Latest Articles

  • The Obama Marionette: Artificial Intelligence Meets Fake News in a Frightening Video from the Future

    A research team from the University of Washington has used artificial intelligence technology to make what you could call a “fake news” video of Barack Obama giving a speech he didn’t give.

    Yeah.

    The team didn’t exactly write the speech themselves, though it’s reasonable to think they could have. Instead, they took audio clips from a variety of real Obama speeches and dropped them into video of a single Oval Office address.

    This isn’t like those always enjoyable Bad Lip Reading videos, where you have video in search of different words that will fit it. No: the researchers altered the actual video of the Oval Office address so that Obama looked like he was saying things they wanted him to say.

    Yeah.

    In order to “train” Videobama to speak like real Obama, the researchers fed hours and hours of video of Obama speaking to a neural network until it learned how to mimic his mouth, face, and head when any word was dropped in from a separate audio source.

    You could call it virtual ventriloquism: the Obama on the screen is a virtual puppet that will automatically lip-sync whatever words you put in its mouth.

    Presidentriloquism. If you didn’t know this was faked and weren’t even thinking about the possibility, it would be unlikely this video would give you pause, especially if you were watching casually, in passing. Keep in mind, too, that although this technology is in its infancy, Moore’s law explains that, generally speaking, computational power doubles roughly every two years. So look the fuck out. Also, this is already pretty damn convincing.

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  • Simachew Kebede Finally Gets Out of Prison

     

    Simachew Kebede, the major shareholder of DH Simex Plc that owns Intercontinental Addis Hotel, finally gets out of prison after settling the case with the Federal Prison Administration, which resisted his release mentioning the pending appeal against him.

    He was released on July 13, 2017, with prohibition after serving four years of a six-year sentence for tax evasion crimes for which he was convicted.

    The Federal High Court found him guilty and sentenced him during the court session held on June 14, 2017. But lawyers started processing his release on probation on the same day, as he was eligible to get probation rights.

    Initially, the Federal Ethics & Anti-corruption Commission prosecutors charged Simachew for tax-related crimes and a corruption case along with the former Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority (ERCA) top officials including Melaku Fenta, ERCA’s head, and his deputy, Gebrewahid W. Giorgis, back in May 2013.

    He was accused of abusing a duty-free privilege to import construction-finishing materials, and the prosecutors claimed he allegedly transferred them to third parties. But his case was detached in 2015 after the court accepted his appeal to split his case from the first co-defendants. While his case was pending at the High Court, new legislation was enacted by Parliament rendering his and the co-defendants’ alleged offenses only punishable by administrative measures. 

    On the other hand, the Anti-corruption Commission amended its charge against him to tax evasion of 20 million Birr and 29.4 million Birr for Value Added and Corporate Taxes, respectively. In a cross action, the Anti-corruption Commission appealed to the Supreme Court for the reversal of the lower court’s ruling in closing the corruption case with the former ERCA officials.

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  • Ten Most Beautiful Towns, Cities in Africa 2017

     

    May we have your attention, please? For today, we’ll tell you about the most ten beautiful African cities, which history, culture, presentation, and uniqueness are abundant in such an amazing way you'vent not even expected before.

    The African continent is not only about impressive animals, beautiful deserts, and beautiful savannahs. It is also home to astonishing cities and towns that are rich in history and culture. Here is a list of the ten most charming cities and towns to visit in Africa.

    1. Cape Town (South Africa) — Astounding beaches, mountains, and vineyards make the city a vibrant and full of beauty. 

    2. Kigali (Rwanda) —The safest capital City in the continent.

    3. Essaouira (Morocco)—A perfect place for peace and tranquility.

    4. Luxor (Egypt)—A vibrant city that hosts the Valley of the Kings as well as the temple of Queen Hatshepsut.

    5. Djenne (Mali) — One of the oldest towns in Mali, it’s fascinating and attractive place. One of the oldest mud-made mosques are located in Djenne.

    6. Stone Town (Tanzania) — Stone Town, also known as Mji Mkongwe (Swahili for "old town"), is the old part of Zanzibar City, the main city of Zanzibar, in Tanzania. (The newer portion of the city is known as Ng'ambo, Swahili for 'the other side'). Stone Town is located on the western coast of Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Island. UNESCO registers it as one of the world’s oldest city.

    7. Port Louis (Mauritius) –- It’s a metropolitan capital city of the country, with a unique cultural and historical touches, which is the oldest in the Southern hemisphere.

    8. Windhoek (Namibia) –Winhoek is Namibia’s Capital and the largest city. The city has unique and beautifully designed buildings. Plus to that, the city is immaculate.

    9. Lamu (Kenya) — Lamu or Lamu Town is a small town on Lamu Island, which in turn is a part of the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya. Situated 341 kilometers (212 miles) by road northeast of Mombasa that ends at Mokowe Jetty from where the sea channel has to be crossed to reach Lamu Island. It is the headquarters of Lamu County and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Lamu is Kenya's oldest continually inhabited town and was one of the original Swahili settlements along coastal East Africa, founded in 1370.

    10. Bahir Dar (Ethiopia) —A city located in Amhara region, along with the shore of the beautiful Tana Lake. Bahir Dar also has beautiful, clean and wide streets along with the oldest monasteries in the world on the Dek Island, one of many Islands in the lake that is home to medieval monasteries. On the Zege Peninsula, the Ura Kidane Mihret Monastery best known for its elaborate, colorful murals. The Blue Nile River snakes southeast of the city toward the towering cliffs at the Blue Nile Falls.

     

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  • Children 'exercise less as they get older'

    The number of children doing an hour of exercise a day falls by nearly 40% between the ages of five and 12.

    Figures suggest that by the final year of primary school, just 17% of pupils are doing the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

    A spokesman for Public Health England described the drop in activity levels as "concerning".

    More than a third of children in England are overweight by the time they leave primary school.

    A new survey from Public Health England and Disney looked at the effects of physical activity on children's emotional wellbeing.

    More than 1,000 children aged five to 11 were questioned, with their parents acknowledging that being active made their children feel happier (79%), more confident (72%), and more sociable (74%).

    But the survey also found that children's overall happiness declined with age, with 64% of five-and six-year-olds saying they always felt happy, compared with just 48% of 11-year-olds.

    "Children's physical activity levels in England are alarmingly low, and the drop in activity from the ages of five to 12 is concerning," said Public Health England's Eustace de Sousa.

    "Children who get enough physical activity are mentally and physically healthier, and have all-round better development into adulthood - getting into the habit of doing short bursts of activity early can deliver lifelong benefits."

    Currently, just 23% of boys and 20% of girls, between the ages of five and 15, meet the national recommended level of activity, according to an NHS report published last December.

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  • Risk of mass killing rose most in Yemen in 2016: report

    Yemen rises as Syria tops UK-based rights group's annual 'People's Under Threat' index for third consecutive year.

    Yemen has been named the country where the risk of genocide or mass killing rose the most last year, according to a UK-based rights group.

    In its annual "Peoples Under Threat" index released on Thursday, Minority Rights Group International (MRG) placed Syria at the top of the list for the third consecutive year.

    But the MRG index found that risks rose most markedly in Yemen last year as the war raged on, with more than 10,000 people killed and millions driven from their homes.

    Yemen has been torn apart by conflict since 2014, when Houthi rebels, allied with troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, captured large expanses of the country, including the capital, Sana.

    A coalition of Arab countries assembled by Saudi Arabia launched an air campaign against the rebels in March 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.

    "Parties on both sides of the conflict have violated international humanitarian law with impunity," the report said.

    Yemen was listed eighth in a list of 70 countries where people are seen as being at risk, behind Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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  • Ethiopia's Music of Resistance Stays Strong, Despite Repression

    In Ethiopia, journalists and bloggers have long been subjected to imprisonment and terrorism charges, but musicians have been relatively free — until recently.

    Over the past year, what activists call “resistance songs” have flooded a tiny corner of the Ethiopian internet. But as political music has become more visible in public life and online, Ethiopian authorities have expanded their political repression tactics to musicians whom they see as sympathizers with opposition.

    Since December 2016, multiple popular Ethiopian musicians aligned with the country's growing opposition movement have been arrested and jailed. Last month, the prominent group of rising start singer Seenaa Solomon was charged with terrorism for “inciting” lyrics and uploading their music video to YouTube.

    The contentious political environment in which these arrests took place has grown out of the Ethiopian government's plan to expand Addis Ababa, the nation's capital. In 2014, the ruling EPRDF party announced plans to expand the capital into adjacent farm lands of Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest region that is primarily home to the country's largest ethnic group, the Oromo.

    The plan led to wide-scale protests and a violent government crackdown, ultimately resulting in a state of emergency declared in October 2016 and still effective today. Some say the state of emergency, which was extended to four more months in March 2017 has brought some calm after two years of political unrest.

    While the state of emergency may be curbing the demonstrations, feelings and narratives of resistance remain alive and well. And Afan Oromo (the region's language) musicians have begun to rise as a visible — and audible — driving inspiration for the opposition movement.

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