Middle East


Iran Says It Shot Down a U.S. Drone

NYT > Middle East

Hossein Salami, the commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, addressing the issue at a military ceremony in Sanandaj, Iran, said the drone had been shot down in Iranian airspace. "We are not going to get engaged in a war with any country, but we are fully prepared for war," Mr. Salami said, according to a translation from Press TV. "Today's incident was a clear sign of this precise message so we are continuing our resistance." The Revolutionary Guards said in a separate statement that the aircraft was an American-made Global Hawk surveillance drone, according to Press TV. American officials said last week that Iran had fired a surface-to-air missile at a drone over the Gulf of Oman, on the same day that two oil tankers were attacked.


Iran says Revolutionary Guard shot down U.S. drone

The Japan Times

TEHRAN - Iran's Revolutionary Guard said Thursday it shot down a U.S. drone amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over its collapsing nuclear deal. The U.S. military declined to immediately comment. The reported shootdown of the RQ-4 Global Hawk comes after the U.S. military previously alleged Iran fired a missile at another drone last week that responded to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. blames Iran for the attack on the ships, which Tehran denies. The attacks come against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran following President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers a year ago.


Coalition vows retaliation after Yemen's Houthis strike Saudi airport

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - The Saudi-led military coalition vowed to respond firmly to a missile attack by Yemeni Houthi forces on a civilian airport in southern Saudi Arabia on Wednesday that wounded 26 people. The Western-backed, Sunni Muslim alliance that has been battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen said the early-morning strike was proof of Iranian support for what it called cross-border terrorism. The coalition said a projectile hit the arrivals hall at Abha airport, causing material damage. Three women and two children were among the wounded, who were of Saudi, Yemeni and Indian nationalities, it said in a statement. The Houthis said on their media channels that they fired a cruise missile at Abha airport, which is about 200 km (125 miles) north of the Yemen border and serves domestic and regional routes.


Houthis Strike Saudi Airport, Escalating Yemen Conflict

NYT > Middle East

But the fragile peace initiative has since stalled, and the Houthis resumed attacking Saudi Arabia over the past several weeks in what it said was retaliation for the Saudis' failure to curtail the violence. Houthi drones targeted Saudi drone facilities at another airport on Sunday, a Houthi TV channel said, and Saudi air defense systems have intercepted several Houthi missile and drone attacks in the last month, the official Saudi Press Agency said. A Houthi attack on a Saudi oil pipeline last month forced the Saudis to shut the pipeline temporarily, soon after a mysterious sabotage attack damaged four oil tankers outside the Emirati port of Fujairah, two of them Saudi. The Houthi attacks have caused few casualties. The attack on the airport on Wednesday was one of the worst Houthi attacks on Saudi soil yet.


Meta-heuristic for non-homogeneous peak density spaces and implementation on 2 real-world parameter learning/tuning applications

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Observer effect in physics (/psychology) regards bias in measurement (/perception) due to the interference of instrument (/knowledge). Based on these concepts, a new meta-heuristic algorithm is proposed for controlling memory usage per localities without pursuing Tabu-like cut-off approaches. In this paper, first, variations of observer effect are explained in different branches of science from physics to psychology. Then, a metaheuristic algorithm is proposed based on observer effect concepts and the used metrics are explained. The derived optimizer performance has been compared between 1st, non-homogeneous-peaks-density functions, and 2nd, homogeneous-peaks-density functions to verify the algorithm outperformance in the 1st scheme. Finally, performance analysis of the novel algorithms is derived using two real-world engineering applications in Electroencephalogram feature learning and Distributed Generator parameter tuning, each of which having nonlinearity and complex multi-modal peaks distributions as its characteristics. Also, the effect of version improvement has been assessed. The performance analysis among other optimizers in the same context suggests that the proposed algorithm is useful both solely and in hybrid Gradient Descent settings where problem's search space is nonhomogeneous in terms of local peaks density.


Yemen's Houthi rebels launch attack drones into Saudi Arabia

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Yemen's Houthi rebels said on Tuesday they launched at least two drones targeting a southwest Saudi city that's home to an air base. The Houthis' Al-Masirah satellite news channel reported the rebels launched Qasef-2K drones to strike the city of Khamis Mushait. The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Tuesday, quoting military spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki, that soldiers "intercepted" two drones launched by the Houthis. The Iranian-allied Houthis increasingly have targeted the kingdom with bomb-carrying drones. Khamis Mushait, some 815 km (510 miles) southwest of the capital, Riyadh, is near the kingdom's border with Yemen.


Israel adds artificial intelligence tech for SPICE bomb

#artificialintelligence

Rafael, an Israeli defence firm, on Monday announced it had successfully demonstrated a new "automatic target recognition" capability that relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning for the newest variant of its SPICE family of guided air-to-ground bombs. The Indian Air Force is believed to have used SPICE bombs in its attack on a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot in February. SPICE is an acronym for Smart, Precise, Impact and Cost-Effective. The SPICE munitions come in three variants: SPICE-2000, -1000 and -250, with the number denoting the weapon's weight class in pounds. The SPICE-250, which weighs around 113kg and the newest variant of the SPICE family, was the version tested with artificial intelligence technology by Rafael.


Great Learning Expands to Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East

#artificialintelligence

Great Learning, India's leading Ed-tech platform for working professionals today announced that it is expanding its geographic footprint globally to Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. The company will offer three of its most popular programs in Data Science & Business Analytics (PGP-DSBA - a special international variant of its business analytics program PGP-BABI ranked #1 in India for the last 4 years), Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning (PGP-AIML) and Cyber Security (SACSP - Stanford Advanced Computer Security Program) in these geographies. Offered in association with two of the top universities of the world, Stanford University and The University of Texas, Austin, these online programs have already attracted learners from 17 countries including the UK, Singapore, South Africa, UAE, etc. These programs, designed and developed by the top-notch faculty of UT Austin and Stanford, are delivered online by Great Learning, utilizing its unique mentored-learning model where personalized mentorship is provided by expert instructors from Great Learning's 750 Global Guru network. The mentors include industry veterans from companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Walmart.


10 Top Fintech Startups in Israel TechBullion

#artificialintelligence

Israel is a small country the size of the U.S state of New Jersey. The country has a population of about 8.5 million people. However, it is a global fintech giant with over 500 fintech startups. In 2015 Bloomberg ranking, Israel was the fifth most innovative country in the world. In 2016, the world economic forum ranking found that Israel was the second most innovative country globally.


Artificial intelligence: opportunities, fears and the way forward - Hi tech news - Jerusalem Post

#artificialintelligence

The advent of Linkedin targeted advertising, for example, saw thousands of conventional sales positions being closed as companies tried out this targeted way of advertising as opposed to manual sales and prospecting. Now, taxi drivers and truck drivers can see the same happening once autonomous transport becomes the norm. Countries like France and Greece are still trying to fight new innovative taxi booking solutions, whereas in reality, the world is already at the NEXT phase, which is no longer how we book these services, but how the service is actually delivered by autonomous driving. But we can go on: IT support technicians and financial advisors both face the same issue: ROBO advisors are working alongside humans to deliver spectacular results. Even copywriters in advertising agencies now see dynamic, programmatic copywriting rolled out to compete with a highly respected conventional trade.