Welcome to Friday, where Russian bombs hit the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. Rescue operations are still underway for the hundreds of survivors in the rubble of Mariupol theater; meanwhile, Putin details his demands for the end of the war, in a phone call with Turkey’s Erdogan. From Argentina, we look at the promising AI-driven health tech being developed and what it could mean in the treatment of several illnesses such as diabetes, cancer or COVID.
[*Quechua - South America]
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• Ukraine update: This morning, missiles hit an aircraft maintenance plant close to the airport of Lviv, in western Ukraine, the city mayor has said. No casualties have been reported so far but there are worries that Lviv, which had so far been a safe-haven for fleeing Ukranians, may become a new target. In Mariupol, in the south, hundreds of survivors are reported to be emerging from the ruins of a theatre that was bombed by Russia on Wednesday.
• Putin tells Erdogan what it would take to end the war : In a call with Turkish President Erdogan, Vladimir Putin outlined his demands for ending the war in Ukraine — namely, the assurance from Ukraine that it won't join NATO, as well as a discussion on the status of Crimea and the Donbas region. Erdogan reportedly offered Putin to host him and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy for talks.
• U.S.-China talks: U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to talk over the phone today. The conversation, the first since November, is expected to be tense. Biden is due to tell Xi that China will pay a price if it supports Russia’s military operations, in an effort to leave Russia more isolated.
• Chinese aircraft near Taiwan: Taiwan’s defense minister said a Chinese aircraft carrier sailed through the Taiwan Strait earlier today. A source told Reuters the carrier Shandong sailed close to the Taiwan-controlled island of Kinmen, with no aircraft on its deck. This happened hours before the Chinese and U.S. presidents were due to talk, with China having stepped up over the past two years military activity around the island that it considers part of its territory.
• Great Barrier Reef new bleaching: Monitoring flights in Queensland, Australia, have spotted dead corals in the Great Barrier Reef. A lead scientist of the marine park has told The Guardian a massive bleaching event is underway, the sixth in the world heritage park’s history. But the scope of the damage is yet to be determined. Coral bleaching happens when corals become white due to various stressors — in this case it is attributed to rising ocean temperatures.
• New funds to avoid food crisis in Africa: The African Development Bank has said it will raise $1bn within the next week to protect the African countries that receive more than 50% of their wheat from Russia or Ukraine. The fund will support agricultural production in Africa.
• World Happiness Report: For the fifth year in a row, Finland is deemed the happiest nation in the world as part of the global survey data World Happiness Report. Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania moved up, while Venezuela and Afghanistan have dropped to the bottom of the list.
Sentenced to 25 years in jail in 2009 for death squad killings during the war with Maoist rebels, Peru’s ex-President Alberto Fujimori was granted early release on health grounds. The ruling is proving divisive, as Peruvian daily El Comercio shows on its front page, with photos of demonstrations both in favor and against the release of the former president.
South Korea’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (여성가족부, yeoseong-gajogbu) risks being eliminated after the country’s new president-elect, Yoon Suk-yeol had pledged to shutter it in an attempt to woo the growing number of anti-feminist young male voters. But if Yoon does indeed abolish the ministry, many fear that recent efforts to improve gender rights will be undone — and the new president could anger millions of South Korean women.
Data, Selfies, Prevention: How AI Is Transforming Healthcare
From testing for COVID through WhatsApp to taking selfies to check heart risks, AI programs are being used in Argentina to complement early-stage diagnoses. The technologies are in their early stages but are able to detect what the human eye might miss.
😷 Recently, the Buenos Aires city government launched IATos, a program meant to boost testing for the coronavirus. The tool allows you to record a cough on WhatsApp and send it on through Boti (the city's chat bot) for analysis by the IATos program. If the sound matches patterns of positive cases, the program recommends you get a COVID-19 test. To train the web's recognition system, the sounds of 140,000 COVID-infected or negative patients were gathered through Boti (through PCR tests) from mid-2020. It is the biggest database of its kind in the world and freely accessible to all.
❤️ ÜMA Salud has focused on developing tech tools to detect pathologies early. In September 2021, they launched a free tool on their webpage that uses an algorithm based on deep learning of neural networks to predict the risks of heart disease or Type 2 diabetes. The patient must simply register, fill in a brief questionnaire, and send a selfie. The system analyses the image in seconds and determines the person's risk levels for those illnesses.
🧠 In 2017, neurologist Mauricio Farez co-founded Entelai, a startup developing AI in healthcare. One of Entelai's focuses has been to incorporate AI into diagnostic imaging. Its Entelai Pic product is used in the early detection of demyelinating diseases like Multiple Sclerosis. AI allows for detection of changes in the brain volume and certain lesions that are very difficult to spot visually. The algorithm-based tool can also measure brain volume and those sections particularly relevant in diagnosing brain degenerative diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer.
🎀 Bioengineering student Carolina Mondino designed an algorithm that can classify tumors observed in mammograms according to type and severity of the lesion, and thus determine their malignancy. The system is currently 90% effective in classifying tumor types and has a 70% accuracy rate in determining malignancy. She hopes the program, initially conceived for medical use, can later be used by patients themselves.
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You are my new heroes. You have the strength of Yuri Petrovich Vlasov. You have the true heart of Russia.
— Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called the Russian people to resist their country's disinformation in a video posted on Twitter. He particularly saluted the courage of those protesting the war and exposing themselves to repression, comparing them to his childhood hero Yuri Petrovich Vlasov, Russian heavyweight weightlifter and Olympic gold medalist in 1960.
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