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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Starbucks Ends Tempestuous Initiative on Race

Starbucks said it had always planned to end the “Race Together” initiative on Sunday, March 22, something not previously known. But the company said its conversation on race would continue.

















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Robots Podcast #178: Speech-Based Emotion Recognition

four images of a robot exhibiting facial emotional cues


In episode #178, interviewer Audrow Nash speaks with Christina Brester, currently a PhD student in Computer Science and Engineering at the Siberian State Aerospace University (SibSAU) in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. For her Master's thesis, Ms. Brester collaborated with a team of other scientists to investigate machine recognition of human emotion based on speech, using an evolutionary multiobjective genetic algorithm, an approach which proved to be far more successful than prior methods. Her ongoing research interests include evolutionary computation, neuro-evolutionary algorithms, machine learning, and speech analysis.



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Tory candidate suspended for allegedly colluding with EDL for election votes

Afzal Amin accused of trying to arrange announcement of an incendiary march by the far-right group, which he would then be credited with preventing


The Tory candidate in a key general election marginal has been suspended after allegedly hatching a plot with far-right extremists to win votes by stirring up racial tensions.


Afzal Amin is accused of scheming with the English Defence League (EDL) to announce an inflammatory march against a new ‘mega-mosque’ in the constituency of Dudley North, in the West Midlands. The idea, according to the Mail on Sunday, was for the protest to be scrapped, with Amin taking the credit for defusing the situation.


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Obama Says He Told Netanyahu That Campaign Talk Hurt the Peace Process

In an unusually forceful and public condemnation of the top official of a vital United States ally, President Obama said he has told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Israeli leader’s remarks had all but foreclosed the chance for negotiations to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

















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Protesters march against austerity measures in Madrid

‘March for dignity’ comes on the eve of a closely-watched regional election in Andalusia in southern Spain


Thousands of people took part in a “march for dignity” in Madrid on Saturday to protest against austerity measures on the eve of a closely-watched regional election in southern Spain.


Sunday’s vote in Andalusia, one of the poorest parts of the country, is seen as a test of the national mood ahead of Spain’s most unpredictable general election in decades.


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Too few voters understand immigrants’ role in UK recovery

Positive views on immigration rise with financial literacy, but uninformed majority could still turn to Ukip, study finds

The more “financially literate” a person is, the more likely they are to hold positive views on immigration, according to a new study that raises further questions over the paucity of mainstream political debate about the influence of migrants on the economy.


As Labour and the Tories are accused of avoiding talk of the positive impact of inward migration on the recovery, research into the views of tens of thousands of Britons reveals that the higher an individual’s level of financial knowledge, the more likely they are to see immigration as “good for the economy”.


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Wish List - Easter eggs

From delicate designs to chunky chocolate treats, here’s our round-up of the eggs to delight all comers this Easter


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Call for museums and galleries to appoint more women to top jobs

After the National Gallery’s announcement last week of its 14th male director, some are asking why the glass ceiling is still in place

Leading women in the arts have called on museums and galleries to look at the way they hand out top jobs, as the guard changes at two great British institutions: the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. The recent choice of male directors for both has prompted fresh demands for fair representation.


“All my working life, I have been speaking up about how women can smash the glass ceiling, after all it is only glass. Why haven’t we done it?” asked Ruth Mackenzie, director of the Cultural Olympiad in 2012. Her sentiments were echoed by Jude Kelly, artistic director of the Southbank Centre: “Not enough has changed yet. Everybody is talking the right language and the atmosphere is charged. But that is not the same as actually making the changes.”


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Netanyahu stoked primal fears in Israel. Now my country is divided as never before

A fourth term for Bibi looked unlikely until he successfully demonised the left


There are three cities of Jerusalem. There is the Palestinian city whose residents did not participate in last Tuesday’s election. There is the city of the ultra-Orthodox Jews who voted (or refrained from doing so) on the orders of the rabbis. And there is the city of the Likud party and other rightwing groups. Within this last are a few tiny enclaves of mainly secular middle-class Israelis who support the parties of the left. Altogether last Tuesday they amounted to only 15% of the vote.


On Wednesday morning, in a cafe in one of these enclaves, they sat huddled over their cappuccinos, asking themselves how it happened. “I just can’t understand why someone in his right mind votes for Bibi again,” exclaimed a yoga instructor. “I look at the numbers and it just doesn’t make any sense,” answered her friend, a film editor. “So many people falling for his same old tricks.”


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So how did George Osborne the failure become the people’s favourite?

Despite missing all his goals, the chancellor’s approval ratings outshine David Cameron and all the party leaders

George Bernard Shaw once remarked – it was one of his better jokes – that “my reputation grows with every failure”.


The same could be said of another George. In the estimation of his fans, he’s the Tory grandmaster of strategy, the man who is always four moves ahead of his opponents. I’ve never really understood how George Osborne, more of a dice-throwing politician than a chess-playing one, managed to acquire this image. Consider the strategic goals he has set himself over the past five years. He has missed each one of them. He ran the last Tory campaign. That was the election the Tories had to win against an opponent as unpopular as Gordon Brown. Yet they failed to secure a majority. When he set out as chancellor, he defined as his paramount task the elimination of the structural deficit by 2014-15. The idea being that the coalition’s last year could be spent congratulating themselves on a job done and lubricating the voters with feel-good giveaways. Yet as this parliament gasps its last, deficit-reduction is only half done, promising further spending cuts after the election to a country already very weary of austerity.


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Supertide creates island in France

THOUSANDS of people have flocked to France as the ‘tide of the century’ transformed a mountain into an island. See the incredible photos here.

















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Girl, 12, poisoned mum over iPhone

CHILDREN often get angry when their parents take away their smartphone but this 12-year-old girl was taking it way too far.

















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Crazy new driving rules for Paris

PARIS has introduced some bizarre new rules for drivers and made public transport free in a bid to prevent pollution ruining the city of light.





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Toddler OK after 101 minutes of CPR

A TODDLER, 22-months-old, whose lifeless body was pulled from an icy creek and revived after 101 minutes of CPR, is called extraordinary.





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Exam cheating beggars belief

TAKING an examination is a pressure-packed situation and cheating can happen but there is nothing so blatant and widespread as this.





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British man ‘shoots himself dead’ at Thai resort

Reports say Briton rented handgun at shooting range and turned it on himself after dispute with friend

The Foreign Office is investigating reports that a British man shot himself in the head in an apparent suicide at a shooting range in Thailand.


Local reports say the man hailed a taxi after a row with a male friend and instructed the driver to take him somewhere he could shoot, and was heard arguing with somebody on his mobile phone during the journey.


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