North America Government


Amazon Employees To Jeff Bezos: Stop Selling Facial Recognition Tech To ICE

International Business Times

Amazon's operation has grown well beyond merely delivering items to people's homes. Jeff Bezos's massive corporation is now involved in everything from grocery shopping to fashion, but the recent revelation that Amazon technology assists law enforcement is a bridge too far for some employees. A group of Amazon employees (referred to as Amazonians) penned a letter to Bezos on Thursday asking the billionaire CEO to halt the sale of facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies, The Hill reported. The software, called Amazon Web Services Rekognition, has been linked to government agencies like the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. The letter cited the United States government's history of injustice towards minorities in calling for Amazon to stop assisting ICE.


Pakistan Taliban Chief Who Shot Malala Killed In US Drone Strike

International Business Times

Mullah Fazlullah, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader, accused of shooting activist Malala Yousafzai was killed by a United States drone strike June 13 close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a U.S. military official confirmed to Voice of America. "U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization," army Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan said. He was reportedly traveling in a vehicle with four other commanders when the strike took place, Pakistani daily the Express Tribune reported. "A US drone strike in Afghanistan's northeastern Kunar province has killed the leader of the TTP," Mohammad Radmanish, Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense spokesperson, told CNN. "US Forces-Afghanistan and NATO-led Resolute Support forces continue to adhere to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's unilateral ceasefire with the Afghan Taliban, announced by ... Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which began on the 27th day of Ramadan," a statement from U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said claiming the strike did not put the ceasefire order by President Ashraf Ghani into risk, CNN reported. "As previously stated, the ceasefire does not include US counterterrorism efforts against IS-K, al Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups, or the inherent right of US and international forces to defend ourselves if attacked," the statement added.


Rules-Based Trade Made The World Rich, Trump's Policies May Make It Poorer

International Business Times

Nations sell goods and services to each other because this exchange is generally mutually beneficial. It's easy to understand that Iceland should not be growing its own oranges, given its climate. Instead, Iceland should buy oranges from Spain, which can grow them more cheaply, and sell Spaniards fish, which are abundant in its waters. That's why the explosion in free trade since the first bilateral deal was penned between Britain and France in the mid-1800s has generated unprecedented wealth and prosperity for the vast majority of the world's population. Hundreds of trade agreements later, the United States and several other countries established an international rules-based trading system after World War II.


NASA Holds Off Opportunity Rover Operations Amid Massive Dust Storm On Mars

International Business Times

An intense dust storm brewing on the surface of Mars has prompted NASA to suspend the science operations of its Opportunity rover, which has been active on the red planet since 2004, for the time being. The storm, which has been growing bigger over the last week, was first spotted on June 1 by the space agency's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The team handling the orbiter, aka MRO, witnessed how close it was to the robotic rover and alerted the teams concerned to take immediate action. As the rover team prepared the contingency plan to deal with the situation, the storm grew more intense than expected. According to a release from the agency, on June 8, it spanned more than North America, covering a whopping 7 million square miles (18 million square kilometers) area on the planet.


NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Starts Analyzing Drilled Rocks After Year-Long Break

International Business Times

After more than a year, NASA's Curiosity rover has successfully delivered rock powder extracted from the Martian surface to one of its two onboard labs, regaining the critical ability to analyze surface samples on the red planet. The deployment of the lab on May 31 marks a major milestone for the agency, which has worked extremely hard to fix Curiosity's drilling and sample analysis capabilities. The technology-rigged rover's original drilling mechanism suffered a number of issues in 2016 and lost its upward and downward movement by the end of that year. The problem kept the robotic vehicle from extracting and analyzing Martian rock samples and severely affected the mission. However, the team of scientists at NASA worked on a percussive method called feed extended drilling, wherein the force of rover's extended robotic arm is used to push the drill forward into the rock in a freestyle manner.


Here Is IBM's Blueprint For Winning The AI Race

International Business Times

One of the cornerstones of International Business Machines' (NYSE:IBM) ongoing transformation is cognitive computing, which encompasses artificial intelligence and other related technologies. IBM is a business that serves other businesses, and its approach to artificial intelligence (AI) stays true to its purpose. IBM Watson, the company's well-known AI system, is being used in industries like healthcare and financial services to augment the skills of professionals in those fields. The long-term potential of the technology is immense. This article originally appeared in the Motley Fool. IBM has made a bet that cognitive computing will be a big part of its future.


NASA's Curiosity Rover On Mars Can Once Again Drill Into Rocks

International Business Times

NASA precious Curiosity rover is once again drilling the surface of Mars. The robotic vehicle used a new drilling technique May 20 and penetrated into a Martian rock named "Duluth" for the first time in more than a year. Though drilling a hole in a rock appears to be no big thing, especially for a technology-rigged rover strolling on the red planet, it's a big milestone for NASA. The engineers worked hard for months to make sure the latest method works appropriately and overcomes the mechanical problems witnessed almost two years ago. Curiosity's original drilling mechanism went offline in 2016, taking away the vehicle's critical ability to analyze powder samples from Martian rocks.


Video Of Niger Ambush Shows US Forces Fighting For Survival

International Business Times

A drone footage of the Niger ambush that killed four U.S. and five Nigerian soldiers that surfaced recently shows the service personnel desperately trying to escape and fighting for their lives after friendly Nigerien forces mistook them for the enemy. The video shows the harrowing hours of troops holding off their enemy and waiting for rescue. It shows how the soldiers set up a defensive location on the edge of a marsh and wrote letters to their loved ones thinking they were going to die. Pentagon released the video with explanatory narration and it contains more than 10 minutes of drone footage, animation and file tape that was not made public last week when the military released a portion of the final report on the October attack, the Guardian reported. In a failed attempt to target a local ISIS leader, 46 U.S. and Nigerien troops were involved in the initial mission in the West African nation.


Hacker Sentenced To Federal Prison For Attacks On 'World Of Warcraft' Servers

International Business Times

A hacker was sentenced on Monday to a year in federal prison for disrupting one of the most popular video games of all time, the U.S. Department of Justice announced in a press release. A 38-year-old Romanian national named Calin Mateias had been in custody since November for coordinating a series of distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks in "World of Warcraft" seven years earlier. Mateis was extradited from Romania last year and pleaded guilty to a charge of intentional damage to a protected computer, according to the Justice Department. His crime was deliberately slowing down or even shutting down "World of Warcraft" servers earlier this decade out of spite for other players of the massive online game. A DDoS attack is when a hacker overloads a server with traffic to cause a logjam for anyone trying to access it, according to Scientific American.


NASA' Urban Air Mobility Plan Is Transport Goal For The Future

International Business Times

Science fiction movies (think, for instance, "Blade Runner") often depict cities of the future where the sky is a maze of invisible roads, chock-a-bloc with aerial vehicles that sometimes drive themselves. But unless you have been living like a hermit, cut off from the world, you would know that sort of a scenario is not entirely in the realm of fiction any more. While companies like Tesla, Uber and Waymo (among many others) have already been testing cars that drive themselves, there are others, including Airbus, Boeing and Toyota, who are working on flying cars. Even NASA is onboard with this vision for the future, and has an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) research team working toward this goal, which the agency calls "a safe and efficient air transportation system where everything from small package delivery drones to passenger-carrying air taxis operate over populated areas, from small towns to the largest cities." While a lot more research needs to be done to create the necessary technology that is both safe and efficient, not to mention the framing of rules and regulations to govern its use, it is certainly not just a pipedream.