Feds promise to guard Canadian jobs before approving BombardierAirbus deal

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals have promised to build in safeguards to make sure this week’s stunning deal between Bombardier and European rival Airbus helps — and doesn’t hurt — Canada’s aerospace industry.Airbus wants to buy a majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries commercial planes, whose future has been in question after U.S. officials proposed a hefty 300 per cent import duty on the jet program.The two plane makers hope that by working together, they can skirt the duties by building CSeries planes for U.S. customers in Alabama instead of outside the U.S.But the proposal, which still needs federal approval, has raised questions about whether it will result in job losses in Quebec, where Bombardier is based, and weaken Canada’s aerospace industry.Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains promised Tuesday that the Trudeau government would require several long-term promises from Airbus before signing off on the deal.Sources say those undertakings were negotiated in advance by the government and Airbus, and include keeping 100 per cent of those employed at Bombardier’s main CSeries assembly plant in Mirabel, Que.Airbus would also keep and even expand production at the Mirabel plant, which is currently running under capacity, while also adding an assembly line in Alabama to meet demand from U.S. customers.Canada will also become the company’s fifth “home base,” and first outside Europe, to allow Canadian industry to tap into the company’s supply chain, while the CSeries headquarters will remain in Quebec.The European company will also take over repayment of the federal government’s $372-million loan to Bombardier for research and development of the 100- to 150-seat commercial planes.“I oversee this process,” Bains said outside the House of Commons, “and I will make sure we get the maximum economic benefit for Canadians.”But one question remains: how long Airbus will be required to maintain employment and production levels under the agreement, and whether Canada will continue to benefit after that period has expired.Bains said the government was looking for “long-term production guarantees in Canada” that would run “at least a minimum of 20 to 25 years,” though an official said that was still to be negotiated.The minister was more guarded about employment levels, though he hoped the deal result in thousands of CSeries planes being ordered and built in Montreal.“We think the potential sales opportunity in this segment is up to 6,000 over the next 20 to 25 years,” he said.“So that means there’ll be stable, predictable production opportunities in the Mirabel facility … and that means more jobs, up to 5,000 jobs in that facility.”Peter Glossop, a foreign investment lawyer with Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt, said most government-imposed undertakings run for three years when a foreign company takes over a Canadian entity.That means the foreign company can basically do whatever it wants once the time period expires, including cut jobs in Canada.But shutting down or slashing production at the Mirabel plant could be difficult given its expertise with the CSeries, he said, which could ensure its sustainability over the long run.“There’s lots of embedded know-how in Canada, so just shutting all that down would be quite difficult,” Glossop said. “These people know how to build them.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter read more

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Monks threaten Maharagama clothes store

The monks, who initially distributed leaflets to people on the street, then attempted to force their way into the Magaragam No-Limit clothes store. The police prevented a group of monks from storming into a clothes store in Maharagama today following a demonstration.Police spokesman SSP Priyashantha Jayakody told the Colombo Gazette that police protection was provided to the store during the tense situation which had occurred this afternoon. However he said the situation was now calm and the police have been withdrawn from outside the store. However the police placed barricades and prevented the monks from going further. The monks burnt an effigy and then dispersed after having discussions with the police.According to reports the monks had chanted anti-Muslim slogans and had wanted the store closed claiming it was being operated by Muslims. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Peace committee to meet

The police said that the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) is investigating the incident. The SLMC leader’s media spokesman Dr. A. R. A. Hafeez told the Colombo Gazette that the IGP had told the Minister a peace committee will be formed and it will meet in Grandpass today to ensure such a situation does not arise again.Minister Hakeem had instructed the IGP to ensure tight security for the area following last night’s incident, the SLMC spokesman said. Several houses in the area were also damaged during the mob attack and at least seven people including two policemen were also injured. (Colombo Gazette) Report by Easwaran Rutnam A peace committee will convene in Grandpass today to discuss the violence which erupted last night when a mob attacked a mosque in the area.Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader and Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem had returned to Colombo last night after cutting short his election campaigning in Kandy and spoke to IGP N.K. Illangakoon on the incident. Buddhists and Muslims clashed at Grandpass after the mosque was attacked and a police curfew was imposed till 7 this morning. read more

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US seeks 31 million to assist reconciliation efforts in Lanka

The United States, State Department is seeking $31 million through the White House budget to assist the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka.The State Department noted that US assistance to Sri Lanka has entered a new era and in the Financial Year 2017, US assistance will be used to strengthen governance, democratic reform, and the rule of law by promoting and protecting human rights, strengthening justice sector institutions, and supporting civilsociety organizations. The State Department said that FY 2017 resources will also be used to encourage reconciliation efforts and support anti-corruption activities. To help increase economic stability, US assistance will also work to improve economic governance and growth, while supporting livelihoods and promoting trade. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Indian envoy takes on opposition over economy pact

Tracing the genesis of the proposed pact, the High Commissioner said Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, during his visit to New Delhi in September, had set “very ambitious timelines,” according to which the framework agreement should be concluded by 2015 end or 2016 early and the final agreement by June 2016.The diplomat expressed the hope that there would be an understanding over the framework of the ETCA soon.On the rationale behind the fresh pact, he said there was no formal agreement in place to regularise “investment and services” even though India invested $one billion since 2003 and another $1.5 billion to 2 billion was in the pipeline, apart from the existence of three modes of trade in services and the issue of 350-400 employment visas by Indian High Commission to Sri Lankan nationals last year. Even in the respect of the two fields of the services sector, it was sought to be done at the request of the government of Sri Lanka, which felt that India could help it immensely. “We do not know what the ETCA will do because serious negotiations have not begun,” Mr. Sinha pointed out. Sinha’s response was in the context of views expressed in certain quarters that the proposed ETCA would deprive job opportunities for Sri Lankans in a host of fields including information technology and the Free Trade Agreement, effective since March 2000, had not been beneficial to Sri Lanka. India’s High Commissioner Y K Sinha has taken on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Joint Opposition, an informal coalition of pro-Rajapaksa parties and groups, over the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) between India and Sri Lanka, The Hindu newspaper reported.Referring to reported observations of the former President and members of the Joint Opposition against the ETCA, Mr. Sinha, who did not mention the name of any Sri Lankan leader opposing the pact, told members of the Sri Lanka-India Society on Friday that he was “surprised” to come across Mr. Rajapaksa’s statements in sections of the local press on the issue. Giving an account of the CEPA negotiations during 2005-2008 (when Mr. Rajapaksa was President), he said the CEPA, “which is [now] a dirty word here,” was “almost concluded.” Sixteen rounds of negotiations were held, many of which were “detailed.”Even the two countries had “tentatively” agreed on a draft. “At the last minute, the Government of Sri Lanka indicated its inability to sign that agreement,” which was subsequently “shelved.”As part of the now-aborted agreement, under Mode 4 [of the General Agreement on Trade in Services] which pertained to “movement of natural persons,” Sri Lanka had agreed to open up two sectors — marine ship building and information technology (IT)/ IT-Enabled Services, both of which were “very limited fields,” while India would throw open nearly 80 sectors. It was Mr. Rajapaksa’s government that held negotiations with India over the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which had included “trade in services.” He described as “quite amusing” the statements of members of the Joint Opposition, some of whom were Ministers during the Rajapaksa regime, when the CEPA, he said, was negotiated. Qualifying his rebuttal, the diplomat said “I hesitate to get into the political controversy” but he felt “constrained” to join the debate because “I do not think we should let naysayers take all the public space on this issue without anyone else trying to put the facts.”Emphasising that he had not seen any draft text of the ETCA, he said what he received “two days ago” was a draft text of the framework agreement, which might form the basis for further negotiations. He hastened to add that the draft framework agreement “is not necessarily an indication” of the nature and coverage of the discussions to be held in future. Terming “absurd” the argument that the 16-year-old FTA had not been beneficial to Sri Lanka, he said that in 1999, the value of Sri Lankan exports to India was $49 million and this went up to $645 million in 2015. Noting that there had not been much increase in the value of Sri Lankan exports since 2005, he raised the question whether this was due to “limited” base of the exports. He added that that the regulatory framework in India was “non-discriminatory.”The Emergency Ambulance Health Protection Service, modelled on the lines of the “108 Emergency Response Services” of India and being implemented with Indian government’s grant of $ 7.55 million, has nothing to do with the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), Mr. Sinha has said.Expressing dismay over the controversy on the launch of the scheme, Mr. Sinha said the service was in response to a “specific request” made by Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to his counterpart Narendra Modi during the latter’s visit here last year.Admitting that originally, the Indian side was not “that keen” when the request was made, the High Commissioner said this was because India had already extended its portfolio and it was providing assistance of over $2.6 billion (grants and loans combined). But, the service eventually came through as Mr. Wickremesinghe had followed up the matter with a formal letter and some Sri Lankan Ministers had visited India to study how the service was working.He clarified that ambulances would be registered in the name of the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine in the government of Sri Lanka and not that of GVKEMRI of India, the implementing agency in the initial phase. The service would be offered free of charge as long as the Indian government was funding it, he added. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Ministry says study has cleared 65000 housing project in the North

The report states that the measurements of temperature and humidity inside pre-fabricated metal houses and conventional block work houses showed no major difference. ( Paragraph 3.2 of the report). According to the report, the cost of a pre-fabricated house that will be constructed with other facilities such as solar power connection, toilet facilities, furniture etc will not deviate much from the cost of a conventional house with the same facilities. The Department of Civil Engineering of the Engineering Faculty of Peradeniya University conducting a study about the technical implications of the 65000 housing project in the North, has stated that the pre- fabricated houses are the best option to meet the high demand for housing in the war affected Northern and Eastern provinces, the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs said today.The study is an academia driven independent assessment carried out with regard to the technical implications of the 65,000 housing project implemented by the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs. The assessment report further notes that pre-fabricated houses are much favourable when considering the amount of local material, labour and time that have to be invested in constructing conventional houses. Due to the large number of houses that have to be constructed within the span of several years, the pre- fabricated houses seem a feasible option because according to the report , pre- fabricated houses cause less environmental impact, less contribution to soil erosion, material depletion and less use of local timber.The report has also made several recommendations to improve the model pre-fabricated houses built in Kopai and Thellipillai. The ArcelorMittal construction company have taken into account, the recommendations regarding corrosion, roofing panels, ventilation and the use of firewood for cooking and the Company has provided an explanation about the recommendations as well. ArcelorMittal, explaining about the concern raised with regard to corrosion has stated that the steel panels are manufactured using ArcelorMittal latest patented metallic coated steel (ZM Evolution and Magnelis) which provides enhanced anti corrosion properties.Further the company has stated in their reply that they will install in each room, passive ventilation below the roof in order to enhance air flow and that considering the local usages, they will study the implementation of a concrete cooking bench aside from the house even though using gas is proven to be cheaper than firewood as it is costly to harvest. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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President to visit China again on invitation from Chinese President

“Our Prime Minister went and brought financial assistance to the county and now the President will go. This friendship between both countries must continue,”  Samarasinghe said. President Maithripala Sirisena is to visit China soon, his second official visit to China since taking office as President in January last year.Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said President Sirisena will be visiting China on an invitation extended by Chinese President Yi Xianliang. The Minister also said that Sri Lanka’s Foreign policy is to take the middle ground and not take sides or anger Sri Lanka’s neighbors. (Colombo Gazette) He said the visit will help further boost the relationship between both countries. The visit follows Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to China this year and Sirisena’s visit to China in March last year. read more

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Tamil businessman gave Tories more than £1m in donations

In March 2014, Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire expressed concerns at the arrests of two human rights activists in Sri Lanka, who had been trying to secure the release of a Tamil mother and daughter.Just 13 days later, the Tories registered donations of £105,000 from Lycamobile, followed by £15,000 three days after that.In the year before Mr Cameron announced the £6.6 million to Sri Lanka, the Conservatives reported donations of £967,000 from Lycamobile and a personal donation of £100,000 from Mr Allirajah.Less than two months before the 2015 general election, Mr Cameron met Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena, who promised to identify land to return to the Tamils. Six days later, the Tories registered donations of £370,000 from Lycamobile.In March 2015, Mr Allirajah attended the Tory ‘black and white’ ball in Mayfair, central London. He got the loudest cheer of the night after pledging £210,000 for a small bronze statue of Margaret Thatcher.When the Tories made the £6.6 million announcement last November, it said the money would be spent over the next three years on ‘reconciliation, military reform and to help people who were forced from their towns and villages during the civil war’. In the year before the announcement, the Tory Party registered donations of more than £1million from Tamil businessman Subaskaran Allirajah and his controversial telecoms firm Lycamobile. Mr Allirajah, 44, is the founder and chairman of Lycamobile, a firm that sells pre-paid phone cards. He grew up in Mullaitivu, a Tamil area in the north of Sri Lanka. He is now worth £160million and is reportedly the 640th wealthiest person in Britain.The revelations come after Mr Allirajah faced scrutiny over claims of tax fraud and money laundering at his firm. The Mail has for more than a month been asking the Foreign Office to disclose exactly how much of the money has been spent and where it has gone, but a spokesman refused.Lycamobile has donated a total of £2,209,712 to the Tory Party since 2011.Some £569,300 of this has come in 2016, even though the firm has during this time faced a police investigation after three of its workers were filmed dropping off rucksacks stuffed with cash at post offices in London.In June, 19 people connected to Lycamobile were arrested in a raid in France amid allegations of VAT fraud and money laundering of at least £13.4million.Lycamobile has previously denied financial malpractice. The firm and Mr Allirajah, who lives in a £3 million mansion with his wife in Chigwell, Essex, did not respond to requests for comment.A spokesman for the Tory Party said: ‘All donations to the Conservative Party are properly and transparently declared.’ (Colombo Gazette) There are now questions about what has happened to the money, with UK aid money since going to the area in northern Sri Lanka where Mr Allirajah grew up. In November 2013, then-prime minister Mr Cameron became the first foreign leader to visit the north of Sri Lanka since it became independent in 1948. He called on the non-Tamil president to set up an independent inquiry into alleged war crimes against Tamil people. And he pledged £2.1 million over two years for a de-mining programme in three districts, including Mullaitivu. In 2009, the UK ceased aid to Sri Lanka for all but humanitarian emergencies after the end of the civil war in the country.But after Lycamobile started donating to the Tory Party two years later, funds were allocated to the country from the conflict pool – a pot set aside for tackling instability overseas.In 2011, the Tories reported donations of £176,000 from Lycamobile. This rose to £250,000 in 2012. In that time, total UK aid to Sri Lanka jumped by more than two thirds to £5.5 million, with £1.3 million coming from the conflict pool. By 2013, total aid to Sri Lanka was £10.2 million, almost £3 million more than given to Iraq that year. Foreign aid to Sri Lanka was significantly increased after a businessman from the country oversaw donations of more than £1 million to the Conservative Party, the Daily Mail revealed today.David Cameron announced last November that £6.6 million was being set aside for Sri Lanka over three years, including help for Tamils forced from their homes during the civil war. read more

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Central Expressway to be completed by end 2019

The first stage consisting of 37.3 kms from Kadawatha to Mirigama will be constructed by a Chinese firm while the third stage consisting of 34.1 Km from Pothuhera to Galagedara will be constructed by a Japanese company and is funded by Tokyo Mitsubishi Bank and is awaiting request for proposals. Section four consisting of 63.8 kilometers will be constructed by a Chinese company. Negotiations for the third and fourth stages are underway. The Central Expressway project is being done in four stages and will be completed by the end of 2019, the Minister of Higher Education and Highways Lakshman Kiriella said.According to the Minister, for the first time in Sri Lanka the second stage which is 39.3 kilometers from Mirigama to Kurunegala will be constructed by local contractors. There will be 14 interchanges in the expressway and the Road Development Authority has already earmarked and acquired land for the project. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Ranil says his wife gets higher salary than him

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says his wife, Maithree Wickramasinghe, gets a higher salary than him.The Prime Minister told Parliament today he backs proposals to increase the salary of Parliamentarians. He said he also has no objections to Parliamentarians being given vehicles to carry out their work in their electorates.Meanwhile, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said that MPs need to be given better housing. He said that while private companies are erecting new apartments in the city, nothing is being done for the MPs. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Wimal served indictments over earnings of Rs 75 million

Indictments were served on former Minister Wimal Weerawansa today over his earnings of over Rs 75 million when he was a Minister.The Colombo High Court served the indictments following a case filed by the Bribery Commission last year. Weerawansa was accused by the Bribery Commission of earning Rs 75 million from 2009 to 2014 through unlawful and illegal means. (Colombo Gazette)

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Operations at US Embassy in Colombo back to normal

Operations at the US Embassy in Colombo are back to normal, the US Embassy in Colombo said. However with the shutdown ending, operations at the Embassy are now back to normal. US President Donald Trump signed a major budget deal into law hours after Congress voted to end a brief Government shutdown overnight.The House of Representatives voted 240-186. The GOP-controlled chamber needed help from House Democrats to clear the bill, and 73 Democratic members gave it. Sixty-seven House Republicans voted against the plan. (Colombo Gazette) The American Center in Colombo had earlier been closed as the US Government shut down for the second time this year. read more

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Stay order against holding cricket board elections lifted

The Court of Appeal today lifted a stay order against holding the elections for the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board.The stay order has been issued last month till today (June 14). Earlier, former Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board General Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga filed a petition in court seeking an injunction to prevent former President Thilanga Sumathipala from contesting the Sri Lanka Cricket board elections. (Colombo Gazette) The lifting of the stay order will now allow the cricket board to hold the elections. The election was to be held on the 31st May, 2018 but had to be postponed following the stay order issued by the Court of Appeal. read more

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Concerns raised over US using BIA to transfer military cargo

Concerns were raised in Parliament today over the United States using the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) to transfer military cargo.Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Parliamentarian Bimal Ratnayake asked the Government if there was an agreement with the US to conduct such transfers. The January transfers will contribute approximately 25 million Sri Lankan Rupees to the country’s economy. This is the third iteration of the temporary cargo transfer initiative. It follows two successful transfers that took place in August 2018 at Bandaranaike International Airport and Trincomalee and in December 2018 at Bandaranaike International Airport. (Colombo Gazette) He also asked if the Government was taking steps to ensure there is no threat to Sri Lanka by the US using a commercial airport to transfer military goods. A US Embassy statement issued yesterday said that US Navy aircraft will land at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) to perform a transfer operation to move cargo between planes from January 21 to 29.This is part of a larger temporary cargo transfer initiative that promotes Sri Lanka’s efforts to become a regional hub for logistics and commerce. Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella said that he will raise the matter with the Government. read more

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Silent protest staged in Colombo over attack on Methodist Church

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Methodist Church Bishop Asiri Perera and others over the incident this week.At the meeting he advised the IGP to take action over the attack and provide protection to the church. (Colombo Gazette) Leaders from other religions also extended support to the protest. A group of about 25 people had threatened the Methodist Church Bishop Asiri Perera on Palm Sunday and then attacked the church with stones and firecrackers. A silent protest was staged in Colombo today over the attack on a Methodist Church in Anuradhapura.Clergy and members of various Christian denominations attended the protest staged near the Colombo Methodist Church. Photo courtesy Veerakesari online read more

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Wellampitiya copper factory employee further remanded

Meanwhile, eight other employees of the same factory who had earlier been arrested but were later released on bail, were ordered to appear before the Terrorism Investigations Division (TID) from tomorrow till June 1st to record statements. An employee of a copper factory in Wellampitiya, arrested over the Easter Sunday attacks, has been further remanded till June 10.Karupayya Rajendran Abdulla was employed at the copper factory in Wellampitiya owned by the family of the suicide bomber who carried out the attack on the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. read more

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Canadas navy is developing an AI voice assistant for warships but dont

The Canadian Forces is experimenting with a voice assistant that could be used on the bridge of combat vessels, but don’t expect to hear “Hey Siri, fire the guns!” aboard a warship anytime soon.Under development in partnership with IBM and Lockheed Martin, the “Boatswain’s Mate” virtual bridge assistant is intended to function in essentially the same way as Apple Inc.’s Siri or Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa, taking voice commands and then carrying out tasks in response.Rear Admiral Casper Donovan, the director general of future ship capability for the Royal Canadian Navy, said the navy has been working on the idea for more than a year, but that they’re still at least another year away from conducting tests aboard a warship.Donovan framed the project as an attempt to use artificial intelligence technology to improve the efficiency of a ship’s sailors. Killer robots aren’t just science fiction anymore Canada risks losing its artificial intelligence edge as adoption lags and the tech goes mainstream Ethics needs to keep up with economics when it comes to AI, experts warn For example, if a navy vessel is expecting a helicopter to land on the ship, the captain would normally give the order to prepare for landing to a sailor who would then relay the instruction throughout the ship.The Boatswain’s Mate voice assistant is being designed to replace the sailor who would normally receive those verbal instructions, instead relaying the commands through the ship’s onboard computer system.“A lot of that today is done with a commanding officer asking a boatswain’s mate to do this, then that boatswain’s mate has to understand the approach, then pipe the command, then write it on a piece of paper and audit everything,” said Charbel Safadi, AI leader for IBM Canada.Safadi said running these commands through a computer system instead creates a data log that can be audited later, and it frees up a sailor who would otherwise be responsible for relaying instructions from the commanding officer.While the Boatswain’s Mate is being designed for the bridge of a warship, potentially for use in actual combat situations, the intent is more similar to a private business trying to reduce the need for workers through the use of new technology.But the project comes at a time when militaries around the world are figuring out how best to deploy AI technologies while navigating the thorny ethical issues that come with them.In particular, Donovan said the navy is being careful to steer clear of the dilemmas raised by the potential of linking AI with lethal weapons systems.“We haven’t explicitly told ourselves we have a red line, but there is clearly a red line, that we’re not pursuing any AI that is connected to employing weapon systems,” Donovan said.“Our systems, especially our weapons systems, are under a chain of command and that chain of command is on people, and people are employing those systems.”But depending on how broadly you define “artificial intelligence,” the technology is probably already finding its way into Canadian weapons systems, according to Warren Shiau, who focuses on artificial intelligence as research vice-president with IDC Canada.“Artificial intelligence” is a bit of a loose catch-all term for many different technologies that use machine learning software to improve technology.Voice assistants rely on AI to do speech recognition, but deep learning can also be embedded in anything from video games to human resources software to improve outcomes.Shiau said AI is also being embedded in lots of military systems, too.“Of course people are integrating into weapons systems, simply because it can help so much, on things like target identification, target acquisition or better calculation of flight paths and stuff like that for, say, cruise missiles,” he said.“It’s not the Canadian government directly supporting it. It’s more that it comes in a weapons system and we could be buying that system.”Shiau noted that like most big companies, militaries around the world are also looking at artificial intelligence tools to help them operate more efficiently and use fewer people to perform bureaucratic and administrative functions.“Armed forces, they’re facing a severe manpower shortage,” he said.“An armed forces can’t work without all the background logistics and administration. So if all your personnel need to be devoted to operational capability, who’s actually taking care of the shop?”• Email: jmcleod@nationalpost.com | Twitter: read more

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Man accused of setting grandmas car on fire in Halton Hills

A Halton Hills man has been charged with arson for allegedly setting his grandmother’s vehicle on fire Thursday night.Fire and police crews were called to a rural home on Fourth Line after the homeowner noticed her vehicle was on fire in the driveway.Firefighters extinguished the fire but the SUV had been completely destroyed.Responding officers found a man walking away from the scene.He was questioned and eventually arrested for arson.Police say this man was the adult grandson of the owner of the SUV.His motive is still under investigation.The fire was started in an isolated area of the driveway however, police say flames came dangerously close to the home after the gas tank exploded.Kenneth Hume, 32, of Halton Hills has been charged with arson and failing to comply with a recognizance. read more

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