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Why googling ‘idiot’ brings up Trump photos, Congresswoman asks Pichai

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Donald Trump Idiot
The first results shown for the word "idiot" in Google Images search were of US President Donald Trump.

Washington, Dec 12: US Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, in an effort to understand how Google search algorithms work, asked its CEO Sundar Pichai why so many pictures of President Donald Trump appear when she does a Google search for “idiot”.

“Right now, if you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that,” the California Democrat told Pichai during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday here.

“How would that happen? How does search work so that would occur?” Lofgren asked Pichai, according to the Washington Post.

The Google CEO — who was at the hearing to address allegations of political bias in his company’s widely used search engine — said the results were based on billions of keywords ranked according to over 200 factors such as relevance, popularity, how others were using the search term, to determine how to best match a query with results.

“So it’s not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we’re going to show the user?” Lofgren asked. “It’s basically a compilation of what users are generating.”

Republicans have long accused Google of political bias, which the company has strongly denied.

In August, Trump said in a tweet that a Google search for “Trump News” showed only reports from “Fake News Media.” He concluded it was “rigged” against him so “almost all stories and news was bad.”

House Republicans said they wanted to hold the hearing — entitled “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices” — to make sure the search giant was being impartial.

“Americans put their trust in big tech companies to honour freedom of speech and champion open dialogue,” Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said in a statement before the hearing.

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech.

In response to Republicans who complained about Google searches, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu said: “If you want positive search results, do positive things. If you don’t want negative search results, don’t do negative things.”

“And to some of my colleagues across the aisle, if you’re getting bad press articles and bad search results, don’t blame Google or Facebook or Twitter, consider blaming yourself.”

Read More: Google shows Trump’s photo if you search for ‘idiot’

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Afghan Cabinet still not finalized: Prez Palace

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Abdullah Abdullah

Kabul, Aug 11 : The Afghan Presidential Palace has said that Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for Reconciliation, waas yet to introduce his nominated Ministers for the new Cabinet.

On Monday, the Palace’s deputy spokesman Dawa Khan Menapal said that nominees for Ministers must meet the criteria, so that the President can send them to the National Assembly for a vote of confidence, reports TOLO News.

“As soon as our political partners make a list according to the criteria, the government will send it to the parliament for a vote of confidence,” said Menapal.

On the other hand, Fraidoon Khwazoon, spokesman for Abdullah, said that they have sent their nominee list to the Presidential Palace.

“For our part, the problem is solved and we have sent the list of nominated ministers that is relevant to us and it will be implemented according to the agreement,” he said.

A number of politicians and citizens of the country consider the existence of differences between Ghani and Abdullah as one of the main reasons for the delay with the cabinet.

“The big reason is that these two people do not get along with each other and that is why they do not agree on governors and ministers,” said Abdul Rauf Shapoon, a lawmaker.

In May, a power-sharing agreement was signed between President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah to end the political deadlock following last year’s presidential election.

Under the agreement signed on Sunday, Ghani remains as President, while Abdullah will head the High Council for National Reconciliation to lead the peace talks with the Taliban.

Abdullah, who served as Chief Executive in the previous government and contested the presidential poll on September 28, 2019, had challenged the outcome of the vote in which the Election Commission declared Ghani as winner.

When the delayed results of the election were finally announced in February, Ghani was again declared President by the Independent Election Commission after earning a slightly higher percentage than Abdullah, reports TOLO News.

But the tensions increased after Ghani and Abdullah, both held inauguration ceremonies on the same day in their adjacent respective palaces, after the latter rejected the outcome.

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New Zealand reports new COVID-19 case after 102 days

This case brought New Zealand’s total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 1,220.

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Coronavirus Symtoms

Wellington, Aug 11 : New Zealand reported one new COVID-19 case of COVID-19 on Tuesday, after a period of 102 days, taking the total number of active cases in the country to 22, all in managed isolation or quarantine facilities, according to the Ministry of Health.

Tuesday’s case was a man in his 20s who arrived in New Zealand on July 30 from Melbourne, Xinhua news agency quoted Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield as saying at a press conference.

He was in managed isolation at the Grand Millennium and tested negative for COVID-19 around day three of his stay, but turned positive some nine days later and has now been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility, Bloomfield said.

This case brought New Zealand’s total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 1,220.

None of those people are receiving hospital-level care, he said.

The Ministry is planning for a COVID-19 immunization program, and while there is still significant uncertainty on what a potential COVID-19 vaccine might be and how it will be delivered.

The death toll stands at 22.

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Afghan president signs decree to free 400 Taliban inmates

However, the presidential palace said provisions of the issued decree about Taliban pardon do not prevent individuals from suing for their right.

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Ashraf Ghani

KABUL, Aug. 10 : Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued a decree on Monday to pardon and release about 400 controversial Taliban inmates, the Presidential Palace confirmed.

The palace tweeted that Ghani signed the decree late Monday evening for pardon of punishment of convicted Taliban prisoners, who are included in the 5,000 prisoners listed by the Taliban group.

The move came one day after participants of a 3,400-member Loya Jirga, or the Grand Assembly, voted for the release of 400 hardcore Taliban inmates.

A peace deal agreement signed between the United States and Taliban in Qatar in February required the Afghan government to free 5,000 Taliban inmates in exchange for Taliban’s release of 1,000 soldiers or government staff.

Since early March, the Afghan government had released 5,100 Taliban inmates and Taliban freed 1,000 Afghan soldiers or government staff.

Under the agreement, U.S. and NATO-led coalition forces would leave Afghanistan by July next year depending on whether the Taliban outfit meets the conditions envisaged in the agreement, including severing ties with foreign terrorist groups.

However, the presidential palace said provisions of the issued decree about Taliban pardon do not prevent individuals from suing for their right.

It was not immediately known when the 400 Taliban inmates will be freed.

According to unnamed officials, following the release of 400 Taliban inmates, the long-delayed peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government will begin later this month.

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