Middle East


Saudis say they don't want war with Iran but will defend themselves

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Saudi Arabia does not want war but will not hesitate to defend itself against Iran, a top Saudi diplomat said Sunday, after the kingdom's energy sector was targeted this past week amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf. On Sunday night, a rocket crashed in the Iraqi capital's heavily fortified Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy, further stoking tensions. No casualties were reported in the apparent attack. Adel al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, spoke a week after four oil tankers-- two of them Saudi-- were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline. "The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region and does not strive for that … but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests," al-Jubeir told reporters.


With Interest: The Week in Business: A Facial Recognition Ban, and Trade War Blues

NYT > Economy

Here's what you need to know in business news. The city's Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to prohibit the use of facial recognition technology within city limits. It's a somewhat symbolic move: The police there don't currently use the stuff, and the places where it is in use -- seaports and airports -- are under federal jurisdiction and therefore unaffected by the new regulation. The major television networks tried to sell their fall advertising slots in an annual pageant known as the upfronts. In a week of star-studded presentations, skits and boozy mingling, representatives of major advertisers flocked to New York to see what the networks have in store.


Bomb-laden drones of Yemen's Houthi rebels seen threatening Arabian Peninsula

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - A Yemen rebel drone strike this week on a critical Saudi oil pipeline shows that the otherwise-peaceful sandy reaches of the Arabian Peninsula now are at risk of similar assault, including an under-construction nuclear power plant and Dubai International Airport, among the world's busiest. U.N. investigators said the Houthis' new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 km (930 miles). That puts the far reaches of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two main opponents of the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, within reach of drones difficult to detect and track. Their relatively simple design, coupled with readily available information online, makes targeting even easier, analysts say. "These installations are easily findable, like on Google Earth," said Tim Michetti, an expert on illicit weapons technology with experience in Yemen.


Casualties reported as Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit Sanaa

The Japan Times

SANAA - The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen carried out several airstrikes on the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Thursday after the Iranian-aligned movement claimed responsibility for drone attacks on Saudi oil installations. The Sanaa strikes targeted nine military sites in and around the city, residents said, with humanitarian agencies reporting a number of casualties. Rubble filled a populated street lined by mud-brick houses, a Reuters journalist on the scene said. A crowd of men lifted the body of a women, wrapped in a white shroud, into an ambulance. Houthi-run Masirah television quoted the Houthi health ministry as saying six civilians, including four children, had been killed and 60 wounded, including two Russian women working in the health sector.


U.S. pulls nonessential staffers from Iraq amid Mideast tensions linked to Iran

The Japan Times

BAGHDAD - The U.S. on Wednesday ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions sweeping the Persian Gulf region over still-unspecified threats that the Trump administration says are linked to Iran. Recent days have seen allegations of sabotage targeting oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a drone attack by Yemen's Iranian-allied Houthi rebels, and the dispatch of U.S. warships and bombers to the region. At the root of this appears to be President Donald Trump's decision a year ago to pull the U.S. from Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, embarking on a maximalist sanctions campaign against Tehran. In response, Iran's supreme leader issued a veiled threat Tuesday, saying it wouldn't be difficult for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels. The movement of diplomatic personnel is often done in times of conflict, but what is driving the decisions from the White House remains unclear.


Iran's foreign minister says US sanctions 'unacceptable'

FOX News

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, walks to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Thursday, May 16, 2019. Iran's foreign minister has said his country is committed to an international nuclear deal and criticized escalating U.S. sanctions "unacceptable" as he met with Japanese officials in Tokyo amid rising tensions in the Middle East.(AP Saudi Arabia said drones attacked one of its pipeline.; TOKYO – Iran's foreign minister says his country is committed to an international nuclear deal but that the escalating U.S. sanctions are "unacceptable." The remarks come amid rising tensions in the Mideast, with allegations of sabotage targeting oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, a drone attack by Yemen's Iranian-allied rebels and the dispatch of U.S. warships and bombers to the region.


These 20 social enterprises and nonprofits just won Google's AI Impact Challenge

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American University of Beirut is developing a tool that farmers in the Middle East and Africa can use to irrigate fields at the optimum times to save water. At Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, a university in Colombia, researchers will use satellite images to detect illegal mines that are polluting community drinking water. Crisis Text Line, a nonprofit that connects people experiencing a crisis with volunteer counselors by text message, uses AI to evaluate messages and move the people who are in most danger to the front of the line. In Australia, a public health service called Eastern Health will use AI to comb through clinical records from ambulances and find patterns in suicide attempts–and ways to intervene earlier. Full Fact, an independent fact-checking organization in the U.K., is using AI to help human fact-checkers more quickly assess claims made by politicians and the media.


Salesforce acquires Tel Aviv-based conversational AI startup Bonobo for a reported $50 million - Tech.eu

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Editor's note: This exclusive article from CTech (Meir Orbach) was syndicated with permission. Inc. is acquiring Tel Aviv-based conversational AI startup Bonobo, incorporated as Bonobot Technologies Ltd., the company announced Thursday. The company did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but one person familiar with the matter who spoke to Calcalist on condition of anonymity put it at $50 million. Founded in 2017 by Barak Goldstein, Efrat Rapoport, Idan Tsitiat, and Ohad Hen, Bonobo develops conversational AI technology designed to extract insights from online customer interactions. The company's technology integrates directly with various sources of customer interaction data, such as voice, chat, video, and email, running AI algorithms to analyze the data.


Canada's tech hubs fall in Startup Ecosystem Rankings, smaller cities show promise BetaKit

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StartupBlink, a Swiss interactive platform for startups, has released its 2019 Ecosystem Ranking Report, with Canada holding on to the third position, boasting five cities in the top 100 startup ecosystems globally. "Canada's major strength lies in the distribution of strong startup hubs scattered throughout the country." Along with Canada, the US, UK, and Israel all held on to the top four spots for countries with the strongest startup ecosystems. However, Canada's typical tech hubs fell in the rankings compared to 2017. This year, Toronto ranked 15, after dropping four spots, while Vancouver dropped six places to 24.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Fintech Global Market Demand, Growth, Opportunities, Analysis of Top Key Player and Forecast to 2024

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May 03, 2019 (Heraldkeeper via COMTEX) -- As FinTech applies data and technology to financial services in an effort to address industry challenges, artificial intelligence is essential to FinTech's existence and usage. According to this study, over the next five years the Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Fintechmarket will register a xx% CAGR in terms of revenue, the global market size will reach US$ xx million by 2024, from US$ xx million in 2019. In particular, this report presents the global revenue market share of key companies in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Fintech business, shared in Chapter 3. This report presents a comprehensive overview, market shares and growth opportunities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Fintech market by product type, application, key companies and key regions. This report also splits the market by region: Breakdown data in Chapter 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Americas United States Canada Mexico Brazil APAC China Japan Korea Southeast Asia India Australia Europe Germany France UK Italy Russia Spain Middle East & Africa Egypt South Africa Israel Turkey GCC Countries The report also presents the market competition landscape and a corresponding detailed analysis of the major vendor/manufacturers in the market.