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Eight Israeli soldiers killed as fighting continues in Rafah

The soldiers, all members of a combat engineering unit, were in an armoured carrier that was hit by an explosion

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Jerusalem/Cairo (Reuters): Eight Israeli soldiers were killed in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday, the military said, as forces continued to push in and around the southern city of Rafah and strikes hit several areas of Gaza, killing at least 19 Palestinians.

The soldiers, all members of a combat engineering unit, were in an armoured carrier that was hit by an explosion that detonated engineering materials being carried on the vehicle, apparently in contravention of standard practice, the military said. It said the early morning incident, in the Tel al-Sultan area in the west of Rafah, was being investigated.

The armed wing of the Palestinian militant group Hamas said the vehicle had been trapped in a prepared minefield that set off the explosion.

Israeli tanks advanced in Tel al-Sultan and shells landed in the coastal area, where thousands of Palestinians, many of them displaced several times already, have sought refuge.

Despite growing international pressure for a ceasefire, an agreement to halt the fighting still appears distant, more than eight months since the start of the war in October, with the near-daily cross-border exchanges of fire with Hezbollah militia fighters in southern Lebanon intensifying.

In Israeli airstrikes on two houses in Gaza City suburbs, residents said at least 15 people were killed. Four others were killed in separate attacks in the south, medics said.

The Israeli military on Saturday said its forces in Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, close to the border with Egypt, had captured large quantities of weapons, both above ground and concealed in the extensive tunnel network built by Hamas.

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Technology

Meta says European regulators are ruining its AI bot

Meta said Ireland’s Data Protection Commission asked it to delay training LLMs on public user information.

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Meta is putting plans for its AI assistant on hold in Europe after receiving objections from Ireland’s privacy regulator, the company announced on Friday. 

In a blog post, Meta said the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) asked the company to delay training its large language models on content that had been publicly posted to Facebook and Instagram profiles.

Meta said it is “disappointed” by the request, “particularly since we incorporated regulatory feedback and the European [Data Protection Authorities] have been informed since March.” Per the Irish Independent, Meta had recently begun notifying European users that it would collect their data and offered an opt-out option in an attempt to comply with European privacy laws.

Meta said it will “continue to work collaboratively with the DPC.” But its blog post says that Google and OpenAI have “already used data from Europeans to train AI” and claims that if regulators don’t let it use users’ information to train its models, Meta can only deliver an inferior product. “Put simply, without including local information we’d only be able to offer people a second-rate experience. This means we aren’t able to launch Meta AI in Europe at the moment.”

European regulators, on the other hand, have welcomed the pause.

“We are pleased that Meta has reflected on the concerns we shared from users of their service in the UK, and responded to our request to pause and review plans to use Facebook and Instagram user data to train generative AI,” Stephen Almond, the executive director of regulatory risk at the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, said in a statement. 

The DPC’s request followed a campaign by the advocacy group NOYB — None of Your Business — which filed 11 complaints against Meta in several European countries, Reuters reports. NOYB founder Max Schrems told the Irish Independent that the complaint hinged on Meta’s legal basis for collecting personal data. “Meta is basically saying that it can use any data from any source for any purpose and make it available to anyone in the world, as long as it’s done via AI technology,” Schrems said. “This is clearly the opposite of GDPR compliance.”

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Sports

England bat in rain-hit must-win T20 World Cup game against Namibia

England are currently two points behind Scotland in Group B

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North Sound (Antigua and Barbuda) (AFP): Reigning champions England were sent in to bat by Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus after rain reduced their must-win T20 World Cup game in Antigua on Saturday to an 11-overs per side contest.

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