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by April 29, 2017 General

Oil ends higher

NEW YORK – Oil prices closed up on Friday on growing hope that OPEC might agree to extend production cuts long enough to reduce a global crude glut, but crude prices still posted a weekly decline.

Kanu released

ABUJA – Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of a group calling for the secession of an area in southeast Nigeria, formerly known as Biafra, was released on bail on Friday after being detained for nearly two years, his lawyer said.

Twitter shares

NEW YORK – Twitter Inc chief executive Jack Dorsey snapped up more than half a million of the company’s shares for about $9.5 million, a regulatory filing on Friday showed.

Prostate cancer

WASHINGTON – Having a family history of prostate cancer doesn’t make it more risky for men with a new diagnosis of the disease to initially hold off on active treatment in favour of monitoring with periodic lab tests, a research review suggests.

Le Pen backed

PARIS – Defeated first-round French presidential candidate Nicolas Dupont-Aignan endorsed Marine Le Pen and struck a deal on the future government with the far-right leader who, polls show, would lose to the centrist Emmanuel Macron in the May 7 runoff.

EU accession

ANKARA – Austria should turn back from its “wrong policy” regarding Turkey’s talks of joining the European Union, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.

Heart disease

NEW YORK – Instead of eating less saturated fat and worrying about so-called bad cholesterol, a group of doctors suggests an alternative approach for preventing heart disease. More important, they say, is to focus on decreasing insulin resistance and inflammation in the body by targeting diet, exercise and reducing stress.

Saudi cinemas

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia will one day open cinemas and build a world-class opera house, the man spearheading the kingdom’s entertainment reforms said on Thursday, playing down opposition by powerful religious authorities to changes they see as sinful.

The kingdom had some cinemas in the 1970s but the clerical establishment persuaded the authorities to close them, reflecting rising Islamist influence throughout the Arab region at the time.

Cinemas are still banned. And while concerts have started to be held this year, they remain frowned on by clerics.

But the government has promised a shake-up of the cultural scene with a set of “Vision 2030” reforms announced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz last year, aimed at creating jobs and opening up Saudis’ cloistered lifestyles.

The changes are also intended to capture up to a quarter of the $20 billion currently spent overseas by Saudis, who are accustomed to travelling abroad to see shows and visit amusement parks in nearby tourist hub Dubai or further afield.

Tech firms race to spot video violence

By Jeremy Wagstaff

SINAGPORE (Reuters) – Companies from Singapore to Finland are racing to improve artificial intelligence so software can automatically spot and block videos of grisly murders and mayhem before they go viral on social media.

None, so far, claim to have cracked the problem completely.

A Thai man who broadcast himself killing his 11-month-old daughter in a live video on Facebook this week, was the latest in a string of violent crimes shown live on the social media company. The incidents have prompted questions about how Facebook’s reporting system works and how violent content can be flagged faster.

A dozen or more companies are wrestling with the problem, those in the industry say. Google – which faces similar problems with its YouTube service – and Facebook are working on their own solutions.

Most are focusing on deep learning: a type of artificial intelligence that makes use of computerised neural networks. It is an approach that David Lissmyr, founder of Paris-based image and video analysis company Sightengine, says goes back to efforts in the 1950s to mimic the way neurons work and interact in the brain.

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