23 May 2019

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Tornado hits Missouri capital as deadly storms sweep state

Tornado hits Missouri capital as deadly storms sweep stateA tornado tore apart buildings in Missouri's capital city as part of an outbreak of severe weather across the state overnight that left at least three people dead and dozens injured. The National Weather Service confirmed that the large and destructive twister moved over Jefferson City shortly before midnight on Wednesday. "Across the state, Missouri's first responders once again responded quickly and with strong coordination as much of the state dealt with extremely dangerous conditions that left people injured, trapped in homes, and tragically led to the death of three people," Gov. Mike Parson said.


23 May 2019 3:56pm GMT

The 2020 Cadillac CT5-V Officially Debuts May 30

The 2020 Cadillac CT5-V Officially Debuts May 30Could the 500-plus-hp Blackwing V-8 make its way under the hood of Cadillac's newest sports sedan?


23 May 2019 2:04pm GMT

Surprise: The ‘AI bot’ people talk to on Google Duplex calls is sometimes actually a person

Surprise: The ‘AI bot’ people talk to on Google Duplex calls is sometimes actually a personWhen Google unveiled Google Duplex last year at I/O 2018, the brand new Assistant feature looked terrific. It was the kind of futuristic technology nobody else had. With a simple voice command, you could instruct the Assistant to make restaurant reservations for you by placing a phone call using an AI bot. But soon after that keynote, it became clear that Duplex is somewhat creepy, as Google failed to identify the robocall to the other person. It was also kind of disingenuous, since the entire demo wasn't live.Google dealt with those issues at the time and Google Duplex deployment continued, culminating with this year's I/O announcement that the feature will be available in 44 states. Also, Google said that Duplex is getting similar functionality for booking reservations on the web. But a brand new report reveals additional details that were previously not known about Duplex, which brings the creepy back. It turns out that Google employees are actively involved in making many of these Duplex calls.A report from The New York Times reveals that about 25% of calls placed through Duplex started with a human. Beyond that, 15% of calls that started off with the Duplex AI bot had a human intervene at some point.The whole point of using the Assistant to make restaurant reservation is to eliminate the human side of things. That's why Google Duplex appeared to be so amazing in the first place. Having humans involved in the whole thing is where things get strange. Yes, maybe Duplex needs human oversight and the best way to train AI is by having it work with a lot of examples to learn from. But Google never really mentioned this human aspect of Google Duplex, which sort of ruins the magic of it all. Yet again, it's somewhat disingenuous.Also, there's user privacy to take into account. A human interacting with a restaurant on your behalf is different from a computer doing it, as the human is also let in on the booking information. It may seem trivial, but where does one agree to involve a Googler in setting up one's dinner plans?Google does say on its support pages that Duplex calls are recorded for quality assurance, which means someone may listen to your reservations:> If the customer wants to book an appointment, the Assistant will confirm specific details like the customer's preferred time, type of service, or size of party. Once this information is confirmed, the Assistant will try to book an appointment with your business by using an online booking partner (if available) or by calling your business using the automated voice-calling technology Duplex (calls are recorded for quality assurance).Also, Google has a tiny note that a manual operator might start calls in the frequently asked questions section, although it's hardly enough (emphasis ours):> At the start of the call, you'll hear the reason for the call and that the call is from Google. You can expect the call to come from an automated system or, in some cases, a manual operator.Google Duplex is clearly a far less polished product that Google led us to believe a year ago. Also, considering its renewed interest in protecting the user's privacy, Google should do a much better job explaining what goes on behind the scenes of a Google Duplex call when it comes to your privacy. The full Times report, complete with examples that explain what a human-made Google Duplex call looks like, is available at this link.


23 May 2019 1:36pm GMT

Tornados kill three in central US, damage Missouri state capital

Tornados kill three in central US, damage Missouri state capitalThree people were killed in the small town of Golden City, Missouri, officials said, while the midwestern state's capital Jefferson City was struck by what the National Weather Service called a "large and destructive" tornado Wednesday night. The tornado caused significant damage, trapping people in buildings and homes, and knocking down power lines and trees. Rescue workers were checking door-to-door for survivors Thursday, some 20 people were injured and treated at hospitals overnight, and more injuries were expected, officials said.


23 May 2019 1:25pm GMT

10 Things to Know for Today

10 Things to Know for TodayYour daily look at late breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


23 May 2019 12:44pm GMT

UN agency for Palestinians rejects US call to dismantle it

UN agency for Palestinians rejects US call to dismantle itThe head of the United Nations organisation for Palestinian refugees on Thursday rejected a US call to dismantle the agency, saying it cannot be blamed for stalled peace efforts. UNRWA's commissioner general Pierre Krahenbuhl rebuffed the criticism from US envoy Jason Greenblatt during a visit to the Gaza Strip. "I unreservedly reject the accompanying narrative that suggests that somehow UNRWA is to blame for the continuation of the refugee-hood of Palestine refugees, of their growing numbers and their growing needs," he said in response to a question about Greenblatt's comments.


23 May 2019 11:41am GMT

The Harriet Tubman $20 bill was supposed to drop in 2020, but Trump's Treasury secretary has delayed it

The Harriet Tubman $20 bill was supposed to drop in 2020, but Trump's Treasury secretary has delayed it"The ultimate decision on the redesign will most likely be another secretary's down the road," Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Wednesday.


23 May 2019 11:34am GMT

The Democrats' Pointman on Impeachment

The Democrats' Pointman on ImpeachmentJudiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has a tough job in Congress amid Democrat impeachment pleas and Trump allies denying subpoenas.


23 May 2019 10:20am GMT

Trump administration may use Iran threat to sell bombs to Saudis without Congress' approval: senator

Trump administration may use Iran threat to sell bombs to Saudis without Congress' approval: senator"I am hearing that Trump may use an obscure loophole in the Arms Control Act and notice a major new sale of bombs to Saudi Arabia (the ones they drop in Yemen) in a way that would prevent Congress from objecting. In this case, they said the Republican president would cite rising tensions with Iran as a reason to provide more military equipment to Saudi Arabia, which he sees as an important U.S. partner in the region. Trump has touted arms sales to the Saudis as a way to generate U.S. jobs.


23 May 2019 7:31am GMT

Taiwan's TSMC says chip shipments to Huawei not affected by U.S. ban

Taiwan's TSMC says chip shipments to Huawei not affected by U.S. banTSMC, the world's biggest contract chipmaker, said on Thursday its shipments to China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd are not affected by U.S. action aimed at curbing the telecom equipment maker's access to American technology. The comment was made by spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun at the TSMC 2019 Technology Symposium in Taiwan's tech hub of Hsinchu.


23 May 2019 3:21am GMT

Trump antagonist Avenatti indicted for ripping off Stormy Daniels, extorting Nike

Trump antagonist Avenatti indicted for ripping off Stormy Daniels, extorting NikeThe Nike indictment concerns charges announced in March that Avenatti tried to extort more than $20 million from the athletic wear company by threatening to expose what he called its improper payments to recruits for college basketball teams it sponsored. Avenatti also faces dozens of charges in southern California, where prosecutors on April 11 accused him of stealing millions of dollars from clients to pay for personal and business expenses, and lying to the Internal Revenue Service and a Mississippi bank about his finances. If convicted on all charges, Avenatti could face more than 400 years in prison, but would likely face a lesser punishment.


23 May 2019 2:03am GMT

Target and tariffs: The retailer has plans to limit higher prices

Target and tariffs: The retailer has plans to limit higher pricesTarget plans to lessen the impact tariffs will have on the retailer's prices, the company said on Wednesday. Details were not disclosed.


23 May 2019 12:42am GMT

Google unveils a fresh new look for Search on mobile devices

Google unveils a fresh new look for Search on mobile devicesGoogle unveiled a new look and feel today for the way it presents Google Search results on mobile, and the update has been regarded in a few corners now as somewhat News Feed-like.It's easy to see why that's the case, as the search giant's changes include putting emphasis on a website name and favicon above the search results. Whereas the source of results had previously not been so clearly emphasized, which makes the new design for showing results feel a little like scrolling through a feed of posts from publishers and the like."With this new design, a website's branding can be front and center, helping you better understand where the information is coming from and what pages have what you're looking for," explains Google Senior Interaction Designer for Search Jamie Leach in a company blog post today. "The name of the website and its icon appear at the top of the results card to help anchor each result, so you can more easily scan the page of results and decide what to explore next."The post notes that the refreshed look for what's arguably Google's most important product will start showing up to users over the coming days. As part of the changes, Leach continues, when you search for a product or service and Google feels like it's got a relevant, "useful" ad that would be worth including in the results, you'll now see an ad label in bold at the top of a search results card. The web address will also be included, so you can quickly determine where the information you're seeing is coming from.The other important thing to note about the Google Search refresh on mobile is that this also lays the foundation for Google to add more action buttons and information previews to search results cards, with Google wanting you to be able to now do everything from buying movie tickets to playing podcasts right there from within the results. "Our goal with Search always has been to help people quickly and easily find the information that they're looking for," Leach says. "Over the years, the amount and format of information available on the web has changed drastically -- from the proliferation of images and video to the availability of 3D objects you can now view in AR." Which is why the company thought a "visual refresh" of Search on mobile would do a better job of helping people find the information they need and quickly determine where it came from.


23 May 2019 12:03am GMT

22 May 2019

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The Latest: Iran supreme leader critical of FM in nuke deal

The Latest: Iran supreme leader critical of FM in nuke dealTEHRAN, Iran (AP) - The Latest on increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local):


22 May 2019 10:21pm GMT

Serial cyberstalker could avoid prison again under plea deal

Serial cyberstalker could avoid prison again under plea dealOnly hours before women marched through many U.S. cities in January, Christopher Cleary set off a manhunt when he posted a Facebook message threatening to kill "as many girls as I see" in retaliation for years of romantic rejection. Cleary, 27, called himself a virgin who never had a girlfriend, stoking fears of another deadly rampage by a man blaming women for his problems. When police tracked his cellphone and arrested the Colorado resident at a McDonald's restaurant in Provo, Utah, Cleary said he had been upset and wasn't thinking clearly.


22 May 2019 9:23pm GMT

Rain, flooding expected in U.S. Southern Plains after deadly storms

Rain, flooding expected in U.S. Southern Plains after deadly stormsWeather forecasters on Wednesday expected drenching rains to roll into the storm-ravaged U.S. southern and central states, where thunderstorms and tornadoes killed at least three people and triggered widespread flooding. More than 30 tornadoes struck a swath from Texas to Iowa since Monday, according to the National Weather Service, and residents in at least three Oklahoma riverfront communities were urged to evacuate due to flooding. One person was killed and another was injured when a tornado struck the rural town of Adair, Iowa, about 50 miles (80 km)west of Des Moines, at about 1:30 a.m. local time, the weather service said.


22 May 2019 8:02pm GMT