beijing information about American law enforcement and utility companies.
DJI Ltd. denied suggestions in the document, posted on technology news websites, that it shared information about U.S. utility companies and other “critical infrastructure” with the Chinese government. A company statement said it doesn’t look at flight logs, photos or video “unless customers actively upload and share them with us.”
The dispute highlights growing concern among governments about potential risks associated with the flood of data generated by smartphones, social media and other technology. China has ordered companies to store data about its citizens within this country, which prompted Apple Inc. to announce plans in July to set up a data center in southern China.
The U.S. document, citing an unidentified source in the unmanned aerial systems industry, says data from DJI drones are transmitted to computers in China to which the government might have access. The document says it was issued by the intelligence program of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Los Angeles.
The American Embassy in Beijing said it had passed to ICE questions about whether the document was genuine.
The agency has “moderate confidence” that DJI “is providing U.S. critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government,” the document says. “A foreign government with access to this information could easily coordinate physical or cyber-attacks against critical sites.”
DJI, or Da Jiang Innovations Science and Technology Co., Ltd., was founded in 2007 by an engineer named Frank Wang and dominates the global market for remote-controlled drones used by photographers. It increasingly markets them for use in surveying or to monitor farms and industrial sites.
The DJI statement said the U.S. report was based on “clearly false and misleading claims.”
“DJI does not send data on DJI cloud servers to the Chinese government. Nor does it allow access to such data by the Chinese government,” said a company spokesman, Kevin On, in an email. “DJI is not aware of an instance in which the Chinese government has accessed user or drone data for operators determined to be in the United States.”
On said DJI has added features to give commercial or government users the option not to upload data to its servers or connect to the internet.
The DJI statement said the company submitted a rebuttal of the report to the ICE. It urged the agency to consider whether its source “may have had a competitive or improper motive” to hurt DJI by making false claims.
The U.S. military suspended use of DJI drones in August due to concern their data might not be secure. Australia’s military followed suit in September.
DJI Ltd.: www.dji.com
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Two days after North Korea test-launched its most powerful missile to date, a clearer picture is emerging of Pyongyang’s impressive technological achievement — and what still remains before it can legitimately threaten the continental United States.
Many questions remain, but there’s broad agreement from government and outside analyses that the huge Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile represents a significant step forward, putting the North very close to its goal of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped long-range missiles — maybe as early as the middle of next year.
The two-stage liquid-fuel missile fired Wednesday is potentially capable of striking targets as far as 13,000 kilometers (8,100 miles), which would put Washington within reach, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Friday in a report to lawmakers. It’s also considerably larger than North Korea’s previous ICBM, the Hwasong-14, and designed to deliver larger warheads, the ministry said. That would seem to confirm the North’s boast after the launch that the Hwasong-15 can carry “super-large heavy nuclear warheads.”
Michael Elleman, an analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said it appears that the Hwasong-15 can deliver a 1,000-kilogram (2,200 pound) payload to any point on the U.S. mainland. North Korea, which has so far conducted six nuclear tests, has almost certainly developed a nuclear warhead that weighs less than 700 kilograms (1,543 pounds) , if not one considerably lighter, Elleman wrote Friday on the 38 North website .
North Korea said the missile on Wednesday reached an apogee of 4,475 kilometers (2,780 miles) and flew 950 kilometers (600 miles), splashing down close to Japan after being launched from a site near Pyongyang on a high trajectory to avoid other countries; that flight data was similar to what was announced by South Korea’s military.
It’s still not clear how close the missile is to being combat ready. The Defense Ministry told lawmakers that further review is needed to determine whether the missile’s warhead can survive atmospheric re-entry, accurately hit a target and detonate properly.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in shared his country’s assessment with President Donald Trump in a telephone conversation Thursday night. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen pressure and sanctions on Pyongyang to discourage its nuclear ambitions, Seoul’s presidential office said Friday. Eugene Lee, spokeswoman of South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which deals with affairs related to North Korea, said the Seoul government thinks the North hasn’t crossed the “red line” in weapons development yet because it hasn’t perfected its ICBMs.
North Korea has described its new ICBM as “significantly more” powerful than the Hwasong-14, which the North flight tested twice in July. Photos and video of the launch released by the North’s state media on Thursday confirm the Hwasong-15 is an entirely different beast.
After initially assessing the missile as a modified version of the Hwasong-14 following Wednesday’s launch, South Korea’s military now says the Hwasong-15 is considerably larger and potentially capable of carrying bigger payloads.
The Hwasong-15 is longer than the Hwasong-14 by 2 meters (6.56 feet) and also thicker, particularly its second stage, which is 80 centimeters (2.62 feet) wider than Hwasong-14’s second stage, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said.
Hwasong-15’s 9-axle transport vehicle, which the North also revealed for the first time, was also 2 meters (6.56 feet) longer than the 8-axle truck the North used to carry the Hwasong-14s.
The Hwasong-15’s first stage is powered by a pair of engines that were also used in the single-engine first stages of the Hwasong-14, the ministry said. It was still working to analyze the construction of the second stage.
It’s possible that the missile has been designed to carry simple decoys, or other countermeasures, to confuse the U.S. missile defense system, Elleman wrote.
He added that “if low confidence in the missile’s reliability is acceptable, two or three test firings over the next four to six months may be all that is required before Kim Jong Un declares the Hwasong-15 combat ready.”
STORRS, Conn. (AP) — A community college adviser has been identified by her lawyer as the woman involved in an altercation with a conservative commentator during his speech at the University of Connecticut titled “It’s OK To Be White.”
The Hartford Courant reports attorney Jon Schoenhorn says Catherine Gregory hired him after commentator Lucian Wintrich said publicly he’d press charges against her.
Gregory works at Quinebaug Valley Community College in Connecticut.
Wintrich’s speech was cut short Tuesday when a young woman appeared to take paperwork off his lectern and began leaving.
Cellphone videos show Wintrich running up and grabbing her.
Wintrich was charged with breach of peace.
The community college confirmed an employee attended the event, but didn’t name Gregory.
Schoenhorn said Gregory wouldn’t comment.
Gregory didn’t respond to messages from The Associated Press.
DALLAS (AP) — Under pressure from the NAACP, American Airlines is promising changes in the way it trains employees and handles passenger complaints about racially biased treatment.
The airline announced the steps Thursday after a meeting between CEO Doug Parker and NAACP President Derrick Johnson.
The civil-rights group issued a “travel advisory” in October warning African-Americans they could face discrimination when flying on American. The alert followed several high-profile incidents including one involving an organizer of the Women’s March who was booted from a flight after a dispute over her seat.
American pledged to hire an outside firm to review its diversity in hiring and promotion, train all 120,000 employees to counteract so-called implicit bias, create a special team to review passengers’ discrimination complaints, and improve resolution of employee complaints about bias.
The NAACP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The airline’s promise followed the second meeting between Parker, Johnson, Women’s March organizer Tamika Mallory and others at American’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.
In October, Mallory called an American Airlines pilot a racist after he ordered her off a flight in Miami. She posted an emotional video about the incident on Facebook, which has been viewed 530,000 times, and mulled whether to take legal action against American.
Two weeks later, the NAACP issued its warning to African-American travelers.
Parker’s initial response was to defend his airline’s diversity — about 15 percent of its employees are African-American, slightly more than the national average — but call the NAACP’s criticism an opportunity for the airline to improve and become a leader on issues of diversity and inclusion.
Since the start of 2016 through September, American has been the subject of 40 racial-discrimination complaints by passengers, more than any other U.S. carrier although a tiny fraction of the airline’s passengers.
Paul Argenti, a professor of corporate communication at Dartmouth University who wrote about racism at the Denny’s restaurant chain in the 1990s, called American’s measures Thursday a good first step but inadequate to significantly change the airline’s culture.
“This is the kind of thing you do to get by. I don’t think it’s enough,” he said.
American should take bolder steps, including naming more minorities to senior executive positions and the board of directors, Argenti said.
However, David Margulies, president of a Dallas firm that advises companies on crisis communications, said American had handled the NAACP’s criticism well — in part by not being overly defensive or argumentative.
“This says, ‘We want to do better, we recognize there could be an issue, and here’s what we’re going to do,'” he said. “I think they’ve been smart and strategic about it.”
David Koenig can be reached at http://twitter.com/airlinewriter
LONDON (AP) — A few days after his inauguration, U.S. President Donald Trump stood beside British Prime Minister Theresa May in the White House and proclaimed the strength of the “most special relationship” between their two countries.
Ten months later, that relationship looks decidedly strained. As May and Trump traded criticism Thursday over his retweets of a far-right group’s anti-Muslim videos, British lawmakers labeled the U.S. leader a hate peddler.
They also urged May’s government to revoke an invitation for Trump to visit Britain as a guest of Queen Elizabeth II.
The furor erupted after Trump, who has almost 44 million Twitter followers, on Wednesday retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by a leader of the far-right group Britain First. The tiny group regularly posts inflammatory videos purporting to show Muslims engaged in acts of violence, but without providing context or supporting information.
The U.K. ambassador in Washington, Kim Darroch, complained to the White House, and May’s spokesman said the president was wrong to retweet the group’s content.
Trump responded with a tweet urging May to focus on “the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom” instead of on him.
May countered Thursday that “we take the need to deal with the terrorist threat very seriously” and rebuked the leader of Britain’s closest ally.
“The fact that we work together does not mean that we are afraid to say when we think that the United States have got it wrong and to be very clear with them,” May said Thursday during a visit to Amman, Jordan. “I am very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan was one of many politicians urging the government to scrap the still-unscheduled state visit by Trump that first was announced during May’s trip to Washington in January.
Khan, the British capital’s first Muslim mayor, said the American president had promoted “a vile, extremist group” and an official visit by him “would not be welcomed.”
In the House of Commons on Thursday, lawmakers criticized Trump in unusually blunt language. Labour’s Naz Shah accused him of promoting “the hate-filled ideology of fascism.” Conservative Tim Loughton said Twitter should take down Trump’s account for peddling “hate crime.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday that she does not believe Trump knew anything about the deputy leader of Britain First, Jayda Fransen, before he shared the anti-Muslim videos from her account with his followers.
“I think he knew what the issues are, and that is that we have a real threat of extreme violence and terrorism, not just in this country, but across the globe,” Sanders said.
The chill between London and Washington could not come at a worse time, as Britain prepares to leave the European Union and forge new economic relationships around the world.
May was the first world leader to meet with Trump after he took office in January partly because Britain is eager to strike a free trade deal with the U.S. after it leaves the EU in 2019.
But the prime minister’s bid to nurture a close relationship with the unpredictable president has not gone according to plan.
Trump greeted May with warm words, and even briefly held her hand as the two leaders walked along a colonnade at the White House.
Within hours of May’s departure, Trump signed an order banning travel to the U.S. from several majority-Muslim countries. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said soon afterward that Trump would not be invited to address Parliament during his state visit, an honor given to President Barack Obama and other world leaders.
Analysts predicted Thursday that the trans-Atlantic relationship would be strong and important enough to survive the current strain
“The core U.K.-U.S. special relationship is cooperation in nuclear weapons, special forces and intelligence,” said Tim Oliver, an expert in Europe-North America relations at the London School of Economics. “That core has traditionally been protected from the vagaries of presidential and prime ministerial relations.
“Trump, however, is testing it in ways we’ve not seen before.”
Emily Thornberry, the Labour Party’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, said May had made an error of judgment in inviting Trump so soon after he took office.
“We ought to be holding him at arm’s length,” Thornberry told Sky News. “She’s put the queen in this incredibly invidious position.”
May insisted Thursday that the visit was still on — though she suggested it was not imminent.
“An invitation for a state visit has been extended and has been accepted,” she said. “We have yet to set a date.”
Karin Laub in Amman, Jordan and Catherine Lucey in Washington contributed to this story.