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Over 70 injured during clashes at protest in Georgia

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Protesters clashing with riot police outside of parliament building | Courtesy : Reuters

At least 70 people were injured after protesters rallying against the visit of a Russian lawmaker tried to storm Georgia’s parliament building on Thursday (June 20) night, Georgian Ministry of Health said.

Riot police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon after protesters pushed against lines of riot police, throwing bottles and grabbing riot shields from some officers and tearing off their helmets.

The scenes in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, flared up suddenly after public anger over the visit and speech of a member of the Russian lower house of parliament triggered big street protests.

After hours of confrontation between protesters and the police dozens had been taken to hospitals with injuries from rubber bullets or stones, thrown by protesters, as well as tear gas poisoning.

The majority of protesters left the area outside the parliament, but dozens of them remained at adjoining streets, while police continued to use tear gas to disperse them.

Russian influence in Georgia remains a politically sensitive subject. The small country, a U.S. ally, fought and lost a short war against Moscow in 2008. (REUTERS)

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Over 21,000 evacuated after torrential rain in Guangxi, China

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

Rescuers evacuate residents @Daxu Town, Lingchuan County, Guilin City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, south China | Courtesy: Reuters

Over 21,000 people have been evacuated Wednesday following continuous torrential rain in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, according to the provincial emergency management department.

In the region, a total of 47 counties and districts in nine cities, including Nanning, Liuzhou, Guilin, and Baise, suffered floods which affected 65,000 hectares of crops and destroyed 1,250 houses.

The local government activated contingency plans for rescue and relief work.

Both rescue and relief efforts are still currently underway. (REUTERS)

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Chip allowing brain-computer communication to come ‘before the end of next year’ — Elon Musk

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Graphics showing implantation of threads and chips | Courtesy: Neuralink/ Reuters

Elon Musk’s start-up Neuralink is aiming to connect the human brain with a machine interface “before the end of next year,” the CEO announced on Tuesday (July 16).

Speaking at a conference in San Francisco, Musk presented ‘version one” of his neuron-sized threads and microprocessor chips that he claims will help people with severe brain injuries and eventually grow to allow humans to connect with advancing artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology.

The implantation of the threads, which Musk said are a tenth the size of a human hair, require the use of a special robot, but a minimally invasive surgery.

Once the threads are implanted into the brain, their connecting chip would wirelessly connect with a device worn outside the body.

Neuralink is seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and while Musk said his preliminary task is to help people with disabilities interface with computers using their minds, the end goal is to keep up with A.I.

Tuesday’s conference was designed as a marketing tool – Musk told the crowd gathered at the California Academy of Sciences that Neuralink was actively seeking out potential employees to join their team. (REUTERS)

(Production: Bob Mezan)

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Several feared dead in fire at Japan animation studio

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

A large plume of smoke is seen coming out of the animation studio that caught fire in Kyoto, Japan. | Courtesy: Reuters

Several people are feared dead after a fire at an animation studio in the Japanese city of Kyoto on Thursday (July 18) and police are investigating a possible arson attack, authorities and local media reported.

The fire at the Kyoto Animation studio injured more than 30 people, 10 of them seriously, and one person has been confirmed dead, a spokesman for the Kyoto City Fire Department said.

Several people were confirmed dead at the site, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing police. A Kyoto police spokesman was unable to immediately confirm the report when contacted by Reuters.

Police have taken into custody a man who poured what appeared to be gasoline around the studio, NHK said.

The studio produces the “Sound! Euphonium” series and its “Free! Road to the World – The Dream” movie is due for release this month. (REUTERS)

(Production: Akiko Okamoto, Yiming Woo)

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