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A.I. border agents could use machine to tell if travelers are lying

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According to a recent report, the United States, Canada, and the European Union are all said to be testing out new technology involving lie-detecting computer kiosks, which uses the latest A.I. tech to determine whether a person is trying to deceive officials.



While facial-recognition technology has been used as a security system in airports for at least the past decade, this proposed A.I. kiosk — like a more officious Siri or Google Assistant with the power to flag you as a possible cause for concern — goes further than simple face-matching. To make its judgments, the lie-detecting technology incorporates smart image recognition to spot signs of potential shiftiness. This includes giveaway eye movements, vocal changes, odd posture, or facial movements. According to a CNBC report, the technology is up 80 percent accurate when it comes to spotting potential deceit, which it a better hit ratio than that of human agents employed to carry out this task. Humans, by comparison, score between 54 and 60 percent when carrying out these judgments.

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security first funded this research for a virtual border agent around six years ago. The Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR) project was carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Arizona. It was tested at the U.S.-Mexico border on travelers who volunteered to participate in the study. In a report describing the 2011-2012 trial, the AVATAR technology was described as being potentially useful for processing citizenship, asylum, and refugee applications as a way to reduce backlogs. Similar systems have also been tested by other countries.

President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget request for Homeland Security includes a $223 million sum intended for “high-priority infrastructure, border security technology improvements.” An additional $210.5 million covers the hiring of new border agents. While the timeline for technology such as AVATAR to be rolled out is not clear, it would certainly make sense for tech such as this to factor into future plans.

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Lake Victoria Island in tension as Uganda arrests Kenyan fishermen

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The arrest of 12 Kenyan fishermen by Ugandan security operatives has caused fresh tension in Lake Victoria islands in western Kenya.

In what is seen as retaliation after Kenyan security officials secured the release of their three police officers arrested by Ugandan soldiers last week, fishermen on the Kenyan side of the lake are in fear of a fresh wave of arrests.

Local politicians have reignited the debate on ownership of Migingo Island in Lake Victoria, saying they have been raising these issues yet the government has done nothing about it.

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Barely a week after Ugandan authorities abducted three Kenyan police officers and five fishermen from Nambo Beach in Siaya County, they struck again on Saturday, seizing two boats.

Witnesses say the officers’ guns and phones were taken away before the officers were transferred to Namaingo in eastern Uganda by boat.

Siaya County Administration Police Commandant Patrick Lumumba said the incident involved up to eight soldiers on patrol who arrived in a Kenyan boat.

On Saturday, according to an incident reported at Usenge Police Station by Nambo Beach Management Unit chairman Gabriel Onyango at 4pm, two Kenyan boats – one with an engine and the other without – were confiscated by Ugandan soldiers.

According to Mr Crispin Nyaga, Usenge police boss, the soldiers were three, one in uniform and armed. They seized the boats, arrested six fishermen, and took away hundreds of kilogrammes of fish.

The boat without an engine belongs to a Mr Omollo. On board were fishermen Daniel Oyugi, John Liepa and Daniel Odhiambo.

The other boat is owned by Mr Atepe Okinya, and was being used by fishermen Evans Ochieng, Sadam Onyango and Kevin Otieno.

“The authorities took away about 400kgs of fish but released the fishermen,” said Mr Nyaga.

This time round, the Quick Response Team of the Administration Police of Kenya gave hot pursuit and rescued both fishermen and the boats, he said.

He added that the area needs frequent patrol by Kenyan officers to prevent unnecessary arrests by Ugandan soldiers.

A day earlier, six fishermen from Ringiti Island were arrested and released on Saturday after paying some money. The fishermen were arrested on Friday morning near the island while fishing.

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Harare central hospital investigates burning of five-day-old twins

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A pair of five-day-old twins were burnt to death in an open cradle at Harare Central Hospital.

The hospital says it is still carrying out investigations since last week it happened, but negligence is suspected.

The twins were reportedly placed in an isolation ward as they were recovering from jaundice.

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They were placed in an open cradle and a beam of light was used to provide heating.

However, something malfunctioned and the babies were dehydrated and burnt to death.

Their mother, Belinda Balalika found the babies dead when she went to breastfeed them at midnight.

A source who spoke to The Standard said,“ Something malfunctioned and the babies were burnt to death, but what is saddening is the fact that the staff did not check on the babies on time.’

Harare Central Hospital CEO Nyasha Masuka added, “We will be able to give details on Monday when all the investigations have been completed.”

 

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Nigeria: Makarfi joins presidential race, ready to pick PDP nomination form

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A former Governor of Kaduna State and immediate past Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator  Ahmed Makarfi,  has joined the race to contest the nation’s presidency in 2019.

The two-term-senator said at a press briefing in Kaduna on Sunday that after wide consultations with party men and women as well as other major stakeholders, he had decided to seek the party’s nomination to contest the poll.

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According to Makarfi, he is now ready to pick the PDP nomination form ahead of the 2019 presidential election.

Makarfi will battle a former Vice President and presidential hopeful of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, who had recently appointed a former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the Director-General of his 2019 presidential campaign.

Though he had yet to intimate his party through writing, he added that “one has to come to the decision to seek the nomination before you even seek formally.”

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