The Wii U
Nintendo is taking the idea of the "second screen" to a new level. Tuesday at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles, the company announced a gaming system called Wii U, which consists of a smartphone-like remote control that works with its existing Wii gaming system to let gamers play on two screens at the same time.
The controller has a 6.2-inch screen -- kind of like a giant Android phone -- that players can use to zoom in on the TV screen and to interact with games that show up both on the remote control and on the television.
For example, a video demo of the system, which has not been released, shows a player putting his finger on a throwing star on the remote control's screen. With a swipe of the finger, the player throws this weapon at the TV screen across the room, and the object shows up there immediately.
The Wii U remote also connects to the internet, allowing users to essentially throw photos or videos from the controller and onto the television.
The company hopes the remote will attract new types of gamers to the Wii and will create a new kind of gaming experience for players.


Gates warns of 'dismal future' for NATO without urgent changes

Outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says NATO has become a "two-tiered" alliance poorly equipped to deal with challenges, and with members either unable or unwilling to carry out agreed missions in Afghanistan and Libya. In his farewell speech Friday to the NATO Council in Brussels, Gates pulled few punches in listing the shortcomings of the alliance.

In particular, he drew a contrast between those members "willing and able to pay the price and bear the burdens of alliance commitments, and those who enjoy the benefits of NATO membership ... but don't want to share the risks and the costs."

"This is no longer a hypothetical worry," he said. "We are there today, and it is unacceptable."

Gates called for urgent action to "avoid the very real possibility of collective military irrelevance."

Ultimately, he said, "nations must be responsible for their fair share of the common defense."

The defense secretary said the problem was in part one of resources.

Pointing to one estimate that European defense spending had declined by nearly 15% in the decade following 9/11, Gates said that only five of the 28 allies now spent the agreed target of 2% of GDP on defense.

Gates said the allied mission in Afghanistan had exposed significant shortcomings of NATO -- in military capabilities and political will.

"Despite more than 2 million troops in uniform -- not counting the U.S. military -- NATO has struggled, at times desperately, to sustain a deployment of 25,000 to 40,000 troops, not just in boots on the ground, but in crucial support assets," he said.

Gates praised governments that had stepped up in Afghanistan.

"Frankly, four years ago I never would have expected the alliance to sustain this operation at this level for this long, much less add significantly more forces in 2010," he said.

That had "decisively changed the momentum on the ground," but NATO must now guard against a "rush to the exits."

"The way ahead in Afghanistan is "in together, out together," Gates said -- with the aim of "inflicting a strategic and ideological defeat on terrorist groups that threaten our homelands."

Gates had harsh words for the conduct of the air campaign against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. He said it had become "painfully clear" that shortcomings could "jeopardize the alliance's ability to conduct an integrated, effective and sustained air-sea campaign."

"While every alliance member voted for the Libya mission, less than half have participated at all, and fewer than a third have been willing to participate in the strike mission," he said.

Some did not want to -- others simply were unable to. NATO lacked intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to do the job. Gates gave one critical example: "NATO air operations center in Italy required a major augmentation of targeting specialists, mainly from the U.S., to do the job. ... We have the spectacle of an air operations center designed to handle more than 300 sorties a day struggling to launch about 150."

Gates praised some NATO members for punching above their weight in the Libya operation.

"Norway and Denmark have provided 12% of allied strike aircraft yet have struck about one-third of the targets," he said. But such examples were the exceptions.

Gates concluded with a candid warning about American willingness to continue bearing a growing part of the NATO burden.

"The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress ... to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense," he said.

NATO members must better allocate their resources, follow through on commitments and protect defense budgets from being "further gutted" to avoid "a dismal future," Gates said.

Arazona fire harms New Mexico

More than 2,500 fire fighters struggled Tuesday to gain the slimmest of advantages over a fast-moving wildfire that has already burned across 365 square miles of mountainous eastern Arizona. As of Tuesday afternoon, only four structures had been lost in the fire, a point not lost on Brenda McCardle of Eagar, Arizona, who got a visit from sheriff's deputies Monday night telling her to be ready to get out at a moment's notice should the fire race too close to her home at the base of Flat Top Mountain.
"They are doing a wonderful job of protecting property while fighting this fire," she said.
She said smoke from the fires comes and goes near her home, a reminder of the threat from one of the worst wildfires in Arizona history.
Yesterday, after the visit sheriff's deputies, McCardle said she was "crying and my brain felt dead."
"Today, I am preparing suitcases, and my mind is clearer," she said.
What has become known as the Wallow Fire was producing dense plumes of smoke that were visible from space and thick enough to reduce visibility to less than a mile in some places, the National Weather Service said in an air quality alert issued Tuesday.
New Mexico officials issued a similar warning for the town of Luna, according Terri Wildermuth, a spokeswoman for the Incident Management Team that is overseeing firefighting efforts.
The Arizona blaze is beginning to threaten neighboring New Mexico, and spillover smoke pushed by high winds has disrupted flights and prompted an air quality alert on the other side of the border, authorities said Tuesday.

More than 2,700 people were affected by mandatory evacuation orders, according to the American Red Cross, which sent its emergency response vehicle from Phoenix to the scene, four hours away, according to spokeswoman Nicole Underwood with the Grand Canyon Chapter.
More than 2,500 fire fighters are engaged in the battle against the Wallow fire, along with 22 aircraft, 138 fire engines, 31 water tenders and 12 bulldozers, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The National Weather Service warned critical fire weather, with low humidity and high winds, would continue at least through Wednesday in Arizona. The National Interagency Fire Center said similar conditions would heighten the risk of fires across the southwest, including Arizona, New Mexico, southeastern Colorado and west Texas.

"My heart is there, my heart and soul are to be married up there on Mount Lemmon," Handsman told CNN.

Said Dennehy, "We're going have to find some place else to have our wedding. It's difficult to do that in such a short notice."

  Journalist organization, Obama condemn attacks on reporters in Egypt

U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the attacks on journalists in Egypt Friday amid mounting criticism that the assaults were being orchestrated by President Hosni Mubarak to suppress international coverage of bloodshed by pro-government operatives against peaceful protesters. "We continue to be crystal clear that we oppose violence as a response to this crisis," Obama said. "We are sending a strong, unequivocal message: Attacks on reporters are unacceptable. Attacks on human rights activists are unacceptable. Attacks on peaceful protesters are unacceptable."

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday that the administration continues "to receive very disturbing reports" of "systematic targeting" of journalists in Egypt.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has excoriated Mubarak for "an unprecedented and systematic attack" on international reporters.

CNN.expElements.expand44Store = mediaObj; "This is a dark day for Egypt and a dark day for journalism," CPJ executive director Joel Simon said. "With this turn of events, Egypt is seeking to create an information vacuum that puts it in the company of the world's worst oppressors, countries such as Burma, Iran and Cuba."

"We hold President Mubarak personally responsible for this unprecedented action," said Simon, "and call on the Egyptian government to reverse course immediately."

The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, nonprofit committee promoting press freedoms worldwide, said Friday it has recorded at least 101 direct attacks on journalists and news facilities this week. The anti-press activities include assaults, detentions and threats, the committee said.

Friday's attacks weren't as severe as Thursday's peak offenses, but the hostilities against a free press remain at "an alarming level that must be halted," the committee said.

Plainclothes and uniformed agents reportedly went so far as to even enter journalists' hotels and confiscate equipment, the committee said.

A journalist shot a week ago while covering a demonstration died Friday, a state newspaper reported, according to the committee.

It was the first reported journalistic death during the weeklong uprising, it said.

Ahmad Mohamed Mahmoud of the newspaper Al-Ta'awun, published by the state-owned Al-Ahram Foundation, died from a sniper's bullets fired while he was filming confrontations between demonstrators and security forces January 28 in central Cairo's Qasr al-Aini area, adjacent to Tahrir Square, Al-Jazeera and the semi-official Al-Ahram reported Friday, according to the committee.

The Mubarak regime hasn't discriminated in which sorts of journalists are being attacked: Egyptians and other Arabs, Russians, Americans, Europeans and South Americans all have been targeted, the committee said.

Speaking on state-run Nile TV Thursday, Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman mentioned the role of the media and, at least in part, blamed journalists for the country's current unrest.

"I actually blame certain friendly nations who have television channels, they are not friendly at all, who have intensified the youth against the nation and the state," he said. "They have filled in the minds of the youth with wrongdoings, with allegations, and this is unacceptable."

Meanwhile, in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attacks Thursday, "in the strongest possible terms."

Pro-government journalists and officials have been engaging in a campaign the past two days accusing foreign journalists of being spies or, in particular, "Israeli spies," the committee said. In one instance, a woman whose face was obscured "confessed" to having been trained by "Americans and Israelis" in Qatar, where Al-Jazeera is based, the committee said.