Trump says if American targets attacked 52 Iranian cultural sites would be hit by US

Trump says if American targets attacked 52 Iranian cultural sites would be hit by US

Washington: President Donald Trump said on Saturday the United States has targeted 52 Iranian sites that it would attack if Iran attacks Americans or U.S. assets in response to a U.S. drone attack that murdered Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.

Showing no signs of seeking to reduce tensions raised by the attack on Friday that he arranged, the U.S. president issued a stern threat to Iran on Twitter.

Trump wrote in a series of tweets that Iran”is talking very boldly about targeting particular USA assets” to avenge Soleimani’s death.

Trump said the United States has”targeted 52 Iranian sites” and that some were”at a very substantial level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those aims, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.”

“The USA wants no more threats!” Trump said, adding that the 52 targets represented the 52 Americans who were held hostage in Iran after being seized at the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979.

Asked about Trump’s tweets through an interview with Fox News, White House national security advisor Robert O’Brien said”the president is trying to make it clear to the Iranians that this is a really bad path for them to return.”

O’Brien added:”The Iranians ought to be very careful. … We’ve said we believe the matter resolved — if they opt to move forward against america there will be serious consequences as the president pointed out.”

Iran condemned Trump on Sunday as a “terrorist in a suit” after he threatened to hit Iranian websites.

They hate cultures. He will learn history very soon that NOBODY can defeat’the Great Iranian Nation & Culture’,” information and telecommunications minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi tweeted.

Eyebrows were raised by trump’s suggestion that the United States could strike at targets of importance to Iranian culture.

Colin Kahl, a former Obama administration national security official, wrote on Twitter that he found it”hard to believe that the Pentagon would provide Trump targeting options which include Iranian cultural sites. Trump might not care about the laws of warfare, but DoD (Department of Defence) spouses and lawyers do… and targeting ethnic sites is war crime.”

The Pentagon declined to comment on the 52 targets and referred questions to the White House, which didn’t respond.

The U.S. strike on Soleimani’s convoy in Baghdad airport also killed Iranian-backed Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and it raised the spectre of wider conflict in the Middle East. Tens of thousands of people marched to mourn both commanders.

The tweets of trump were issued in Florida during his holiday stay. An increasing number of Democrats have said the Republican president’s actions is bringing the United States to the brink of war.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said on Saturday “the Trump Administration’s provocative, escalatory and disproportionate military involvement continues to put service members, diplomats and taxpayers of America and our allies at risk.”

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Terror group Al-Shabaab attacks Kenyan military base

Terror group Al-Shabaab attacks Kenyan military base

Nairobi: Jihadists from Somalia’s Al-Shabaab group Sunday attacked a military base used by US and Kenyan forces in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region, the army spokesman said.

Since Nairobi sent troops across the border in 29, the strike on the base is the latest from the group in Kenya. Kenya’s army spokesman Colonel Paul Njuguna said in a statement that am’an effort was made to breach security.’ ‘The violation that was attempted was repulsed. Four bodies have so far been found. The airstrip is secure.

Arising from the unsuccessful breach a fire broke out affecting a number of the gas tanks located at the airstrip.’ He said the fire was brought under control’and security procedures are.’ ‘We aren’t sure if there are still remnants within,’ he said.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying it had’successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have taken effective control of a part of the base.’ The team said there had been both Kenyan and American casualties, however this could not be verified.

Al-Shabaab said the attack was a part of its’Al-Quds (Jerusalem) shall never be Judaized’ campaign — a term it initially used during an attack on the upscale Dusit hotel complex in Nairobi in January last year that left 21 people dead. The jihadists have staged several attacks inside Kenya, in retaliation for Nairobi sending troops to target interests as well as into Somalia.

Despite years of efforts to fight Al-Shabaab, the team on December 28 was able to detonate a car packed with explosives in Mogadishu, killing 81 people. The spate of attacks highlights the group’s resilience and capacity to inflict mass casualties in the home and in the region, despite losing control of major metropolitan regions in Somalia.

The Lamu region, near the border, has been plagued by attacks with regular strikes across the frontier notably targeting security forces with roadside bombs. When suspected Shabaab gunmen ambushed a bus at least three people were killed. US military strikes in Somalia surged after President Donald Trump declared this country an’ area of hostilities’ south.’

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Educating robots the art of a good conversation

Educating robots the art of a good conversation

BENGALURU: it pulled the plug on it within a week When lingerie startup Clovia deployed a bot to talk with clients online two years back. A customer asking about an merchandise was shown bras to purchase. Gaffes like this can spiral out of control.

And yet after some persuasion, Clovia decided to try out a chatbot. From throwing a bot this time the strategy was a lot different.

The first few weeks have been spent digesting all available data on client queries, understanding business processes, identifying areas that were easiest to automate first, and training the bot to deal with those and hand off trickier areas like body contours and matches to humans. Subsequently Clovia felt confident enough to provide another try to the chatbot. There has been a reduction in people handling customer queries even though the business of Clovia has increased. Interactions with the bot are increasing in number and sophistication.

“Originally we gave it very little space, but as we saw customers responding better, we have begun to push the chatbot further,” states Vermani. “Many customers are more comfortable talking to a bot about something as intimate as a lingerie. We want an bra salesperson to notify a consumer. And we are pretty much there in our test runs.”


Many people have interacted with chatbots only to be frustrated whenever the conversation moved beyond basic questions. That’s because most chatbots do not have any idea about the intent behind our queries. The possibilities of natural language processing (NLP) have exploded over the past decade as the big tech companies-Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and IBM-have pumped resources into creating their own virtual assistants such as Alexa and Siri in addition to open source AI platforms. This has lowered the entry barrier for producing chatbots but has not made them intelligent in specific contexts. A baby doll means something in the toy market and something in the lingerie of women , for example. “Everybody says,’Oh, I can make bots’. That is like saying I play cricket and so does Virat Kohli. Building a bot that is simple is college level material. As soon as you enter a higher level, data sciences and business use cases come into play.”

Satish Medapati, who managed the APAC region [24]7. Ai turning entrepreneur, started Intentico in February 2018. The key, according to him, is to look at the chatbot as one piece of an enterprise’s”AI transformation” instead of a plug-and-play tool.

“Having the best algorithm or NLP is not enough. A whole lot of consultation work also needs to be done,” says Medapati.

Only then can a chatbot be incorporated into a roadmap to automate and enhance the experience of today’s customers who are used to messaging and anticipate relevant answers immediately rather than being put on hold in a call with repetitive music.

Intentico is focused on drilling heavy with a few enterprises large enough to architect such a job rather than spreading itself thin across multiple smaller customers. Automotive, banking and retail firms in India and Japanese electronics manufacturer Toshiba in the Gulf are one of its early adopters. “Each of our clients has failed earlier with bots despite a multi-million-dollar exposure,” states Medapati.

Intentico’s NLP motor Curie in the rear end and its text and address bots at the front end are part of a larger suite of products that deal with various facets of customer interaction across multiple channels. These include bot-integrated middleware to connect different systems and stations,’botlytics’ to derive actionable insights, and traditional tools like IVR (interactive voice response), ticketing and dashboards.

Such an integrated strategy increases the odds of its chatbots engaging in deeper discussions and making sense. Intentico works with partners and system integrators to locate and fit all the pieces of the puzzle. In the case of Toshiba in Dubai, this extended to figuring out the infrastructure for messaging since many countries in the Gulf have banned VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) which makes popular programs like WhatsApp inaccessible. Intentico crossed that hurdle to station an whole call centre’s customer queries to a language bot. “More than 95 percent of the queries are resolved with the Tosh speech bot,” says Medapati.

How Intentico has built its NLP and flow engine Curie is also different from the decision tree model that most chatbots use. “Ours is an ensemble of decision trees in which the bot can leap from one tree to another,” says Medapati. This is closer to the way the person conversation flows. By way of example, a Toshiba customer might start a conversation about a service request and suddenly ask about a product she found at a retail store. “The human mind can switch seamlessly from one context to another but it is very difficult for a machine to perform,” explains Medapati. “What we have allowed in Curie is a context switch mechanism in which the bot can jump from the node of one tree to a node in another tree of the ensemble.”

Intentico is the third startup of Medapati. His earlier venture Bounty needed a proprietary indoor positioning system to monitor a client’s location in the outlets of partners. It engaged customers by demonstrating reward points to collect and generated client analytics for partners.

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Australia is burning

Australia is burning

Sydney: Australian authorities began assessing the damage on Sunday from heatwave-spurred bushfires that swept through two states a day before, as cooler conditions provided a temporary respite from blazes that have scarred the country’s east coast for months. Light rain and cooler temperatures in the southeast of the country have been a welcome change from the searing heat that has fuelled the catastrophic fires, but officials cautioned they were not enough to put out nearly 200 fires still burning. ‘It certainly is a welcome reprieve, it is psychological relief if nothing else,’ New South Wales (NSW) state Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons stated in an afternoon briefing on the circumstance.

‘But unfortunately it’s not putting out the fires.’ January 5, 2020 fallen powerlines continue to smoulder in paddocks along the Princes Highway near in Milton, Australia. Photo: Reuters/Tracey Nearmy Tens of thousands of homes in both NSW and Victoria states were without power on Sunday as a large-scale military and police effort continued to provide supplies and evacuate thousands of people who’ve been trapped for days in coastal cities by the fires. Initial estimates put damaged or destroyed properties in the hundreds, but police said the mass evacuations by residents of at-risk areas appear to have prevented the significant loss of life.

Twenty-four people have been killed since the beginning of this year’s wildfire season. Fire officials said temperatures were expected to climb during the week and the next significant flashpoint would come by Thursday, but it was too early to gauge the likely severity of the threat. ‘The weather activity we’re seeing, the scope and spread of the flames, the pace at which they are going, the manner in which they are attacking communities who have never seen fire is unprecedented,’ NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian stated. Thousands of people have been evacuated from coastal cities at the peak of the summer holiday season, in one of the biggest coordinated operations because the evacuation of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy flattened the northern city in 1974. Australia has been battling blazes across much of its east coast for decades, with experts saying climate change has been a significant factor in a three-year drought that has left much of the country’s bushland tinder-dry and susceptible to fires.

Bushfires Sweep Across Southeast Australia, two More Killed Following are highlights of what is happening across Australia: – Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Singapore and Papua New Guinea have made offers of military support; New Zealand was sending an extra three Air Force helicopters and crews, two Army Combat Engineer Sections, and a control element to support Australian Defence efforts. – As the smoke cleared, about 350 people were expected to be airlifted from the Victorian town of Mallacoota on Sunday, where approximately 1,000 people were evacuated by sea on Friday. That would leave about 400 individuals who had chosen to stay in the community, The Age newspaper reported. – No fires were burning out of control in New South Wales, but four fires in Victoria had Evacuate Now or Emergency Level warnings.

A threat earlier on Sunday to the NSW town of Eden had eased by late afternoon, and police said the evacuation was no longer necessary. – Haze from the fires was turning heavens orange as far away as New Zealand; authorities there asked people to not call the emergency telephone number. – In Canberra, officials asked for 100,000 extra breathing masks from the national stockpile as the nation’s capital recorded the worst air quality in the world on Sunday, according to the IQAir AirVisual global indicator. The masks are expected to arrive on Monday.

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