Majority of researchers agree that “AI could soon lead to revolutionary societal change” better buckle up

Revelations 13:14 “…by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth…”

Important Takeaways:

  • According to a survey conducted by Stanford University’s Institute for Human-Centered AI, 36 percent of researchers believe that AI could cause a “nuclear-level catastrophe.”
  • Only 57 percent of researchers, for example, think that “recent research progress” is paving the way for artificial general intelligence.
  • Those polled did have one notable point of agreement: 73 percent of researchers “feel that AI could soon lead to revolutionary societal change.”
  • So, whether we’re on the way to a nuclear-level catastrophe, or something entirely different, you might want to buckle up.

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Growing global food catastrophe

Caracus Overpopulation

Luke 21:11 “There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.”

Important Takeaways:

  • ‘On the way to food catastrophe’: What the growing population means for world hunger
  • The World Food Program warns every night around 828 million people go to bed hungry
  • Since 2019, the number of people facing significant food insecurity has increased from 135 million to 345 million, according to WFP.
  • Meanwhile world population is expected to reach 8 billion this week
  • “We are on the way to a raging food catastrophe,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres told world leaders at the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, this week. “People in five separate places are facing famine.”
  • “When you look at the food price crisis, it’s particularly foods that are nutritious and are high in vitamins and minerals that these children need that are the most costly,” Saskia Osendarp, executive director of the Micronutrient Forum
  • “We call this hidden hunger because you don’t immediately notice it, but you do see it in individuals that lack these critical vitamins”

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Czech Republic faces ‘hellish days,’ needs tighter COVID measures, PM says

PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech Republic must tighten measures to combat the pandemic and prevent a “catastrophe” in hospitals in the coming weeks as the country faces one of the world’s highest COVID-19 infection and death rates, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Wednesday.

The country reported over 15,000 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the highest daily tally since Jan. 6, and has the fastest spread rate in Europe, with per capita infections more than six times higher than in neighboring Germany in the last two weeks.

The number of hospital patients with COVD-19 who are in serious condition has risen to a record 1,389, leaving few spare beds in the country of 10.7 million.

Some hospitals have had to transfer out patients while the health minister has warned hospitals risk being overwhelmed in the coming weeks. The government is looking at asking Germany for help with some patients.

The country has reported a total 1.18 million cases of the virus and 19,682 deaths since the first infections nearly one year ago.

Babis said the situation was grave.

“Hellish days await us,” he said at a news conference.

The government is due to hold talks on possible further measures later on Wednesday. Babis said the health ministry would propose restrictions but declined to give details.

The country has been in some level of lockdown since October as it has battled a much harsher second and now third wave of the pandemic. Industry, though, has remained running unlike early in the pandemic when large factories shut for several weeks, hammering the economy.

Restaurants, gyms, theatres and other entertainment venues are closed while only shops selling essential goods are open.

Schools are shut except for pre-schools and the first and second grades. Babis said an aim to start returning other students to classrooms next week was not possible anymore.

(Reporting by Robert Muller and Jason Hovet; Editing by Gareth Jones and Nick Zieminski)

Syrian, Russian jets bomb residential areas in eastern Ghouta: witnesses, monitor

People are seen during shelling in the town of Hamoria, eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria, December 3,

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN (Reuters) – Jets believed to be Syrian and Russian struck heavily crowded residential areas in a besieged rebel enclave near Damascus, killing at least 27 people and injuring dozens in the third week of a stepped-up assault, residents, aid workers and a war monitor said on Monday.

Civil defense workers said at least 17 were killed in the town of Hamoriya in an aerial strike on a marketplace and nearby residential area after over nearly 30 strikes in the past 24 hours that struck several towns in the densely populated rural area east of Damascus known as the Eastern Ghouta.

Four other civilians were killed in the town of Arbin, while the rest came from strikes on Misraba and Harasta, the civil defense workers said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, said the casualties on Sunday were the biggest daily death toll since the stepped-up strikes began 20 days ago. The monitor said nearly 200 civilians were killed in strikes and shelling, including many women and children, during that period.

The Eastern Ghouta has been besieged by army troops since 2013 in an attempt to force the rebel enclave to submission.

The government has in recent months tightened the siege in what residents and aid workers have said is a deliberate use of starvation as a weapon of war, a charge the government denies.

The United Nations says about 400,00 civilians besieged in the region face “complete catastrophe” because aid deliveries by the Syrian government were blocked and hundreds of people who need urgent medical evacuation have not been allowed outside the enclave.

Eastern Ghouta is the last remaining large swathe of rebel-held area around Damascus that has not reached an evacuation deal to surrender weapons in return for allowing fighters to go to other rebel-held areas farther north.

“They are targeting civilians … a jet hit us there, no rebels or checkpoints,” Sadeq Ibrahim, a trader, said by phone in Hamoriya.

“May God take his revenge on the regime and Russia,” said Abdullah Khalil, another resident, who said he lost members of his family in the air strike on Arbin and was searching for survivors among the rubble.

A boy is seen during shelling in the town of Hamoria, eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria, December 3,

A boy is seen during shelling in the town of Hamoria, eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria, December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

The intensified bombardment of Eastern Ghouta follows a rebel attack last month on an army complex in the heart of the region that the army had used to bomb nearby rebel-held areas.

Residents said, however, that the failure of the army to dislodge rebels from the complex had prompted what they believe were retaliatory indiscriminate attacks on civilians in the Eastern Ghouta.

Government advances since last year have forced people to flee deeper into its increasingly overcrowded towns. The loss of farmland is increasing pressure on scarce food supplies.

The Eastern Ghouta is part of several de-escalation zones that Russia has brokered with rebels across Syria that has freed the army to redeploy in areas where it can regain ground.

Rebels accuse the Syrian government and Russia of violating the zones and say they were meant as a charade to divert attention from the heavy daily bombing of civilian areas. The Syrian government and Russia deny their jets bomb civilians and insist they only strike militant hideouts.



(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Peter Cooney)


South Sudan food crisis may almost double to 5.3 million

GENEVA (Reuters) -Up to 5.3 million people in South Sudan may face a severe food shortages during this year’s lean season, the U.N. World Food Program said on Monday,nearly double the number in the first three months of the year.

From January to March, 2.8 million people were classed as being in “crisis” or “emergency” food situations, with about 40,000 thought to be suffering an outright famine.

The rising hunger comes despite attempts to end more than two years of war, which started in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir sacked his first vice president Riek Machar, triggering ethnically charged violence.

Some fighting continues, but Kiir was able to name a new cabinet in late April, including former rebels and members of the opposition, after Machar returned to Juba and got back his old job.

“Internal food security analysis shows that South Sudan will face the most severe lean season in 2016 since its independence, driven by insecurity, poor harvests, and displacement in some areas of the country,” said a WFP report published on Monday.

“As many as 5.3 million people may face severe food insecurity, with particular areas of concern in the non-conflict affected states of Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Eastern Equatoria.”

During the 2015 lean season, which runs from March to September, about 4.6 million people were classed as severely “food insecure”, WFP said previously.

The most severe conditions are in Unity State, where a team of food security experts found a risk of “widespread catastrophe” during a visit late last year.

The United Nations says 1.69 million South Sudanese are displaced within the country and another 712,000 have fled into neighbouring countries. The U.N. humanitarian plan for South Sudan has received only 27 percent of the $1.29 billion needed.

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Tom Heneghan)