Real Estate News
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Pence offers 'unwavering' NATO pledge, leaves open questions

18 Feb 2017 15:31:59 -0500

MUNICH (AP) — America's commitment to NATO is "unwavering," U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday, reassuring allies about the direction the Trump administration might take but leaving open questions about where Washington saw its relationship with the European Union and other international organizations.

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Philippines' Duterte ordered murders: ex-police aide

20 Feb 2017 05:08:15 -0500

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ran a death squad that killed many people, including a journalist and a pregnant woman, when he was mayor of a southern city, a retired policeman who claimed to be part of the group said Monday. Arthur Lascanas, sitting alongside three prominent human rights lawyers, broke down in tears as he listed a series of murders in Davao city that he alleged Duterte ordered either to eliminate critics or fight crime. Lascanas said he even killed his two brothers, who were involved in drug trafficking, due to "blind loyalty" to Duterte as well as cash rewards.

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Norma McCorvey, plaintiff in Roe v. Wade abortion ruling, dies at 69

18 Feb 2017 16:38:30 -0500

McCorvey died on Saturday morning of heart failure at an assisted living home in Katy, Texas, Joshua Prager, a journalist who is writing a book about the decision, said in an email. A reluctant hero of the abortion-rights movement, McCorvey put her courtroom pseudonym fully behind her in the 1980s when she lent her name to supporters of women's rights.

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AP Exclusive: Hundreds of Texans may have voted improperly

18 Feb 2017 15:30:00 -0500

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas election officials have acknowledged that hundreds of people were allowed to bypass the state's toughest-in-the-nation voter ID law and improperly cast ballots in the November presidential election by signing a sworn statement instead of showing a photo ID.

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Democrat member of FEC to make early exit: NYT

19 Feb 2017 15:05:48 -0500

A Democrat who sits on the U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC) is planning to resign before her term expires amid frustrations about partisan gridlock, the New York Times reported on Sunday. FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel told the Times in an interview she intended to submit her letter of resignation this week, a move that would open the door for President Donald Trump to make his own appointment to the panel. “The ability of the commission to perform its role has deteriorated significantly,” Ravel told the newspaper.

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Debt-saddled Mongolia agrees $5.5 bn IMF bailout

20 Feb 2017 01:07:15 -0500

Mongolia has reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a $5.5 billion bailout package, officials announced, as the debt-wracked country tries to stabilise its economy. The landlocked north Asian nation has been hit hard by a more than 50 percent fall over the past five years in the price of copper, its main export. Billions of dollars' worth of natural resources lie buried beneath Mongolia's sprawling steppes, but development has been delayed for years and slowing growth in its biggest customer China has hobbled the economy.

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Kim Dotcom Eligible For US Extradition

20 Feb 2017 06:07:17 -0500

The New Zealand High Court said, however, that the extradition is not based on copyright grounds, and Dotcom’s legal team is “confident” the decision will be reversed.

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Blind cleric behind 1990s terror plots dies in US prison

18 Feb 2017 21:03:40 -0500

Omar Abdel-Rahman, the so-called Blind Sheik convicted of plotting terror attacks in New York City in the decade before 9/11 and spiritual guide to a generation of Islamic militants, has died in a federal prison. He was 78.

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This new iPhone 8 feature might end up blowing our minds

20 Feb 2017 09:33:11 -0500

Amid rumors that the iPhone 8 will incorporate advanced facial recognition features, the Hebrew-language website Calcalist (via Times of Israel) is reporting that Apple recently acquired Realface, an up-and-coming Israeli startup with impressive real-time facial recognition software.

Lending credence to rumors that the iPhone 8 may forgo the use of Touch ID in favor of facial recognition, Realface's software is said to be sophisticated enough such that it can reliably be used as a foundation for mobile-based biometric authentication.
As is often the case when Apple acquires a company, Realface's web presence has already been wiped from the web. Still, thanks to the magic of Google, we were able to poke around and dig up some intriguing nuggets of information about the company's promising technology.
Realface boasts that it's AI software rests upon deep learning methods and is so reliable and quick that the end-result is an absolutely seamless user experience.
"Our technology provides our customers and end-users with the highest level of authentication and security available on all platforms," says Realface. "We have proprietary IP in the field of frictionless face recognition and effective learnings from facial features." Incidentally, Realface's technology is also capable of filtering out photos of faces and advanced sculptures designed to trick the software into thinking that a device's camera is honed in on an actual human face.
Further, Realface claims that its software can recognize faces with a 99.67% success rate, an impressive figure that is even higher than the average 97.5% success rate exhibited by humans. To this point, a profile on Realface from last year relays that the company's technology is so advanced that it can even distinguish between identical twins with alarming and impressive accuracy.
Below is a quick and dirty demo of the software in action.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNlkxGmIgW0
What's particularly interesting is that Realface's technology is not only capable of discerning individual faces, but can also analyze specific facial expressions as a means to determine a user's mood. If this sounds somewhat familiar, Apple last year acquired Emotient, a company with similar AI technology of its own.
Now as for what Apple is planning to do with its growing portfolio of AI-based facial recognition software, well, that's the million dollar question. While initial speculation centered on Apple rolling out augmented reality features, perhaps similar to what the beloved MSQRD app does, more recent rumblings suggest that Apple wants to position facial recognition as a means to identify users and securely authorize sensitive transactions. Again, there are even reports that facial recognition might ultimately serve as a replacement for Touch ID.
While this seems far-fetched, Ming Chi-Kuo -- an analyst with the best track record regarding Apple rumors -- seems to think otherwise. In a recently issued research note, Kuo claims that the iPhone 8's rumored edgeless design cannot, for whatever reason, coexist peacefully with Touch ID. Consequently, Kuo relays that Apple wants to eventually replace Touch ID with a facial recognition solution.
When it comes to Apple, the old adage that when there's smoke, there's fire is generally true. That being the case, it stands to reason that facial recognition will be a huge and incredibly exciting component of the iPhone 8 user experience.

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Russia Calls For New World Order

18 Feb 2017 23:39:26 -0500

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow was seeking closer with Washington while also refusing to cower to the NATO militant alliance led by the U.S. 

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Frank Martini

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Castelli Real Estate Services

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415-378-0773 frankmartini@mac.com

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