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Geopolitics

U.S. Advisers Sent To Iraq, Putin Convoys Barred, RIP Lauren Bacall

Crowds gathered Tuesday in Clayton, Missouri, to protest the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson Saturday.
Crowds gathered Tuesday in Clayton, Missouri, to protest the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson Saturday.
Worldcrunch

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

U.S. SENDS MORE MILITARY ADVISERS TO IRAQ
Washington is sending 130 more military advisers to northern Iraq to assist in the evacuation of displaced people trapped on Mount Sinjar, The New York Times reports. The article quotes U.S. officials as saying that a ground presence is needed to secure the evacuation, although they insisted they “will not be engaged in a combat role.”

Meanwhile, after a meeting with UK officials in London, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he would not rule out sending troops to Iraq. According to The Guardian, this comes as Britain intensifies its involvement in the country, with British helicopters flying Yazidi refugees out of Mount Sinjar and aircraft transporting Jordanian military equipment to the Kurdish region of Iraq.

Iranians officials say they support the nomination of Haider al-Abadi as Iraq’s new prime minister, a crucial endorsement, while ousted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki yesterday urged the army and security forces to stay out of the political crisis, suggesting a smooth transfer of power is possible.

SNAPSHOT
Protesters held their hands up in the air as crowds gathered Tuesday in Clayton, Missouri, to protest the fatal Saturday shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed at the time, by a police officer in Ferguson.

AS TRUCE NEARS END, GAZA TALKS CONTINUE
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are in Cairo to continue talks on a permanent truce as a 72-hour ceasefire in the Gaza conflict expires tonight. There is no sign of a breakthrough to bring to an end to fighting that has killed 1,945 Palestinians and 67 Israelis, 64 of them soldiers, Reuters reports.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says that if the ceasefire collapses Israel must "take the initiative,” and “finish the story in the shortest time possible." Read more about his comments in our Verbatim feature.

AFP reports that a foreign journalist and four Palestinians were killed as an Israeli missile was being dismantled in Gaza.

FAREWELL
Legendary Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall, born Betty Joan Perske, died Tuesday at age 89 after suffering a major stroke.

PUTIN “HUMANITARIAN CONVOYS” BARRED
Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says that Russia’s humanitarian convoys will not be allowed in the Kharkiv region. “First they send tanks, Grad missiles and bandits who fire on Ukrainians, and then they send water and salt,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

3,770
A new infographic on the daily caloric intake of various countries shows the United States tops the chart with 3,770 calories per person.

MUBARAK’S RETRIAL BEGINS
The retrial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began this morning in Cairo without him, as the helicopter that was supposed to deliver him to the court where he was expected to testify was grounded by bad weather, Ahram Online reports. The ex-president is accused of complicity in the killing of some 850 demonstrators in the revolt that ousted him from office in 2011, and it is believed he will plead innocent.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
For a bit of lighter fare today, our music blog Hit It! features Berlin-based American musician Anton Newcombe, lead singer of the Brian Jonestown Massacre band, performing a cover of French composer William Sheller's "Philadelphia Story." Although he tweeted that “it’s hard to sing in French,” we found his French crooning quite good. Check out the video here.

CANADA TO DONATE EBOLA VACCINES
Canada has announced plans to donate up to 1,000 experimental Ebola vaccines to the World Health Organization in a bid to halt spread of the disease, which has killed over 1,000 people in West Africa. It came just hours after the WHO said it was ethical to use untested drugs on Ebola patients. Read more from CBC.

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD


JAPANESE ECONOMY FALTERS
Japan’s economy shrank 6.8% in the second quarter compared to last year’s, its worst economic contraction since the tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster three years ago, the Financial Times reports.

FIRST WOMAN EARNS MATH’S TOP PRIZE
Iranian-born Stanford University mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani has become the first woman to be awarded the Fields Medal, math’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.

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Future

Hey ChatGPT, Are You A Google Killer? That's The Wrong Prompt People

Reports that the new AI natural-language chatbot is a threat to Google's search business fails to see that the two machines serve very different functions.

Photo of bubbles exploding

Mind blowing power

DeepMind
Tristan Greene

Since OpenAI unveiled ChatGPT to the world last November, people have wasted little time finding imaginative uses for the eerily human-like chatbot. They have used it to generate code, create Dungeons & Dragons adventures and converse on a seemingly infinite array of topics.

Now some in Silicon Valley are speculating that the masses might come to adopt the ChatGPT-style bots as an alternative to traditional internet searches.

Microsoft, which made an early $1 billion investment in OpenAI, plans to release an implementation of its Bing search engine that incorporates ChatGPT before the end of March. According to a recent article in The New York Times, Google has declared “code red” over fears ChatGPT could pose a significant threat to its $149-billion-dollar-a-year search business.

Could ChatGPT really be on the verge of disrupting the global search engine industry?

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