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‘Open source’ investigators use satellites to identify burned Darfur villages

Investigators using satellite imagery to document the war in western Sudan’s Darfur region say 72 villages were burned down in April, the most they have seen since the conflict began. Henry Wilkins talks with the people who do this research about how so-called open-source investigations could be crucial in holding those responsible for the violence to account. …


New cars in California could alert drivers for breaking the speed limit

SACRAMENTO, California — California could eventually join the European Union in requiring all new cars to alert drivers when they break the speed limit, a proposal aimed at reducing traffic deaths that would likely impact motorists across the country should it become law. The federal government sets safety standards for vehicles nationwide, which is why most cars now beep at drivers if their seat belt isn’t fastened. A bill in the California Legislature — which passed its first vote in the state Senate on Tuesday — would go further by requiring …


China’s Digital Silk Road exports internet technology, controls

washington — China promotes its help to Southeast Asian countries in modernizing their digital landscapes through investments in infrastructure as part of its “Digital Silk Road.” But rights groups say Beijing is also exporting its model of authoritarian governance of the internet through censorship, surveillance and controls. China’s state media this week announced Chinese electrical appliance manufacturer Midea Group jointly built its first overseas 5G factory in Thailand with Thai mobile operator AIS, Chinese telecom service provider China Unicom and tech giant Huawei. The 208,000-square-meter smart factory will have its own …


Attempts to regulate AI’s hidden hand in Americans’ lives flounder

DENVER — The first attempts to regulate artificial intelligence programs that play a hidden role in hiring, housing and medical decisions for millions of Americans are facing pressure from all sides and floundering in statehouses nationwide. Only one of seven bills aimed at preventing AI’s penchant to discriminate when making consequential decisions — including who gets hired, money for a home or medical care — has passed. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis hesitantly signed the bill on Friday. Colorado’s bill and those that faltered in Washington, Connecticut and elsewhere faced battles on …


IS turns to artificial intelligence for advanced propaganda amid territorial defeats

Washington — With major military setbacks in recent years, supporters of the Islamic State terror group are increasingly relying on artificial intelligence (AI) to generate online propaganda, experts said. A new form of propaganda developed by IS supporters is broadcasting news bulletins with AI-generated anchors in multiple languages. The Islamic State Khorasan (ISKP) group, an IS affiliate active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, produced in a video an AI-generated anchorman to appear reading news following an IS-claimed attack in Bamiyan province in Afghanistan on May 17 that killed four people, including three …


Australian researchers unveil device that harvests water from the air

SYDNEY — A device that absorbs water from air to produce drinkable water was officially launched in Australia Wednesday. Researchers say the so-called Hydro Harvester, capable of producing up to 1,000 liters of drinkable water a day, could be “lifesaving during drought or emergencies.” The device absorbs water from the atmosphere. Solar energy or heat that is harnessed from, for example, industrial processes are used to generate hot, humid air. That is then allowed to cool, producing water for drinking or irrigation. The Australian team said that unlike other commercially available …


Samsung to expand chip output from Texas

The Biden administration last month announced $6.4 billion in direct funding to back South Korean tech giant Samsung’s new semiconductor cluster in central Texas. That means big changes for the town of Taylor. Deana Mitchell has our story …


Researchers use artificial intelligence to classify brain tumors

SYDNEY — Researchers in Australia and the United States say that a new artificial intelligence tool has allowed them to classify brain tumors more quickly and accurately.   The current method for identifying different kinds of brain tumors, while accurate, can take several weeks to produce results.  The method, called DNA methylation-based profiling, is not available at many hospitals around the world. To address these challenges, a research team from the Australian National University, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute in the United States, has developed a way to predict …


Companies trying to attract more smartphone users across Africa, but there are risks

Accra, Ghana — Anita Akpeere prepared fried rice in her kitchen in Ghana’s capital as a flurry of notifications for restaurant orders lit up apps on her phone. “I don’t think I could work without a phone in my line of business,” she said, as requests came in for her signature dish, a traditional fermented dumpling. Internet-enabled phones have transformed many lives, but they can play a unique role in sub-Saharan Africa, where infrastructure and public services are among the world’s least developed, said Jenny Aker, a professor who studies the …


Blue Origin flies thrill seekers to space, including oldest astronaut 

Washington — After a nearly two year hiatus, Blue Origin flew adventurers to space on Sunday including a former Air Force pilot who was denied the chance to be the United States’ first Black astronaut decades ago.    It was the first crewed launch for the enterprise owned and founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos since a rocket mishap in 2022 left rival Virgin Galactic as the sole operator in the fledgling suborbital tourism market.    Six people including the sculptor Ed Dwight, who was on track to become NASA’s first …


Illness took away her voice. AI created a replica she carries in her phone

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — The voice Alexis “Lexi” Bogan had before last summer was exuberant. She loved to belt out Taylor Swift and Zach Bryan ballads in the car. She laughed all the time — even while corralling misbehaving preschoolers or debating politics with friends over a backyard fire pit. In high school, she was a soprano in the chorus. Then that voice was gone. Doctors in August removed a life-threatening tumor lodged near the back of her brain. When the breathing tube came out a month later, Bogan had trouble …


Musk, Indonesian health minister, launch Starlink for health sector 

DENPASAR, BALI, INDONESIA — Elon Musk and Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin launched SpaceX’s satellite internet service for the nation’s health sector on Sunday, aiming to improve access in remote parts of the sprawling archipelago.    Musk, the billionaire head of SpaceX and Tesla TSLA.O, arrived on the Indonesian resort island of Bali by private jet before attending the launch ceremony at a community health centre in the provincial capital, Denpasar.    Musk, wearing a green batik shirt, said the availability of the Starlink service in Indonesia would help millions in far-flung …


Changes from Visa mean Americans will carry fewer credit, debit cards

new york — Your wallet may soon be getting thinner. Visa on Wednesday announced major changes to how credit and debit cards will operate in the U.S. in the coming months and years. The new features could mean Americans will be carrying fewer physical cards in their wallets, and will make the 16-digit credit or debit card number printed on every card increasingly irrelevant. They will be some of the biggest changes to how payments operate in the U.S. since the U.S. rolled out chip-embedded cards several years ago. They also …


Scholar called ‘Putin’s brain’ attacked on Chinese internet

Washington — Aleksander Dugin, a Russian nationalist ideologue and strong supporter of President Vladimir Putin, has been bombarded with attacks on Chinese social media, where netizens criticized and mocked his Russian expansionist views that had once included the dismembering of China. Two years after Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine, pro-Russia sentiment has been prevalent on Chinese internet. But the backlash against Dugin has revealed a less mentioned side of what has so far appeared to be a cozy alliance between Beijing and Moscow — hostility between Chinese nationalists and their …


US arrests American and Ukrainian in North Korea-linked IT infiltration scheme

WASHINGTON — U.S. prosecutors on Thursday announced the arrests of an American woman and a Ukrainian man they say helped North Korea-linked IT workers posing as Americans to obtain remote-work jobs at hundreds of U.S. companies. The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) said the elaborate scheme, aimed at generating revenue for North Korea in contravention of international sanctions, involved the infiltration of more than 300 U.S. firms, including Fortune 500 companies and banks, and the theft of the identities of more than 60 Americans. A DoJ statement said the overseas IT …


TSMC says no damage to its Arizona facilities after incident

TAIPAI, TAIWAN — Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC said Thursday there was no damage to its facilities after an incident at its Arizona factory construction site where a waste disposal truck driver was transported to a hospital. Firefighters responded to a reported explosion Wednesday afternoon at the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company plant in Phoenix, the Arizona Republic reported, citing the local fire department. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker whose clients include Apple and Nvidia, said in a statement none of its employees or onsite construction workers had reported any related injuries. “This …